With recent press regarding transparency around hygiene ratings, the need to be open (and more importantly HACCP compliant for your customers’ sake) is now greater than ever. More than 1 in 15 foodservice businesses and more than 1 in nine takeaways in the UK have received a score of 2 or lower during food hygiene inspections from their EHO (Environmental Health Officer) because they are unclean or have poor (or no) procedures in place.

How can you be sure that you have everything ready to present so that you won’t be one of them?

The best answer to that question is by having well organised and documented HACCP checks in place, as well as a properly trained and trusted team to implement them.

Don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it sounds…

What is HACCP?

HACCP – or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point – is a plan used to regulate and standardise food safety procedures. There are 5 main HACCP driven ideas and questions to ask yourself to know if your business is prepared and safe for your guests to dine in:

  • Hazard Analysis – What are the possible hazards that are occurring in your establishment? What are the chances your chef loses his watch in today’s daily soup?
  • Critical Control Points – Which stages in your food preparation, before serving to guests, can hazards can be controlled? Are you certain that chicken you just plated isn’t still frozen in the middle?
  • Establish Limits “Fail-Safe” For Service – What standards are set in your establishment to ensure food safety? And a binder of half-done paper checklists does not count as having standards.
  • Monitoring – How are you ensuring that employees are carrying out these standards and procedures often enough and accurately? Your bartender may tell you they checked the fridges but how do you know he wasn’t just entertaining the locals?
  • Corrective Action – Are proper protocols in place and followed when foodborne illness does occur? A customer called and said your sandwich gave them food poisoning. Now what?

It’s 100% impossible to prevent all instances of bacteria and virus in food service, but the important thing for you and your staff is to be able to identify and block them before they reach your customers and can cause them to fall ill.

A restaurant on top of their HACCP game will gain a good reputation, as well as an advantage over their competitors because their customers can trust the safety and quality of the food that they are eating.

How can you become HACCP compliant?

Using informative and well-curated checklists is the best way to know confidently that your team is doing all that they need to do when they are supposed to do it and to ensure that the food is kept safe for customers.

By digitalising checklists, you ensure that you can run your business confidently, knowing they are getting done when they are supposed to by the person in charge of completing them and have an accessible history of them upon inspection. No more digging through drawers and binders for the missing checklist – and you know it’s always the one you need that goes missing!

There are a variety of different types of checklists you can create that can be done daily, weekly, monthly and ad hoc. Some examples of these would be:

  • Fridge & Freezer Checks – These can be used to make sure that all your fridge and freezer units, as well as the food inside, are consistently kept at the proper temperature.
  • Pest Control Checks – Effective pest control is essential to keep pests out of your premises and prevent them from spreading harmful bacteria.
  • Opening & Closing Checklist – You and your staff must do certain checks every time you open and close. This helps you maintain the basic standards you need to make sure that your business makes food safely.
  • Personal Hygiene and Fitness-To-Work Audits – It is vital for staff to follow good personal hygiene practices – washing hands at appropriate times, wearing the proper uniform, not ill, etc – to help prevent bacteria from spreading to food.
  • Food Storage Checks – Keeping raw and ready-to-eat food separate, as well as labelled and dated correctly, and disposed of when out of date, is essential to prevent infecting those who consume them from falling ill.

Creating and enforcing checklists like these in your establishment is a sure-fire way to guarantee a great EHO visit when it happens (and it will happen) as well as allow you to walk away confident that guests can eat safely at your restaurant. For more information check out the HACCP website and also your local council website will have further information regarding EHO inspections, for example, here is the City of London.

If you’re looking for an easy way to digitalise your food safety compliance checklists, take a look at how OpsBase can help your team stay on track.

Samantha Graves

Samantha Graves

Digital Marketing Manager

With a career spanning 10 years in a mix of hospitality and technology marketing, Sam brings her know-how to the OpsBase blog on a regular basis. Focused on providing quality hospitality marketing advice, some favourite topics include CRO, SEO and best practice content marketing techniques. Llama lover, food scoffer, all round digital native.

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