Find and Fix Your Restaurant’s Safety Risks
Think through these five steps in the customer’s journey to identify safety gaps that could lead to major business losses.
1. Come On In
Welcome your guests with a slip-free and safe entrance to your restaurant. Here are some specifics to consider:
- During the winter months, thoroughly salt all outdoor walkways.
- Ensure proper outside lighting so customers feel safe when arriving and leaving.
- Highlight steps with yellow paint or plastic detailing to catch customers’ attention.
- Invest in absorbent walk-off mats to avoid slippery floors, and catch outside water and dirt.
- Consider video surveillance cameras installed in high traffic areas inside and outside to monitor and document slips and falls.
2. Grab a Seat
Coat racks should be kept in plain sight, so both customers and staff can keep an eye on their belongings. If necessary, establish a formally managed coat check for optimum safety and organization. In either case, the check area is another good place to install a surveillance camera.
In addition, ensure wide walkways to accommodate both the serving staff and guests. This will prevent patrons from run-ins with staff or out-of-place furniture.
3. Enjoy Great Food
Food safety is arguably the restaurant business’ biggest safety risk. According to Foodsafety.gov, millions of Americans get sick from contaminated food each year. Here are some key tips for monitoring food safety:
- Constantly monitor the cleanliness of your establishment, especially your kitchen. This includes instituting a proper refrigeration program and food storage method, keeping consistent track of food expiration dates, and maintaining high sanitation standards in food preparation areas.
- Keep your kitchen well stocked with clean towels, aprons and anti-bacterial wash. Hold employees accountable for hand washing and proper hygiene.
- Train staff in proper food preparation safety and health department compliance.
- Monitor your staff remote with cloud-based video solutions. These cameras can be installed in prep and food areas to ensure employees are following proper guidelines and training.
When preparing food, commercial kitchen fires are also a large risk. According to the United States Fire Administration, 5,900 restaurant building fires are reported in America each year, causing an average of 75 injuries and $172 million in property loss. Prevent fires with the tips below:
- Proactively train your team on equipment that uses heat or flames.
- Establish an evacuation and crisis control plan in case of a fire.
- Have the fire department or a security provider inspect your building to ensure all fire hazards are addressed.
- Install a fire suspension system, such as sprinklers.
- Keep fire extinguishers in place.
- Install a fire alarm to ensure emergency response teams can reach your property as quickly as possible.
4. Tip Your Server
A solid team, from the head chef to the host and busser, is your restaurant’s best asset in maintaining a safe and successful business. What does it take to ensure you hire top-quality, trusted employees?
- Seek out experienced restaurateurs—few know how challenging the food service industry can be.
- Start your employee-selection process with a thorough background check, and conduct live interviews.
- Require recommendations, and follow up with former employers.
- Request all candidates complete a drug test.
- Consider a trial-run period, in which you can discern the candidate’s ability to work successfully with existing staff.
5. Come Back Soon
You want your customers to become loyal guests. The last step to protecting your eatery in the long run is financial viability.
According to CBS MoneyWatch, a typical organization loses five percent of its annual revenue to employee fraud and nearly one-third of all employees commit some degree of employee theft. Consider the following for optimal protection:
- Use access control to know when your kitchen staff arrives in the morning and when your bartender locks up at night. Assign employees unique codes or keys to keep tabs on individuals. For example, if five steak filets go missing from your outdoor refrigerator, you can reference a log to know who accessed the unit.
- Install a video surveillance system. Being a restaurant owner is a round-the-clock job, including many holidays and almost all weekends. Your video monitoring system is on the floor when you can’t be; check in at any time from your smartphone.