Say the word “restaurant” and immediately images of elegant table settings, attentive servers and beautifully presented food come to mind. This proves you’re the customer because if you’re the manager or an owner of the restaurant, a completely different set of images will be at the forefront. From cooking fires to employee burns and food safety concerns to inventory theft, the list of potential risks is a mile long. However, a restaurant can safeguard itself against them by setting fire safety measures, implementing comprehensive training programs, preparing hygienic food and preventing employee theft.
Hire, Train, Repeat
Properly trained employees are essential for the success of any company, a restaurant more than any other since they are responsible for helping to create an enjoyable experience for the customer. A restaurant owner needs to emphasize the importance of this belief to their management who can further highlight the training details to the rest of the staff. Hold an orientation where the employees are given a tour of the facilities, introduced to key staff members, given an overview of the menu and services and most importantly are informed on what kind of experience the restaurant wants to offer. Training sessions gearing to specific skills, such as food preparation, bartending, dishwashing, hosting and serving, can be scheduled accordingly.
Too Hot Too Handle
Minor scalds and burns can happen quickly and quite often, especially in bustling commercial kitchens. Teach staff to turn their heads away from the steam when they pour hot liquids. Always wear proper protective equipment like tall oven mitts or potholders when touching any surface that may be hot. Although these kinds of accidents can be prevented if proper safety guidelines are followed, they may still occur and when they do, staff members should be able to take the necessary steps to minimize the extent of the injury. First-aid kids are an absolute must to cover scalds and burns until they can be given professional medical attention.
Say No To Kitchen Fires
Commercial kitchens are hubs filled with numerous electrical appliances working side by side with just as many ranges, grills and fryers. This combination results in grease, smoke and heat as unfortunate by-products. Thankfully, several preventative measures can be put in place to mitigate the risk of a kitchen fire. Fire extinguishers are an excellent tool that can prevent small fires from spreading, so make sure properly working fire extinguishers are accessible and that each staff is aware of their location. All electrical equipment should undergo regular professional maintenance assessments and unplugged when the kitchen closes for the night. Kitchen areas where grease is bound to accumulate should be thoroughly and consistently cleaned. Staff members should be educated and trained for an evacuation plan in case of an emergency.
The Safety of Food
A restaurant’s reputation doesn’t just depend on the taste of its dishes but the freshness of its ingredients as well. One of management’s top priorities should be instilling a food safety culture to avoid foodborne illnesses and outbreaks. Train and educate each kitchen staff member upon hire on the importance of food safety and then offer refresher courses when necessary. Ensure food is safe upon arrival and provide proper equipment like calibrated food thermometers and plenty of cutting boards so employees won’t have any issues during food preparation.
Thou Shalt Stay On Top of Employee Theft
Internal theft in restaurants, whether it’s stealing from inventory, missing kitchen equipment or inaccurate record of sales, is more common than one would think. Several employees may take advantage of situations at work to fill their own pockets or walk away with ‘freebies” because they think they’re not being properly acknowledged at work. Management can take preemptive steps like installing anti-theft software that manages restaurant inventory and vendors, keep track of staff and control overall restaurant operations. Installing security cameras so you can review footage for discrepancies down the road is another way to reduce employee theft.
In order to offer excellent customer experiences, restaurants are dealing with a lot of chaos backstage. It is up to top management to ensure that all this chaos is being performed under strict protocols and safety measures so nobody has to deal with any hazardous situations at the end of the day.