How many times have you heard about the importance of handwashing during the past two years? Too many, you’ll probably think! The pandemic made you question whether you know what proper hygiene is. You’ve gone your whole life believing that you know how to wash your hands. It turns out you don’t! The chances are that you have been doing it all wrong this whole time. Even if you knew the proper technique, maybe you’ve been lazy. Many people just run their hands underwater, thinking, “They’re not that dirty anyway.” Is it the same in your restaurant? Do you now have to worry about hand hygiene in your restaurant now?
Luckily, we are a little more cautious around food, and we can thank our mothers for that! Washing your hands before a meal was always as important as brushing your teeth before bad, wasn’t it? However, the moment when we are most concerned about hygiene is when we watch someone else handle our food! Although hand hygiene became a hot topic during the pandemic, it has always been one of the priorities in restaurants. There’s nothing more off-putting than cafés and restaurants with poorly maintained bathrooms. It directly speaks about their hygiene levels. If you wish to be a successful business with returning customers, it is crucial to know how to care about hand hygiene in your restaurant or other establishments where food is prepared and served.
Caption: Excellent hygiene is one of the essential characteristics of any successful restaurant.
Alt: Floor stand sanitiser dispenser stand in Resturant
Why is handwashing important?
The answer to this question seems obvious. Because of the germs! And it is true. However, we sometimes do not realize how easily transmitted they are. Everything that an employee who hasn’t washed their hands touches will be contaminated. The biggest pressure is always on food handlers. However, the poor hand hygiene of the rest of the staff can be equally dangerous.
Hand hygiene aims to prevent the spreading of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and fungi, and viruses. When infectious microorganisms come in contact with food, they can cause a foodborne illness. Most of these illnesses are a direct result of contamination from workers.
Fun fact, there is a holiday called World Handwashing Day, which aims to remind us about the importance of proper hand hygiene!
How to care about hand hygiene in your restaurant?
If you own a restaurant, you know that proper hygiene is crucial. It’s required by the law to maintain specific standards. Otherwise, your restaurant can be shut down. These five tips can help you better understand how to care about hand hygiene in your restaurant. Educating your employees about proper handwashing and debunking some hygiene myths will make your restaurant safer for both your customers and workers.
- Learning how to wash hands properly
As the pandemic thought us, you shouldn’t assume that all of your employees know when and how to wash hands properly. It is not a complicated task, but some techniques can make it more effective. During the past two years, you probably saw a lot of posters that explain step-by-step how to wash your hands. You can use these posters as a technique to remind your employees to regularly and adequately do it.
Caption: How to care about hand hygiene in your restaurant? Encouraging proper and regular handwashing is vital!
Alt: A woman is sanitizing her hands with automatic hand sanitizer dispenser
- When should employees wash their hands?
Washing hands after we use a restroom is just common sense. Most of the employees will follow this rule without giving it much thought. However, not everyone will consider it necessary to wash their hands after touching their hair/face or handling money. Keep in mind what we said in the beginning. Germs are easily transmitted! Here are some basic guidelines for when your employees should wash their hands.
Before: food preparation, handling clean dishes, putting on sterile gloves, task change
After: using a restroom, removing gloves, touching electronic devices, handling money, touching your face or hair, taking out the trash, eating, drinking, or smoking
- Where should employees wash their hands?
You can wash your hands in at least two places in the restaurant (kitchen and restroom). In kitchens, there are multiple sinks. However, not all of them should be used for handwashing. Why? Not all of them are properly equipped. Every restaurant must have special handwashing stations. Depending on regulatory authority, different standards are to be obtained (location, usage, hand soap, hand drying, water lines, etc.). Not washing your hands at the right sink is a health code violation.
Caption: Employees are required to wash their hands with hand soap or hand sanitiser to keep hand hygiene
Alt: Sanitizing hands
- Importance of hand care
Hand care is a part of personal hygiene. If you work in a restaurant, especially with food, regularly washing your hands is not enough to keep the germs away from food. It is why all restaurant employees should follow guidelines for personal hygiene. It includes several requirements. Fingernails have to be trimmed, clean, and without fake nails. Even nail polish should not be allowed. Both fake nails and polish can easily contaminate food. Jewelry shouldn’t be worn as it also represents a surface from where germs can be transmitted to food.
- Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting
You can wash your hands frequently, but if the surfaces on which you prepare your food aren’t cleaned and sanitized, the chances are that the germs will cause problems. It is recommended to clean the surface each time before use. This includes washing it with soap and water first and then sanitizing it. Keep in mind that cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are different tasks.
Caption: Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting is a three-step procedure that will help you get rid of the germs.
Alt: Washing hands with hand soap
Cleaning is something we do on an everyday basis. It consists of removing visible dirt and dust. Sanitizing is the first step in eliminating germs. During a pandemic, it became standard procedure for most people. Disinfecting is a final step that kills most of the bacteria and viruses. Of course, you should not use all three steps every day or for every occasion. For example, experienced moving companies such as Easy Move KW recommend doing all three steps when moving into a new home. That way, you’re ensuring that your family will be safe from infectious microorganisms. In restaurants, where foot traffic is great, you will probably have to do it daily.
The global pandemic has taught us how vital hand hygiene is in preventing the spread of a deadly virus. People who work in restaurants, especially food handlers, have an even bigger responsibility! As an owner, you should understand how to care about hand hygiene in your restaurant and educate your employees about this topic.
Meta: The personal hygiene of employees is one of the most critical factors for a successful restaurant business. So, we give you helpful tips on how to care about hand hygiene in your restaurant.