How to hold health and safety standards in restaurants

Health and safety standards are of paramount importance in the restaurant industry. Ensuring the well-being of your customers and staff is not only a legal requirement but also essential for maintaining a positive reputation and the success of your establishment. In this blog post, we'll explore practical steps and best practices to help restaurant owners and managers uphold high health and safety standards in their establishments.

Staff Training and Education

The foundation of maintaining health and safety standards in a restaurant begins with well-trained and informed staff.

  • Conduct regular training sessions on food handling, cleanliness, and safety protocols.
  • Ensure all employees understand the importance of hygiene and safety in preventing foodborne illnesses.

Strict Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is critical in preventing the spread of contaminants.

  • Provide handwashing stations with soap, water, and hand sanitizers for both staff and customers.
  • Enforce a strict handwashing policy for all employees, especially before handling food and after using the restroom.

Food Handling Practices

Proper food handling practices are essential to prevent foodborne illnesses.

  • Regularly check food temperatures with thermometers to ensure they meet safety guidelines.
  • Train kitchen staff to separate raw and cooked foods and use dedicated utensils and cutting boards.
  • Implement a "first in, first out" inventory system to reduce the risk of food spoilage.

Sanitation and Cleaning

Maintaining a clean environment is vital for health and safety.

  • Develop a cleaning schedule and ensure it is consistently followed.
  • Use food-safe cleaning products and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Regularly clean and inspect kitchen equipment to prevent grease buildup and fire hazards.

Pest Control

Keep pests at bay to prevent contamination of food and the restaurant environment.

  • Work with a professional pest control service for regular inspections and treatments.
  • Seal any cracks or holes that could provide entry points for pests.

Allergen Management

Food allergies are a growing concern, and restaurants must be diligent in managing them.

  • Clearly label menu items containing common allergens.
  • Train staff to handle allergy-related requests and cross-contamination risks.
  • Have a process in place to inform the kitchen about allergy requirements.

Health Screenings for Employees

In the wake of health crises like COVID-19, employee health is crucial.

  • Implement regular health screenings, including temperature checks.
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home and follow local health guidelines.

Emergency Preparedness

Prepare for emergencies and accidents to protect both customers and staff.

  • Have a well-defined emergency plan, including fire evacuation and first aid procedures.
  • Ensure all staff are trained on the emergency plan.

Regular Health Department Inspections

Stay compliant with local health regulations by being proactive about inspections.

  • Familiarize yourself with local health codes and requirements.
  • Schedule regular inspections to identify and address potential issues.

Customer Communication

Keep customers informed about your commitment to their safety.

  • Display health and safety information prominently in your restaurant.
  • Provide options for contactless ordering and payment to reduce physical contact.

Practical guide for setting up an incident reporting process

Social Distancing and Seating Arrangements

In situations where social distancing is necessary, such as during a pandemic, ensure that your restaurant layout allows for safe spacing between tables. Implement reservations or call-ahead seating to manage capacity effectively.

Regular Equipment Maintenance

Prevent unexpected equipment failures by scheduling regular maintenance for kitchen appliances, HVAC systems, and fire suppression systems. This helps avoid disruptions to operations and potential safety hazards.

Waste Management

Properly manage and dispose of waste, including food waste, to prevent contamination and attract pests. Use sealed containers for trash and ensure they are regularly emptied.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Provide appropriate PPE for your staff, especially in the kitchen. This may include gloves, hairnets, aprons, and face masks, depending on the tasks they perform.

Hygienic Food Delivery and Takeout

If your restaurant offers delivery or takeout services, ensure that these processes maintain the same health and safety standards as dine-in service. Use sealed containers and implement contactless delivery options where possible.

Menu Simplification

During peak times or when operating with reduced staff, consider simplifying your menu to reduce the complexity of food preparation and minimize the risk of errors.

Regular Safety Drills

Conduct safety drills and exercises with your staff to ensure they are well-prepared to handle emergencies like fires, evacuations, or medical incidents.

Feedback and Continuous Improvement

Encourage staff to report safety concerns and provide feedback on safety procedures. Use this information to continuously improve your health and safety protocols.

Documentation and Records

Maintain thorough records of training, inspections, and incident reports. This documentation can be valuable in demonstrating compliance with health and safety regulations.

Stay Informed

Keep up-to-date with local and national health guidelines, especially during health crises. Adapt your practices and policies accordingly to ensure compliance and the safety of your customers and staff.


Maintaining health and safety standards in a restaurant is a continuous effort that requires dedication and attention to detail. By implementing rigorous training, proper sanitation practices, and proactive measures, you can create a safe and welcoming dining experience for your customers while ensuring the well-being of your staff. Upholding these standards not only complies with regulations but also fosters trust, loyalty, and success in the competitive restaurant industry.

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