Following local health & safety standards has always been crucial for the restaurant industry. In the post-pandemic environment, cities of the UAE have been reviewing the health and safety measures adopted by the restaurants. As per the initiative by Dubai’s Food Safety Department, restaurants will have to display their hygiene ratings for the benefit of patrons. Keeping a tab on restaurants’ safety and hygiene status has become all the more important for restaurants from a business perspective. The reason: falling customer confidence. This article will put forth the various points you need to keep in mind while preparing your restaurant checklist to keep up with the safety and hygiene standards.
Top Safety And Hygiene Points To Include In Your Restaurant Checklist
Although there are ample points one needs to consider while firming up a restaurant’s safety and hygiene standards, basic norms issued by the local municipalities should be followed without fail. In case of non-compliance, you may have to pay penalties.
Here are some things that should be taken care of while keeping your kitchen hygienic.
1. Follow The Safety Norms
The government of the UAE and the local municipalities have imposed strict regulations in the wake of COVID-19. They have released a set of specific guidelines to be followed for those working in the restaurant industry. Failing to follow these guidelines can result in the closure of your restaurant.
The norms relate to the staff, facilities, social distancing, customers, food catering, and other facilities provided by the restaurant outlets. The safety norms have been designed in consultation with top health experts, and it is only logical to follow them. After all, you have an obligation to be healthy for the sake of your customers.
2. Proper Hygiene Maintenance By The Staff
Restaurant owners should keep a check on the hygiene of their staff. The staff is vulnerable as they routinely come into contact with hundreds of vendors and customers at any given time. They should comply with the health guidelines of the restaurant and take all the measures to keep themselves and their work environment sanitized. Hygiene maintenance is not just limited to the back-of-the-house but also crucial for the front-of-the-house and the deliveries.
For example, the chefs should wear masks, practice social distancing, and strictly adhere to handwashing habits to serve their customers well. Furthermore, the delivery boys of the outlets should also make sure that they sanitize themselves from time to time. Also, it is always advisable for the staff to report to the management any suspicious symptoms related to coronavirus.
3. Regularly Inspect Kitchen Areas, Dining Areas, And Storage Areas
Keeping every nook and corner of your restaurant clean is vital as lack of cleanliness can contaminate your kitchen and storage areas. The area where food is prepared should be hygienic enough to ensure maximum wellness. The storage areas need to be taken care of as the food that has gone stale might cause bacterial infections and attract rodents. Also, dining areas play a key role in determining the hygiene status of the restaurant. A customer who does not find the dining area clean may choose to go to a more hygienic restaurant.
Therefore, being a restaurateur, you must realize why cleanliness should be an essential element of your restaurant checklist of health and safety standards. Regular visits and inspections are essential to ensure that the kitchen areas are cleaned properly and regularly, the staff is wearing masks and sanitizing itself, the dining areas are sanitized, the trash is regularly tossed out of the storage areas, and other safety checks are followed.
4. Effective Ventilation
Your restaurant checklist should include proper ventilation of the kitchen area. Adequate ventilation bodes well for the restaurant in terms of the staff and customers’ health while maintaining hygiene and safety. It is necessary to prevent overheating in the kitchen area and avoid a hazy atmosphere caused by excessive moisture and steam.
A robust restaurant ventilation system consisting of exhaust fans, a fire suppression system, makeup air systems, and ventilation hoods should be implemented. Restaurants having access to fresh air will make it easier for the customers to dine-in without any discomfort and enable the chefs and other staff to work efficiently.
5. Making The Packaging More Hygienic
COVID-19 has given an immense rise to online deliveries. According to the POSist UAE Prime Report, 60 percent of the customers prefer ordering online to dining in. The operational focus of the majority of restaurants has been shifted from dine-in to online deliveries. Thus, restaurateurs must choose safe, durable packaging material and promote contactless deliveries.
Hygienic packaging is important even in the absence of coronavirus. It represents a branding opportunity for the restaurant and thus, needs to be carefully chosen. One should avoid leakages and spills, provide the customers with complimentary wooden cutlery instead of plastic ones and sanitize packages before leaving them at the customer’s doorstep.
The advent of COVID-19 has shut down numerous restaurant businesses in the UAE due to the failure to maintain health and safety standards. Follow these tips to stay safe and keep your customers safe!