Convenience Store News

NOV 2014

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78 Convenience Store News | NOVEMBER 2014 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages FOODSERVICE safety and sanitation is the single most important foodservice discipline. "If anything should keep you up at night about your operation, it should be food safety," one retailer member said. "A serious mistake here would be both morally and financially devastat- ing and very preventable. With just some focus, training and certification, follow-up and hold- ing people accountable to execute, operators can have a viable and safe food program." Putting proper food safety procedures in place is critical. Procedure manuals should be detailed and descriptive with step-by-step instructions for all aspects of the foodservice program so that every employee will under- stand what to do, leaving no room for interpre- tation. Our experts also say food safety procedure manuals should use narrative and images to communicate the proper safety and sanitation steps to take. "You have to keep in mind that not everyone cleans the same way," one How To Crew retailer noted. Instructions must be explicit and clear. For example, "let- ting employees know the proper cleaning chemicals to use on particular areas of the store can help save you from dealing with hazardous- material use issues." Retailers noted, however, that companies such as Ecolab have made using cleaning chemicals in the store simple for all employees because these systems use premeasured chemicals for sanitizer, floor cleaners and restroom cleaners. "This takes mixing out of the employees' hands and ensures that the chemicals are not too strong or too weak," one retailer added. MaStERIng thE FunDaMEntalS The National Restaurant Association's ServSafe pro- gram is the most widely used food safety and sanita- tion certification program, but several CSNews How To Crew members also recommend contacting state and local health departments that run programs. Some colleges and universities also have certification pro- grams, and several industry foodservice suppliers pro- vide training that may be less expensive. Anyone in the store who touches food should be food-safety certified, and training should be refreshed annually. In-store training should also be performed when new items are added to the menu or company procedures change. "This is generally up to the states, but all management should be certified and a good of the store; not just the kitchen or areas visible to customers. The commitment to food safety and sanitation begins at the top, at the CEO level, and must trickle down to every employee in the field and in the stores where food is served, according to Convenience Store News' How To Crew panel of foodservice experts. "Make it part of your culture to be food safe, not just when the health depart- ment is coming in to review your stores," said Mathew Mandeltort, cor- porate foodservice manager for conve- nience store distribu- tor Eby-Brown Co. LLC and an expert on the CSNews panel. All restaurants — from quick-service restaurants and convenience stores to white tablecloth establish- ments — are challenged by food safety, but it is the one area operators can't afford not to master, no mat- ter how good the food and presentation are. "Most foodborne illness outbreaks are caused by employees not using appropriate handwashing proce- dures or proper use of disposable gloves," said Tim Powell, foodservice consultant with THINK Marketing and a member of the CSNews How To Crew. The best way to prevent foodborne illness — and not turn customers off — is continu- ous education and training, transpar- ent and detailed procedures, implementation of inspection and mea- surement standards, and employee and store rewards to encourage exem- plary food safety performance. Most of our How To Crew experts agree food Call tO aCtIOn: Foodservice 201 • Establish procedures for everything that involves food preparation in the store so that employees don't have to guess. • Train field personnel, as well as store personnel and all foodservice depart- ment employees at headquarters. • Tap trained supervisors and district managers to help teach and train employees during store visits. • Conduct monthly or quarterly quality inspections to ensure proper store- level execution and to hold employ- ees accountable.

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