Clean Up Your Act For 2015

Christmas – the busiest and most stressful period for any business operating within the leisure and hospitality industry – is over for another year (collective sighs of relief!) A new year means a fresh start; NDML, in collaboration with their esteemed clients, offer some top tips to help restaurant operators raise their hygiene standards and avoid food poisoning claims for 2015.

The Kitchen

Planning for Christmas in the licensed trade usually starts mid year whilst the majority of us are sipping Pimms and basking in the summer sun. The time and effort that is put into the month of December often results in a fall in standards as staff struggle to accommodate such pressures. However, if there is one area that cannot afford to lapse it is the Kitchen.

With stringent health and safety enforcements, the storing, preparing and cooking of food must always be of the highest standard. January is a good time to re-visit all kitchen procedures, including risk management, HACCP and COSSH.

Food can become contaminated at any touch point; from shipping to storage, from preparation to service. Kitchen staff should:

  • deep clean before and after service
  • routinely and effectively sanitise surfaces, counters and utensils
  • enforce hand washing procedures to limit the transference of bacteria and viruses
  • wash all food thoroughly
  • cook high-risk foods thoroughly e.g. shellfish – never reheat food that harbours bacteria, such as rice
  • use colour coded preparation boards and operate strict storage procedures
  • purchase stock from trusted suppliers

The table/tableware

This is obviously the main point of interaction for most guests and therefore one of the greatest risk areas for transferring harmful disease. Front of House staff should:

  • swab tables regularly to monitor microscopic bacteria levels
  • sanitise surfaces after every guest. Deep clean at the start/end of every day, including the underside, legs and bases. Industry specific sanitisers should be used e.g. D10 for multipurpose cleaning and disinfection
  • if linen is preferred, fresh cloths/napkins should be used for every guest. Use a reputable linen company and do regular spot checks on their hygiene procedures
  • All glass wear, crockery and cutlery should be washed in industry specific machines. Clean cloths should be used for drying/polishing and changed regularly
  • enforce hand washing procedures to limit the transference of bacteria and viruses


Restaurant toilets are a common area for spreading and contracting bacteria/viruses. Toilets should:

  • be deep cleaned morning and night by professional cleaners
  • be regularly checked and cleaned – ensure checks are recorded
  • provide hand soap/sanitisers and preferably disposable paper wipes to avoid cross contamination
  • have visible hand washing signs to encourage guests/staff to sanitise properly

Staff illness

Post Christmas illness is rife in hospitality and leisure due to the cold weather, long hours of work and poor diet. Bacteria and viruses spread like wild fire in restaurants which are not only harmful to employees, but guests alike. Workplaces MUST be diligent in their handling of staff illness including:

  • sending staff home at the first sign of illness
  • ensuring staff remain off work for a minimum of 48hrs post symptoms to ensure they do not spread bacteria/viruses through the handling of food etc.
  • having a team of replacement staff on standby should they be required
  • carrying out return to work interviews

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015