Food hygiene covid19 safety – 5 smart steps for catering in coronavirus

With restaurants reopening in a Coronavirus world, now is the time to ensure that your food hygiene safety is outstanding and your premises and staff are ready to receive customers safely. You may be excited to start welcoming customers again, or concerned about how to keep your staff and customers safe, but effective Covid-19 controls can minimise the risk of transmission and deliver 5 star Food Hygiene Safety.

Food Hygiene Safety

Contact with Customers

With doors to the restaurant reopening and indoor dining close on the horizon, you may need to introduce further measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission between customers and staff. You may wish to designate your staff as either ‘customer facing’ or ‘kitchen based’. This will minimise opportunities for kitchen staff to come into contact with customers, and protects your food preparation area.

Initially, indoor dining will be restricted to table service so your customer facing staff may be vulnerable when interacting with customers at their table. Customer facing staff will need to wear masks when moving around the restaurant, and you may wish to provide them with face shields in addition.

If you also offer a takeaway or outdoor seating service, screens at ordering, payment and food collection points will help to protect customer facing staff when they interact with these customers. You may need to limit the number of people inside your premises at any one time, or use apps, phone or online ordering to limit contacts and stagger collection times to improve your food hygiene safety. During food collection and payment, ensure there is adequate separation between front of house serving staff and customers, and encourage contactless payments wherever possible. All this is covered in our Level 2 Food Hygiene course.

Restaurant Layout

Seating layouts should be designed to create space between groups of diners, and to facilitate the free movement of people between. Where there is insufficient space between tables, a screen could be used to provide separation between groups.

If your customers need to queue you should make sure that sufficient space has been allowed for this without compromising your staff’s route between the kitchen and the restaurant. One way systems of entry and exit may facilitate movement after your restaurant reopening, but you will need to make sure that they are clearly signed to avoid confusion. Customers should have access to hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities at points of entry. #food-hygiene-safety

ketchup, tomato ketchup, portions

Access to condiments and menus

You should keep tables clear of condiments, jugs of water, menus, napkins and other items that can act to support virus transmission.  If customers require these things they should request them from their server and have them brought to their table. Pre-packaged portions for condiments, disposable napkins and menus are preferable so that they do not need to be sanitised between uses. #level-2-food-hygiene

Cleaning Regimes

High touch areas such as door handles and handwashing stations will need to be wiped down regularly through the day with a sanitising spray suitable for enveloped viruses like Coronavirus. Other areas should be cleaned between each customer use including tables, chairs, highchairs and card payment machines. If you use multi-use menus these will also need to be wiped down or quarantined between uses to enhance overall food hygiene safety .

At the end of each shift, your routine end of day clean should also include any installed safety measures like Perspex screens. #food-hygiene-training #Food-hygiene-covid19-safety

Supporting NHS Test and Trace

With restaurant reopening it is imperative that Coronavirus infection rates can be kept low and people who may need to quarantine can be contacted effectively. You may have a ‘QR’ code for customers to scan on entry, or you may need to collect some contact information from customers when they place an order. These measures make it easier for track and trace operatives to contact affected people if there is a positive Covid-19 test or outbreak associated with your business.

To top up your knowledge a little more, why not use iQualifi’s FREE course on Covid Controls for Food Producers or refresh your food hygiene safety knowledge at the same time with a Level 2 Food Hygiene course incorporating a specially written section on Coronavirus controls for catering environments.

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