If you work in a professional kitchen, particularly in a demanding city like Melbourne, you know that every night there is a lot at stake. Not only do you need to make sure that you are putting out great food, you also need to ensure that you are subscribing to the highest standards when it comes to food safety and hygiene.
Illness, a loss of reputation and even legal action are just some of the negative side effects that can occur when you start playing fast and loose with food safety. As a restaurant manager you have a responsibility to make certain that your restaurant is doing all that is necessary to meet the various challenges that food safety poses.
The first thing that you need to think about is education. No matter how experienced your kitchen staff are, make sure that they have all the information they need to be able to conduct themselves appropriately in a food preparation location.
Some food safety procedures are fairly straightforward, others are not. Make sure that everyone on the floor understands the measures that are taken and why they are necessary. Also make sure that they understand that no matter what kind of rush they are in, this is not something that they can be lax about!
Another area that you consider is proper food storage. While of course you will be able to set some things up to run permanently, like the temperature of your refrigerator or freezer, also keep in mind that there are things that need to be done to ensure that food is not contaminated before it even gets to the cook! Remember, for instance, that meat should always be stored on the lowest shelf possible, as there is a chance that even a slight drop in temperature will cause it to melt and drip, contaminating the food below it. Also, raw food and cooked food must always be kept separate.
Your staff must also be aware of the fact that they have a responsibility when it comes to keeping their areas clean. For instance, dishes, utensils and surfaces need to be cleaned and dried, with a strong preference for things to air dry. Similarly, all equipment that comes in contact with food needs to be sanitized in some fashion between tasks and before every use. All equipment that comes in contact with food, whether it is for transporting the food or serving or preparing it, must also be cleaned.
The consequences of taking food sanitation too lightly can be severe. You have a responsibility to ensure the safety of your guests, and a failure to do so can result in some extremely negative consequences.
Remember that consulting with an expert can save you a great deal of grief down the road, so if you are feeling nervous about the issue, make sure that you consider the services of a food safety expert who can offer valuable advice, perhaps even provide a suitable food safety program, to ensure that your restaurant runs smoothly and meets or even exceeds the food safety legislation. Peace of mind in this area will enable you to focus on providing your customers with the most enjoyable dining experience possible.