Trend watch: Sanitation & safety

As any operator knows, there has always been a strict emphasis on food safety and overall cleaning efforts in the foodservice industry. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put health and safety in the spotlight, bringing heightened pressure to ensure a safe and sanitized environment for customers and employees alike. So, when it comes to enhancing and adapting sanitization and safety protocols for your operations, keep the following tips and E&S solutions in mind.

Plan with purpose

While daily cleaning at the end of the day is great for pre-COVID times, frequent sanitization is now the new norm. Operations everywhere are implementing deep-cleaning schedules and sanitization of high-touch areas throughout the day – but is that enough?

When evaluating your sanitization and cleaning schedule, be sure to account for all surfaces – that includes tables, doors and handles, equipment, prep areas, storage areas, trash receptacles, shelving, drains and so on. Everything from the front of the house to the back should be on your schedule. The more detailed your schedule – down to monthly, daily and hourly tasks – the easier it is to track your efforts.

Keep an eye on things

Remember when we said your efforts were in the spotlight? Everyone – from staff to customers to regulatory agencies – is taking note of how operations are keeping them safe. To help enforce your sanitization and safety protocols, assign staff members to manage and oversee certain areas or tasks. For example, some operations are adding “sanitation spotters” to the front-of-house to ensure tables are sanitized between uses and there is minimal contact.

You also can look at incorporating new equipment solutions featuring temperature gauges, automated capabilities or safety monitoring options to provide some added peace of mind and efficiency to the kitchen.

Evaluate your equipment

According to Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, warewashing and safety equipment and sanitation supplies will account for around 20% of an operator’s equipment and supplies budget in 2021.

When evaluating your equipment solutions, think about how high-tech dishwashers or sanitizers, touchless cooking equipment with pedals or sensors, touchless handwashing sinks or stations and automated equipment could benefit your operation.

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Watch your water

The EPA asserts that hospitality and foodservice operations make up 15 percent of the total commercial and institutional water use in the United States – the majority of that coming from the kitchen. With increased sanitization and hand-washing protocols, this number is only anticipated to go up too.

Look for ways to reduce your carbon footprint and gain efficiencies when it comes to your warewashing equipment. For example, choose dishwashers with features like dual rinse zones or built-in heat recovery systems to help save water and energy.

Vent smarter

Knowing what we now know about how COVID-19 is spread, it’s important to keep your operation’s air quality in mind. When it comes to air cleaners, you can look at filters like HEPA which can help catch small particles of the virus so they can’t be recirculated. There also are UV light air purifiers and sanitizers that are designed to kill bacteria and viruses – but this is best suited for operations with a very large HVAC system. Another option is HVAC systems with ionizers that can help deactivate the virus through negatively and positively charged ions.

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