Restaurant health and safety is hugely important, for owners, staff members and customers. Failure to uphold high standards for health and safety can have all kinds of negative consequences, including illness, injury, decline in customers and end of operation. This means that, as a restaurant owner or manager, it is your responsibility to remain on top of health and safety in the workplace, and to implement procedures and processes that create a great, compliant environment.

We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 restaurant health and safety tips, covering everything from fire safety to restaurant mats and the hiring of a bespoke health and safety manager. Bearing all of these things in mind will help you to cultivate a workplace that is great to work in, great to eat at and guaranteed to pass any kind of test or inspection. 

Fire Safety

Restaurants pose a significant fire safety hazard, which means that it’s essential to have a detailed and comprehensive fire safety plan. By conducting a Fire Safety Assessment, you can identify any potential hazards and implement preventative procedures and solutions. It is also an opportunity to practice what you will do in an emergency situation. A proper Fire Safety Assessment will include the following:

 

  1. Identification of potential fire hazards.

  2. Evaluation, reduction and / or removal of said hazards. 

  3. Preparation of an emergency plan. 

  4. Implementation of emergency training.

 

This is something that you should review and update regularly. It is also something for which you should seek professional advice, to ensure that you are covering all bases and adhering to best practices. 

Food Safety

Food safety is imperative in a restaurant, as the absolute last thing that you want is people becoming ill after eating your food. Not only will this earn you a poor reputation, but it is something that you may be liable for. To prove that you are operating to the expected standards, you may be subject to inspections by the local authorities. 

 

There are many components to food safety, including rules and best practices with regards to the following: cooking, reheating, storing and cross-contaminating. These are all things which heavily intersect with proper cleaning and sanitation procedures, which we’ll get to in just a moment. 

The best source of information for food safety is the Food Standards Agency

Stringent Cleaning Procedures

Across all areas of your restaurant, it’s important to have stringent cleaning procedures in place. They play an important role in both fire safety and food safety, mitigating potential risks as much as possible. 

There are a lot of factors that you need to consider when cleaning. For example, something that you need to be aware of is the kind of cleaning products that you use. This is because you need to make sure that they are being used properly, in the correct amounts and places, to avoid causing any kind of contamination or harm. 

There are also several things that you can do and implement throughout your restaurant in order to make cleaning easier. An antimicrobial mat, such as the Comfort Flow Anti Microbial Rubber Mat is a really efficient example of this. It has been specially treated to guard against odours and degradation from microorganisms. It’s also made from 100% nitrile rubber. These two factors mean that it’s incredibly easy to clean, it can even be cleaned in the dishwasher without damaging the mat, and that it doesn’t pose a potential hazard - quite the opposite. This is just one great reason to invest in restaurant mats, but we’ll go into this in more detail shortly!

Waste Disposal

Having a proper process for waste disposal can have a much wider impact on your day-to-day operations than you might think. This is because it directly ties into your fire safety, food safety and cleaning procedures, as it ensures that there isn’t any food, dirt or debris lying around. This, in turn, is much better for your customers - greatly improving both smell and appearance.

Following the correct waste procedures is really important, as it will help you to avoid fines and to have the smallest possible impact on the environment. The different kinds of waste that you will likely encounter include: preparation waste, spoilage waste, plate waste, excess waste, old uniforms, glass bottles and packaging. 

The best thing to do is to come up with a sustainable waste management policy. This will ensure that the correct items are recycled, upcycled, composted and so on. If you are part of a larger franchise, it is highly likely that there is some kind of wider policy in place that you can draw on and manipulate to comply with best sustainable practices. 

Restaurant Mats

There are two main kinds of restaurant mats, and both will help to significantly improve the safety of your restaurant: kitchen mats and bar floor mats

There are extensive benefits to restaurants mats:

  • They reduce the risk of slips and falls.

  • They protect the flooring.

  • They prevent water, mud and debris from being tracked inside.

  • They help prevent the growth of germs and bacteria.

  • They ensure the comfort of staff.

