Food Safety Food Manager

How to Hold an Effective Stand-Up Food Safety Training

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Trust20 Contributors • 10 minute read

When you work in the food industry, you know that safety should always be on the menu–and to stay at the top of your game, you need to invest in regular food safety training for you and every other member of your team.

But let’s be honest–sometimes, food safety training can feel dry (like overcooked chicken).

If you’ve ever felt like a food safety training drags on and on–and your team forgets the material almost immediately after it ends–you might consider stand-up or mini food safety training sessions instead. These quick, highly effective training sessions will leave your team confident, knowledgeable, and ready to tackle whatever life throws their way.

In this post, we’ll give you more information on how you can hold effective stand-up food safety training without boring your staff to tears.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Why Are Food Safety Trainings Important?

Tips for Holding an Effective Stand-Up Food Safety Training

Who Should Participate in Food Safety Training?

How Often Should Stand-Up Food Safety Training Be Held?

Need Help Creating Effective Food Safety Training?

Why Are Food Safety Trainings Important?

We all know that food safety is a top priority in our industry. That's why it's critical to hold regular food safety training. It reinforces the important principles and practices we must follow and shows our staff that we genuinely care about their well-being and our customers' health.

It's not just about checking off a box and saying we did the training. It's about creating an environment where staff can openly ask questions and become more knowledgeable about food safety. Plus, holding regular training helps form good habits that become second nature, making it easier to pass health inspections with flying colors.

And let's remember the added benefits! Food safety training can help staff develop problem-solving, communication, and customer service skills. So, not only are we improving our food safety game, but we're also improving our overall operations.1

That said, holding training that’s both comprehensive and effective can be a challenge. Sitting your staff down for hours, forcing them to stare at PowerPoint slides while they struggle to stay awake, is not a successful approach.

Ensuring your team members retain the information they’ve learned can also be challenging–enter stand-up training. Let’s take a closer look at why that’s the case. 

Tips for Holding an Effective Stand-Up Food Safety Training

Nothing is more important than the safety of your customers and the success of your business. But where to begin?

Here are some tips to help you get started in the planning process. 

Consider Different Learning Styles

We all learn differently–some are visual learners, while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners.

You'll want to consider all learning styles to ensure effective training. Here are some general tips to accommodate each:

Visual Learners:

  • Supplement your training with graphics, diagrams, charts, and videos.

  • Create a slideshow presentation to demonstrate proper food handling techniques.

Auditory Learners:

  • Incorporate verbal instructions into your training.

  • Use catchy phrases or acronyms to help them remember key points.

Kinesthetic Learners:

  • Provide hands-on activities or demonstrations.
  • Encourage them to take notes or write down key points to aid retention.

By catering to all learning styles, you'll create a well-rounded training program that will appeal to everyone. And remember to make it fun and interactive! Incorporate games and quizzes to keep everyone engaged and on their toes.

Make Things as Hands-On as Possible

To ensure that all your team members know the ins and outs of safe food handling, everyone should get hands-on (regardless of learning style). That means no more boring slideshows or dry lectures.

Just think about it. Would you rather learn about food safety from someone talking at you or by actually getting your hands on the food and practicing proper handling techniques? The latter sounds more appealing (and effective) for just about everyone.

How can you make your mini food safety training as hands-on as possible? Here are a few ideas:

  • Set up stations where staff members can practice different techniques, like proper hand washing, using thermometers to check temperatures, and storing food properly.

  • Use real-life scenarios to demonstrate the importance of following food safety guidelines.

  • Have team members work in teams to practice food safety procedures together. That helps them learn and encourages teamwork and communication in the kitchen.

  • Remember the power of visuals! Use pictures and diagrams to illustrate different concepts and techniques. And bring in examples of different types of food and demonstrate how to handle them safely.

Look at the FDA Food Code (and local guidelines)

Considering the guidance from the FDA when developing food safety training is always a good idea.2,3 Review federal, state, and other local requirements, then use those standards to guide what you’ll include in your training.

Protocols in the Food Code, like HACCP, help provide a comprehensive guide for ensuring that your food is safe and your kitchen is up to par regarding cleanliness and hygiene. From handwashing techniques to hazardous material storage, there's plenty of vital information to cover.

Consider Working With a Third Party for a Fresh Set of Eyes

Consider working with a third-party expert like Trust20 for a fresh perspective on your food safety training. Trust20 provides top-notch food safety training and certification, ensuring your team is always up-to-date with the latest food safety practices and regulations.

Conduct a Safety Analysis

A safety analysis is crucial ahead of any food safety training, as it helps identify potential hazards and risks in your kitchen.

Start by analyzing your kitchen layout, equipment, and workflow to determine if any potential hazards exist. Your analysis should include ensuring all equipment is well-maintained and in good working order, checking for proper storage of food and cleaning supplies, following proper food handling procedures, and providing sufficient training for all staff.

Once you've identified all the potential hazards, it's time to create an action plan to minimize or eliminate the risks. That could involve implementing new protocols, investing in additional safety equipment, or providing additional training to staff. Whatever the solution, ensure your team implements it fully and that you regularly review the plan so it remains effective.

Identify Your Goals, Strengths, and Weaknesses

Take the time to identify your goals, strengths, and weaknesses.

What do you hope to achieve with your mini-training? Are you looking to improve overall hygiene and sanitation practices, or are you trying to address a specific issue? Knowing your goals will help you tailor your training to suit your needs.

Now, onto your strengths. What areas of food safety do you and your team already excel in? Highlighting your strengths can boost confidence and create a positive training atmosphere. Your strengths can also serve as examples for others to follow and emulate.

