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Kitchen Nightmares: Hygiene Regulations Many Restaurants Forget

Every UK restaurant, cafe, coffee shop and takeaway joint is rated by the Food Standards Agency here in the UK – the data of which is shared publicly. Not only that, customers are taking to social media and forums to ‘out’ restaurants they catch in the act of poor hygiene – naming and shaming and reporting to the authorities.

But many restaurants do try hard to adhere to food safety and hygiene regulations – so why are so many restaurants failing to hit the mark and why are so many failing to realise that they’re not up to scratch?

 

Well it turns out that some of the biggest causes of poor food hygiene and food poisoning are being ‘forgotten’ by many restaurants in the UK.

Food storage is one of the key problems when it comes to hygiene in restaurants – as food needs to be properly chilled and stored to stop bacteria growing and multiplying. If foods such as meat, dairy, cooked dishes, salads deserts and other ‘ready-to-eat’ dishes are left out at room temperature for a prolonged period of time (more than a couple of minutes), it can cause harmful bacteria to grow which is one of the the most common cause of food poisoning. All staff, including those serving foods and not just chefs, should understand the safe storage of food to prevent problems.

Reheating foods is another big problem for restaurants, especially if the labeling of foods to be reheated isn’t clear – as there’s a risk of reheating twice. Reheated foods should be steaming hot all the way through or reach a temperature of 70°C for more than 2 minutes. Foods which have been reheated but not eaten should be discarded immediately.It’s also important to ensure that the food is properly chilled and stored before it is reheated – as if its not bacteria can grow at a rapid rate.

Although many restaurants feel they are good at keeping the food preparation area clean, often the kitchens and areas are ‘surface’ cleaned only – meaning there’s lots of hidden dirt and germs building up behind equipment, underneath storage and getting caught in hidden places. It’s really important for restaurants to not only make sure the areas are well set up in the first place to aid cleanliness but that a deep clean is part of the daily routine and all nooks and crannies are paid attention too and not overlooked or ignored – as that’s where bacteria and infestations will occur.

It’s also worth noting that many restaurants have incredibly dirty mops (or similar tools) and that the equipment used to ‘clean’ isn’t clean itself! Damp mop heads can harbour germs and will spread them around the floor if not properly disinfected themselves. Ensure cleaning equipment is clean before use!

Cross contamination is also one of the most common and dangerous of kitchen nightmares. Keeping raw and cooked food separate, using separate equipment and washing hands between tasks and handling different types of food is paramount. Avoid spreading bacteria from raw food to cooked and to your guests by making sure your staff understand what cross contamination is, and how it can be avoided.

7 Marketing Ideas You Haven’t Considered For Your Cleaning Business

1. Get Gushing Testimonials from Past Customers

Ask your satisfied clients to provide you with testimonials which you can use not only on your website, but also your leaflets, quotes, invoices, social media, business cards, email signature – wherever you market your business you can use a testimonial. Seeing reviews from other happy customers will help potential customers trust you.

 

2. Tap Into Existing Customers

Whilst you’re reaching out to past customers, you’ve a golden opportunity to bring in new business. Why not create a unique offer for them to encourage them to use your services again? If they were happy with what you offered the first time around, this little nudge will bring you repeat business. Secondly, your existing customers are the best resource for getting new customers, hands down. Ask them to recommend you to three new people who could use your services in return for a special incentive.

 

3. Create a Professional Brand Across The Board

Branding isn’t just about your logo and website – it’s about the experience your customers have with you at every step. It all needs to match and come together as one, and it’s as much about your company’s image as it is your reputation. Does your uniform or company vehicle reflect your professionalism? Is your customer service top notch? If not, it’s time to do something about it.

 

Customer Service shouldnt be a department, it should be the entire companyTony Hsieh

 

4. Check Out The Competition Regularly

Although you don’t want to get too bogged down in what other cleaning businesses are doing, it can be useful to check in now and then on their marketing to see whether they’re doing something different that affects your business. Perhaps they’re running an offer that is better value than yours? You may also find gaps in the market for you to jump into – if your local competitors aren’t using Twitter but your clients are – it could be an great opportunity for you.

 

If you arent a little different from your competitor youre in troubleMark Sanborn

 

5. Know Your Ideal Customers

Do you really know who your ideal customers are? If you’re trying to target everyone, you’ll target no one. Your potential customers want to know that you understand they’re specific problems and can solve them easily. A hotel client will have different challenges to a residential clients. If you’re struggling to find new customers, focus in on a particular market and speak directly to them.

 

Everyone is not your customerSeth Godin

 

6. Find new places to list your business

Is your cleaning business on yell.com? What about Google places? Or local business directories? The more places you can list your business online and offline, the more opportunities and chances you’ll have be found by people searching for your services.

 

7. Start Connecting via Social Media

If you’re not using social media to find and connect with your customers and potential customers, you’re missing a trick. Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn are a goldmine of potential business. You just need to know who you’re trying to connect with (see tip number 4) and reach out to them and talk to them – get to know who they are, what challenges they’re facing and provide solutions to those challenges.