Food is big business in the on-trade, giving operators the opportunity to make some margins without the same tax burden that comes with drinks sales.
However, while getting food right can shore up a venue’s accounts, mistakes in the kitchen can have serious consequences ranging from a drop in reputation to criminal conviction in the worst cases.
It is therefore essential that best practices are in place behind the scenes.
Kitchen hygiene was flagged as crucial for the safety of both customers and staff by cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions brand Diversey Care, which is stocked by Alliance Online.
A spokesman for the firm said that effective cleaning and hygiene “helps prevent the infections that can lead to customers and staff becoming ill”.
“While protecting people is the primary reason for ensuring the highest standards, any outbreaks of infection can also adversely affect a business’s reputation, the number of customers and repeat business,” he said.
The transmission of illnesses is the biggest risk presented by poor hygiene, the spokesman said, warning that customers and staff could be at risk of both general illnesses, such as colds, flu and Norovirus, or “specifically food-borne illnesses, such as Campylobacter, E.Coli and Listeria”.
“The combination of personal hygiene and surface disinfection is the best way to prevent and remove the pathogens that can cause these illnesses,” he said.
“Any outbreak will have consequences. Staff who become ill will be unable to do their jobs and will need temporary replacements, which can be costly, or colleagues will need to take on additional burdens, which is not always practical in already-busy kitchens.”
Frank Rooney, company director of 24/7 Elite Clean, agreed that proper kitchen hygiene is crucial for businesses, highlighting multiple causes for concern if it is ignored.
“Dirty and unhygienic kitchens present health issues for customers and staff alike and can also attract rodents and other unwanted vermin,” said Rooney.
“Environmental health issues along with building insurance demands a high level of cleanliness in the kitchen and the kitchen extract system.”
To avoid any issues, Rooney said operators should implement “deep cleans” of the kitchen, adding that these are “essential to maintain a high level of hygiene while storing and preparing food”.
“Kitchen deep cleans should take place annually with the venue staff keeping on top of it daily, weekly and monthly,” he said.
“Some [of our] clients have this service on a more regular basis of up to four cleans per year depending on different venue circumstances.”
Rooney also reminded operators that regular kitchen cleans are not only essential if an outlet is to satisfy inspections from environmental health officers, they can also have a positive impact on staff performance.
“A good clean and hygienic kitchen will motivate staff and also will be a more profitable kitchen,” said Rooney.
Food hygiene isn’t the only concern in the kitchen either, as Rooney also highlighted the importance of clean kitchen extraction/ventilation systems, and advised operators to have a “reputable company” carry this out.
“If kitchen extract systems are not cleaned in line with the schedule set out in TR/19, the risk of fire greatly increases due to a build up of oil and grease in the system,” he added.