Looking at your weaknesses will help you acknowledge the areas needing improvement and develop strategies to overcome them. Remember, being able to recognize a weakness is not harmful–it's about improving and ensuring food safety for all.

Do Knowledge Checks Before and After

To ensure your training is as effective as possible, do a knowledge check before and after your stand-up training. It might feel slow, but it's a game-changer. 

You can ask your team questions as a group, popping around the ground, and use their responses to gauge what your team already knows and what areas need more attention. That will help you tailor your mini-training to focus on the most critical information for your team's needs.

Then, after the training, ask some more questions! That will gauge how much your team has learned and help you identify areas that still need improvement. Plus, it's a great way to celebrate your team's growth and give them a pat on the back for a job well done. 

Establish Incentive Programs

In addition to the basics like handwashing and temperature control, we recommend setting up some incentive programs to keep your team members engaged and motivated.

There are a few ways you can do this. First, create a leaderboard that tracks which staff members consistently follow food safety protocols. Feature the leaderboard in a prominent spot in the kitchen so everyone can see it. You could even offer a reward (think gift card or extra time off) to the top performer each week or month.

You could also run a cleanliness contest. Challenge your staff to keep their workstations as clean and tidy as possible during their shifts. The team with the cleanest station at the end of each week can win a prize, like a gift card or extra time off.

If a team member goes above and beyond in their food safety practices, give them a shout-out and some extra recognition in front of the rest of the team. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way!

Throw a pop quiz at the end of each training session, and the team member who gets the highest score wins a prize. That will incentivize your staff to pay attention during the training and reinforce the knowledge they've already learned.

Cross Train Staff

Cross-training is a way to make sure that all of your team members are well-versed in every aspect of your operation, including food safety. By cross-training your team, you'll be able to ensure that everyone knows the ins and outs of proper food handling, from the prep station to the serving line.

Take a close look at your operations and identify areas where your staff could benefit from further training. Is the kitchen staff up-to-date on all current food safety regulations? Are your servers handling food properly when they're serving customers? 

Understand Who You’re Talking To

Take the time to consider your audience as you’re designing your training, as no two people or establishments will be exactly alike.5

Start by thinking about their experience level. Are you talking to seasoned vets who have been in the industry for years, or are you dealing with newbies who are still learning the ropes? Knowing this can help you tailor your training to meet their needs.

Next, consider the type of establishment they work in. Are you speaking to fine dining chefs, fast food cooks, or school cafeteria staff? Each of these groups has different priorities regarding food safety, so it's essential to address those specific concerns.

Another thing to think about is the culture of your workplace. Do your team members come from diverse backgrounds with different languages and customs? That may require you to use visual aids or bring in a translator to ensure everyone understands the information.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Nobody wants to sit through a boring lecture, so limit your lesson to the ten or fifteen minutes before a shift starts or before people go home for the night.

You can keep the content interesting by including plenty of details and continuing to ask questions. You can still get into the nitty-gritty of food safety in a short time. Talk about sneeze guards and hairnets, HACCP plans, and handwashing techniques. Your team will appreciate the depth of your knowledge and be more likely to take your training seriously.

Inject some humor and wit into your training to keep things lively. Try using funny anecdotes or memorable visuals to illustrate key points. The more you can engage your audience's attention, the more likely they will remember what you're teaching them.

Consider Using Technology for Training

Gone are the days of drab and boring food safety training sessions that put even the most caffeine-fueled person to sleep. With technology, you can spice things up and make the training more engaging and interactive.

Digital platforms, like webinars, online courses, and video tutorials, are a great way to hold more intensive training without gathering your team together. These platforms are flexible and convenient, allowing your staff to access the training at their own pace and on their own time.

And don’t forget about the power of social media! You can use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share food safety tips and reminders. Plus, they provide a fun and informal way for your staff to stay up-to-date with industry news and trends.

Who Should Participate in Food Safety Training?

Everybody! Whether you're flipping burgers or washing dishes, you have a role in ensuring that the food you serve is safe to eat.

Think about it–what happens if the server doesn't wash their hands before handling your dish? Or the cook feels like they don’t have time to check the temperature of a chicken dish? It could lead to serious health issues for your customers!

If you work in or around a kitchen, you need regular food safety training.

How Often Should Stand-Up Food Safety Training Be Held?

Investing time in food safety is an investment in your customers’ health–and in the success of your business.4

But how often should we be holding these mini trainings?

You can hold brief check-in sessions almost daily to keep everyone on the same page! You can hold a longer, more formal refresher training once a month. Implementing both types of training helps ensure everyone retains critical food safety information–making it easier to put into practice.

Need Help Creating Effective Food Safety Training?

We know that food safety training can feel like a chore, but it's necessary. That's why we've got a quick, easy, and effective solution–Trust20's extensive suite of products.

With Trust20, you'll get food safety training that works. Our products are designed specifically for busy foodservice professionals who don't have much time to waste. You'll learn everything you need to know in the shortest time possible. 

You can use Trust20’s courses to help your staff build a food safety foundation–from temperature control to cross-contamination–and then hold stand-up training sessions to keep your team’s memories sharp.

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  1. International Journal of Food Science: Food Safety Training Is Associated with Improved Knowledge and Behaviours among Foodservice Establishments' Workers
  2. U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
  3. FDA: U.S. Food & Drug Administration
  4. Patricia McFarland et al.: Efficacy of Food Safety Training in Commercial Food Service
  5. LinkedIn: How Do You Design Effective Food Safety Training Programs for Different Audiences?