I used to work in a pub. In fact for the first seven years of my adult life I worked over 45 hours in a pub each week – I couldn’t get away. Now the majority of my work in the pub was to do with the gambling/gaming side of the venue, but every now and again I would be dragged into the pubs restaurant and forced to serve tables with a pleasant smile on my face.
Now serving tables isn’t really for me – I find it incredibly frustrating and on top of that I have a memory like a sieve which only makes for angry customers. But after seven years in this environment I do have a good understanding of Health and Safety within this type of environment, and the strict precautions which must be met to ensure that these standards are adhered to.
Our chefs would work endlessly to ensure that food was kept at the right temperature, that it was cooked appropriately and that the wrong people were kept well away from the kitchen – and all in all this meant that we had a great safety rating and that our customers were generally happy.
The same couldn’t be said for the pub down the road.
Ever the victim of food poisoning claims, I remember one year they suffered dreadfully on Christmas Day after a bad batch of food sent many revellers home ill – struck down with food poisoning. The bad press and reputation crippled the business and very nearly sent it broke. It took many years before people would go there again – and this only serves to highlight the importance of health and safety.
So if you are thinking about setting up a kitchen, or you currently run one, here are some crucial health and safety considerations to make:
Food storage – make sure that your food is stored appropriately and that your refrigerators are properly sealed. You need to make sure that your food stays at a reasonable temperature, especially meet and if it doesn’t it could be a potential food poisoning risk for your customers
Food preparation – it’s crucial that you prepare your food well and that the area is clean when you undertake any preparation. It’s very easy for your food to pick up germs and disease in an unhygienic area, so it’s crucial that you use a clean surface and clean utensils at all times
Hygiene – hygiene is absolutely crucial in any commercial kitchen and all utensils and surfaces must be cleaned to the highest standards and maintained that way. In addition it’s crucial that the chefs keep the highest levels of personal hygiene to ensure that they don’t pass any germs on to their customers
Staff – staff must be trained to the highest standards in health and safety to ensure that they can meet the appropriate standards and that customers aren’t at risk of food poisoning at any stage of the food preparation or presentation.