Five staff training tips for bar hygiene

By Hance McGhie, Chemisphere UK

As the UK’s hospitality industry fires up again after many months of closures, refreshing your cleaning schedules and ensuring your team is well versed in hygiene practices has never been so critical.

Engaged staff members, visible cleanliness and the use of the correct sanitising and cleaning products are key to instilling customer confidence after such a tumultuous year, so recapping on your policies is key.

Chemisphere has been at the forefront of bar hygiene for three decades. As well as offering a full range of tried and tested hygiene products that will ensure all on trade sites are fully cleaned and C19 free, we also offer free advice on the best methods to use to be totally compliant with any new regulations or cleaning schedules.

It’s more important than ever that the industry sticks together to ensure the rejuvenation of the UK On Trade, so with this in mind, here are five tips on staff training to ensure strict bar hygiene standards are maintained;

  1. Explain the “why” to new staff members

As you welcome new members of staff to your team, it’s prudent to have a tried and tested training session with recruits, to instill excellent hygiene practices from the off.

Providing a manual or a lesson on your cleanliness processes are, of course, useful, but it’s even better to explain to staff why these things are critical, and equip them with the knowledge and a wider understanding of cleanliness and its importance.

You don’t need to blind the team with science, but letting them know how bacteria can grow, what bacterias and organisms can affect product quality and customer health and the importance of excellent sanitation for customer retention and confidence can help them to understand on a deeper level why you are strict about the processes you implement. And, after the Covid19 pandemic, it has never been so crucial to run a tight ship when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene.

This initial session is also a good time to show staff where to find all the equipment and cleaning supplies, and what products work with which area – and, of course, why! Any chemical hazards and other safety issues should be clearly explained. For extra peace of mind, you could draft up a one-pager with key points highlighted, for staff members to take home, take a picture of and keep for reference.

There are lots of online courses that you can use for training sessions too, so it’s worth researching into options and investing into the right ones for your business and team – especially if you sell or handle food or even cocktail ingredients etc.

  1. Operate a “clean as you go” policy…

You will no doubt employ the services of a professional cleaner  to thoroughly clean the front of house and bar areas before opening each day, and starting off every morning with a clean venue is critical.

However, it’s very important to instill a “clean as you go” policy with staff members, to ensure that your premises always look perfect.  Having an effective clean as you go policy will minimise hygiene risks and any other risks to health or safety for staff members and  customers.

In essence, it ensures staff members tackle any spills or other issues straight away, and ensures that they take the time to continually clean throughout the day, wiping surfaces, and equipment, removing waste and tidying up after themselves immediately and at all times to make sure the bar, cellar, surfaces and all walkways are always clutter free and clean.

  1. Systems galore – Draw up “how to” hygiene guides

As well as operating a clean as you go policy, having strict systems for other areas of cleaning is a great idea.

You can draw up easy to follow, clear how-to guides for beer line cleaning (even if you use a high tech system), closing the bar down, sanitising sparklers, washing glassware, cleaning the toilets, keeping the cellar immaculate, cleaning floors and front of house will help you – and your staff – be more confident when it comes to ensuring everything is done correctly and to a high standard.

The guides can also include details of the products that should be used for each area of cleaning and any guidelines for using them safely.

Having the systems clearly visible in the venue – and providing digital copies for staff members – can help employees to stick to the checklists clearly until they are well versed in your methods. This will also help staff members to crack on with tasks without having to ask for recaps or help – something that will help them feel more confident in the long run.

  1. Allocate responsibility to team members for aspects of cleaning

It’s important that younger or less experienced members of the team feel like they’re contributing to the overall running of the bar, so allocating areas of cleaning to certain members of staff can help them to take responsibility and become an “expert” in that area!

Play up to skill sets; if someone is a tech whizz, let them be in charge of the beer line cleans using high tech apps and systems, and if someone is great at customer service, give them the front of house cleaning job so they can chat to customers and represent the venue in a positive, friendly manner.

Remember to re-allocate the tasks to a new member of staff if a team member leaves the business.

  1. Instill strict personal hygiene standards for all staff members

Having high standards when it comes to personal hygiene is crucial, but these tasks do fall to individuals – so training them in areas such as hand washing and sanitising, cleaning uniforms, avoiding touching their faces, keeping their hair tidy and avoiding wearing certain pieces of jewellery is very important.

These standards can be covered in the initial training sessions, but it is important to keep an eye on these aspects every day so customer confidence can be maintained. After all, your team members are on centre stage for customers, so their habits and appearance will have an impact on customer perception and retention.

It goes without saying that bar managers, owners and landlords have a part to play, too. Keeping up to speed on new ideas and processes is  important, as getting stuck in your ways won’t do your business any good.  Keeping abreast of new technology, and having a working knowledge of new guidelines, new products and cleaning techniques is also crucial – as some of it will save you money, save you time, save waste and increase profits!