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        Food safety, taught simply.

Bartenders: Outsider Looking In

    It's Friday night, the work week is over, and the thought of relaxation has set in.  What to do?  Go home and watch a movie?  Go to Bed?  Go dancing?  There are many ways in which patrons like to spend their Friday nights after a long and stressful work week.  One of the most common activities these professionals engage in is having a drink at their favorite watering hole, served with a flare by a passionate bartender, or a nice person who can pop the top and talk shop. Bartenders are famous for two things: preparing delicious cocktails, and creating long-lasting relationships with their patrons. Most bartenders are warm, friendly, and good listeners.  

    Although the bartender understands that a chef handles food constantly they don't realize that ice and garnishes are considered food.  Also most bar areas have sinks to properly clean and sanitize the drinkware.  So unfortunately they can also be famous for disregarding proper food safety practices if the knowledge of proper food handling simply is not there.  This lack of understanding can be attributed to many things including lack of managemant supervision, proper traning, customer demands (we have all been there), and overwhelming peaks in customer counts (a good problem), just to name a few.  

    Recently, a friend of ours went to eat a a busy popular restaurant, and he/she observed its bartenders disregarding certain aspects of food safety to its paying customers, their self included. To give you an idea, here are some practices that the patron noticed: touching dirty plates and then placing a garnish on a cutomer's drink without previously washing his/her hands; improperly washing, rinsing and sanitizing glassware; and allowing waitstaff to garnish their own beverages for service.  Remember customers don't normally watch the chef make their food but they do often watch the barkeep make drinks. wash glasses, wash hands, etc. 

    Of course it can be challenging for our "happy drink" providers to think about safe food handling practices, especially when three deep at the bar, but most commonly we find that bartenders and waitstaff are overlooked when food safety training is concerned.  Managers and supervisors, alike, often forget that food safety does not end in the kitchen;  instead, food safety covers all aspects of a restaurant setting. The restaurant mentioned previously is not intended to run down bartenders; rather, its purpose is to provide an eye opener for managers to train every staff member to uphold  the same priciples and standards of safety, whether the employee is making a drink, cooking chicken penne pasta, or simply taking out the trash. As long as restaurant employees are given the tools and knowledge to be successful, there are no limits to safe customer satisfaction.  Be an example, be passionate, and please let us know if we can with any questions on bar food safety.