When you own a restaurant, you spend a lot of time, effort, and money ensuring your customers don’t think twice about your restaurant’s hygiene. Customers expect the restaurants they patronize to be clean and their food safe, so when standards start to slip—think of what a single insect sighting can do for your reputation—customers take notice. No matter how clean, organized, and sanitized your kitchen is, it’s important to make sure you’re front of house reflects your efforts. Besides serving only the freshest ingredients, here’s how you can show your customers you care about hygiene and food safety:
#1: Make Your Entrance Presentable
From the moment your customers walk in, they should feel like your establishment is a safe and clean place to eat. So, if your customers notice red flags before the door even closes behind them, they’ll have no problem leaving before they even see a menu. A presentable entrance should be clean, dusted, and well-lit. Be sure that your customers don’t see any of the following when they walk in:
- Garbage bags ready to be taken to the trash
- Bug traps
- Dirty aprons
- Cigarettes or other personal items belonging to staff
- Chipped or cracked floor tiles
- Old, sun-bleached, or outdated signage
#2: Clean Your Menus
A little grease on your menus is almost expected, however, it sends a really bad message to your patrons and forces them to get up and wash their hands after ordering their food. No matter how greasy spoon your restaurant is, your menus shouldn’t leave scum on your customer’s fingers. We suggest wiping down your menus whenever they’re greasy, but at least before the start of every shift.
While you’re at it, give your menus a makeover. Replace pages with typos, incorrect information, stains, crinkles, or smudges. Print on premium white paper and triple check for formatting and spelling errors. When you spend a little extra time and care on your menu, you show your customers that you pay attention to the finer details.
#3: Use Fresh Flowers
You don’t necessarily need fresh flowers, but if your décor demands it, we recommend using fresh over fake any day. Fresh flowers immediately give the impression of, well, freshness. Fake flowers gather dust and often appear cheap and old-fashioned. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars every week on expensive bouquets either. A single gerbera daisy or small spray of baby’s breath can offer a beautiful pop of colour to your table setting and is much more impactful than a vase of silk or synthetic roses. Your customers will—consciously or not—make the connection between fresh flowers and fresh ingredients.
#4: Keep Washrooms Clean
Nothing grosses out customers more than going to wash their hands before they eat only to be presented with a washroom that would put a porta-potty to shame. We understand that when restaurants get busy with customers, it’s easy to overlook the needs of the humble washroom. During your lunch and dinner rushes, you should still make sure that there is enough toilet paper and soap and that the garbage bins aren’t overflowing. And most importantly, make sure your toilets can flush!
Washroom maintenance should be a top priority, especially if your wait and kitchen staff are sharing the space. We don’t have to explain why bathroom cleanliness is essential for making your customers feel at ease.
#5: Enforce Server Hygiene
Imagine getting served by a waiter with sweat and food stains on their shirt, dirty fingernails, and a recent scratch on their arm. Waiters may only be in close contact with our plates for less than a minute, but if they don’t look clean, customers will lose their appetite. Everyone who works in a restaurant should employ safe hygiene practices, whether they’re cooking food or serving tables. A food handler’s certification course will teach you proper personal hygiene and sanitation methods.
Probe It makes it easy for server teams to receive their certification all at once. Take a look at our Group Training. If you have five or more employees who need certification, one of our team members will come to your food establishment at no extra cost.
Similar to the last point, a uniform gives the appearance of order and promotes workplace cleanliness. Enforce a black pants, white shirt policy or order a set of uniforms. If you have a laundering service for your linens, you can arrange to have your restaurant’s uniforms washed at the same time.
#7: Refresh Tableware
Food does not look appetizing if its presented on scratched, stained, or outdated plates. Additionally, you will likely not sell your more expensive bottles of wine if you don’t have nice glasses to pour them in. Are your dishes old or stained? Splurge a little! Your customers will notice.
#8: Update Your Look
People don’t go to restaurants just for the food. They want a pleasant atmosphere where they can socialize with their friends and families. The way your restaurant looks will have a tremendous impact on its reputation. A restaurant that looks like it hasn’t been updated in decades may give the impression that your kitchen is also old, outdated, and possibly in need of an update as well.
#9: Fresh Coat of Paint?
Even if you’re satisfied with your restaurant’s atmosphere and want to keep the look as is, we suggest refreshing your walls with a fresh coat of paint. Food stains, water marks, finger prints, and smudges can make your dining area appear grimy and greasy. Fresh paint appears cleaner and more sanitary.
#10: Kitchen Visibility
Whether or not your kitchen is wide open or hidden behind a swinging door, it should always be spotless. You want to show your customers that you have nothing to hide, so even if they do happen to peak into the back, they don’t find any negative surprises. Encourage your head chef to come into the dining room from time to time to meet the patrons and show their face. Meeting a chef who’s presentable and proud of their food instantly puts patrons at ease.
Revamping your restaurant is up to you, but if you want to bring your employees up to speed on proper hygiene and safe food handling, click here to learn more about our corporate solutions, or contact us today!