Health & Safety
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) 5 star food hygiene rating scheme needs to be looked at as a benefit for any food business. The food hygiene rating sign is an instant and friendly assurance signal that tells potential customers to ‘come in we have high standards of food hygiene!’ After all, who would not be attracted to the positive news and feel instantly comforted and reassured that your next eating out trip will not leave you with stomach cramps or worse a trip to the doctor! This could be the case if the food you have eaten was compromised or was handled in an unhygienic manner and you are now suffering from food poisoning, e.g. salmonella.
Because your restaurant, café or pub has achieved the 5 star food hygiene rating, you obviously have a cleaning system in place and therefore your establishment not only delivers on food hygiene, but also on cleanliness, because of course everybody loves a spotless place to eat enjoying fresh surroundings! But most importantly, knowing and seeing that if front of house is clean, the kitchen is hygienic! Again, this helps to increase footfall and drive on sales.
Sometimes you can gather or get a good hunch by looking at the steamed up windows of a food business, that if you did enter this establishment, it will not be the best move you made that day and you are most likely to leave the premises with a sour taste or feeling underwhelmed.
Because the 5 star food hygiene rating is not a self-certification, or a media endorsement, but a local authority stamped approved certification, it conveys to the public, that your food safety management system has been thoroughly checked against compliancy and you have scored full marks during an audit from an environmental health officer. Your HACCP is properly understood and adopted by all staff and therefore any potential food risks can be immediately identified and eliminated, then products customers consume will be safe for you.
When you receive the 5 star food hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), make real good use of this opportunity. Use it as a marketing tool that is synonymous with your company’s name. Most especially, it should be the driving business goal for every food establishment to achieve the 5 star rating. On receipt of your certification, you will be emailed the logo and sent stickers from the local authority. Put the 5 star rating logo on your email and on your social media platforms displaying the sticker, on prominent walls such as outside by the front door, in the windows and anywhere inside, where your customers are likely to queue, view and peruse your wall display of accolades, or perhaps at the buffet or the till, etc. - even in the loos!
Remember to print it on your menu, on your marketing leaflets, on your company vans and cars, the list is endless. Just don’t forget and keep in mind, the score only reflects your food hygiene standards rating that you demonstrated during your last inspection. Download a web widget form: food.gov.uk/ratings. This is a tool that automatically searches the result from the last inspection of your premises and keeps your website up-to- date with the latest food safety ratings. That way you will never have to worry people may not see your current food hygiene rating score, and even better, you don’t have to manually update your website every time you had a visit from the local authority. It is one job less to think about in this very busy industry!
Another huge benefit from having achieved the 5 star food hygiene rating is, that it gives brand awareness and for customers to associate your company name synonymously with the FSA hygiene scheme score. There are only benefits in achieving the 5 star rating and displaying your food hygiene rating sticker or logo. It will spur on staff to keep up the high standards and it will most likely boost their morale by knowing they are regularly receiving training and that they are working to the highest standard. Therefore it improves their industry knowledge and further their career and job security. They are also safe in the knowledge their restaurant, hotel, café, pub is where people want to drink and dine in, spend time in, because of its high standards, which can ultimately boost their wages through tips and in turn improve their living standards. Suppliers will also know, that they deliver to a food establishment that checks their supply chain thoroughly and use only approved suppliers who can demonstrate an equally high standard of their food safety system.
You will have fewer risks of court cases, because someone suffered food poisoning and is going to sue your business. Additionally you will avoid risk of heavy fines, which could not only cost you substantially in financial terms (it may end your business suddenly), but also ruin your good name and reputation instantly, and also people may avoid visiting your restaurant, because your name was mentioned in the news and it is splashed all over social media.
As is widely recognised, working in the hospitality industry, you need to be able to stand out. Every aspect and advantage is a potential money earner, so by placing a food safety management system at the heart of your business strategy and having a health and food safety consultant working alongside you, makes sense to secure your business’ reputation and add weight to a successful business lifespan. The foundation of your business should always be underpinned by well trained staff with a focus on customer satisfaction, lawful compliance and supplier confidence with procedural conformity. This can all be successfully achieved through consulting HRS Management’s specialist consultants. Remember, a 5 star food hygiene rating could literally be ‘the to be or not to be’ of your restaurant, hotel, café, pub etc.
During a workplace walkabout or snapshot audit, the environmental health officer (EHO), or food safety officer (FSO), who has been sent by your local authority, will write a detailed audit report every time they visit your restaurant, café, pub, hotel or food establishment. They will inform you of the audit score and explain how they arrived at their result and what possible improvement your business may need to make, in order to improve your rating.
If the EHO found that you have satisfied them in all three elements, you will be awarded with the 5 star food hygiene rating. The rating scheme is divided into three elements, which are:
a) That your food is handled hygienically (is there a HACCP in place and is it used and fully
understood by staff and management)
b) The condition and structure of the building
c) Business procedures
Do certain staff trained in risk assessing the workplace have the knowledge to inform the business of health and food safety compliancy and changes to regulations in the law? Can they safeguard you? If the answer is no or not always, or you are not quite sure, you should seek advice from an outsource health and food safety professional who can work alongside with your staff and keep your food establishment health and safety and food hygiene compliant. The Food Standards Agency helps smaller businesses with advice on their website, but if you are a growing business, it is advisable to engage the advice and services from a health and food safety professional who periodically carries out a snapshot audit and discusses all findings with managers and staff, in order to improve standards and thus to stay compliant.