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How food safety slip ups risk your brand reputation

It’s argued that ‘food deemed unsafe is more detrimental to brand image than food deemed lower quality’. No customer wants to get sick from eating at your place. So when a food outlet is seen to be risking customer safety, it’s not easily forgiven or forgotten.

That’s why hospitality business owners need to be certain their food safety procedures and Food Control Plans (FCPs) are being followed to the letter. But with so many businesses still using inefficient paper based FCPs, it’s only a matter of time before crucial details are missed – which can lead to disastrous, and potentially tragic, consequences. This risk is compounded if owners are running multiple locations.  

Trends overseas reflect tightening food safety standards, with the onus on food manufacturers and outlets. In the EU, recent scares have shone the spotlight on quality control, process authentication, traceability and truthful labelling. This has prompted some food manufacturers and restaurants to develop private food safety standards. These are designed to reassure their customers that the company has gone above and beyond to guarantee their food is safe and labelled correctly.

Learn how you can keep on top of your food safety with a digital FCP – download our eBook.


The cautionary tale of Chipotle

In 2015, an E. coli outbreak affected 42 people. To the company’s credit, they were quick to act once the critical nature of the outbreak was known, closing 43 of its potentially contaminated locations (thus prioritising customer safety over sales). Chipotle also cooperated fully with health officials, and has since made changes to improve food safety: from food disposal, to deep cleaning the contaminated outlet and engaging specialist food safety consultants.

While these actions didn’t protect Chipotle from legal action, social media outcries or investor aversion, they showed a commitment to customer safety and a will to make systematic changes to improve practices across all locations. More than two years on, the brand is slowly rebuilding its reputation. Pretty scary stuff, isn’t it?

These high-profile stories highlight the importance of maintaining the highest food safety standards in every kitchen. In the age of social media and online review sites, bad news travels fast as lightning and loud as thunder. Leaving behind it the sound of a silent cash register.

Hopefully you haven’t experienced similar damage to your brand and customer trust. But it only takes one case of corner-cutting with chopping boards, a salad left too long, or a fridge on the fritz to cause possibly irreparable damage to the reputation you’ve worked hard to earn. When it comes to food safety issues, incidents and illnesses, prevention beats cure, hands down.

What you may not know is that disaster can be easily avoided, with a tool that’s also time and cost saving. It’s called a digital FCP. And it’s actually pretty easy to take action and update your system to digital, and ensure your food safety practices are on point. 

Having a digital FCP minimises the risks of food safety tasks slipping through the cracks, by giving alerts when tasks need to be completed. Getting regular reminders about cleaning and food handling keeps stringent food safety practices at top of mind. Consider it a safety net to support staff during peak times and busy prep sessions.


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