By Malcolm Muir, Consultancy Director
With the news that 70% of hospitality workers report lacking confidence on allergen procedures, it’s time for franchisors to take a deep dive into their risk management procedures to review how safety checks are implemented at franchisee level. Malcolm Muir, Consultancy Director at Venners, offers his top tips for franchisors and franchisees on staying within the law to ensure customers receive the safest dining experience.
Compliance must go to the top of the training agenda
Given the worrying statistics suggesting the majority of hospitality staff lack confidence on allergen procedures, training has to become a natural prerequisite across the industry. Tell your teams about allergens – this may sound obvious, but you’ll be amazed how many operators don’t.
Empower your teams to take ownership
A key priority for every operator must be to explain and ensure teams understand the consequences of not following what may seem to them a simple and unimportant operational procedure. Empower them to take ownership and responsibility, because if they don’t, the worst-case scenario with a breakdown of the system, could lead to a needless fatality.
Beware! Protect all the links in the compliance chain
The effect of just one person not being trained to the same level as existing employees, will eventually mean the original control procedures put in place will fail. Franchisors and franchisees need to beware, because once a single link is broken, the rest of the compliance chain can become useless.
Check, review and check again
Franchisees need to be carrying out weekly checks to ensure staff are continuously up-to-date on compliance procedures. Every member of the team must remain aware and focussed on the delivery of procedures. Ongoing checklists are a useful tool, but these must be treated as a thorough check, not just a tick-list.
Look at your business through the eyes of your customers
It’s imperative for franchisors to step outside the business and look back in from a customer perspective. Often it is difficult for operators to disengage from their expectations of procedures, so I’d advise getting a specialist company to carry this out.
Scores on the doors
According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), food hygiene ratings influence 72% of consumers in their decision to dine with an operator. It is therefore vital to have stringent processes in place for the hygienic handling of food, cleanliness and condition of facilities and building, together with the hygienic management of food safety.
Ensure expert risk management is in place
Deciding who is responsible for compliance management is vital. We’re seeing a trend towards operators appointing a risk manager to cover various compliance elements across the business. However, problems can arise – for example, financial risk is totally different to food safety risk, so the skills and expertise to manage both may not be available in-house.
Watch all branches of the brand
It is important for franchisors to ensure that not only do franchisees stay on-message with the brand, but also adhere to parent company principles when it comes to food safety – something which is not easy to regulate. Remember, one break in the compliance chain can lead to a collapse in remaining procedures, making it difficult to recover from reputational damage.
Franchisors and franchisees looking for further assistance with compliance should visit www.venners-compliance.com.
About Venners Compliance
Venners Compliance is a Venners Ltd. brand, dedicated to providing comprehensive compliance auditing solutions to hospitality operators across the UK. The company provides audits, training and software solutions to hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes, pubs, stadiums, care homes and catering businesses, helping them achieve and maintain peak operational, financial and legislative compliance for a safer, lower-risk business. www.venners-compliance.com