FOOD SAFETY: TRAINING YOUR STAFF ON BEST PRACTICES
By: Ruth L. Petran PhD
Vice President, Food Safety & Public Health
Keeping food safe in your establishment depends on the staff.
Learn about the key topics and regulations needed to instill a strong, evolving food safety culture that is sure to delight your guests.
Training your restaurant staff is not a one-time effort
Not only must you teach employees how to prepare food, you also need to INSTILL A RESPECT for preparing food safely using best practices.
Additionally, high staff turnover, staff diversity and continually changing regulations make the task of training even more difficult.
Keeping food safe in your restaurant depends on people — for example how staff members:
- Cook, cool, handle and store food
- Wash their hands
- Follow proper cleaning procedures
- Avoid cross-contamination
An informed, engaged staff that values food safety as much as you do can be your SINGLE BEST DEFENSE against a foodborne outbreak.
Enhancing a culture of food safety
As the restaurant manager, you set the prevailing culture and values for food safety that are reinforced through training. If your restaurant’s culture hints at a less than complete commitment to food safety, it’s unrealistic to expect employees to embrace food safety practices.
Part of setting high standards includes reinforcing the importance of the food safety practices such as:
- Always wear gloves when handling food to prevent contact with bare hands
- Frequent handwashing
- Avoiding cross-contamination
- Properly storing, handling and preparing food
In addition to training your employees to follow these practices, you can underscore their importance by emphasizing the consequences: illness, possible death and damage to the restaurant’s reputation.
Make sure staff members understand consequences: POOR BEHAVIORS AFFECT OTHERS
In order to inspire employees to be truly engaged in their work and care about food safety, try to incorporate the concepts below:
- Make the work feel meaningful. Share your restaurant’s vision and purpose. Doing so will help employees see how the restaurant — and how they as employees — are helping make the world a better place.
- Set goals and challenges. Providing opportunities for personal and professional growth and advancement, along with incentives, rewards and recognition for good work, can inspire workers to continuously learn and improve.
- Evolve training program. To meet the changing demographics of your staff, try using short (one-minute or less) and engaging online videos, each demonstrating a specific food safety practice. Reinforce training with signage in the kitchen and around the restaurant.
- Be transparent. Enlist the ideas and energy of your staff by being open about your restaurant’s challenges and its successes. Employees will feel valued – and, in listening to them, you’ll likely gain insights into how to improve food safety and other aspects of your operation.
A strategic partnership with Ecolab can help assist in identifying the right products, tools, processes and on-site training to ensure a properly implemented and executed food safety program.