In food businesses, finding time to train staff isn’t easy. When your final customers don’t leave your restaurant until after 10pm or your bakers fire up their ovens at 2:30am, getting everyone together at the same time to learn the same things is virtually impossible.
Training can also be expensive. Particularly in the hospitality industry, training staff often means actually closing the business or paying staff overtime to come in early or stick around after their shift. It doesn’t help that staff turnover is typically high in hospitality either, so it’s hard to commit to training when some staff members might not be around in a few months’ time.
Despite the challenges, food safety training for employees is essential and something that businesses need to prioritise. Why is food safety important to the food industry? Because it’s critical to public health and could literally make or break your business.
Improve Productivity & Profitability
Upskilling and food safety training has a direct impact on the overall performance of your business, streamlining your production, processes and service. Teach your staff the skills they need to thrive in their roles and you will immediately see an improvement in their productivity along with the profitability of your business.
For example, better food safety training and education around food handling could result in less food wastage (something both the environment and your bank balance will thank you for). Similarly, understanding why meat and poultry should always be stored at the bottom of a chiller will help customers avoid potential health risks and you avoid costly fines.
Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s
There are few things worse than receiving a complaint from a member of the public about food poisoning, or a quality concern raised by a client, that was possibly caused by your kitchen. If you supply food to humans for consumption, you have an inherent responsibility to ensure you only ever get great feedback about the quality of your food.
You will always be better off in the long-run if your staff are fully-trained. If MPI ever comes knocking you will want to avoid any potential pitfalls if they find that your Food Control Plan has been poorly managed by untrained staff. Ensure that your I’s and T’s remain dotted and crossed so you can both provide the best service to customers and remain one of the ‘good guys’ in the food industry.
Customise Your Own Staff Training
Robust and well-documented in-house on-boarding and training modules are key to the success of your staff training plan, but that won’t help you right now if you’re starting from nothing. Set aside a chunk of time to research and develop your own training modules and best-practice guidelines (maybe it’s a few hours a day over the space of a month or a full fortnight dedicated to admin). Ask your senior staff members to contribute to these training guides too because if your most valued employees are committed to the cause, the feeling will trickle down to the newbies too.
Equip & Educate Your Staff
From there, it’s time to find the time to make it all happen. If getting your staff in the same place is impossible, don’t force a square nail into a round hole; set up a flexible training schedule that offers the same training at multiple times so everyone can attend at least one session. Ensure each session has clear objectives and expectations, so staff understand exactly what they’re going to learn by the end of it - and why they need to care about the importance of food safety in the first place.
Remember too: just because you’re the boss or manager, doesn’t mean you have to do all of the training. Equip your senior staff members who turnover less to train newer members of staff so you can focus on what you’re best at: managing the wider business.
Get On Track Now
If you’re ready to get started on improving your food staff training front, first establish how you’re currently tracking. Safe Food Pro’s free Food Safety Health Check will help you find out if your food business is complying with the 2014 Food Safety Act or if you need some improvement. For peace of mind and advice on how to improve your food safety plan, take Safe Food Pro’s Food Safety Health Check today - it’s free, and it’ll take less than 60 seconds to complete.
Top Tips for Staff Food Safety Training:
- Create a set of robust on-boarding and training modules that are easy to access and easy to understand.
- Focus on training up senior members of staff who are more likely to stick around, then equip them to train up new staff.
- Go digital to reduce the amount of paperwork you have to deal with.
- Make it fun and establish expectations. The more staff know what they’re going to get out of training, they more likely they’ll be engaged.
- Discover where you sit on the food safety front by checking your food safety IQ.