Tag Archives: reputation

How safe is your Food Hygiene Rating against clients with unwashed hands?

Fingers crossed
You know YOUR hygiene is as good as it gets – but how about those people coming in through the door?

The short answer is, not very.

Even if your Food Hygiene Rating puts a “5” on your door, you’re up the creek at the slightest whisper of  “food poisoning”.

Especially if it gets in the media.

Superstar Michelin performers have had to close down to address those two words.

True or not, the public never seem to accept anything except negligence on your part.

So it’s the whole witch hunt.

Plummeting PR, lost revenue, the cost of deep cleaning, grilling staff over procedures, publicity for reopening – and the slow, agonising build up to repair your reputation.

Thousands and thousands.

And not necessarily anything to do with you at all.

Not YOUR hygiene – theirs

Because, ask yourself . How many of your clientele actually wash their hands before they sit down? Or if not then, before they pick up a knife and fork?

And who knows where they’ve been, or what they’ve been doing?

If they’ve been driving, there’s a good chance they’ve picked up staphylococcus or e.coli off their own steering wheel. Especially when car INTERIORS might only get cleaned every 3 months.

If they were on their mobile phone too, they’re likely to have been touching more faecal matter than a toilet seat.  The biggest trigger for norovirus – the Don’t Wash Hands Disease.

And these are the people who dare to suggest your procedures gave them food poisoning!

Iffy, iffy, iffy

It gets worse.

Because, top-drawer celebrity status notwithstanding, how many customers wash their hands EVER?

Your hands might be clean, but theirs aren’t. Check the record.

So that “5” Rating on your door is already under threat before you start.

Because you just know some hot-shot solicitor is going to make mincemeat of your case, no matter how meticulous you are.

Which means, “5” Rating or not, it’s worth investing in a little protection.

Protecting your interests – and reputation

OK, you can’t exactly demand they all hit the washroom before being shown to their table. They’ll never come back – and they’ll bad-mouth you to all their friends.

But you can protect hygiene levels AND offer a little courtesy – if you serve each guest with an individual hand-wipe or sachet of antimicrobial gel. Not as grand as steam-heated towels, but a lot more effective. Warm dampness in any case stimulates more bacteria than it kills.

On top of that, you also have the option to reassure clients that the whole place is sterile before opening for every session. Any germs previous guests might have left on chairs, table undersides, or condiment containers are eradicated without having to think about them.

And everywhere else as well. The drapes they might have touched. The carpets they might have tracked stuff in on. Not necessarily dog poo, but invisible germs. Plus harmful microbes lurking anywhere else. On menus, door handles, light switches, in the air itself.

One quick 40-minute session with ionised hydrogen peroxide mist  will remove all viruses and bacteria. Oxidised to nothing, so the whole place is safe, secure and sterile.

And your reputation is no longer at risk.

Well-earned status

Yes, sure – there might be the odd curmudgeon who refuses to co-operate. But how curmudgeonly do they have to be to refuse a pretty staffer personally offering an individually presented hand-wipe with your compliments?

A little insurance – and proof you’ve more than earned your “5” Rating.

Your customers are happy too.

Because how many of them will boast about the superior evening with PERSONAL hand hygiene – AND the place was specially sterilised before they got there?

A toast to you, then. May your business grow and prosper!

Picture Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

One hint of health risk, and your whole business reputation nose dives

Nose dive crash
Taking chances – when the wrong germ comes along, your whole world goes for a loop

One germ is all it takes. One teeny microbe less than 0.002 microns across – and there goes your reputation.

E.coli is it?

A customer ate something that disagreed. Food poisoning headlines in the local press. All over TV and Facebook. Wisecracks on Twitter making it worse.

A reputation nightmare.

OK, so things happen. Somebody makes a mistake and the whole organisation pays for it.

Or not.

Because e.coli is a germ you can catch anywhere. Off a doorknob or a product display. Off the handle of a customer basket. From a handshake with sales staff. Out of the air. Anywhere.

Same scenario with most germs. From mild colds and tummy bugs to life-threatening illnesses.

Picked up on contact, or breathed in.

The blame game

So are you unlucky – or genuinely negligent?

Dirty hands are a cause, most of the time. They look clean but they’re not – at least not since after breakfast. And hands touch everything, including mouth and nose – the germs’ way in to reputational mayhem.

The customer’s hands, or staff’s?

With reputations on the line, it’s unwise to point fingers.

Most people don’t wash their hands from one moment to the next. Especially breezing in off the street. But you can’t accuse them, even if their hands are crawling. 0.02 microns is impossibly small to see, even if there are millions of them. So it’s you who’s accused – of insults.

On the staff side of course, you can see it coming.

Take precautions and be ready, before anything happens.

Minimise the risk

Like tighten up on staff hygiene. When hands are washed, how thoroughly, and how often. When latex gloves get used. How merchandise is cleaned and presented. Nannying detail yes, but your reputation depends on it.

Likewise, how your whole place is cleaned.

Not just a lick and a promise, but properly sterilised. If there’s no germs anywhere, you know the e.coli must be the customer’s.

And properly doesn’t mean bleach. The smell alone will drive your reputation away all by itself.

Besides, how’s bleach going to reach all the places that germs are more likely to lurk? In dark corners, away from the usually scrubbed counters and work surfaces? Or in the air itself?

No, no – to get rid of germs, you’ve got to get serious. Just like your reputation is serious  – and e.coli makes bad PR.

