Even more than chains, independent c-store operators need to earn consumers’ trust every time they enter the store, and nothing can destroy that trust more quickly than unsanitary food handling practice.
Foodborne illness can cripple a c-store’s foodservice program, which makes teaching and enforcing the basics an essential part of an independent’s training program.
The upsides of hand hygiene are many. It can slow down or eliminate the spread of germs, keeping customers and employees alike safe.
Here are some hand-washing basics for convenience retailers and their staff:
- Management’s job includes making sure there are enough sinks in the building — and that they are easily accessible in food preparation areas and bathrooms. Soap, water and a way for employees to dry their hands with paper towels or a hand dryer are also essential.
- Hand sanitizers, especially in this age of COVID-19, are especially important. Alcohol-based products that contain a minimum of 60% alcohol work well.
- Employees who handle food should wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then dry them.
- Hands should be washed before and after work; before and after breaks; after blowing one’s nose, coughing or sneezing; after using the restroom; and before food prep.
- Dispensers of hand sanitizer should be provided in spots near shared equipment, entrances and exits. Tissues and no-touch/foot-pedal trash cans also help.
- Use signs and/or posters in bathrooms and kitchen areas to remind employees to wash their hands thoroughly.
- Pay special attention while cleaning to the most-touched surfaces, such as countertops, doorknobs and cash registers.
In as high-volume an environment as a convenience store, the importance of taking the time to thoroughly wash and dry one’s hands often cannot be overstated.