 

To choose the right kind of restaurant mat for your premises, you should consider the various features and specifications of each mat. With entrance, anti-fatigue and non-slip options available, there are so many types of matting that you can purchase to the advantage of your restaurant. 

At Mats4U, we pride ourselves on having an unmatched selection of mats, combining great quality with great pricing. This means that you’re guaranteed to find a suitable mat. If you need any advice, or support with your purchase, then don’t hesitate to reach out - we always enjoy an opportunity to put our expertise to the test. With a vast amount of experience in supplying kitchen and bar matting for restaurants across the UK, we know exactly what recommendations to make. 

One of our most popular restaurant mats, guaranteed to boost the overall health and safety rating of your restaurant, is the Value Rubber Scraper Mat. Whether you want it behind the bar, in the kitchen or across the pot wash, it is versatile, cost effective and proven to stand the test of time. 

Regular Training

The most effective way of ensuring that your restaurant is operating to the highest possible health and safety standards is by providing your staff with regular training. Everyone that works in the restaurant, from chefs to bartenders and front of house staff, should have the same training across all of the most important areas - coincidentally, all of the areas that we are covering in this blog post. This will make sure that they have a good, well-rounded understanding of how the restaurant needs to run on a daily basis.

Investing in this regular training also means that, if you are ever subject to a surprise inspection, your staff will be prepared. The premises will be in tip-top condition and they will be able to answer any questions that come their way! The best way to implement regular training is by ensuring someone is there to take responsibility for it - typically someone in a managerial position. One of our top 10 tips is actually about a managerial position, so hold tight to find out more. 

There are many different ways that you can conduct this training. Whether you choose to do so online or in person, with tests or without, is entirely up to you. 

Practical Uniform

A uniform can do many things. It makes it easy to identify staff members, and it’s a great way to represent the restaurant's brand. What is sometimes forgotten, is that a practical uniform can also greatly enhance your health and safety.

Different aspects of your uniform can influence different matters of health and safety. For example, practical footwear can reduce damage if something is dropped on your feet, and ensure that you are less likely to slip or fall. While there are other things in the workplace that can do this too, such as an anti-slip restaurant mat, the proper footwear can enhance your safety no matter where you are on the premises. 

Sickness

It is imperative that your restaurant has an effective sickness policy. This means that if a member of staff is ill, in any way, the proper measures are taken to ensure that there is no risk of contamination or contagion. It also means that the person has the proper amount of time off, to ensure that they are not posing any kind of risk to staff or customers. 

The Food Standards Agency provides a wealth of information and advice around fitness to work. 

Personal Protective Equipment

While this is a much more recent health and safety consideration, it is no less important. In fact, it is something that must be taken incredibly seriously in a restaurant setting due to the high foot traffic, and the amount of people from different households that come and go every day. 

Unless medically exempt, all customer-facing staff should be equipped with the appropriate PPE. They should also have access to hand sanitiser, and should practice social distancing where possible. 

Most restaurants will also want to encourage protective equipment and hygiene practices to all customers. You can do this by making hand sanitiser readily available. Another great way to do this is by investing in a Wash Your Hands Message Mat!

Health And Safety Manager

Our last restaurant health and safety tip is to invest in a qualified health and safety manager. A health and safety manager is someone that is responsible for all health and safety measures across the premises, from implementing processes and training through to ensuring legal compliance. The best person to hire is an expert in health and safety within the restaurant industry - it could be that this is something that works for you full-time, or in an advisory capacity.

Finding The Perfect Restaurant Mats With Mats4U

Our top ten tips for restaurant health and safety are just the beginning. To properly ensure the compliance of your restaurant, it is important to seek and adhere to government advice. The HSE website contains a wealth of information relevant to the catering and hospitality industry, and should be treated as best practice. 

However, when it comes to matting, we are more than qualified to offer our expert opinion. We have supplied high-performance matting for over 25 years, during which time we have developed a keen understanding of the best mats and features for different applications. So if you have any questions about our restaurant mats, don’t hesitate to get in touch


Hopefully you’ve found this blog helpful. If you have, you should take a look at our other blog posts. Designed to answer all of your matting questions, you are guaranteed to come away having learned something new.