Food Service Training: What Is the Most Important Skill to Teach?


What is the most critical skill to cover in your food service training? Here’s a hint: it pertains to something you do every day

We have all seen signs in restaurant washrooms that say, “All employees must wash their hands before returning to work.” It is good that those signs are posted, because all restaurant employees must wash their hands often, correctly, and at the right times. That’s because hand washing is, by far, the most important skill to teach any employee who works around food.

The following statistics underscore how imperative it is for training to cover the proper procedures and protocols:

  • The spread of germs from the hands of food handlers accounts for 89% of all foodborne illnesses that are contracted in restaurants.
  • 76 million Americans every year are affected by food-borne illnesses, and 33 million of those people became ill from eating in restaurants.
  • 325,000 people every year are hospitalized because of food-borne illnesses.
  • 5,000 people every year die from those illnesses.

Basic Protocols for Effective Hand Washing

We all think we know how to wash our hands, and we probably expect that our restaurant employees know how to wash their hands too. That could explain why we fail to understand the importance of establishing stringent routines to prevent the spread of food-borne diseases.

Your employees need to be trained to wash their hands:

  • After clearing tables or taking out the trash.
  • After eating or drinking, even if that only means taking a drink of water from a clean glass.
  • After picking up anything that has fallen onto the floor.
  • After shaking hands with other people.
  • After touching doorknobs, soiled plates and linens – any items that have not been thoroughly sanitized.
  • After using the bathroom, sneezing, handling money, using cellphones, or touching their hair.
  • After using hand sanitizers, because they contain chemicals that should not be allowed to contaminate food.
  • Before removing clean dishes and cutlery from dishwashers.
  • Thoroughly, with appropriate soaps, and then to dry them with single-use paper towels, not cloth towels that have been used by other people.

Is Your Restaurant Training Teaching Your Staffers to Wash their Hands Correctly?

There are other topics that must be covered in training for food service workers, including protocols for food storage and preparation, steps to take to prevent food allergies, and more. But hand-washing is the first and more important of all.

If you want to know more about delivering effective training to your restaurant and food service workers, be sure to check out Tortal Training’s industry-leading Out of the Box training solutions.