Interested in free training materials that you can use to boost your staff’s food handling knowledge and expertise? Good news. The National Restaurant Association is making five weeks’ worth of them available this September to encourage recognition of National Food Safety Education Month.
Restaurant managers know that after a certain point, there’s not much new you can say about the food safety practices you expect your staff to follow. The best you can do is to reinforce principles you’ve talked about before and hope that your employees retain most of what they learned during their ServSafe training.
Now, courtesy of sponsor SCA, the National Restaurant Association is supplying you with everything you need to conduct a month-long mini refresher course on food safety. The lessons, five in all, are based on the same information conveyed in the ServSafe food safety training and certification program. You’ll find five weeks’ worth of downloadable training acticvities, food safety tips and free posters at http://www.servsafe.com/nfsem.
The curriculum covers five topics:
• How to work with a health inspector.
• Handling food.
• Cleaning and sanitizing.
• Proper food storage techniques.
• Handling utensils and equipment.
We think operators will appreciate the interactive nature of these instructional materials. That’s because each lesson provides a brief quiz at the end to test your staffers’ grasp of the food safety principles discussed earlier in the session. Employees are expected to write “yes” or “no” next to each scenario according to whether the fictional worker handled the situation correctly.
Quiz questions derive from real-world restaurant settings. Consider these two examples.
“While the health inspector was inspecting the dish room, Steve hurried into the walk-in cooler to cover a tray of salads that he had prepped earlier. While in the cooler, he noticed that the hanging thermometer was missing. He quickly got another one from the storeroom and hung it in the cooler.”
So is that the right or wrong thing to do? The lesson material counsels that a health inspection “is not the time to fix problems that already should have been corrected.” True enough, but who among us hasn’t hustled to make last-minute fixes upon learning that the health inspector has arrived at the restaurant? A question like this one gives you a good opportunity to discuss both food safety principles and situational ethics with your staff.
Here’s another question, this one on cleaning and sanitizing.
“Jake was busing tables on a busy night. As each table left, he cleared the table of the remaining dirty dishes and glassware. He washed his hands and then grabbed a wiping cloth from a sanitizer solution bucket. Then he wiped the table with the rag and let it air dry.”
No problem here. This is exactly the way it should be done. But it never hurts to reinforce the information, especially since we’re betting that not all that many bussers stop to wash their hands in the middle of the busing sequence, especially when the restaurant is busy.
We hope RH Extra readers check out this free offer. Many of you function as your restaurant’s food safety trainer by default. The NRA and SCA are giving you an easy yet engaging way to take your staff through the basics. If there’s a less painless way to impart this very important food safety information to your staff, we’ve haven’t seen it.