That’s the current buzz phrase doing the rounds from the UK government’s announcement of their July 19th 2021 roadmap for lifting final lockdown restrictions.
For pubs, bars and cafes readying themselves for the final phase of full reopening, now is a good moment to reflect on the Food Standards Agency’s 2021 reopening advice.
What Do the Food Standards Agency’s Hospitality Reopening Guidelines Cover?
It’s worth pointing out that the FSA’s reopening guidelines speaks only (for now) to hospitality operators outside of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland where different requirements still apply.
For pubs, bars, cafes and hospitality venues in England, the FSA’s reopening guidelines give granular advice on what to factor into daily operations.
Here are the general topics covered in the FSA’s guidance:
1. Planning & preparation for startup
2. Food Safety Management
3. Site, Equipment & Product Checks
4. Social Distancing & Public Safety Checks
If you haven’t yet thumbed through the five-page FSA reopening guidance PDF for food businesses during COVID-19, you can download it here.
The FSA also provides a handy checklist hospitality businesses can use to keep track of progress implementing the new guidelines into daily operations.
Why Are the New COVID-19 Food Standards Guidelines Important to My Business?
Not each and every detail of the FSA 2021 hospitality reopening guidelines will apply to every pub, bar and cafe.
That said, there are some essential sections every hospitality business in the land will need to review and adapt to.
Putting green tickets against the FSA’s checklist items that apply to you will help in several ways.
To avoid inspection penalties, kitchen and restaurant managers will need to align with new COVID-19 food standards and procedures.
Hospitality businesses that now offer takeaway and delivery services will need to keep local authorities informed of their changing business operations.
Knowledge & training
All managers will need to adapt new-starter and ongoing team-training to account for new awareness and compliance requirements.
Key Highlights from the 2021 Food Standards Agency COVID-19 Guidelines
The overarching theme of the new FSA COVID-19 guidelines is a significant increase in one-off and daily admin aimed at strengthening risk identification.
The full list of ‘checks’ outlined in the FSA’s new COVID-19 hospitality guidelines extend the kinds of hospitality management routines operators will already be familiar with.
Here we’ve picked out some of the less routine, more exceptional requirements that may be new to many reading this:
Social distancing measures
- Review the government advice on social distancing in the workplace in Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Consider steps to minimise staff-customer interactions. See Managing your customers, visitors and contractors.
- Consider how you will communicate with, update and where necessary train staff in new procedures. See Communications and training.
- Identify staff at higher risk. See Protecting people at higher risk.
- Cohort working teams to lower staff mixing. See Workforce management.
- Increase ventilation. You should assess the possibility to do this without introducing new risks or hazards to food safety and hygiene. See Before reopening.
- Refer to government guidance on social distancing, customer interaction and communication or instructions to the public.
Updating Food Safety Management Process
- Consider risks to food safety of new procedures following lockdown.
- Review and document new procedures for takeaway or delivery services (e.g. allergen management, cook-chill-reheat, temperature control awaiting collection or during delivery.)
- Manage risks of cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods.
- Ensure food packaging for takeaways and delivery is food grade, and appropriate for the purpose and food type.
- Check that the hygiene and integrity of any packaging stored through a period of closure has been maintained and dispose of unsuitable packaging.
How Will Adapting to the New Food Standards Agency COVID-19 Guidelines Impact My Day to Day?
The 2021 Food Standards Agency COVID-19 reopening guidelines we’ve spotlit above are just the tip-of-the-iceberg.
As the FSA puts it, “Reopening your food business after a period of closure will require some extra checks alongside your ‘normal’ daily opening checks.”
The maze of government-advice pages the FSA’s new guidelines link to mean hospitality operators will be plenty busy just with reading homework.
Day-to-day, hospitality will need to integrate a new approach to catering for more compliance admin than ever.
All while maintaining a big customer-facing smile and enough bandwidth for efficient, impressive service.
While some of the ‘general checks’ are only extensions of the routine diligence hospitality would normally undertake anyway, the totality of the new FSA guidelines means hospitality operators, managers and teams will truly have their hands full.
Don’t fret! Growyze can help you win back time by cutting in half the admin of stock checking, invoice reconciliation, ordering, waste management and more. Get the growyze hospitality management app.