As the weather cools, rodents will be seeking shelter in warmer environments like your kitchen and storage areas. If you have put off regular maintenance and repairs in recent months, now is a good time to check your facility for cracks and crevices where pests might enter and to trim any vegetation surrounding your facility that could provide a shelter for them. If you find potential entry points, seal them with caulk or weather foam – as opposed to a less-permanent or half-baked solution that might alert a health inspector to a problem.
When is the last time you assessed how you measure your overall food safety performance? Even if you’re currently ticking all of the boxes when it comes to your food safety protocol, your strategy may not be evolving in step with your equipment, products, technology, ingredients or other aspects of your business. To determine what a restaurant’s key performance indicators should be, Modern Restaurant Management suggests a restaurant’s leaders assess whether or not their health scores and audit scores are improving, what their highest-risk issues are and if they are increasing or decreasing, what problems are happening repeatedly, if the number of locations experiencing repeat fails is decreasing, and if corrective actions are being logged and monitored. Once you have established a set of performance indicators, socialize them throughout your organization so people understand and support them, then document them for reference, reinforce them regularly in training and meetings and report back on progress. Be sure to celebrate your wins – a positive review from a guest with severe food allergies can go far in reinforcing your team’s commitment to food safety.
If your business needs a fresh start on protecting food safety, the start of a new year is a perfect time to recalibrate your organization and reinforce expectations. QSR Magazine advises that you start at the top, ensuring your company leaders are demonstrating a strong commitment to food safety. Explain the “why” behind the “what” so employees grasp the importance of protecting food safety and understand that even mistakes that seem minor can sicken or perhaps kill a guest. Provide the right equipment and offer training on a continuous basis. Enforce the importance of keeping temperature logs and maintaining records. Inspect food to make sure it is safe upon arrival, and give employees the authority to refuse foods they believe could be unsafe to consume. Follow food allergy protocols and conduct your own inspections on a regular basis to ensure all employees are following food safety protocols.
If you’re a franchisee and are found to have health and safety violations in your restaurant, you could be facing challenges from more than just your health inspector. When a Dunkin’ in east Boston with a series of health code violations was closed temporarily in recent weeks after a customer captured and shared video of mice scurrying around the store, its parent company filed suit against the franchisor to ensure it could not ever reopen under the Dunkin’ name.