Continuous development for all levels of staff is an essential for businesses to progress, it set high standards, whether that is safety, customer service and for those operating within the food service sector, hygiene.
There are various levels of qualifications that can be obtained by everyone associated with the business, starting with the lowest, basic hygiene up the higher standards for managers and supervisory staff.
One such business is Urban Burgers, based in South Yorkshire and have already established an outstanding reputation in both Doncaster and Rotherham where their current outlets are based.
A family -owned concern, Urban Burgers opened their first outlet in Doncaster in 2017 and are a progressive newcomer into the fast-food sector and while a relatively small at present, they currently have three outlets, have plans to expand the business over the coming years.
The start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown then other restrictions setback those plans by a year but with the country now open once again, Urban Burgers is once again seeking to expand.
To this end, they constantly investing in having a highly skilled and trained workforce and I was fortunate to attend for two days of a three-day course given to managers, ‘Food Safety Supervision Level Three’ accredited by the CIEH, delivered by Adrian Lee.
This course is aimed at those managing and supervising kitchen and who have already attained Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Level Two. The course itself has been structured to deal with the more complex problems associated with the subject in depth.
The teaching began with an introduction to food safety and the key terms and why it is important food businesses have high standards of food safety and these are clear to everyone working within it.
Legislation governing the food industry was also explained but the overriding principles of it are quite simple, protecting food from farm to fork, reducing the risk of food- borne illness and preventing unfit food from entering the supply chain. It then explains this is enforced by Environmental Health Officers, whose powers are greater than the police as they have the right of automatic entry
After a relatively sedate beginning, it moves onto the hazards, of which there are many. Most people are aware of the danger of microbial contamination of raw food, both bacteria and viruses, and how room temperature provides the perfect conditions for bacterial to multiply.
The course goes into great detail to explain how this can be prevented from keeping frozen food at a temperature below -18 degC and chilled food below 5degC.
It also explains the relationship between time and temperature in bacterial growth and how controls use can minimise the growth and the cooking temperatures that can kill the bacteria.
Training my staff is essential as they are the ones who will be taking the company forward as more premises open
There are other sources of contamination, such as the environment, nobody wants to find hair, fingernails or even a plaster in their food! There is also the risk of chemical contamination, and we are all aware of allergens, there have been numerous cases reported where persons have died from peanut contaminated food, which is the most well-known. There are in fact 14 types of foodstuffs which can be injurious to health.
By far the largest part of the course is devoted to good food safety practice, where it looks at the application and monitoring in the workplace of the hazards that can jeopardise food safety, converting theory to practice.
On the course for Urban Burgers, practical discussions and examples of how they work in tbeir kitchens, gave rise to lively discussions. This was a feature of the whole course and helped keep it entertaining.
We have all been in training at some point where we get overloaded with information and struggle to take it all in. I asked several of the ‘students’ how they were enjoying the course and the consensus was it was well presented.
During the part regarding cleaning, Store manager Jake explained the cleaning practices. All fridges were cleaned daily and underwent a deep clean fortnightly. The cookers were given a deep clean three times a week
What was also noticeable was everyone is different in the way they assimilate the information. Some do it by active participation, asking questions and discussion while other read the accompanying textbook, where everything taught is contained and provides the reference material. Jane, a general manager, took copious notes throughout. “I find it easier to take all information in by taking notes,” she said.
“I’m able to write and while concentrating on what’s being said. Doing so gives me a greater understanding of the subject.”
On the final day of the course, Hazard Analysis Critical Point Control (HACCP) was explained. Urban Burgers already operate to good HACCP practice where everything is recorded. From Dating the deliveries and then further checks and record keeping up to the point of sale to the customer, where the temperature of the cooked food is recorded.
The final section explains the obligations of food hygiene training for all. Regulation (EC)852/2004 states: ‘ Food business operators are to ensure that food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activity.’
This places the burden on managers and supervisors give new starters induction training. This is to ensure that all food handlers are fully trained in the essentials of food safety before they start work.
It also explains the need for further training and to ensure all staff have training records, something another Urban general manager Holly stressed was vital. “I’ve been with the company since February 2020, I’m very Urban! I have a good work/life balance and love being hands on. Training my staff is essential as they are the ones who will be taking the company forward as more premises open.”
As for Urban’s burgers, they are one of the best I’ve ever tasted, along with their skins on chips, chipped from potatoes produced solely for them. I’d highly recommend them should you ever be passing, and there’s a vegetarian option for those who don’t eat meat!