Good and safe: Training helps restaurants

Katie Goddeyne
Katie Goddeyne

Food quality and food safety go hand in hand. Restaurants can’t expect to serve high-quality food if staff practices are poor and safe handling procedures aren’t understood.

Most staff members aren’t hired with all the knowledge needed to execute those food safety methods. Fortunately, educational trainings are offered in person and online, leaving Grand Valley residents with excellent restaurants that serve delicious meals that are safe to eat.

Offering extra training — like food safety as well as first aid and cardiopuliminary resuscitation courses — is great for creating a quality product or experience, but also boosts employee morale. Workers often feel more appreciated and engaged when employers provide extra learning opportunities.

According to Dale Carnegie Training, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202 percent. Unfortunately, in a study of 1,500 employees, Dale Carnegie found 71 percent of employees aren’t fully engaged.

Workplace education allows employees to bridge gaps in their weak areas and build confidence. Training brings your entire team up to speed, ready to tackle the task at hand in a consistent manner. Whatever business you’re in, customer satisfaction is key. Training your employees consistently ensures your business provides the same high quality goods and services to which your customers have grown accustom.

“You lose customers when you aren’t consistent,” said Monique Mull, consumer protection manager with the Mesa County Health Department. “They come to expect something from you. And when that product or service changes drastically, it isn’t always for the better.”

Mull said consistent training programs also reduce time and waste. Labor costs decrease when your team uses the same methods and streamlines processes.

In the case of restaurateurs, implementing food safety training can save a company product costs. For instance, employees well-versed in proper food temperatures and cooling practices can spot problems in the kitchen that others might not see.

“If an employee monitoring food temperatures sees temps are too high, they’d be prompted to check the refrigerators. Calling a repair person late in the day is going to save you product and money. If you don’t notice until you come in the next day to find your fridge was down all night, you’re stuck with unusable food products,” Mull said.

Mull and her team make employee training easy for restaurant owners and recognize businesses that go above and beyond in the way of food safety.

The Partnership for Food Safety recognizes Mesa County restaurants for excellence. The new program reduces the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors through active managerial control. The management team takes a proactive role to ensure food safety by developing standard operating procedures and staff trainings.

“It’s a proactive approach to food safety. It focuses on preventing outbreaks,” Mull said. “When you have a knowledgeable person in charge, developing policies and procedures, implementing training, you’re reducing risks and improving quality.”

Restaurants participating in the Partnership for Food Safety program must meet the following criteria:

At least 90 percent of the food handlers at the facility must have a Mesa County Food Handler Card obtained through in-class or online training or a ServSafe certificate.

A food safety certified manager must be on the premises during all hours of operation. Certifications include ServSafe, National Environmental Health Association or the Mesa County Health Department’s online course for managers.

Score at least 70 percent on the active managerial control self-assessment.

To apply, facilities submit an active managerial control self-assessment and pass unannounced inspections to verify practices and standard operating procedures.

Visit Health.MesaCounty.us for more information on the Partnership for Food Safety program and other food safety educational trainings.