How Kitchen Cleanliness Affects Liabilities Business Owners Face
Every business owner operating a commercial kitchen has a duty to ensure public health and employee safety. In fact, customers who get sick from dining in your place of business will likely never return and may even have the opportunity to sue. The same is true when customers or employees slip on improperly cleaned floors. While insurance policies will cover most legal challenges, you do not want to waste time and energy defending your business or risk losing customers. Careful attention to kitchen sanitation will help you avoid the majority of this trouble.
Kitchen Cleanliness Issues
By their very nature, commercial restaurants tend to generate large amounts of soils that contain organic matter and grease. If not cleaned properly, this creates a potentially unheralthy situation and a dangerously slick one too. In fact, according to Employers, a main cause for accidents in the kitchen is employee slips and falls. Clearly, sanitation practices impact both employee safety and the health of customers you are serving. Unfortunately, traditional cleaning systems that use mops often transfer contaminants from the restroom to the kitchen as well as the front of house, where customers eat and waitstaff serves food. Mops spread soils from one part of the kitchen floor to another. If there are pollutants in any of these areas, the problem often gets worse with mopping.
Educating employees about food safety, directing employees to sanitize hands during service, and providing touch-free soap dispensers and hand dryers will help establish quality cleanliness practices. However, kitchen sanitation requires a formalized process that physically removes contaminants and grease to help prevent food from being contaminated as well as disease transfer from staff to your customers. These illnesses can create major headaches for administrative staff and legal departments as well as lead to loss of business.
Liabilities Business Owners Must Confront
Many of the liabilities business owners face are practical concerns. For example, if multiple customers have gotten sick from meals consumed at your establishment, you may find your business shut down until the local health officials conduct an investigation. Should the authorities find violations in sanitary procedures, they will fine your company and possibly revoke your license to operate.
These situations are extreme, but foodborne illnesses traced back to your employees and lack of kitchen cleanliness may provide the ground for a winning lawsuit. Even though your business insurance will cover most claims, you face rising insurance premiums when claims are filed.
Of course, your business's reputation suffers greatly from these events. Once news travels of infections and illnesses originating in your company kitchens, the public becomes hesitant about coming back to operations linked to foodborne illness. In big markets such as New York, the New York Times notes that bad sanitation practices lead to poor "grades" that appear in restaurant windows. Potential customers walking by see these grades before they even enter the restaurant.
Business owners face a number of liabilities in everyday operations, not to mention the risk of losing business on several levels. Kitchen cleaning staff must prevent the spread of contaminants by removing the pollutants rather than spreading them through mops. To reduce the risk of lost business and legal troubles, strict kitchen cleanliness is essential.
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