Developing a HACCP team is an essential part of efficient restaurant management as well as a tool for maintaining an all-systems check of standard food safety procedures. While company managers and head chefs may have the final say when it comes to the meal presented to the customer, safe food handling techniques require the commitment of everyone involved in the restaurant's operation, from food purveyors and janitorial staff to the cooks and waitstaff.
Contact your local health department for information on where to get HACCP manuals and study tools. A health inspector may be available to present HACCP procedures at the first team meeting as a way to jump start the process.
Evaluate all aspects of the restaurant operations where direct contact with the food is a factor. This will show which representatives should make up the HACCP team. In larger operations this could be a group of four to six people while a HAACP team for a small diner may consist solely of the owner/manager.
Select a well-rounded team who can implement policies and be the eyes and ears at the ground level Staff with good leadership skills, are able to follow direction and work well in a team will make the best choices. Present chosen team members with HACCP study materials prior to the first meeting.
Arrange a meeting time with the team members and ask them to focus on their particular work areas and provide a list of all areas where HACCP principles need to be applied. For the front of house this may be the condiment storage area, coffee station or salad bar, essentially anywhere food contamination may occur.
Ask the representative from each area to develop a checklist of standard operating procedures that can be evaluated daily, weekly and/or monthly. For example, the kitchen representative may require daily monitoring of temperatures of all freezer and refrigeration units and establish an SOP for the cleaning and refilling of sanitizing buckets. Make each representative in charge of their check list, including implementation and record-keeping.
Schedule regular HACCP meetings to evaluate procedures, present operation area reports and conduct food safety awareness trainings. The team facilitator and/or presenter should rotate, giving each team member a chance to present a report on their particular area and discuss ways in which they are following and implementing procedures.