It goes without saying that cleanliness and food safety are integral parts of every foodservice operation. From the moment a customer steps in the door, every team member should be focused on serving a great product safely. All of the back-of-house areas, from the food prep area to the dishroom, play an especially important role in protecting customers from risk; and a few simple best practices go a long way to maintaining safety.
It starts with having effective procedures in place. “The best practice is to have a process and policies and clear expectations for people working in that area,” says Alan Risher, Sales Development Manager for Hobart Warewashing Division. Make sure they are well communicated and staff have time to learn them.
The role of a well-trained dishmachine operator in food safety can’t be overemphasized, says Vito Palazzolo, Manager of Industry Relationships for the National Restaurant Association, who calls it a job “that doesn’t get enough credit and/or focus in a foodservice operation. A dishwasher has a very, very responsible job,” he says, “almost as important as someone who’s cooking the food.” But as with any employee, the dishwasher needs good training and a clear explanation of what’s expected. “If there’s an expectation from management that the machine is to be drained and refilled ‘x’ amount of times per day and nobody communicates that to the employee, it’s just not going to get done,” Risher says.
Part of the operator’s training must cover knowing how to operate the machine and recognizing when it might not be working properly. “Sanitization can’t be seen,” says Joel Hipp, Engineering Manager for Hobart Warewashing Division. “When the dishes come out, they might look clean, but you can’t see pathogens or microbes.” So, the operator has to be aware of, and watch for, any signs of malfunction at each point in the cleaning process. Training aids and manuals from the manufacturer are a great way to help staff learn what to look for.
Keeping the dishroom and dishmachine clean is also important in the food safety chain. “If you can stay on top of the cleaning and deliming of the dishwasher, it makes the whole process easier,” notes Risher. Daily cleaning following recommended manufacturer procedures helps prevent breakdowns and malfunctions of equipment and reduces the chances of food and debris that may redeposit on ware.
Finally, the operator needs to be aware of personal hygiene. It starts with clean hands — a particularly important consideration for staff who are handling or storing clean dishes. Aprons and uniforms also get dirty quickly in the dishroom, so workers should change when necessary to avoid contaminating clean dishes and ware. Workers “need to change their aprons periodically to help reduce any food debris that might be on their apron from when they were prewashing and prescraping to when they’re putting clean utensils away,” says Palazzolo.
Smarter Washing with Hobart
No matter what type of foodservice operation you have, there’s a Hobart dishwasher that fits your needs perfectly. Our full line of high-performing commercial dishwashers includes flight-, conveyor- and door-type dish machines, as well as undercounter and glasswasher models. The vast majority of our dish machines are ENERGY STAR® certified, and employ the latest technologies to help reduce energy, water and chemical costs. That means a lower overall cost of ownership for you. All Hobart dishmachines are NSF certified so you are assured of clean, safe ware. For all these reasons and more, Hobart products have been named “Best in Class” by Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine for 17 years now. And they’re all backed by Hobart’s responsive nationwide service team. It’s today’s way to wash smarter.