Thinking about starting a restaurant? Maybe you already have. When you think about business risks, what comes to mind? Perhaps you worry about being robbed, having a major fire, or having somebody slip and fall resulting in a serious personal injury lawsuit. Those things are all legitimate risks, but there are other more subtle risks that need your attention.
Restaurant Expert Witness, Restaurant Consultant, and CEO, Howard Cannon, believes that those in the restaurant industry need to pay close attention to food contamination issues, stating, “The health departments provide standards to the restaurant industry; and most food contamination occurs when management doesn’t follow-through on systems developed to enforce these standards. Whether it be those required by the FDA, the local health department, or other local, state or federal entities, restaurants need to follow the established guidelines. The basic methods to avoid contamination, such as: proper storage and handling, washing hands, and proper temperature control, for example, are standards that shouldn’t be ignored, and following them is in the best interest of the restaurant and its customers.”
Mr. Cannon encourages restaurant owners and management to take responsibility to ensure, as much as is in their power, that their customers have a sanitary environment and their food is safe to eat. He says, “The reality is that in many instances involving the restaurant industry, somewhere along the food chain, management failed to follow-up on the systems that were put in place to prevent this type of thing from happening. If they think the systems aren’t important, they’re wrong.”
When restaurants receive food products from the distributors, the restaurants trust that the distributors have followed proper food safety procedures; after that, the restaurants carry the responsibility to follow their own food safety systems. Cannon says, “In the 24 years that I’ve worked in this industry, all too often I see the restaurateur wanting to avoid their local health department; when, in reality, they can be one of the restaurant operator’s best tools in providing a system of checks and balances to help avoid contaminations. It is the health department’s job to keep the public safe, to teach restaurants how to handle food and beverages, and to keep the establishment reliable for the consumer. Restaurant owners and managers are wise to build good relationships with health department officials; after all, they are there to help – it’s not just about coming around to give a bad rating and mess up business. When the health department does its job, and the restaurant managers do theirs, together they protect the business and the consumers.”
Howard Cannon is a highly recognized restaurant expert witness, consultant, analyst, and speaker. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Restaurant© – found in 76 countries around the globe. Mr. Cannon is the CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America and Restaurant Expert Witness, and can be reached at 800-300-5764 or via the web at RestaurantConsultantsOfAmerica.com or RestaurantExpertWitness.com.