Hotel Food & Beverage: Keeping It Clean
By Robert Trainor Exec Chef, Hilton | October 28, 2008
Recent issues of trade journals have explored the fresh importance being placed on strong sanitation practices. From outbreaks of Norwalk virus aboard cruise ships to fears over SARS as close to home as Canada, the media seems to report a new health scare almost every month. On a global level, proper sanitation can stop a number of these illnesses in their tracks. On a more everyday level, keeping a clean kitchen is just good business sense.
Throughout my career, I've been fortunate to work in establishments that practiced good sanitation. Even so, like many others in the industry, these establishments considered achieving basic standards to be doing enough in terms of cleanliness. Staff members labeled and dated items, wore a hat or hairnet and knew to wash their hands after every visit to the restroom. For most in the industry, that was the extent of sanitation practices.
Today, chefs and restaurant managers are not only more accountable for the quality of cuisine and experience presented to their guests, they are being held responsible for cultivating and maintaining a higher cleanliness ethic. This issue is so important that many operations are actually increasing their budgets to provide staff with both basic and leading-edge tools and training to achieve higher sanitation standards.
Lead by Example
As with every other point of quality and pride in any kitchen, sanitation begins with leadership by the chef and restaurant managers. The head chef has an obligation to lead by his or her example of unwavering commitment to cleanliness, and provide team members with the tools and training needed for success. Teach employees the reasons for sanitation practices - and how they affect the restaurant's financial success and customers' trust - and you will succeed in making sanitation a part of your operation's culture.
Begin with the Basics