Business and Operations
Concepts for Success: May 2015
By Diane Chiasson
Keeping Your Bakery Clean
By Diane Chiasson
Passing a health and safety inspection is just the beginning.
All foodservice operations must place a very high priority on food safety and cleanliness. In no other type of business apart from hospitals is there such a high value placed on cleanliness. Even though each foodservice operation must pass a health and safety inspection, keeping your business clean is an endeavour that needs to be tended to every second of the day.
Commercial kitchens are filled with contaminants – from physical, to chemical and biological. Whether it’s a rock from a bag of beans or a single hair from someone’s head, or even chemicals found in pesticides or cleaning products, it’s easy to have a small slip up.
As a bakery, it’s even more crucial to avoid cross contamination, especially if your bakery offers gluten-free or nut-free products along with your regular offerings.
Here are some tips to keep your bakery clean and healthy.
Wash hands often
One rule that needs to be reinforced over and over again at your operation is the importance of washing hands. If necessary, hold a staff meeting and training session on how to wash hands properly. To ensure you kill all the pathogens on your hands, wash your hands with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Then dry your hands with a paper towel, and use the paper towel to turn off the faucet.
Be sure that all your hand washing stations are properly stocked with soap and paper towels, and that there is hot water available at all times. All staff members should wash their hands as soon as they start their shift, after using the restroom, sneezing or coughing, eating, or handling any raw products.
Wear latex gloves
If frequent hand washing proves to be too much for your staff, consider making latex gloves available to your staff. Perhaps your staff does not want to wear gloves all the time, but at least when handling raw materials, cleaning products, or any other item which can cause harm.
Sanitize and disinfect properly
Be sure to sanitize and disinfect any surfaces that make contact with food. This can include prep tables, dishes, utensils, equipment, cutting boards, refrigerators, storage shelving units, etc. Proper sanitization does not mean wiping an area down with a wet cloth. Use disinfectants or hot, soapy water that will eliminate microorganisms, and have several clean clothes available.
In order to safely avoid cross-contamination, have specific pieces of equipment, utensils, bowls and cutting boards that are used specifically for raw meat, nuts, produce, etc. To make it easier on your staff, consider using colour-coded cutting boards and knife handles so as not to confuse everyone. Be sure to keep your dishwashing area organized. Always ensure that there is enough hot water to wash dishes properly, and that you run all your equipment, wares and utensils through a professional-grade sanitizer.
Have a plan for your waste
Keeping your trash clean is an essential key to keeping away rats, mice and other unwanted rodents and insects. Change the liner on your trash cans often, before they start to overflow. Have several garbage cans in your operation. It’s better to have more than less. Tie your trash up carefully, and double-bag anything that feels heavy or is leaking. Lock your dumpster out back to ensure that nothing goes in it unless it comes from your bakery. Consider negotiating an extra pick-up during the week so that your dumpster is emptied more often.
Create schedules and checklists
There should be a checklist that each staff member must adhere to at every shift and position in your bakery, as well as daily/weekly/monthly cleaning schedules to ensure that every square inch of your operation is cleaned on a regular basis. Be sure to include areas like your refrigerator, walk-ins, ovens, hoods, walls, store-room shelves, freezer, lighting fixtures, blinds/curtains, etc., are also cleaned on a regular basis.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. She is recognized as one of the best restaurant consultants in North America. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.