You can’t avoid it: if you’re in the foodservice business, customers want to know that your kitchen is clean and hygienic.
Previously, a news report or word-of-mouth testimonial of poor hygiene standards could seriously dent a restaurant’s local reputation. However in the Internet age the reputational impact risked by poor hygiene standards is even greater. A local news report can be accessed with a simple online search; and a testimonial, good or bad, can be shared on one of the many consumer ratings sites.
Tech-savvy people looking to eat out can find recommendations or warnings on a comparison site before booking – or even on their way into town – via their smartphones.
Access is only going to get easier as smartphones change the way information is accessed and opinions are shared. A new smartphone app (http://ratings.food.gov.uk/) launched by the UK’s Food Standards Agency allows iPhone and Android users to check food hygiene ratings on the move.
Coupled with moves to get food hygiene ratings on the doors of restaurants elsewhere in the UK, as mentioned before on this blog (http://www.chicopee-europe.com/archives/how-important-is-food-hygiene-to-a-customer), the access to food hygiene information is becoming too significant for foodservice businesses to ignore.
Businesses should take pride in the safety and hygiene of their kitchen: a clean and safe foodservice speaks for an efficient, high-quality service too. Sticking to simple steps and established processes for handling and preparing food, using the right utensils, and cleaning surfaces should be central to a quick and effective foodservice operation anyway. And if any more reason were needed, the signs are that smartphone-wielding customers could go elsewhere if they can’t find the assurances they need.
If such app access catches on in the UK, similar tools could be on the horizon across Europe and beyond. Customers looking for somewhere to eat will be able to check in seconds if a business can back up its claims to high standards of service.
Those foodservice businesses that use this access to hygiene information as a means of promoting their high standards will likely benefit in this new, more informed marketplace.