Sanitation essentially refers to the procedures involved in keeping a space clean and safe to use. However, the world today faces a sanitation crisis, as more than half of its population does not have access to proper sanitation. In fact, the UN estimates that by the year 2025, there will be almost half a billion more people in urban centers. Unsurprisingly, reports have shown that the presence of sanitation services correlates with better health outcomes. Increased access to sanitation has been shown to reduce the risk of diarrhea, which is the leading cause of death in children under five. The need to improve sanitation services has never been greater. But how can we make micro changes in our operations to make our surroundings cleaner? In the restaurant industry, this includes many things such as personal hygiene, sanitized surfaces, proper storage and cleaning protocols along with ways to prevent foodborne diseases!
Identify your sanitation needs
When deciding on the best way to manage your restaurant's operation's waste, you need to ask yourself a few key questions. Will you be serving ready-to-eat foods, such as sandwiches or salads? If so, how frequently would you like to serve them? How much space do you have available for a restaurant operation? Once you answer these questions, you can identify your sanitation needs. For example, if you only plan to serve two sandwiches per day, you don't need to worry about bi-weekly garbage collection, and you can use garbage cans instead of a bi-weekly garbage collection service. On the other hand, if you plan to serve more than two sandwiches per day, you should consider a more advanced garbage collection service that will help to reduce food contamination. In this article, we will be discussing the importance of sanitation, how to improve waste management, and much more!
Importance of proper sanitation
When handling food, especially during preparation and serving, it's important to maintain good sanitation. Not only does it reduce the risk of food-borne illness, but it's also the law. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) requires all commercial food preparation facilities to be equipped with a hand-washing sink and toilet facilities in the interest of public health. The FSIS also requires that food-handling areas be free of unapproved items such as toiletries, razors, scissors, and other foreign objects. In other words, any items that aren't considered food by the FSIS must be removed from the food preparation area. Removing these items not only helps maintain a sanitary work environment but also keeps your food preparation area and the food itself safe.
It is a known fact that most food-related illnesses are a result of bad food handling practices. A clean food-processing facility or commercial kitchen considerably reduces bacteria and chances of cross-contamination. Having even one case of food poisoning or other food-related diseases can decimate your reputation and your business.
To avoid such a scenario, it is important to train all your staff in cleaning and sanitation practices. From regularly washing their hands to knowing which surfaces to clean when and with what will go a long way in not only ensuring the safety of your customers but also your workforce.
Apart from safety, ensuring good sanitation practices and protocols are followed can also boost business. If your customers get the impression that your restaurant isn't clean or hygienic, it may take you a long time to change that perception. Proper sanitation also helps restaurants gain their customers' trust. There's nothing customers prize more than their safety, especially since the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure that you not only gain their trust but sustain it, make sure to put good sanitation practices in place that indicate your commitment to their safety.
How to use sanitation technology to your advantage
Restaurants are increasingly adopting tech solutions to ease their everyday operations. Many technological tools can help restaurants with their sanitary needs. An investment in these tools, along with clearly communicating their cleanliness and safety commitment to their customers, can help restaurants drive growth. Let's look at some tech solutions that can help restaurants achieve this-
Data and Analytics- Restaurants, like other businesses, use data and analytics tools that offer them actionable insights. These can be to get feedback about restaurant safety and sanitation procedures as well. Collecting employee and customer data regarding sanitation processes can help restaurant owners or managers understand their shortcomings and improve strategies to address cleanliness-related issues.
IoT Sensors- Many restaurants use IoT devices to successfully accomplish many tasks ranging from inventory management to monitoring the safety of food products. IoT sensors can help restaurants identify food safety problems early on and get rid of spoiled or expired food to ensure customer safety.
Track Blockchain- Tracking blockchain systems allows restaurants to oversee and monitor a food product through its life cycle - from the farm to the table - with the help of a decentralized database. This enables restaurants to identify and rectify problems before they land in front of the customer in the form of their order. Blockchain data tracking introduces transparency in food inventory management, restaurants can keep their customers safe by serving them food that is safe for consumption.
5 Ways to improve your waste management system
Waste management helps reduce food costs and the overall expenses of your restaurant. There are several ways in which you can improve your restaurant's waste management system. Here are the top five that will help you reduce food waste and run your restaurant efficiently-
Buy What You Need- Getting your purchases right is crucial for achieving efficient waste management. Monitor your stock regularly, oversee your inventory report, and avoid overbuying perishable or fresh produce. Restaurants have also started understanding the importance of buying seasonal produce as it prevents food wastage. Working with a lean inventory and placing a thorough checking process (that ensures that you don't get spoiled or stale food from vendors) will help you with waste management.
