What are the first things you look for when buying a new product or service? Reviews and ratings have got to be two of the most important factors, right?
When it comes to things you’ll be eating and drinking – this is even more essential. Consumers want to be sure they’ll get fantastic quality food before trying out a new restaurant franchise. One of the most reliable and trusted measures of quality is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
It’s a vital factor if you want to expand your virtual kitchen brand. Companies with a lower rating lose customers fast. With this in mind we explain exactly what the food hygiene rating is, as well as five top tips for those covered five stars.
Let’s get started…
What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?
The food hygiene rating scheme provides a snapshot of the food hygiene standards found at your premises at the time of inspection. It’s the responsibility of restaurant franchise owners to follow food hygiene law at all times.
When you open a new food business, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will send an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to inspect your premises. After inspecting your ghost kitchen, you’ll be awarded a rating between 0 and 5. These ratings help customers make a fully informed choice and are awarded as follows:
0 – Urgent improvement necessary
1 – Major improvement required
2 – Some improvement needed
3 – Generally satisfactory standards
4 – Good food hygiene standards
5 – Exceptionally good hygiene standards
As part of the food hygiene assessment, the major concerns are food hygiene (including handling, preparation and storage), structural compliance (layout and cleanliness of your kitchen, ventilation and lighting) and management (i.e. staff training and record keeping).
5 top tips for a 5-star food hygiene rating
- Focus on food storage – storing food safely is essential for a 5-star rating. This involves aspects such as keeping raw and cooked foods separate (as well as unwashed vegetables potentially holding harmful bacteria), storing all food on racks (as opposed to the floor) and monitoring temperatures appropriately.
- Prevent cross-contamination – related to storage, make sure you’re using separate equipment for relevant food groups, providing proper staff clothing and personal hygiene standards as well as separate sinks or time-slots for preparing raw and ready-to-eat foods.
- Cleanliness and pest control – as well as safe food preparation, a neat, clean and pest-free environment is vital. Strictly implement your cleaning schedule and create a solid waste management system. This will deter pests such as rodents and insects.
- Staff training and record keeping – your staff need to understand all the policies you have in place, from hand-washing to protective clothing requirements and cleaning procedures. To promote compliance, teach staff to maintain exact records of fridge/freezer checks, cleaning schedules, food temperatures and training.
- Covid-19 protective measures – keeping your restaurant franchise hygienic and safe for staff and customers alike will improve confidence and increase sales. Think about the ways you can demonstrate this, for instance with contactless deliveries or online consumer information.
Securing a top food hygiene rating is essential for any virtual kitchen brand. It instils confidence in your consumers, reduces waste, embeds staff training and ultimately improves your food delivery business.
If you’re ready to take the next steps with your restaurant franchise – get in touch with Peckwater Brands today. With uniquely flexible food concepts, we collaborate with you and your existing brand to increase orders, revenue and profits.