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  • Writer's pictureKim Kelly

Opening a restaurant ?

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

Making a new business compliant has never been more important, so apart from finding the right location and hiring the best team, there is registering your new venture with the Environmental Health Department to consider and what to do after recruiting your first employee?

Here is some guidance on all aspects related to Food Safety and Health & Safety legislation- so you;re compliant from the start.

1. Legal Obligations. Registering with your local Environmental Health Department is essential, but being properly prepared for their first inspection(which may be unannounced) can help achieve the highest Food Hygiene rating possible. You also need to implement a Food Safety Management System based on the principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)

Plus make sure you have Employers Liability Insurance and that a Fire Risk Assessment has been completed by a competent person or contractor. Document emergency procedures, write a Health & Safety policy (if employing more than five staff members) and complete and display the Health & Safety law poster,

At this point consider an integrated Health & Safety and Food Safety management system, whereby all compliance information and policy documentation can be easily accessed.

2. Visible standards- These give clues to the likely hygiene standards of your premises,t he Environmental Health Practitioner will look at whether your walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows are clean and easy to maintain.

Likewise, do you have separate facilities for hand washing, food preparation area, cleaning and disinfection and is the equipment functional and easy to clean? The waste area must be orderly and tidy too, plus have you got drinking water? Hot water is crucial as well, because without it you could be temporarily closed down by the EHP.

3. Kitchen Workflow- Your premises should be designed for efficient and safe food production to help avoid cross contamination, so can food deliveries be put away quickly and easily and kept away from the waste area? Also, are your preparation areas of raw and high risk (ready to eat) foods clearly and properly identified?

4. Develop a HACCP Plan- Confidence in Management accounts for around 33% of your food hygiene rating score during an EHP visit, so your working HACCP documentation should be regularly updated.

Know the difference between a control point and a critical control point and for the latter be sure to monitor and record those identified in your HACCP- this will enable you to identify hazards at each step of food production and where it;s vital to control them and prevent food poisoning or contamination.

5. Food Safety Hazards- Whether they are physical, chemical, bacterial or allergen related, a documented Food Safety Management System incorporating HACCP principles will help you identify, understand and eliminate/minimise such hazards within your business. For allergens especially, always follow the correct cleaning schedule and avoid cross contamination by using the correct utensils and storage containers.

6. Health & Safety Risk Assessments- Having identified the main hazards, you need to evaluate the risks and decide on precaution, then record your findings and implement them, plus review and update.

7. Food Suppliers- Maintain a record of approved certificates and keep up-to-date documentation to make sure the food you are buying from them is safe.

8. Have the Right People- On average 67% of hospitality workers leave within the first year of employment, so create an environment that's right for staff to progress in and have a broader understanding of their tasks. With longevity the product becomes more consistent and that can only help contribute to the success of your business.

9. Staff Training Records- The EHP will request evidence that your staff have received the appropriate training- induction initially (essentials of food hygiene) and those handling open food should be trained to a minimum of Food Safety Level 2. Keep records and note that food handler training and certificates are recommended to be refreshed every three years.

10. Staff Hygiene- Create a personal hygiene policy and ensure your staff always wear the correct clean clothing and know when and how to wash their hands. Poor personal hygiene of staff is one of the biggest causes of food poisoning and if a customer does become ill you will have to show due diligence by having your staff trained and that it;s recorded.

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