Hygiene and health is a big concern in the hospitality industry. Especially with food preparation, a clean and hygienic environment is crucial.
But your front of house should also be equally concerned about wellness. After all, they come into contact with hundreds of customers every day – objects change hands, conversations are had, and drinks are served. All of these activities can spread illnesses, if you’re not careful.
In light of that, we urge you to follow these tips to help keep your establishment safe and clean.
Communicate Your Sickness Policies and Hygiene Rules with All Employees
To ensure staff can recognize when there’s a risk to their own health, that of their colleagues or their customers, meet with all new staff. During this conversation, cover all the sickness and hygiene policies you have and answer any of their questions. This is where good hygiene habits should be firmly established.
Top Tip: Double check your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance. If they’re not, make the necessary improvements.
You should also use this opportunity to encourage sick employees to stay home and reassure them it’s the right thing to do. Sick-leave policies should be non-punitive.
Send Sick People Home
As an employer, sending employees home on short notice can feel like a drastic loss. You might risk being short-staffed and suffer a blow to productivity. But if employees are handling food or talking to customers while they’re ill, the risks can be wide-reaching.
Remember, the success of inspections relies on good hygiene habits. Not only that, customers that observe ill members of staff will unlikely visit again, or may even complain or report the behavior.
While your employees may be well-meaning and want to show they’re willing to work hard, nothing is gained by risking the health of your customers or the rest of your team.
Perform Hygiene Routines Throughout the Day
The easiest way to prevent diseases from spreading is by performing regular hygiene routines throughout the day.
This means cleaning your work environment frequently – focusing on disinfecting commonly touched surfaces such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. As an employer, provide disposable wipes to make this task easier for your employees.
You should also encourage staff to wash their hands before and after handling food, once they’ve been in contact with customers, or touched one of the ‘frequently touched surfaces’ listed above. For hand-washing, provide ample soap in the bathrooms and alcohol-based hand sanitizers dotted around the place – these should contain at least 60-95% alcohol. Consider using gloves while bussing or handling dirty dishes, as well.
Be Proactive with Your Health
In the case of sick staff, wellness should be a priority over productivity. The hospitality industry has cause to take health even more seriously than other sectors. Still, with a few good habits and precautions, the spread of illness is easily controlled. Be mindful of the following things to give yourself the best chance at staying healthy.
- Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds (Try humming the chorus of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” to time yourself!)
- Wear gloves when you’re dealing with dirty dishes.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing, sneezing, or showing signs of respiratory infection.
- Take Vitamin C supplements and drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Even if you have an inkling that you may be getting sick, play it safe and stay home. Your coworkers, your customers, and your future self will thank you.