If you want to run a successful restaurant, you need to pay attention to the possible hazards for employees and the guests. The starting point should always be the kitchen. If it’s well secured and safe for your employees, they will be able to cook high-quality meals which minimise hazards to the customers.
However, kitchens are usually small and tight places, with too many or not enough people working there. Open flames, sharp equipment and slippery floors are dangerous for chefs and other employees circling around the premises. Your restaurant needs to be according to the safety regulations, however, you too need to take some steps of precaution as well. Here’s what you need to make the restaurant safe for everybody.
1. Kitchen equipment
No matter how big or small your restaurant is, you’re probably aware of the fact that you need to equip your kitchen well to run a successful business. By equipment, besides cutlery, plates and glasses, you need to provide your staff with many more things.
First thing first, the kitchen should be large enough. More accidents happen in tight space simply because there is not enough room for everyone to move freely. You need to have enough number of high-quality cookers, burners and ovens. Considering that cooking can be quite dangerous for those who aren’t skilled enough, make sure to hire only the professionals with experience. Besides that, fire alarms and fire extinguishers are essentials for every kitchen.
Since spillage can happen quite often, provide your staff with protective clothing, cooking gloves and aprons. That’s how you’ll protect them from some serious injuries.
2. Train your employees
To make your kitchen a safe environment for everyone, you need to train your staff. Your employees need to know the safety regulations and measures regarding the food and the way it’s prepared and stored.
So, before you hire a new addition to the team, make sure they underwent training regarding kitchen safety. Therefore, we can conclude that investing time and money in employee training is one of the best ways to keep your kitchen safe.
You can always conduct training specified for your needs if you want to make the staff in your kitchen work like a Swiss clock. Some of the main aspects training should include are sanitary practices, food allergies and how to avoid them, properly storing food and how to prevent food cross-contamination.
3. Safely operating the appliances
One of the most important aspects of employee training should be teaching them how to use your kitchen and equipment in it properly. Fast technological advancement leads us to new appliances and gadgets every year. Even though they might be similar to those we’re used to, they still have some new features your staff members need to master before using.
Instructions exist to be followed. Everything in that kitchen should be used according to the manufacturers’ instructions. Make sure you try your hardest to prevent electrical hazards. Keep gadgets such as microwaves and blenders away from wet areas or sinks. Check the cords of those electrical appliances from time to time. If there are any signs of damage, fracture or cracks, do not use that appliance at any cost. Replace the cord and consult the professional to make sure that they are safe to use.
Make sure that every gadget and appliance in the kitchen is checked by a professional regularly. That’s how you’ll see irregularities on time and prevent disasters from happening.
4. Illness from food
How many times have you heard that somebody got food poisoning after dining in a restaurant? That is not as rare or as common as we might think, but it happens. Illness from food can not only make the person consuming the food sick, but also harm the reputation of your restaurant.
Most illnesses from food come from unclean plates or dirty chef’s hands. That’s why you need to make sure that your employees wash their hands frequently, especially after using the loo. Put up the signs in each restroom to remind your staff to wash their hands. In addition to that, gloves need to be compulsory when handling food.
Food should be kept in its original containers. If something goes bad, it should be removed from the fridge or freezer immediately. You also need to make sure that the food is properly stored on an adequate temperature.
5. Cuts, Burns and fire safety
Some of the most common injuries that happen in the kitchen are burns and cuts. However, they can easily be prevented by following safety measures and using the equipment correctly.
Every staff member who’s in charge of food preparation should have cut resistant gloves. In case your employee cuts himself, the injury needs to be sanitated and taken care of correctly. In addition to that, cooking gloves are a must when operating around the ovens and cookers. Make sure that knives and other sharp things in the kitchen are properly stored on a hand level area to prevent them from falling from a higher place. These safety measurements also include clean and accessible potholders that prevent burns.
You’d expect that fires often happen in the restaurant kitchens. However, if you train your employees on how to recognise the type and put out the fire, you won’t have to worry. Just make sure that you have a fire extinguisher and a fire alarm in the kitchen.
6. Slip hazards
Slipping and falling should be one of your main concerns. Not only in the restaurant where the guests are, but in the kitchen as well. Make sure that you have enough, clear wet floor signs that can warn your customers and staff that the floor might be slippery. They need to be placed in visible areas after each mopping or spilling.
One of the most dangerous places in the kitchen is beside the sinks and dishwashers. Water and liquid splashes, leaks and spillage happen all the time during the day. That’s why you need to implement durable kitchen mats wherever the risk of slipping and falling is present. They provide high-traction and minimise the chances of slipping and getting hurt. They are usually made of rubber so they besides being long-lasting, they can be easily cleaned.
Another way to prevent injury is to tell your employees not to wear slippery shoes. If you’re the one providing the footwear, make sure the sole of the shoes is non-slippery.
You’re probably aware of the fact that cleaning products contain a lot of chemicals that are toxic if digested. However, plain water and soap are sometimes not enough to properly clean the cutlery and kitchen surfaces to be according to the sanitary rules. If you use store brought products, you’re at risk of getting chemicals in the food, which can cause a lot of problems.
Before you buy your next round of kitchen cleaning supplies, try to make your own. To make all-natural kitchen cleaner you’ll need ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon or rubbing alcohol. However, it’s commonly known that these types of homemade cleaners don’t smell well like the store brought ones. To improve the smell, add a couple of drops of lavender or cinnamon essential oils, and your kitchen will smell like Christmas or southern France.
Besides the kitchen, tables, where the guests are, should be spotless as well. Dirty tables and cutlery are at risk of spreading viruses and diseases especially of they come in contact with people’s food. That’s why you need to have clean table cloth for every guest that enters your restaurant. Change them every time someone new sits at the table. Don’t forget to clean the floors as well.
As you can see, many things can go wrong in the restaurant. If you follow the precautions and safety measures you minimise the injuries and hazards from happening. Every member of your staff needs to be trained to know how to react in possibly hazardous situations.
If your kitchen is well-equipped and regularly maintained, you don’t have to worry about disastrous things from happening. Take care of your employees and they will take care of the kitchen as they own it.