In any venue with a food offer, cleanliness is the foundation of a successful business – capable of either boosting or irreparably damaging an outlet’s reputation.
It’s a basic part of the business that must be taken seriously, as a recent survey found that the UK public ranks hygiene as its number one priority when eating out.
The survey, carried out by Checkit.net, found that three out of four respondents would not dine at a restaurant that had been implicated in a food hygiene incident, even if the restaurant was recommended by someone they trusted. And 61% would not consider eating at a restaurant that has a generally low Food Standards Agency (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating.
These figures drive home the importance of food hygiene, with respondents admitting they would rather put up with poor service from rude or unhelpful staff than eat in a dirty restaurant.
Stuart White of Sanondaf UK, a firm specialising in disinfection and decontamination, said the survey results confirm the damage poor cleanliness can inflict on a restaurant.
He said: “Once a food business is linked with poor hygiene standards it is very difficult to repair the reputational damage, no matter what steps are taken.
“This is not an issue restaurants can take any chances with.”
So what can be done?
To help operators ensure they avoid any hygiene pitfalls, a new guide has been launched, by the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
The ‘Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice: Catering 2016’ is backed by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland, which also had significant input in the revised guide.
The first update to the guide in more than 20 years, it is designed to help operators navigate the road of food hygiene and ensure they consistently serve up safe, clean food.
Food Standards Agency chief executive Catherine Brown welcomed the new guide, stressing its clarity and ease of use for operators.
“It’s vital that food businesses have systems in place to keep their customers safe, and the guide will provide caterers with practical advice on how to comply with their responsibilities under food hygiene legislation,” said Brown.