Reputation in hospitality is like a tall tree – it can take years to grow, and yet it can also be cut down in a day with a food poisoning incident and the public fallout from it. Creating a culture of food safety is part of growing a strong, resilient tree from the roots up.
When it comes to embedding a culture of food safety, excellence relies on all levels of the team having a comprehensive knowledge of food safety. But it’s kitchen management who set the tone for putting food safety first on the menu.
When you have to oversee multiple locations, it’s a constant challenge to make sure staff are consistently keeping up with the highest standards of food safety processes. Managers are your eyes and ears, as well as your voice – communicating how vital it is to stay on top of things.
When everyone understands the importance of food safety, they’re more likely to feel personally invested in it. Correct training and guidance means staff are aware of the risks of incorrect storage, cross contamination, undercooking and how illness is transmitted. This knowledge will become embedded in the culture of food safety you are creating in your kitchens.
Building a culture of food safety throughout your organisation relies heavily on managers. Although they can’t always control or even predict a ‘rush’, they can help to emphasise food safety over speed, while ensuring there is enough resource to meet demand without cutting corners.
Managers can also provide the right equipment to prepare food safely, and create both carrots (positive consequences) and stick (negative consequences) for following food safety practices. They’re the key people you rely on to motivate the team, keep you compliant, and reduce food safety risks.
A recent study* showed that kitchen managers who are actively engaged with food safety, influence how effectively their teams practice food safety. Empowering and enabling your kitchen management to lead a culture of food safety will not only ensure the required standards and procedures are met, but create an environment of excellence and teamwork. And it will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your FCP is serving you, your teams, and your customers. In short, consider how future food safety initiatives can focus more strongly on active managerial leadership and involvement.
Smart technology – such as a digital FCP – supports the human element of your food safety culture, by making it easier and faster to embed best practice and training into your organisation. The best digital FCPs include online training modules too, so that staff can upskill, while managers can verify training results to ensure all staff have the right level of food safety knowledge. After all, an effective, compliant FCP lies at the heart of growing and protecting your brand reputation for years to come.
* Factors Impacting Food Workers’ and Managers’ Safe Food Preparation Practices: A Qualitative Study, by Laura R. Green and Carol Selman. Published in Food Protection Trends, Vol. 25, No. 12, Pages 981–990