The year 2020 brought about tremendous, unprecedented changes in the entire business industry, the food and restaurant sector included. For a time, many food businesses had to close down. Now, leading toward recovery, some restaurants have slowly opened again. If not for indoor dining, there’s also that switch on how the food business is run, this time by accepting more orders for deliveries and platters for celebration.
Food safety and hygiene have long been a top concern and requirement for many restaurants, even pre pandemic. But now, this need to comply with more health and safety standards has only escalated. Food businesses have to adapt if they want to be able to survive and thrive this business year and moving forward.
With that said, here’s how you can safely run a food business in 2021.
Consider New Safety Practices in Your Packaging
Depending on where you’re from, indoor dining may still be prohibited or limited in terms of capacity. Hence, there’s a higher demand now for takeaway food or online deliveries. With this new business model, it’s important for your business to recheck the safety standards you practice, even during packaging.
To start, you could order food grade bulk bags, along with all other packaging and disposable containers you’d need. Be sure, too, that these are made of food-grade materials such that the packaging doesn’t interfere with your food’s safety.
Keep Track of Inventory to Avoid Expiries and Spoilage
You can’t say you’re coming up with healthy and stomach-safe meals when the ingredients are expired. It’s therefore important to stay on top of your inventory always. Avoid any case of ingredients expiring and take note of their expiry dates at all times.
One of the challenges among food businesses today is the general decrease in customers, both for dine-in and takeout. It’s inevitable, thus, that ingredients have higher chances of expiring before they even get used up. Therefore, businesses have to stay on top of their inventory so as not to order more than what they need. Also, keeping track of your inventory minimizes food spoilage.
Inform Your Customers about Your Safety Practices in Place
Good communication with your customers is key. With the ever-changing rules and standards in many local areas as regards restaurants, your customers may end up confused whether or not you’re open and what safety practices you’ve applied, if any.
Make use of your social media channels and website to do so. Apart from giving off information about your operating hours, you could provide information regarding the safety standards your establishment follows. For instance, if you go through regular disinfection, post about that on your website. If you require customers to come in wearing masks, inform them about that as well.
When your customers are in the loop about the safety practices in place at your restaurant, they could avoid that unpleasant situation where they might get rejected from entry due to noncompliance. It ensures a smoother dining experience for them altogether. More so, your customers would know what to expect when they dine in your restaurant.
Have Your Products Tested
This tip applies if your food business centers on the production of food products. An example is if you’re selling your own bottled spreads, cocktail mixes, and other beverages, or homemade canned goods like sardines.
If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to have your products tested by a third-party laboratory. This ensures you’re on top of safety standards and the food products you’re selling are free from bacteria and other harmful substances. Also, if there’s anything the lab identifies as a common allergy hazard, this could be properly placed on the label.
Submitting to a third-party laboratory testing may mean an extra expense, but it’s all worth it in the name of your customers’ safety. You may also gain more customers when they start to trust your products more, now that they know it has undergone laboratory testing.
Build a Website or App
A part of safety also means limiting outside interaction, so many food buyers now prefer to complete their orders online. If you don’t have a website or food delivery app yet, it’s about time you sign up for one.
This way, you’d be increasing your market reach. You’d also be making your food products available even to those who couldn’t personally order food from your store. From the comforts and safety of their homes, your customers can place their orders, and all they need to do is wait for the delivery.
Having an online presence through a website or food delivery app would also enable your restaurant to integrate contactless payments through credit and debit cards, which would enhance the overall feeling of safety on the part of your customers.
Maintain a High Standard of Food Hygiene in Your Kitchen
Food safety starts with preparation. So to keep high standards, you should already be able to create that culture or habit of good hygiene practice. Once you get everyone in your team aboard your standards, it becomes their nature to be extra cautious with hygiene.
It doesn’t take a lot of changes. It could be as simple as making it a habit to wash hands before food handling and after handling other equipment. It may also mean avoiding the use of shared tea towels or drying your hands on your clothes.
Other practices you could apply in your kitchen include the following.
- Relaxing your employee absence policy so employees who feel they have early flu-like symptoms won’t have to be forced to go to work;
- Creating sanitation stations around your kitchen and restaurant for easy access to hospital-grade disinfectants.
In every business, there are always lessons to be learned. As changes come into play, businesses would have to catch up with these changes and adapt. A failure to do so might put the business at risk of closure.
Now more than ever, if you’re running a food business, practicing the right safety and health measures is even more a cause of concern. If you’re still finding your way to thrive and survive the challenging economic pressures of the past year, start by practicing extra caution by following the tips above. This way, your customers could feel safe and assured when they choose to patronize your food products and services.