Hospitality – The Cost of Adapting to New Hygiene Guidelines
Over recent years, the government has established stringent standards on food safety and strict hygiene regulations to ensure that consumers are safe when consuming food prepared and sold by those in the hospitality sector. Health and safety are crucial for restaurants, hotels, cafes, and catering outlets.
Companies in hospitality must enforce strict guidelines and undergo regular health and safety hygiene checks. They must take due diligence to comply with health and safety laws and to ensure the safety of their employees and consumers.
Here’s everything that companies in the hospitality industry should know about the cost of adapting to new hygiene guidelines.
The Cost of Implementing new COVID Guidelines
The Covid-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the global hotel industry. Occupancy rates have decreased worldwide, with North America and Europe hit the most. The situation is no better in the UK, which saw occupancy rates falling significantly. To make the situation worse, companies in the hospitality industry have to spend some money to implement new Covid guidelines as per the government guidelines.
Companies in hospitality must adhere to FSMS or Food Safety Management System, including existing food hygiene guidance and HACCP. Those that have changed their ways of working in response to COVID-19 have to review the HACCP procedures to consider and reflect on any impact of these changes on food safety. The FSA offers guidelines to those in the food and hospitality business on adapting and reopening their business while ensuring food safety.
Many small hotels will have difficulty getting through the first few months post-pandemic. Although it can be a steep learning curve for them, the message remains clear – now is the perfect time to adapt. Embracing a customer-centric and technologically leveraged approach is some of the best ways to maximise revenue.
The Cost of Poor Food Hygiene
Companies in the hospitality industry or those in the food business have legal, moral, and commercial obligations to ensure the customer’s safety. The cost of food poisoning due to poor hygiene can be very high. Not only will it affect a business financially, but it can also harm the company’s reputation.
Food hygiene breaches in the hospitality industry can lead to negative repercussions and publicity that can negatively affect your business in the short and long term. Several reports about food hygiene negligence often make it to local and national news headlines.
Nowadays, word of mouth travels far further than the ears of family and friends. If customers have had a bad experience with a company in the food business, they will most likely share their experience with friends. Others will even post it on social media. Given the internet’s long memory, repairing the damage the publicity brings to your business can be nearly impossible.
Customers rarely give companies another chance to get things right after a bad experience. Studies show that over 30% of consumers who encounter food safety issues will stop eating or buying food from the same company again.
New Allergy Guidelines
The law requires companies in the food business or the hospitality industry to provide allergen information. A key recommendation is that the information about food allergens must be indicated, such as in the form of labels, product specification sheets, and recipes.
Although companies can offer staff courses from Virtual College in order to comply with the Food Standards Agency, which also advises that written notice must reflect any allergens in the food to ensure its accuracy and consistency. This will avoid any fines from the Food Standards Agency or being sued by customers. In addition, every customer has a right to inform companies of their intolerance or allergies to certain food items.
Companies providing food to customers must provide allergen information for pre-packed and non-pre-packed food products. They must handle and manage food allergens effectively during food preparation. Furthermore, it is the company’s responsibility to train staff about allergens.
There are several ways in which companies can provide allergen information to customers. You can choose any method that works best for your business and the type of food you provide customers. Pre-packed foods refer to any food you store in packaging before putting them up for sale. On the other hand, non-prepacked food refers to unpackaged food. It’s worth noting that rules apply on allergen labelling, depending on how you prepare the food.
The Cost of Equipment to Store Food Safely
Companies in hospitality must store food properly to ensure safety, protecting it from contaminants like harmful bacteria, chemicals, and objects accidentally falling into food. Those that handle food must store different types of food in storage containers before placing them on cupboards on shelves, such as rice, pasta, and flour.
The first principle of kitchen storage is to know what, where, and when the food items are needed. Food service operations store raw and cooked ingredients at different lengths of time and temperatures to preserve their freshness until their preparation.
Proper storage can help to minimise material handling and maintain compactness by limiting the volume stored. Restaurants should stow ingredients in the first sequence to prevent food spoilage. More importantly, companies should limit the number of persons that can get access to the storage areas. In any food service operation, companies should implement three types of storage, dry storage, refrigerated storage, and frozen storage.
The Cost of Staff Training
The law requires food business operators to ensure that staff responsible for handling food receive proper supervision and training regarding food hygiene. The training should be according to their scope of work and must equip them with knowledge of the safest way to handle food preparation.
Companies in the hospitality industry must invest in food safety training for staff. The training should also cover food allergies. It should teach them how to manage allergens and cater for allergen information requirements. All staff members need to know the proper way to deal with allergens.
In the UK, food handlers do not need a food hygiene certificate. However, food businesses must provide the appropriate supervision and training on food hygiene. There are many ways staff can undergo training on food safety, but the most convenient is through interactive food safety training online.
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