Promoting a Healthier, Safer 2020

Picture of restaurant

The pressure is on in 2020 for a healthier, safely run kitchen. Food safety excellence should be a continuous goal for every restaurant. Thanks to constant change in food trends, if restaurants want to continue growing, they must adapt to the change. This means not only updating menus, but updating to the latest and safest equipment, choosing sustainable ingredients, and adopting the latest safety practices.

In order to achieve and maintain safety success, you need to make measurable goals to monitor food safety performance. Start by evaluating your processes and then making a list of your most important food safety goals. Your goals must drive your organization toward impactful change. Ask yourself if food safety is already your top priority. What do your health department scores and audit scores look like from year to year? Are they improving or are they dropping? Do you have repeated high-risk issues? Has corrective action been taken and followed up on? Have the changes become a long-term practice? Think about how you can improve your kitchen’s visual appearance, staff hygiene and food temperatures.

Secondly, identify how you will measure the goals. For instance, if your health department scores are low, set a goal to increase your goal by a certain percentage. If there are frequent workplace accidents, aim to lower that number. If food is often wasted due to improper labeling procedures, monitor how much money is spent on food waste per month, and aim to lower it by a specific percent. Specific, measurable goals will help indicate if the new practices you put in to place—such as better food labeling practices, extra food safety training and increased team meetings to discuss new practices—are working. It’s a smart idea to put a timeline on goals. Maybe you want to lower high-risk issues in one month by making a quick fix, or maybe you want to decrease the amount of money spent on food waste by half before the year ends.

The key to success is ensuring that employees are taking the appropriate steps to achieve the goals. If employees aren’t following the new practices, there won’t be improvement. It is especially important that new goals be clearly communicated, understood and reinforced. Announce the goals in a staff meeting and encourage everyone’s participation. Allow them to provide their input—including concerns and questions. Goals should be discussed regularly and demonstrated by leaders.

Continue to check in on your 2020 food safety goals. Continue collecting data and taking stock of how well the team is doing. Cheers!