Portion Control- Waste isn't only created in the storage room or the kitchen but also by customers. Controlling portion sizes is crucial to ensure that your customers don't end up wasting their food. Portion control tools also help ascertain the raw materials are consumed while preparing a dish. This helps with calculating the amount of raw material required to meet customer demand while standardizing your recipes to keep food costs low. Inventory management software like Zip Inventory gives users accurate information about the ingredients required for a dish and when they are running out.
Good Storage Practices- Most restaurants end up wasting food due to bad storage practices. Proper storage of food not only helps with avoiding spoilage but also prevents cross-contamination. Apart from ensuring that food is stored in a clean space and at the right temperature, it is also essential to manage the shelf life of products to ensure that they are used before they expire. The First-In, First-Out (FIFO) method helps with achieving this.
Point of Sale- Integrate your point-of-sale (POS) system with your restaurant's inventory and recipe management systems to get detailed and accurate data about what to purchase and when. Set re-order levels for all raw materials to be alerted when you are running out. Efficient inventory management also helps with averting cases of surplus stock, thereby keeping your restaurant's waste management in check.
Recycle and Donate- It is often the case that restaurants have food that could be approaching its expiration date or have prepared more than they can sell. In such a scenario, it is better to recycle or donate the food instead of letting it go to waste. Many restaurants, particularly bakeries, sell old items at reduced prices. Make sure to inform your customer that the good was produced the previous day.
Should you hire a sanitation service?
If you own a restaurant, cafe, or other food-serving establishments, keeping your customers safe from the harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microbes that lurk in your dirt and germs is a necessity. Fortunately, hiring a sanitation company can help you keep your establishment clean and sanitary. This is important for your business, your customers, and your employees. A professional sanitization company will help you with this. This may seem like an added expense at first but your restaurant's dirty little secret might be the source of many costly problems later. In the wrong (or insufficient) hands, your restaurant's plumbing, and ventilation system can become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and more. Fixing these issues will eventually cost you more than hiring a sanitization company to provide the service. In addition to this, professional cleaning services ensure that your restaurant is cleaned thoroughly every time. They sanitize all surfaces for you, as well as, remove any lingering odors. You can chart out your own sanitation plan and share it with the professionals you hire or work with them to craft one that will best suit your business!
An effective sanitation plan is essential for any restaurant or food-processing business. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 48 million Americans fall sick due to foodborne diseases every year. These numbers make it all the more important for restaurants to have a reliable sanitation plan to prevent adding to this worrying statistic! A sanitation plan is essentially a set of steps or guidelines that lays out the ways in which restaurant sanitation should take place, including non-food contact surfaces, restaurant kitchen cleaning, yard waste disposal, and equipment. A sanitation plan sets restaurant sanitation gradesthat aim at reducing spoilage and keeping contaminants at bay. There are several formats of a sanitation plan but it is advisable to use a tech-based sanitizing solution for restaurants. A software like Zipfoodhandlercould do the trick! Zipfoodhandler Features help with restaurant sanitation in myriad ways including an exclusive safe food handler certificate that can be produced before an employer or the health department.
Easy steps to ensure sanitation in your workplace
As mentioned earlier, a sanitation plan can be devised in many ways. An effective plan, however, must include the designation of the cleaning in-charge, cleaning protocols and schedules, and self-inspection procedures such as preoperation inspections or monthly inspections. It is important to include this information to ensure that your team is abiding by the sanitation plan. The most substantial portion of a sanitation plan is the cleaning protocols section. This usually includes step-by-step instructions on how to perform necessary sanitation procedures. The more detail this section has, the better results you will get! Some of the details that can be included here are-
Pre-cleaning of the surface
Preparation of cleaning equipment and chemicals (make sure to mention details regarding temperature, time, and concentration here)
Ways of using the tools or cleaning chemicals
Application of the sanitizing or disinfectant products
In addition to cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and areas of your restaurant, your sanitation plan must also detail practices that pertain to your inventory and employee hygiene. Encourage your team to wash their hands often, especially those preparing or handling the food. Ensure that all edibles are thoroughly washed before cooking them. Use cold, clean water and use a cleaning tool such as a brush when necessary.
The importance of avoiding cross-contamination cannot be stressed enough. Separate products when dealing with or storing different kinds of food. It helps to use color-coded cutting boards to prevent cross-contamination.
It is also important to store food at the right temperature to prevent food poisoning. Food products such as poultry, eggs, and seafood, in particular, need to be stored at specific temperatures. It would be useful to reference a guide on food safety temperatures for every product to ensure that you are not wasting food due to spoilage, or worse, risking the health of your customers.
Finally, ensure that your sanitation plan accounts for the pollutants or contaminants brought in by your customers. Make sure to put out a restaurant sanitizerat the entrance or a small bottle on each table to ensure that your customers don't infect surfaces. This will also clearly communicate your commitment to sanitization to your customers.