...shout something seemingly innocuous to myself, my sister or Dad and we’d start to pile the cats out of the backdoor and block up the cat door. This comedic scene took place in the 80s when things were less….educated. Eventually the family closed down the business when increasingly stiff (and necessary) obligations stopped it being a cottage industry. In the past 30 years things have change and now we understand much more about infection control in food preparation environments. With over 1 million food poisoning cases reported each year in the UK what can we do to improve our hotel & catering washroom solutions and help your business keep a clean reputation?
It is all about location. Our immediate mental image when presented with the words “hotel and catering hygiene” is that of people wearing chefs’ outfits. These people are well drilled in hygiene. It is at the core of all modern catering training and is, in most cases, instinctive. These workers will, provision allowing, wash their hands continuously throughout the day. Making sure there is a well labelled washroom environment in the kitchen is vital to this process. A dedicated sink with soap dispensing and an elbow, or sensor, tap allow for clean hands at all times. If your washroom environment is separated from the food preparation area by a door (two-way opening with kick plates) then it is even possible to use a hands in hand dryer which, combined with antibacterial gel as a final stage, is about as clean as you can get. Most of this seems obvious and is easy to have a washroom services business implement in your environment.
That’s the food preparation staff taken care of. But it’s not just them, is it? Your serving staff are constantly in contact with the very surfaces that your customers will eat off. Naturally your main door from the kitchen into the main serving area will be two way allowing hands free use or you have a serving hatch. However think about this. Your customer eats their food then the plates are cleared by a server. This server has now touched the plate that the customer, who we can’t enforce health and safety for, has just eaten off and handled. Now the server returns to the serving area, places down the use crockery and….picks up a clean plate for the next customer. The solution is alarmingly simple, time and cost effective too. Adding an antibacterial gel dispenser in this location and making it part of the process will allow clean plates to be delivered to the table.
Now we have every person entering the catering environment passing through an area where they can either wash or disinfect their hands allowing your business to enjoy decreased hygiene risk. You might even want to consider making this hygiene action visible to your customers to give them increased confidence in your hygiene standards.
What about that pesky customer? Well, you’re already providing adequate toilet facilities but are they up to washroom standard? What about the contact points in these environments? How many surfaces must a customer touch when they visit this environment and how many of these must they touch after they have finished washing their hands? What can your facility do to eradicate touch surfaces between the hand drying solution and their table? If you can remove doors between the hand hygiene environment and the dining area then that is a positive move but if you can’t do this can you place an antibacterial dispenser outside the washroom environment to allow your more “aware” customers to look after their own hygiene.
The final suggestion, as with all washroom environments, is ensuring adequate provision and signage. Antislip floor matting, soap and antibacterial gel dispensers, hand drying solutions, no touch doors and plenty of signs. Don’t restrict these to your staff. Perhaps a polite sign above the sink in the customer washroom environment reminding them your business “..works diligently to produce wonderful food in a hygienic environment, don’t forget to wash your hands before enjoying your meal” or similar. There are some lovely signs available with designs that will fit into your washroom ambience.
If you need more ideas from a wealth of experience contact us and we will provide you with all our knowledge to support your efforts to remain incident free.