Just one mistake by an untrained employee can cause a foodborne illness outbreak at your restaurant.

During the summer, when temperatures rise and seasonal or inexperienced employees are hired, things can get dicey if you don’t train your work staff carefully.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, restaurants employ about one-third of all working teenagers in the United States. For many, this is their first job experience so training is essential to their success. In addition, our industry boosts seasonal employment, especially during the summer.

The transient nature of seasonal employment is one reason why providing proper training is integral to maintaining a safe space for customers to dine in. Here, Ashley Miller, one of our food-safety experts, shares three important tips to keep everyone – from your customers to the management to your staff – healthy and happy:

  1. Train, train and retrain. When hiring a new employee, whether he or she is a seasonal, part-time or full-time staff member, make sure you reinforce food-safety training multiple times and retrain them when you notice tasks performed inappropriately. Organization is key when it comes to making sure all employees receive appropriate training for their job function.

    Tip: Create a training matrix that identifies job function, training required and whether or not the employee has received that training.
  1. Train seasonal workers the same as full-time staff. Just because some employees work seasonally doesn’t mean they shouldn’t receive the necessary training to perform their jobs properly. Make sure you know which tasks and training are critical for each job function and have the right number of employees working each shift to perform only the tasks they’re trained to do.

    Tip: If staffers aren’t cross-trained to perform multiple duties, don’t give them tasks they can’t handle. For example, at lunch rush, don’t turn your cashier into a food-prep employee.
  1. Teach every employee general best practices. All food handlers should know the basics of food-safety training; don’t limit it to preventing food contamination only.

    Tip: Make sure they understand and perform proper handwashing and hand care, are knowledgeable in the appropriate use of single-use gloves, practice personal hygiene, and are able to know policies for and report potential health issues.

Learn more about food safety practices for the restaurant industry at FoodSafetyFocus and ServSafe.