cleanliness is next to godliness
originally posted on february 25th 2010
in the midst of what has turned out to be one of the busiest weeks ever for us, we had our first environmental health inspection at central station last thursday.
contrary to what some may lead you to believe, it is things like this that are just as important as espresso extraction, menu, or milk quality when running a coffee bar business. You may well serve the best espresso in the country, but if your premises are dirty and with no cleaning systems in place then two things will happen;
1 – you will be shut down and barred from trading.
2 – the customers simply will not come back!
newcastle city council operate a ‘scores on the doors‘ system, where food businesses are awarded anything from 0 to 5 stars for their compliance to food standards regulations. the idea being that a customer can quickly and confidently make a purchasing decision based on a simple system. thing is, its simply not just a case of keeping your premises clean and well maintained…you now need to record and show evidence of that fact! every morning and evening checklists need to be filled out and signed, fridge temperatures need to be checked and recorded, training given needs to be proven, and health and safety compliance needs to be shown on paper.
fortunately, in our last inspection at jesmond about a year ago we were able to show that the place was kept spotlessly clean and that we had all the systems and checklists in place. we were awarded the maximum 5 star rating, so when opening up at central station last august we were able to adapt and modify these documents to suit the new premises. when the inspector called our two baristas on duty that morning were able to talk him through our cleaning regime and show our paperwork to prove it.
so now we have two premises and a total of 10 stars – the maximum we can get. the aim is now to make sure we keep on top of everything and maintain our high standards.
there you go; it isn’t sexy or exciting, but it is the cold, harsh reality of running a coffee bar business.