Gel Has Had its Day
No were are not talking hair gel, this is all about anti-bacterial hand gels that are often used to replace hand washing where a wash hand basin is not available – No more says the FSA in their e-coli guidance documents that have now been issued to all environmental health departments throughout the UK, and have also become part of the re write of the Event Safety [purple] Guide which is the bible for all event organisers
How do they work?
Alcohol gels work by stripping away the outer layer of oil on the skin, thereby destroying any “transient” microorganisms present on the surface of the hands. After use, re-growth of bacteria on the skin tends to occur slowly, thereby effectively keeping “residual” micro-flora that reside in deeper layers of skin from coming to the surface.
The problem is that like disinfectants used to clean surfaces, their effectiveness is vastly reduced when dirt, food or anything else is on hands as it will make the alcohol less effective.
The situation for caterers if you still want to use anti-bacterial gel it is necessary to first wash your hands with soap and water which defeats the whole reason for using them in the first place, which is why all the new guidelines state, ‘Anti-bacterial hand gels should not be used instead of thorough hand washing’.
Hospitals - Why do they still use them?
If you’re wondering why they are still used in hospitals as a suitable alternative to hand washing for health-care personnel in health-care settings, it is because many healthcare workers routinely must clean their hands multiple times per hour, the use of alcohol gels while moving between patients has been shown to favourably impact hand-cleansing adherence by staff due to time saved over traditional hand washing methods.
So what do you do if you haven't got hand wash facilities as part of your kit?
If you haven’t, you need to get thinking before next season
NCASS have come up with a workable and more importantly an affordable solution
The Streetfood revolution and why it STILL matters
It’s been about a year since I posted the blog titled The Street Food Revolution and Why it Matters. With the move at the end of the month to the Hobgoblin pub, I felt the time was right to speak a little more about the principles of street food and why they have continued to shape how my business develops. The opportunities the street food model brings are something I aim to continue to utilise even after the move to the Hobgoblin.
Street food is about more than a fancy gimmick. While the idea of buying gourmet food from a van that’s traditionally only ever sold cash and carry value burgers is undoubtedly quirky, there’s a whole deeper set of principles that are central to the Street Food movement at play.
Low prices, high quality
In the wake of the horse meat scandal, the need to know our food has been sourced well has become of even greater importance Many restaurants rely on large wholesalers for virtually all of their food, whether its meat, cheese or vegetables and while this does undoubtedly help keep costs down and save time, there is a catch. When our food is distributed in this way it can become increasingly difficult to ensure traceability Is that beef really 100% beef or does it contain something else? It’s passed through so many different hands it only takes one weak link for the whole system to fail. This is precisely what happened with the horse meat scandal.
The greatest benefit of the street food model is the overheads are incredibly low. That means it’s possible to provide the very best local, sustainably sourced ingredients and not charge £10 – £15 for a meal. While many may argue my burgers are expensive, priced between £5 and £9.50, it’s important to keep it in context. If you were to buy a burger at a gastro pub, you’d be paying similar prices, if not more. But free from the constraints of expenses like waiters, heating and business rates, the street food vendor has the opportunity to go all out and buy the finest ingredients in the land. Best of all, this can be served up at a price affordable to the average Jo.
Chef to Customer interaction
In a traditional restaurant setting, actually being able to speak to the chef is a rarity. Often hidden away around the back, sweating buckets in a kitchen the person cooking your food has little connection with the person they are serving. This has two main drawbacks. Firstly, its possible the chef will not care quite as much about the food he/she is serving up. They don’t have to see the disappointed faces of the customers when an inadequate meal is presented to them. While this may be great for the chefs stress levels, it’s not good for the customer. What isn’t good for the customer isn’t great for the business, or the food industry in general.
When the chef is right there in front of the customer there is just no hiding. You have to have clean fingernails. You can’t drop it on the floor and give it a quick wipe because no one will notice. You are being watched constantly and the pressure can get a bit much, but if that’s what it takes to inspire excellence then so be it!
The other great benefit of the street food model is the fact that with this new interaction, it makes the whole experience just that little more personal. You can see the sweat and tears on the face of the person making this food for you. If the passion is there it will shine through for all to see, not just in the way a chef speaks about the food, but in the food itself!
It brings people together
In street food, there are no set tables, no pre booking, no stuffy waiters. It’s a big bunch of people, standing around, excited and happy to be there. This isn’t like the queue at the supermarket checkouts where everyone’s faces look miserable as sin. When you get twenty people or more queuing for some street food, an amazing thing happens. People start talking to each other! One of the problems with the traditional restaurant setting is so many efforts go towards making the experience seem relaxed and personal, but it’s all a charade, none of it feels real. Maybe the people standing around in the rain waiting for a bit of tasty grub are a bit cold and wet, maybe they are cursing the fact they didn’t bring their wellies, but at least they are communicating. I see complete strangers strike up conversation every day, something you never ever see at other locations. Think, how often does it happen at a train station, or on a bus? The casual atmosphere of street food bleeds out into the street and affects everyone involved. It’s almost as if everyone is becoming liberated by the whole experience.
Offering ongoing training may increase staff loyalty by up to 50%.
A study commissioned by Big Hospitality Magazine & Restaurant Magazine found that trained staff are likely to stay with a company for an average of six and a half years as opposed to four years for untrained staff.
By developing your staff you will not only improve their ability to do the job effectively, but they are also more likely to understand your business and their opportunities within it, breeding loyalty and a far more effective workforce.
For details on how to offer continual professional development to staff check out the NCASS Training website at www.ncasstraining.co.uk.
Or call the NCASS office on 0121 603 2524
Online Training From NCASS
Digbeth Dining Club - Birmingham's answer to StreetFood
I sat there on a Picnic bench in an old industrial lot, sandwiched between high walls in the shadow of Digbeth's massive black railway arches. Perhaps it doesn't sound like an inspiring scene. But surrounding me were the smiling, laughing faces of people of all ages, eating incredible artisan street food, drinking, listening to great music, interacting - and I could see the same look of wonder, the same disbelieving smiles that said everyone here was thinking the same thing...
"This doesn't happen in Birmingham."
Well, it didn't. But things are changing.
Just past The Custard Factory - now a creative hub and one of the coolest places in the city - you'll find a new treasure. Tucked away beneath the dark, towering railway arches is a new bar that embraces the industrial heritage of the city, while giving it new face: Spotlight.
Bare, minimal and stylish, we can hope this is the first of many new venues that have some real character.
Street Food.org.uk Blog
Check by regularly to read and share our thoughts on what's happening in the industry & what we're upto...
Off The Grid
World Food Collective