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Going gastro, the right way

A high-quality menu with fresh ingredients can provide pubs with the competitive edge to get people through the doors. And, once they’ve enjoyed a meal, they’re much more likely to become ‘regulars’ – whether that be for meals, or just for a drink.

While it’s therefore unsurprising that many businesses are tempted to do food too, it’s by no means an easy task. Those in the foodservice industry know that you can’t simply ‘try your hand’ at offering an appealing dining experience.

Another thing restaurant owners can vouch for is the reputational damage risked by delivering a poor-quality experience – or, worse, risking an unsafe or unsanitary experience.

For those looking to venture into foodservice, it’s best to take a methodical approach. Visit your local competition and critique the experience. Where possible, take a behind-the-scenes look at the kitchens of restaurants you like. With enough honest critiques or what does and doesn’t work in other businesses, you can start to form an impression of best practice for efficient, safe and hygienic foodservice.

There should also be plenty of resources and guidance available from local authorities – for instance, UK councils. Bodies that are keen for local dining experiences to be safe and to adhere to standards are not looking to catch people out – they should be prepared to help you get set up in the right way.

The advantage for a new business is you have the time and space to really think through your approach too. Walking into a kitchen in use, even at a good restaurant, may have you spotting room for improvement. If you’ve done your homework on best practice and guidelines, starting with a clean slate should be a big advantage. You can make sure areas for handling different foodstuffs are clearly demarcated; contamination risks are kept to a minimum; signage is clearly visible; and access to consumables like wipes is quick and simple wherever you are in the kitchen.

Adding foodservice can turn a modest money-maker into a very healthy business; but you also need to factor in the risks that unsafe, unhygienic practices may bring. Those that prepare to run a safe, sanitary kitchen – and a great dining experience – will reap the rewards.