The food enjoyed at restaurants all around the world goes through a tedious process of transportation, storage, and handling to move from plant to plate. This process creates many opportunities for bacteria to infiltrate and contaminate food products, which ruins the safety of the food. Restaurants that accidentally serve contaminated food are putting their customers at risk of foodborne illness and disease. This can lead to severe damage to a restaurant’s reputation and image, which will negatively impact the restaurant’s sales.
The most prominent example of poor food safety occurred at the popular Mexican-food chain, Chipotle. In 2015, hundreds of consumers contracted the E. coli bacteria after dining at Chipotle. This resulted in a nationwide closure of many Chipotle locations and it had an extremely negative financial impact. According to MarketWatch, the value of Chipotle’s stock decreased by 18% in the first two months of the E. coli outbreak. In addition to the financial loss, Chipotle suffered a major hit to their reputation, image, and brand equity. While Chipotle has recovered and still remains a successful chain, many consumers will always connect E. coli with Chipotle.
Not all restaurants are equipped to recover from a food safety disaster like Chipotle. Because of this, food safety is one of the most crucial areas of focus for foodservice professionals. Individuals at every level of the food supply chain hold responsibility and commitment to thoroughly inspect food products and handle them with extreme safety. Diligence in the transportation, inspection, and handling of food makes a major difference in food safety.
Here are three major areas of focus that your restaurant must prioritize to assure high food safety for customers:
Temperature is one of the most vital elements of food safety. Foods such as meat, poultry, fish, and produce have strict temperature guidelines for storage. Restaurants should take strong food safety precautions when it comes to the refrigeration of perishable foods.
Bacteria can easily spread from hand to ingredient. This can occur while receiving a shipment and moving it to the refrigerator or while preparing the meal in the kitchen. As several employees may touch an ingredient before it is served to a customer, there are important steps restaurants should take to encourage proper sanitation from their employees.
Proper inspection and handling techniques must be set up at each point of the supply chain to encourage strong food safety. For restaurant operators, several steps are out of their hands, as they cannot control the safety protocols implemented during the manufacturing and distribution of the food products they buy. Nevertheless, there are several ways restaurants can guarantee their customers quality food safety:
Author bio: Matt Fry is the Marketing Manager of The Food Connector. The Food Connector is a business-to-business marketing firm that provides marketing strategies and materials for food brands. From manufacturers to distributors, The Food Connector works to build brand awareness and increase visibility to produce strong leads and sustainable business growth.