When running a catering business it is essential that cleanliness is observed at all times. You and your staff should be trained in all health and hygiene matters, as not to do so, would put your future business plans in peril.
As the owner of the catering business you should check every day that your premises are scrupulously cleaned. Whether you carry out the cleaning yourself or have staff that must do this as part of their contract, it is ultimately down to you to see that the work is done.
Wherever you base your catering business it must be registered with your local environmental health inspector. Periodic checks will be made to ensure the premises are clean and that food is stored correctly. Inspections can be made public, as these days websites carry information on the cleanliness of catering establishments. A bad report could soon affect your customer base.
Food preparation areas must conform to a suitable standard.
Floors and walls must be able to be cleaned easily.
Windows should be accessible for cleaning. If windows or doors open they must have screens that can be removed for cleaning.
Ceilings should not have flaking plaster or have surfaces that can have a build up of dust and debris. Like walls and windows the surface should be easy to clean.
All work surfaces where food is prepared must be clean and if need be disinfected. Hot and cold water must be available for cleaning purposes as well as food preparation. There should also be a storage place for all cleaning materials and equipment.
Your catering establishment must have facilities for your staff to wash their hands so hot and cold water is needed. Catering staff need a place to change their clothes. Work wear and food preparation clothes should be laundered and kept clean. Under no circumstances are these clothes to be worn outside of the catering premises. Hand washing facilities must be kept separate from food cleaning areas. Staff should be reminded of cleanliness and washing of hands after visiting the bathroom.
When choosing your catering premises ask for advice from your local authority about suitability for a food business. There should be adequate drainage, lighting and ventilation along with room for staff to work in comfort.
Waste products must be moved away from the food preparation areas as soon as possible. Arrangements for its storage before collection by refuse teams should be made so that the waste does not attract flies and vermin.
If you or your staff are suffering from any illness where you are vomiting or have diarrhoea you should not be near the premises and definitely not handling food. Staff should be reminded to wash their hands after touching their hair (which should be tied back or in a net), sneezing or touching anything that would affect the hygiene of the catering area. Also wash hands after touching raw foods such as poultry, meat or eggs.
Staff working for your catering business should hold a food hygiene certificate. These courses usually last one day and the trainee will learn valuable food hygiene rules that will benefit your business. It would benefit your catering business for the certificates to be on view to your customers as it would confirm your company’s commitment to hygiene.