A restaurant’s kitchen can be a hazardous place. It’s a fast-paced environment with all manner of dangerous areas and precision commercial restaurant equipment. Unfortunately, the best commercial restaurant equipment is also the equipment that is kept the sharpest or is able to heat the highest, so you and your kitchen staff need to exercise caution day in and day out in the back of house. Here are some guidelines to evaluate the level of safety and cleanliness in your kitchen so you can be productive and cautious at the same time.
Have a Cleaning and Safety Checklist
Sanitation and safety should the top priorities in the kitchen. Preventing food-borne illnesses and problems that stem from food allergies are major concerns for restaurants, and nipping those problems in the bud with a strict cleanliness policy is a must. Likewise, it is critical that you ensure that the kitchen is a safe environment. Creating a checklist for the end of the day can encourage good habits. A proper safety and cleaning checklist should include items like …
• Sweep and mop floors.
• Clean and sanitize all countertops and commercial restaurant equipment.
• Shut off commercial restaurant equipment not in use.
• Take out garbage regularly and replace garbage bags immediately.
• Food allergens are properly stored to avoid cross-contamination.
You should also have employees trade off doing different tasks so that everyone is trained in every practice.
Train Employees Thoroughly
Just as it’s important to keep all employees aware of the best practices for food allergy safety, like avoiding cross-contamination of commercial restaurant equipment, it’s also important for all restaurant employees to be trained in kitchen safety. You should…
• Make all kitchen guidelines and safety procedures should be well-known, and written documentation should be displayed somewhere in the kitchen.
• Hold short training sessions any time your kitchen gets new commercial restaurant equipment. A little time spent starting off with new equipment can prevent equipment damage, or worse, employee injury, later on.
• Keep the individual commercial restaurant equipment manuals nearby for easy reference by employees.
• Have brief monthly meetings with employees so you can address any issues and they can voice any questions or concerns.
Evaluate Your Traffic Plan
Last, you should evaluate whether your kitchen’s layout is the ideal one for its function and safety. Checking that your kitchen traffic flow is efficient and hazard-free will limit safety concerns and make your kitchen more efficient, to boot. Make sure your traffic flow…
• Is clearly defined, with designated entrance and exit points.
• Is a clear path free of sharp corners or commercial restaurant equipment.
• Has no blind spots; if there are, add mirrors so that employees can see around corners.
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