So it’s sterilise or nothing – again, your reputation depends on it.

No germs on anything anyone might touch – staff or customers. Including all the things nobody ever thinks about but uses all the time. Like self-service touchscreens and lift call buttons.

Bring on the tiger

Time to think ionised hydrogen peroxide.

And a nifty all-automatic machine – the Hypersteriliser.

It’s loaded with a mild 6% solution of hydrogen peroxide – the same germ-killer stuff you can get in Boots as antiseptic. And the same stuff our own bodies naturally produce to fight infections from cuts or scratches.

Ah, but press the button – and you waken the sleeping tiger.

IONISED, see. Which mists the hydrogen peroxide into a dry superfine spray – and transforms it from a gas vapour into a plasma.

Yup, you’ve got yourself a tiger. Because now that mild 6% solution releases a slew of other antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet – every one, a germ predator.

Plus the ionising forces the tiger out of its lair and actively on the hunt. Forced apart electrostatically to disperse aggressively in all directions. Fiercely pouncing oppositely-charged bacteria and viruses -and clawing them to shreds by oxidising them.

Not kind. But think of it this way. It gives germs the same deadly treatment they give you. Or more appropriately, your reputation.

Give it 40 minutes or so, depending on room size – and the whole place is sterile. No germs anywhere. In the air, on any surface, in any tight inaccessible places, or in any cracks, crevices and remote corners.

OK, so with the whole place germ-free, any e.coli floating around has got to be the customer’s.

But you know how it goes, you get the blame anyway. Benefit of the doubt and all that – the customer is always right.

Roar of approval

Uh huh, so your final play is to protect the customer from herself.

Before she has a chance to touch anything, offer her antibacterial wipes or gel – free with your compliments.

Well it’s your reputation, so what’s she going to think – free hand wipes AND the whole place sterilised for HER health and security?

Wow! Worth paying a bit extra to shop there, don’t you think?

And how’s it going to look for you when she climbs on Instagram and Snapchat to her friends?

Like we say, it’s your reputation. And with the tiger on your side, you’re playing for keeps.

Picture Copyright: digidreamgrafix / 123RF Stock Photo

Eating out food poisoning: dodgy hygiene culprit exposed

Pizza selfie
Self-inflicted misery – self-accused too. The phone for that selfie has her greasy fingerprints all over it. And mobiles are the most germ-laden of all

Culprit is right.

Dodgy hygiene can kill a restaurant reputation. Somebody screws up and the customers stop coming. So who’s the likeliest suspect in any food poisoning scandal?

We’ll give you a clue.

You’ll find the culprit among whoever hasn’t washed their hands.

The one-sided blame-game

Kinda crucial in the food preparation business.

So it can’t be kitchen staff, they’d get fired if they took that chance. Not the serving staff either, for the same reason.

Which leaves who – the manager? The sweeper-upper? But neither of them ever touches food.

There’s one person who does though. And they seldom if ever wash their hands before handling anything. Yet they’re the ones most likely to squeal if food poisoning strikes.

Cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea – must have been something they ate.

Yep, we mean the customer.  Frequently first to complain, even more often last to accept any blame.

Fingers of suspicion

But look at them. Did they wash their hands when they came in? When they sat down? When they ordered? Or when their food arrived? Plenty of opportunity – and pretty well all restaurant have washrooms.

How about before they got to the place? Out in the street, on the tube or bus?

Or before that. When they left home or parked their car?

How about when they went to the loo?

So is it any surprise they feel a bit queasy after an evening of eating out?

Sure, their cramps are real and horrible. The upchucks and runs aren’t much fun either.

But if you think about it, aren’t their woes more often than not self-inflicted?

There are regulations about restaurants – or any food joint. Bye-laws to follow, standards to keep up, inspections to pass. Yes food poisoning happens, but there’s a lot of safeguards in place deliberately to prevent it.

Not so in the customer’s case. There’s no restrictions at all.

Which makes it doubly dodgy. Bad habits make many a new culprit.

Yet how many restaurants get bad-mouthed for salmonella, norovirus, campylobacter or e. coli? As if there’s staff wilfully using unrefrigerated, out-of-date food prepared with hands steeped in old WD40 and serving it undercooked.

Unaware, unhygienic, unsafe

Unrealistic, right? And not exactly fair.

Hunting a culprit where there most likely isn’t one. Unwilling to accept any personal blame or liability. Falsely accused.

But not out of any maliciousness. It’s just that washing hands and careful hygiene is not on anyone’s radar.

Every restaurant patron knows about germs. But you sit and watch – a whole evening can go by and not one of them will make the effort to wash their hands before eating.

And they’re the ones jumping up and down about food poisoning!

OK, there’s always exceptions. Food joints that get careless – with ropey washrooms you might never want to know about. But the customers still take risks – not washing their hands, evidently trusting that they have cast-iron stomachs.

Finger-lickin’ dicey

It gets iffier still when you consider how many foods are eaten with just fingers – burgers, sarnies, pizzas, chicken, fish and chips – and all varieties of curry.

If nothing else, we owe it to ourselves to carry hand gel or wipes for when we can’t get to facilities. Or to use at table before touching anything. Nobody’s going to mind if you sit there carefully giving your hands the once-over. They might even admire you for it.

Better than being the culprit for an unpleasant experience – knowing or otherwise.

Picture Copyright: ammentorp / 123RF Stock Photo