DIV18/68: Impressing Customers and Improving Food Hygiene (14 August 2019)

Issue Date: 13 August 2019
Ref: DIV18/68


Impressing Customers and Improving Food Hygiene

Cleaning and hygiene have never been more important for any business serving food. On the one hand it helps to maintain the highest levels of food safety to protect not just the customers and staff of the business but also its reputation and well-being. On the other it helps to maintain and improve the appearance of the facility to impress customers and guests and create the right environment where they will enjoy themselves and want to return again and again.

Impress Guests to Improve Business

Research commissioned by Diversey showed restaurant customers change their behaviour according to their perceptions of cleanliness. Over one third of people who enter a dirty restaurant will leave immediately and a further 23 per cent will order but depart before completing their meal. Sticky tables, dirty cutlery and poorly cleaned crockery and glassware are some of the things that customers notice first.

Back of house cleaning tasks such as warewashing needs to be simple and effective. It is important to choose the right products for the specific application and type of washer so that the best possible results are achieved quickly and economically with no need for expensive and time-consuming repeat cleaning.

Front of house cleaning must also be quick, simple and effective. Clearing tables immediately after customers leave makes covers available as soon as possible to maximise throughput and profitability. Cleaning when customers are present sends a powerful message that the business takes hygiene seriously.

Improving Food Safety to Protect Your Customers and Your Reputation

Around 40% of all food poisoning outbreaks are the result of poor hand hygiene and cross contamination. Most food-related illnesses are caused by bacteria: according to the Food Standards Agency, campylobacter causes over 250,000 cases of food poisoning in the UK each year. E.coli and salmonella also affect large numbers.

Food can be contaminated from direct touching but poor hand hygiene can also cause issues with equipment such as ice machines, beverage equipment and water dispensers if staff operate them with dirty hands. This is why personal hygiene and surface sanitising are both so important in any business preparing and serving food. Mistakes that lead to illness can cause suffering to customers and staff while also disrupting the business and diminishing its reputation. In the worst cases this can lead to poor statutory food hygiene ratings and even temporary or permanent closure.

Food service staff should wash their hands between tasks, including when switching between handling raw and cooked items. That can mean a lot of washing during a normal day. Conventional soaps can strip natural oils which protect the skin, leading to an increased risk of damage through conditions such as dermatitis.

Hand hygiene products therefore need to be effective yet gentle. Modern formulations incorporate highly effective biocidal ingredients as well as emollients to preserve the skin’s natural protective barrier and keep hands soft. They should not include perfumes to avoid tainting food. Leading suppliers will offer a choice of highly effective products and recommend the best option for any setting.

Products must be available and ready to use whenever required. Dispensers should be situated conveniently to encourage regular and proper use. They should also ideally contain enough product to prolong the interval between refills and therefore minimise the risk of outages and reduce restocking burdens.

The second part of the food safety equation is surface sanitising. Surfaces should be cleaned regularly throughout the working day and when changing between different tasks, such as working with raw and cooked ingredients. There is a wide choice of product available, including formulations without perfumes to eliminate the risk of tainting food. Two-in-one cleaner-sanitisers are ideal because they simplify tasks while being effective and economical.

Cleaner Floors Are Safer Floors

Slips and trips remain the single largest cause of reportable injuries in the workplace. Kitchens are particularly hazardous because the presence of sharp tools, powerful working equipment and hard edges on fixtures and fittings mean that even the most basic slip or fall can have serious consequences.

Keeping kitchen floors clean and dry is one of the most important ways to reduce the risk of slips and trips. The floor should be kept as clear as possible to remove potential trip hazards and this also makes cleaning easier. All spillages and debris should be removed immediately. A mop and bucket can be used but a better alternative is a compact scrubber drier. These clean the floor quickly, removing liquids and debris as they go and leave the surface almost dry so that it can be walked on immediately – an important consideration in busy kitchens. 

The latest battery and mains-powered machines can be used with a wide range of floorcare products and pads or brushes suitable for almost every type of floor, including those commonly found in kitchens and food preparation areas. Battery powered machines offer the added advantage of working without power cables to eliminate another potential trip hazard.

Keeping it Simple

Cleaning and hygiene in food service settings does not need to be difficult or cumbersome thanks to the variety of products available that are simple to use, economical and effective. Nevertheless, it is always important to choose the right product for the particular application – and use them properly - to achieve the best results. Reputable suppliers will be able to offer choice and advise on the best products to use. They will also offer training, user-guides, wall charts and other support materials that help their customers implement and maintain the most rigorous practices and highest standards.