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National Restaurant Association - Protect customers in self-service areas

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Protect customers in self-service areas

Self-service areas in restaurants and foodservice operations can be contaminated easily. The key is to help protect guests from themselves. Here are some tips to reduce contamination:

  • Provide dispensers that deliver single-use items one at a time. Items like napkins, plastic flatware and straws can be kept safe by providing dispensers that deliver items one at a time. In addition to stopping guests from contaminating several items at once, this helps reduce waste by making guests more aware of how many items they are taking.  Regularly clean and sanitize the dispensing systems.
  • Offer wrapped flatware. Wrapping flatware can help protect it from contamination. If your operation offers unwrapped flatware, make sure it’s stored with the handles up so customers grab this part of the utensil.
  • Provide hand sanitizer. Some operations provide hand sanitizer for guests in self-service areas. If you do, it’s a good idea to install touchless dispensers and place them conveniently so guests will be encouraged to use them.
  • Assign a staff member to monitor guests. Do not let customers refill dirty plates or use dirty utensils in self-service areas. Assigning a staff member to watch for this can help eliminate this food safety threat. Also consider posting signs that remind customers not to reuse plates and utensils.
  • Clean and sanitize surfaces frequently. Anything that comes into contact with food in a self-service area must be cleaned and sanitized. This is typically accomplished by using separate cloths stored in cleaning and sanitizing solutions. To simplify this task, you can utilize cleaning and sanitizing wipes that have been approved for use in your area. Check with your local regulatory authority.

This article was provided by Tork.

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