Fresh, quality taste is only possible with food safety. Customers won’t enjoy new and exciting flavours or their favourite comfort foods if they aren’t prepared with the freshest ingredients. Food safety should be the priority in any commercial kitchen — it’s what guarantees long-term customer satisfaction and trust, and protects your reputation for quality dishes.
How do you ensure food safety and fresh, quality taste in your commercial kitchen? Whether you’re just about to launch a foodservice operation, or you’re a seasoned restaurateur, it always helps to be reminded of the basics of food safety. You want to promote a safe and pleasant dining experience that customers will love and keep coming back for.
Food Safety Tips for Commercial Kitchens
Food safety and proper food storage in a commercial kitchen is the first step to fresh, quality taste. While restaurant owners have a legal responsibility to ensure good hygiene throughout their commercial kitchen, food safety isn’t simply a requirement to operate — it’s the bare minimum of an excellent dining experience.
Food safety prevents stomach aches, infections, and other health issues that arise from poor food storage and handling. It only takes one customer to get sick because of poorly stored ingredients or a lack of proper hand hygiene among kitchen staff to get the word out. When that happens, you could be easily looking at a dip in sales as customers start to doubt your food preparation techniques and quality of service.
The good news is, with staff training, hygiene practices, and the help of storage equipment like a reliable commercial refrigerator, food safety is easy to achieve — and restaurant-quality dishes that customers will rave about, guaranteed.
1. Train your staff
Who’s in charge of food safety? At the end of the day, the success of every well-laid-out recipe comes down to the people adding in the ingredients and stirring the pots. The first step to food safety is effective staff training.
Restaurant owners need to invest in staff training. This empowers the very people you partner with to deliver an excellent customer experience to handle the most common kitchen crises.
From handling broken dishes to sanitizing workstations and storage areas, kitchen staff need to be equipped with the right tools and tips to reduce the risk of cross-contamination, infection, and inconsistent taste. It pays to educate staff on the risks of poor food safety, such as food poisoning and allergic reactions that affect customer health and satisfaction.
2. Hands must be washed
When it comes to food safety, there’s simply no substitute for good hand hygiene. After all, it’s the hands that are most involved in food handling and preparation. It doesn’t matter how often workstations, equipment like commercial refrigerators, and even the ingredients themselves are sanitized — if the hands handling food items aren’t clean, customers and staff remain prone to infection and disease.
Kitchen staff should wash their hands during these food preparation tasks:
- Before handling food items and ingredients
- After handling raw food and any contaminated packaging to prevent cross-contamination between items
- After using cleaning chemicals to disinfect workstations and dining areas
- After emptying the trash, touching garbage bins, handling dirty equipment, and coming into contact with unclean surfaces
- Before and after administering first aid in case of injuries during food preparation or assisting injured customers
- Upon entry or re-entry into the food preparation area before starting a shift or after taking a break
3. Keep your kitchen organized
There isn’t room for harmful bacteria and viruses in a clean and organized kitchen. Ensure that your whole kitchen — including workstations and commonly touched surfaces — is regularly disinfected and sanitized. Ensure that the surrounding areas are also cleaned to prevent bacteria from nesting and growing in them. To maintain food safety standards, consider using chemical disinfectants — just make sure that all food items are safely stored away to prevent contamination.
It also helps to organize the kitchen efficiently. Map out a smooth flow of traffic from storage areas, like the commercial refrigerator and properly labelled shelves to workstations. This reduces contact with other surfaces and ensures that food items go directly from storage to preparation areas, without being left unattended for extended periods as kitchen staff collect various ingredients for every dish.
4. Store refrigerated foods properly
Food safety starts with proper storage. A well-maintained commercial refrigerator is the first step to ensuring safe food handling and preparation. This reliable appliance protects the quality of key ingredients from the moment they’re delivered to when they’re cooked, effectively killing harmful viruses and bacteria that can ruin your signature dishes.
But storing items inside a used commercial refrigerator often isn’t enough. Food safety is only guaranteed when items are stored at optimal temperatures. Make sure to check the interior temperature regularly so that items are properly chilled. Consider installing a smart thermostat that automatically regulates the interior temperature to avoid spoilage, expensive inventory losses, and delays in customer orders.
5. Ensure food quality
Beyond keeping a clean kitchen, food safety also includes effective inventory management. This means regularly checking perishable inventory to make sure that stocks move as they’re supposed to — well before their sell-by date, and before any new stocks. Ensure that your staff are also trained to inspect stocks regularly and keep an eye out for expiration dates, as well as common signs of spoilage, such as discolouration and unusual odour.
6. Handle kitchen equipment properly
Food safety is just as good as the equipment used for storage and handling. The most crucial of this is the commercial refrigerator. A good refrigerator keeps key ingredients properly chilled for long-term storage and safety. When properly organized, cross-contamination between food items can also be prevented. This means that you get a fresh, quality taste guaranteed with every dish.
Make sure to keep the rest of the kitchen equipment clean too. Disinfect tools and cookware after every use, especially when these come in contact with food. Follow a regular kitchen cleaning schedule, which should include appliances like a used commercial refrigerator.
Working food storage equipment is key to food safety, so make sure to book a regular maintenance service to keep your commercial refrigerator at optimal function. By keeping kitchen equipment clean and well-maintained, you can guarantee food safety and lasting customer relationships.