Effective food hygiene procedures should be a priority for all food-serving businesses, yet many ignore its importance. A misjudgement not only means a breach of law and a bad reputation, but it will also massively affect your finances… and here is why.
Upon trawling through several articles online, it became obvious that the government is trying to make the importance of good food practices, widespread. Over the past decade, we have seen The Food Standards Agency pushing out an increased amount of guidance and legislation, including The Food Safety Act 1990, The General Food Law Regulation 2002 and The Food Hygiene Legislation 2006, to name but a few. With these acts, come tougher and harsher sanctions for those who breach the rules. Yet, it also became clearer to me that businesses who failed to implement a coherent safety procedure would also see their cash flow affected, business activity reduced and their revenue suffer as a result of improper processes. The most common issues documented are:
- Sanctions: Breaking the law surrounding food safety can equate to large unlimited fines, which can set businesses back thousands of pounds. Furthermore, the government is well within its right to close the business for up to 48 hours or permanently if it poses a real cause for concern.
- Lack of trust: The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme rates the hygiene standards of all food outlets in the UK. According to Checkit, 75% of individuals would not visit a food outlet implicated with a food poisoning/hygiene incident or only once it had changed hands, and 61% of individuals would not visit a restaurant with a food rating of two or less.
- Bad Press: Bad press can heavily impact the way your business runs. We have seen scandals on food safety heavily highlighted by the media, such as a woman dying from poor hygiene at a UK Pub and 32 individuals becoming seriously ill. Consequently, the owners were jailed, fined £1.5million and saw sales plummet significantly.
Invest in Technology It is important to have effective procedures in place. Food safety is becoming more and more of a concern which is why using technology to alleviate the problem can help food services improve. You should:
- Use smart food safety technology: One of the easiest ways to stay on top of food safety is by investing in technology. You can reduce risks associated with food management and human error by streamlining your procedures more efficiently. Software such as Kafoodle gives food businesses the confidence to put in place a full menu management system. You can oversee everything from full ingredient provenance and supplier management to EPOS and central menu planning. Additionally, using technology, especially for businesses such restaurants and pubs, can better manage your supply chain and the traceability of allergens.
- Avoid food fraud: Eoghan Daly of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Fraud stated: “This is a serious problem as fraud not only has the potential to impact on an individual business’ profits and reputation but it also reflects on the food industry as a whole and more importantly risks consumers’ trust and health,”. Tampering with financial records, using expired or contaminated food can land you in major trouble. Always avoid cutting corners and seek professional advice if your expenses are too high, as food fraud wrongdoing will come with punitive action if caught.
- Plan and be proactive: – Changing the way your business runs can be very costly and time consuming. Seeking professional advice from you accountant who can provide you with a range of cost scenarios or forecasts can be an even better way for you to rectify your food finance complications. Moreover, it will give you an insight into where you can afford to cut down on expenditure and invest money into other areas. Using cloud accounting such as Xero, can sync with food safety technology, help you to manage and avoid future food fraud and keep your accounts valid and secure.
You can read more on Food Fraud in the CIEH guide: Counter Fraud Good Practice Guide for Food and Drink Businesses or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss your personal case in more detail. Sources: