Any business operating in the food industry, be it hospitality, manufacture or retail should be aware of the importance of food hygiene ratings. These are provided to any business where customers can eat outside of their home including hospitals, hotels, schools and cafes. Businesses where food can be purchased for later consumption will also be provided with a rating.
These ratings are accessible to the public and can impact the perception of a business. Lower ratings or a fail during an inspection can also mean a business must take immediate action to remedy the situation or risk closure.
As such it can be useful to use a reporting service for your business. This will ensure that you can keep track of the performance of your company and competitors in your area.
There are two main types of hygiene rating schemes that could be relevant in the hospitality sector. These are the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) and the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS).
The FHRS provides a score for three areas: Food Hygiene and Safety, Structural Compliance and Confidence in Management. Food hygiene and safety relates to how food is prepared cooked and stored, while structural compliance measures facilities such as levels of cleanliness and ventilation. Confidence in management covers how food safety is managed to ensure standards will be maintained in the future.
Businesses are provided with a score of 0-5 for each of the three areas. While a score of five is ‘very good’ a score of 0 will mean that urgent action must be taken and could suggest a danger to the safety of customers. You can find out more about how to score highly on the scheme in the article "How to get a 5 star Food Hygiene Rating".
The FHIS is a similar scheme operating through Scotland and a food safety officer will award a business a ‘Pass’ or an ‘Improvement Required’ if legal requirements are not reached. Businesses in Scotland can also receive an Eat Safe award if they go above and beyond legal requirements.
Legal and hygiene compliance teams can use bespoke business reporting services to get accurate up to date reports for their business as well as competitors. These reports can be customised to provide the key information or data that you need.
By doing this, business teams can get a clear, easy to digest summary of how their company is performing. For instance, large corporations can see clearly how the food hygiene standards of regional branches compare and can filter this into their corporate reporting structure. Or, businesses can view historical data to see whether the company has improved in the necessary areas.
Alternatively businesses will also be able to explore patterns of how local authorities handle inspections including the time each individual authority takes between rechecks.
Using food hygiene compliance reports like this, you are able to effectively design strategies when addressing problem areas or pinpoint an issue that has not been resolved based on real data. You will also be able to compare food hygiene standards to competitors in the local area.
Findings from these reports can also be published and promoted to quickly alert customers and clients of high standards. Ultimately using this service, companies can make the most of positive ratings that they have received.
We hope this helps you understand the importance of food hygiene ratings and how they can be used to benefit your business.
You can find out more about our bespoke business reporting service here and you can learn about How are Food Hygiene Ratings Calculated and How Often are Food Hygiene Inspections Carried Out? in our other articles.