How Much Could Simple Food Handling Mistakes Cost Your Business?

Food Poisoning HeadlinesWhatever restaurant in Melbourne you happen to be: the 4 Mile Restaurant & Pub, Chez Michael, or the Heron Rock Bistro, food safety is important.

Even if you have the most successful restaurant in all of Melbourne, all it takes is one food handling mistake to seriously damage your business.

As a restaurant, your business depends on two things. One is a loyal base of repeat customers. The other is the public’s perception of your restaurant.

The restaurant business is to a large extent a reputation based business. One lawsuit related to improper food handling could ruin your reputation.

You make sure that proper food handling procedures are followed at your restaurant; you need to ensure that the staff in your kitchen is all well aware of the risks which a case of food poisoning presents to your business.

You need to be prepared in the event that health inspectors should decide to drop by for a surprise visit as well. Employees who see improper food handling in your kitchen are also a risk, as they may decide to tell the world what they know if they lose their job.

There is more to all of this than just proper waste disposal and correctly storing food.

You must keep all food preparation areas clean always. This sounds easy but is often screwed up as well.

Different cutting boards have to be use for cutting meat, vegetables and seafood. While some restaurants use stainless steel counters for this (they are very easy to clean), this tends to dull knives and can also give an off flavour to meats – harmless, but hardly desirable.

Better than this are plastic cutting boards which are very sanitary compared to wooden cutting boards and are easy to clean as well. After each use, cutting boards must be washed very thoroughly. Bleach may be used – but be sure to rinse very well afterwards if you are using bleach to clean your cutting boards.

Make sure all utensils are washed after each meal preparation in which they are used.

To ensure that all harmful bacteria have been killed, meats have to be cooked to a minimum internal temperature – 69 degrees for pork and red meats, 74 degrees for seafood. Even if a customer orders a rare steak, it must be cooked to 69 degrees for at least 15 seconds to reduce the risk of food poisoning. If you have any meats which are not definitely fresh, then you must make sure to prepare them very well done.

Raw foods like sushi call for extreme caution in their preparation. Your kitchen must be perfectly clean, as must your staff. Disposable gloves and hair coverings are needed and the preparation area must be spotless. You should throw away any sushi which is not perfectly fresh – and you should be very certain of the quality of your supplies for sushi.

It boggles the mind how many kitchen workers do not wash their hands in between preparing meals, even after handling raw meats. Between meal preparation hand washing is a must and washing one’s hands in between preparing different foods (switching from meat to vegetables, for instance) is, to say the least, a good idea.

By enforcing a strict kitchen sanitation and food handling program, you will be protecting the interests of your customers as well as those of your restaurant.

4 Responses to “How Much Could Simple Food Handling Mistakes Cost Your Business?”

  1. 1 Debbie Denis

    There are easier ways, unfortunately it is hard to get the word out. For instance our company produces an all natural anti-microbial that is called Herbal Active. It can be used as a dip solution so as produce whether it be meat or seafood, chicken or veg. is purchased a simple dip through the solution treats the product and continues the process – so you will also get extended shelf lives. I use it t home and go to the supermarket half as often as I used to and throw out much less.
    I actually trial it firstly on chicken> I obtained an extra week and a half on the dipped fillet compared to the undipped that there was no way I would go near.

  2. 2 Andrew The Commercial Cleaning Guy

    I do a lot of builders cleans for restaurants, cafes etc after they have been renovated and just about every single one I have done in this past year bar maybe one, have been disgusting in the kitchen areas and its not from the renovations either. I have my Food Safety certificate from a previous job so I know about about safe handling of food and most of these food places just are NOT following safe food handling procedures.

  3. 3 Crissy Syrek

    i heard a lot just about that in the last few days and i think it might be true. Eventhough i think everyone is responsible for himself. No Offense, Just my two cents…

  4. 4 Amanda

    I know a couple of chefs who said the hardest thing for them to learn in their job was that they were running a business first. It was hard for them to think about the paperwork and spreadsheets when trying to create delicious masterpieces in the kitchen. This is a great way to bridge the gap between those two parts of this industry. Great post!

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