How to maintain hygiene standards

18 March 2014
How to maintain hygiene standards

Customers are easily turned off by bad hygiene, so follow some basic rules, says Dr Peter Barrett

You would be forgiven for thinking that good, tasty dishes and quality of service are the key areas to focus on when building your business, but research has shown that the hospitality sector is at risk of losing business unless its hygiene standards match its high standards of food and service.

The quality and cleanliness of your washroom facilities will drive customer behaviour, and therefore affect the revenue and reputation of your business.

Initial Washroom Hygiene carried out global research to evaluate public hygiene habits, and found that 88% of respondents in the UK admitted hygienic washroom facilities in restaurants are an important factor in returning to the establishment. Almost half (48%) said they would not return to a café or restaurant if it had poor hygiene standards.

Similar views are felt in the retail industry, where more than 18% of respondents confirmed they would not return to a store if they considered the hygiene of the amenities to be poor.

The quality of washrooms can directly affect the profitability of restaurants, hotels and bars, with over 80% of people saying a venue needs to be clean in order for them to consider parting with their hard-earned cash.

These findings highlight the need for establishments to educate their employees about the importance of personal hygiene and is therefore a serious issue businesses must face if they are to stay afloat in a competitive market.

These sectors must focus on critical hygiene practices, such as ensuring staff have clean hands and that toilet facilities are properly maintained, or risk losing out on repeat business.

With the UK economy experiencing green shoots and business confidence increasing, customers will be looking to spend more time dining out and spending money; but only where the environment meets their expectations.

So to maximise the chances of encouraging customers to return and enjoy eating at establishments again and again, businesses should follow these simple hygiene tips.

Dr Peter Barratt

Technical manager

Initial Washroom Hygiene

Five steps for maintaining perfect hygiene

  1. Aside from encouraging staff to regularly wash and then dry their hands, hand sanitisers should always be available. The most effective kind are non alcohol-based. They form a gentle but long-lasting barrier to microbes across hands, inactivate germs for hours after use and protect against a wide range of bacteria and viruses, including norovirus.
  2. Ensure regular, thorough cleaning takes place in communal areas like the kitchen and washroom facilities. It is recommended that companies undertake a professional deep clean at least twice a year to prevent the build-up of hidden, embedded dirt and contamination and the associated micro-organisms.
  3. Ensure tabletops and store shelves are cleaned regularly using anti-bacterial wipes and food-friendly surface sanitisers, and ensure that hand sanitising gels are openly available in public areas.
  4. If a member of staff does contract a virus like norovirus, make sure they stay awayfrom the restaurant or shop for at least 48 hours after the symptoms have disappeared to avoid wider contamination.
  5. Encourage staff to practise good hand hygiene by regularly washing their hands with good quality soap throughout the day. It is recommended that you should wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice (approximately 30 seconds). Thorough hand washing helps to reduce and remove potentially harmful bacteria and viruses, especially if the time and quality of washing is appropriate and that hands are dried well after washing.

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