Juggling all that comes with managing a restaurant can be overwhelming and tremendously time consuming. Between supervising and scheduling staff, handling financial and licensing affairs, staying on top of inventory, etc., it can feel like there's not enough time in a day. Important matters may often get overlooked in the midst of the everyday chaos of running a restaurant. How terrible would it be, though, if one of the things that falls between the cracks is regulating the food safety of your business? One day you're running a successful diner, the next you're shut down by the provincial public health department. Although you already feel run ragged, do these two things now in order to improve the quality and safety of the food you serve your clientele. You won't regret it.
Challenge your current food supplier, then possibly jump ship.
It's possible you've been working with Food Supplier A since you first opened the doors 12 years ago. It doesn't matter. Before placing your next order, ask questions you've never thought to ask before, such as:
-What policies does your supplier have in place for managing food safety?
-Has your supplier ever been linked to or sued by another vendor for providing contaminated food?
-Can your supplier tell you where they get their products? Do they use food traceability software?
Keep in mind your restaurant mission during this discussion. For instance, if you aim to serve only organic menu items, don't be afraid to ask your supplier if they can prove non-GMO certification. You might have a good relationship with your supplier, but that's all the more reason to be straightforward and honest about what's important to you. If they are being truthful about the quality of what they're delivering to you, they should have no problem telling you where they get their corn (grain) products. In fact, a dependable supplier will most likely use food traceability software. According to Food Safety Magazine, food traceability is vital in managing food safety. Not only does the software assist in helping you know exactly where your food supplier gets their products, but in the event of contamination, it can limit the number of people affected.
Having these necessary conversations with your food supplier will open the communication gates so they know exactly what you want from them. In turn, they should be able to tell you what you can expect from them. If negativity comes from your fair questions, it's possible you need to find a new supplier. If it comes to that, start by asking the same questions in your search for a new vendor, like Dover Corn Products LTD. You might find that the service from Food Supplier B is much better than what you've been accustomed to getting from Food Supplier A.
Properly train and educate your staff
Much of the food quality and safety standards are actually executed by your staff. It is important that you share with them the standards you expect them to carry out on an everyday basis as they serve customers. This might start with something as simple as hiring more employees. Overworked employees tend to do exactly what you may be doing as their manager—cutting corners and letting little, yet important, things slide in order to get the job done.
Ensure that every single employee gets the same training as you on the regulations enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Make certain they know the consequences for not carrying out these regulations and standards. Most importantly, ensure that your standards are enforced. It may deem necessary to appoint a member of your staff to organize trainings and maintain consistency.
Just for fun—Market your changes
Once you've made these changes, be proud of your efforts. Boast to the public through advertising means that you have made modifications to your business plan to ensure the safety and quality of the food you serve. It isn't that you want to tell people you've let food safety slide, it's that you want to impress upon them that you and your staff have put food safety and quality at the forefront.
Running a restaurant business can be exhausting work. While it is easy to let quality standards fall to the wayside when things get rushed, make a promise to yourself to be better. Start with these two important steps. They will not be quick tasks, but ones that will take time, effort and continued dedication. It will be worth it to guarantee that you are not on the receiving end of a CFIA closure. Your food quality and safety standards will not only be higher, but the experience you provide every person who patrons your restaurant will be that of excellence.