Reducing Risks In Your Commercial Kitchen: A Practical Guide For Budding Restaurateurs

Last Updated: 

December 14, 2023

For anyone who loves cooking and sharing their creations with others, opening a restaurant might seem like the perfect business opportunity.

Everyone needs to eat, and the fact that diners are still eating out despite the current cost-of-living crisis highlights the enduring allure of restaurants. 

With the right approach and a selection of tasty dishes on the menu, you could potentially create a brilliant eatery that forms part of a lasting legacy.

Owning a restaurant can be tough: the average yearly takings are around between £100,000 and £250,000, and gross profit margins are usually between 3-5%, meaning it can be hard to get super rich from this vocation. 

Still, you could make a good living and have fun if you do it right. One of the main issues many budding restaurateurs struggle with is kitchen safety. 

Running a safe and hygienic kitchen is essential to the success of any food-based business, but it requires diligence and hard work. To help, we’ve listed some of the techniques you need to employ to achieve and maintain the best possible safety standards in your commercial kitchen. 

Key Takeaways on Reducing Risks in Your Commercial Kitchen

  1. Assess Potential Risks: Understand hygiene and food safety laws, as well as other risks such as fires, hazardous waste spillages, and accidental injuries. Regularly review plans to manage and mitigate these risks.
  2. Provide Safety Equipment: Ensure that the right safety gear is placed in the appropriate locations throughout the kitchen. Fire blankets, extinguishers, and first-aid kits should be easily accessible and well-placed for emergencies.
  3. Understand and Manage Allergens: Label menu items with allergen information, and train staff to handle allergen-related inquiries and orders. Prioritise the safety of diners by preventing allergen cross-contact.
  4. Implement a Cleaning Rota: Maintain a strict cleaning schedule for all kitchen areas to prevent cross-contamination and the growth of harmful bacteria. Use food-safe cleaning agents and promote proper hand hygiene among staff.
  5. Continuously Review Safety: Conduct regular self-inspections to identify new potential risks and areas for improvement. Safety practices and equipment effectiveness should be continuously monitored to ensure a safe work environment.
  6. Prioritise Safety Moving Forward: Safety is an ongoing concern that requires continuous attention. Regularly assess and update safety measures to keep up with changing conditions and maintain a safe commercial kitchen.
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Assess The Potential Risks 

Initially, you need to understand the relevant hygiene and food safety laws that apply to your kitchen and then review your plans. You’ll also need to consider other risks, such as fires, hazardous waste spillages and accidental injuries. Once you understand all the potential risks in your kitchen, you can work to find ways to manage them and ensure that your space is safe and fully compliant with all relevant regulations. Part of your assessment needs to involve your staff, as you need to understand that new team members pose a risk as they don’t understand what’s going on. For all team members, provide regular training on food safety practices, equipment usage, and emergency procedures. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page, understands the risks involved in being a part of a commercial kitchen and knows what they have to do to avoid them. 

Provide Safety Equipment Throughout The Space

As obvious as it might sound, having the right safety gear in the right places can make a massive difference, especially when there’s an emergency and people are panicking. It also helps if you place items near where they’re most likely to be needed. So, fire blankets and extinguishers can be kept near the stoves, while first-aid kits should be placed around workstations where staff are likely to cut themselves. By keeping your safety equipment in the right places and making sure there’s plenty of it, you can ensure that it gets used effectively if an emergency situation does arise. 

Understand And Manage Allergens

Safety in the kitchen doesn’t just revolve around your staff; it also means that you have to make sure that your diners are eating tasty, fresh foods that are clearly labelled with any allergens. While you might not think that allergies are important, some can be deadly, so you need to make sure that every item on your menu is labelled correctly and that your staff inform customers about potential allergen cross-contact. You also need to train your staff to handle allergen-related inquiries and orders with care so that diners can enjoy delicious meals at your eatery and have full visibility over any allergens they might contain. 

Put Together A Cleaning Rota

Cleanliness is key to keeping a restaurant kitchen safe and reducing cross-contamination. It’s not just good for allergen sufferers either: bacteria from raw meat and other ingredients can cause serious illness if it contaminates cooked meals. As such, you should maintain a strict cleaning schedule for all kitchen areas to prevent cross-contamination and the growth of bacteria. When cleaning your space, make sure you use food-safe cleaning agents. Throughout every shift, encourage proper hand hygiene among your staff to make sure they’re not spreading germs around the kitchen. The result will be a safe and compliant commercial kitchen that meets relevant hygiene standards. 

Keep Reviewing Safety Moving Forward

It’s not enough to think of safety when you set up your kitchen, then put it to the back of your mind. To ensure that your team is safe at all times, you must conduct regular self-inspections to identify new potential risks and areas for improvement. Things change in every commercial space, especially a restaurant where new dishes are constantly being added, and staff turnover is high. Making sure that you continuously review safety practices and check equipment to make sure it is still effective will ensure that your space is always prepared and as safe as you can possibly make it. 

At the end of the day, safety is crucial to the smooth running of any commercial kitchen. By following these practical tips, you can significantly reduce risks in your commercial kitchen, create a safer work environment, and contribute to the success and reputation of your restaurant. Good luck with your new eatery! 

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