Hygiene in Restaurants
As pleasant eating out is for a diner, maintaining hygiene in the restaurant could he as complex a task for the restaurant’s staff. This pertains to restaurants housed in hotels too. A small gaffe in following the scheduled routine can result in food contamination and loss of loyal customers. ‘Thankfully, emphasis on hygiene in restaurants and in other eating joints is now growing.
“The total food services market today stands at Rs. 3,09,110 crores and has grown at 7.7 percent since our last report in 2013. This is projected to grow to Rs. 4,98,130 crores at a CAGR of 10 percent by 2021,” Riyaaz Amlani, President, NRAI, said at the recent launch of the India Food Services Report (IFSR) 2016.
But will the growth in the food service market he accompanied by a rise in restaurant’s hygiene standards as well? Ibis is quite likely in the Indian context because the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is reportedly now in the process of making hygiene enforcing norms stricter.
A sub-group consisting of industry bodies like the NRAI, the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) and the FSSAI have already been formed to amend rules that govern safety standards at eating out establishments in the country, according to the report.
While confirming the development to Business Standard, a prominent business daily, FSSAI’s Chief Executive Officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal recently said enforcing food safety standards at eating places was a must.
“Hotels, restaurants and eating joints need an FSSAI licence to operate but food safety standards are not necessarily met. We wanted to get a sense of what the industry’s view was on the subject and whether they were open to the idea of stringent enforcement,” Agarwal was quoted as saying.
So maintaining high hygiene standards is set to become not just a requirement for the restaurants in the country to attract new customers and retain them but also a compulsion to be in the business in the very first place,
How to Build a Hygienic Restaurant
Experts feel that keeping in mind a few factors can help those who are planning to open a new restaurant or running a restraurant score high on the hygiene quotient. “Ihe following of stringent hygiene conditions is also very much relevant for restaurants located inside hotels & resorts or rather within any hospitality property.
According to Chef Jerson Fernandes, the former Corporate Chef, Berggruen Hotels, an ideal restaurant should he in compliance with all HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) best practices which mainly include toper hygiene and sanitation best practices such as ensuring having an error-free ventilation system for flow of fresh air and exit of used air and having an error-free drainage system for smoother waste and water disposal.
The location of the restaurant too plays an important role, he said. “Ihe restaurant should not be located close to a dumping ground or a factory emitting harmful carbons, Fernandes pointed out. “The restaurant should have easy access to fresh air and ample space for garbage storage. One of the important factors here is that the restaurant should also have a strong hygiene and sanitation training plan, both before and after opening,” he noted.
Shamima Sinha, Food & Beverage Manager, Davanam Sarovar Portico Suites, Bangalore, agreed that a restaurant should be ideally built as per the climatic conditions of the area.
“If the area is too dusty there should he screens to cut out the dust. It should not have too many nooks and corners, Hygiene 1 a they accumulate too much dust,” she explained.
“The restaurant should he built in a way where the flooring is not glossy and slippery. If the flooring is carpeted one should ensure that there are enough plug points for regular shampooing/ vacuunig. Ensure that the drainage and 3, plumbi , systems arc properly done,” Shamin a said.
Building a restaurant, that can meet high standards of hygiene and can also ease the daily maintenance process, demands paying attention to very small details, as was evident from Shamima’s suggestions.
“Direct lighting should have screens and if indirect lighting is used, one should ensure that the lamp shades are not collectors of dust. No crevices on walls and ceilings.and edges and corners to be curved,” she noted.
Shamima further noted that crockery and cutlery should be non-porous. Paying attention to small details is very important because, as Fernandes pointed out, the price you pay for not taking care of hygiene and sanitation in your hospitality facility can he very expensive. I Few critical items on the checklist for an MB Manager, whether he/she is employed in a stand-alone restaurant or in a restaurant located inside of a given hotelc according to Fernandes, should include:
• Regular trainings on hygiene and sank lion best practices to familiarise and !trail staff on the same.
• Ensuring all cleaning schedules and deadlines are met on daily, weekly and monthly basis. The policy of zero tolerunce on any cleaning or sanitation a issue’s should be strictly followed.
• Ensure all pest control practices are strictly followed and a checklist is maintained for the same.
• Ensure you have a separate zone for smokers to not disturb the environment of non-smokers.
• Ensure all temperature logs are followed strictly for both hot and cold food items being served to guests to facilitate the food quality is maintained and cross- contamination risks 4re eliminated.
• No staff should report on duty without a clean uniform.
• Most importantly, regular audits and checks of the same to ensure guest expectations are met.
Shamima added that grooming standards of staff should adhere to cuisine, decor and climatic conditions of the place. “Toilet and washrooms, if attached, should have a separate entity and should not be part of the restaurant.” she noted.
Upholstery in restaurants should be such that it does not accumulate dust, and clearance table should be separate from side station, she opined.
Personal Hygiene a Priority
“Cleanliness begins at home. You might serve the best food and drink in your restaurant but if your staff is not well groomed or lack personal hygiene, that’s of little use. Nobody wants to dine in a place which has staff-who lack personal hygiene,” Fernandes said.
“Staff needs to be trained on this right from day one of their joining. ‘Ihe importance of personal hygiene has to be explained to them right at the start,” he Shamima Sinha HOT L Business Review said.
Some important and basic aspects of personal hygiene for restaurants’ personnel, which is also relevant for the personnel of restaurants located inside hotels, according to Fernandes, are:
• To wash hands after using the washrooms or smoking;
• To change uniforms after a complete single shift;
• To sanitise hands once every three hours while on duty/after shaking hands with guests;
• To wear a proper head gear/hand gloves while handling food.
Employees are the most important link in preventing food-borne illness. Good personal hygiene, including proper and frequent hand-washing, is the best way to prevent food-borne illness, Shamima pointed out. According to her, restaurant employees should adhere to the following practices to maintain proper personal hygiene:
Hand-washing: Always make sure that hands are washed and thoroughly dried before starting work, between tasks, and before working with food products, equipment, utensils, and linens.
Cuts, Wounds, and Sores: Any cuts, wounds, or open sores on the hands and arms of restaurant’s personnel must be completely covered by a waterproof bandage. Wear single-use gloves or finger cots over any bandages on the hands and fingers.
Hair Restraints: Employees are required to wear hair restraints such as hair nets, hats or scarves that are effective in keeping their hair in control.
Proper Work Clothing: Restaurant’s employees who prepare or serve food products or wash and sanitise equipment or utensils must wear clean outer garments. It is recommendjd that aprons, Chef jackets, or smocks are worn. Employers must provide adequate storage areas for employee’s personal belongings. If employees routinely change clothing at the establishment, a room or area must be designated and used for that purpose. Such changing areas must be separate from food, clean equipment and linen.
Jewellery: •Ibe wearing of jewelry of restaurant’s personnel should be limited to plain handed rings only. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other jewellery should not he worn when preparing or serving food.