Do Pubs Need a Food Hygiene Certificate?

Pubs need to be able to demonstrate food hygiene knowledge, and structured workplace training is an effective way to do this. Anyone who is around food or drink, whether it is storing, prepping, cooking, or serving, should have sound knowledge of food safety.

This includes pub workers. Getting bar and serving staff to complete food hygiene training is the best way to evidence this within your workplace.

Do I Need a Hygiene Certificate For My Pub?

Pub staff need to have up-to-date information on all food legislation and the best way to show this is by completing a training course.

From the senior kitchen staff to the waiters, everyone must understand food safety. In businesses such as pubs and bars, reputation is everything so by showing compliance and keeping the cleanliness to a high standard, you are well on your way to creating the best impression you can for customers.

It is not stated within UK food safety laws that staff must have a food hygiene certificate to work in a pub. However, it is the most effective and quick way to train staff.

It is a requirement that workers are aware of food safety laws, including how to store, handle, and keep all food items free from contamination. There is not any other effective way of evidencing this knowledge other than completing a course and receiving your certificate.

Situations Where You Might Need a Hygiene Certificate For Pubs

Almost anyone working in a pub will handle food at some point, this will range from fully freshly prepared meals to serving a packet of crisps with a drink.

Here are some scenarios and reasons why obtaining a food hygiene certificate is so important:-

Bar Staff Personal Hygiene

As well as having an awareness of food hygiene practices, it is also necessary to ensure staff understand the importance of their personal hygiene.

This includes washing hands, having their hair tied out of the way during food preparation, wearing suitable clothing and dealing with spillages appropriately.

Hygiene Procedures In Bartending

Staff who are out on the pub floor also need to be aware of their responsibilities when it comes to good hygiene.

This means always looking clean and presentable as you are the people with whom the customers will be dealing face-to-face. It will also help them understand the importance of keeping the bar area clean, using appropriate equipment and keeping on top of collecting dirty glasses and plates.

Senior Kitchen Staff

Bigger establishments often hire senior kitchen staff to oversee the team of food handlers. It’s their responsibility to ensure all staff follow proper procedures.

Where this is the case, workers responsible for overseeing food handling processes will need to take a more intensive food hygiene course for managers and owners.

Owner Of The Pub

At the end of the day, the entire pub business and its responsibilities fall upon the shoulders of its owners.

This means they need to be aware of all areas of food safety so that they can be sure staff are working to a high standard.

Table Staff

Although not in charge of food preparation itself, the waiting staff will still be transporting food from the kitchen to the tables.

They need to have clean hands and clothes at all times and also have their hair secured. They need to be aware of the rules of the kitchen which is a very busy environment and be aware of the allergens too.

Do You Need Food Hygiene To Sell Drinks In My Pub?

Even if your pub doesn’t prepare food on the premises, it is still a requirement that your staff are aware of the food safety legislation.

For example, bar staff will need to understand the main allergens and be able to talk about these if a customer asks.

With so many milk and dairy allergies, it’s important to be aware of the alternatives. Enrolling your bar staff on a basic food hygiene course will help everyone understand their job roles better.

Which Food Hygiene Certificate Do I Need For a Pub?

There are different levels of food handling when it comes to pub staff, so it is important to know which course your staff will benefit from the most.

Level 1 Food Hygiene Course For Catering

A Food hygiene level 1 course is for any staff not directly involved in food handling such as the bar staff and it will cover:

  • Food hygiene awareness
  • Food hygiene Laws
  • Food safety
  • Food safety hazards
  • The 4 C’s
  • Personal Hygiene requirements

Level 2 Food Hygiene Course For Catering

Food Hygiene level 2 is suited to those working directly with food such as kitchen workers and waiters. It will cover:

  • The Food Rating Hygiene Scheme and what this entails
  • The laws surrounding food hygiene
  • Food safety responsibilities
  • Microbiological hazards
  • How to handle and store raw products
  • All other hazards surrounding food
  • Importance of food labelling and appropriate storage
  • Fridge and freezer temperatures
  • All aspects of food preparation
  • Personal Hygiene
  • Keeping the premises clean

Level 3 Food Hygiene Course For Catering

This course is aimed at those in a management position or senior kitchen staff who manage a team below them. It will cover:

  • Food safety regulations
  • Responsibilities of the staff
  • Due diligence
  • Responsibilities of the senior staff
  • Contamination and the 6 P’s
  • Food allergies
  • 14 Food Allergens
  • Labelling allergens
  • How bacteria grow in food
  • Food poisoning
  • Food deliveries and storage
  • Fridge, freezer, and cooking temperatures
  • Appropriate kitchen spaces
  • Personal hygiene
  • Cleaning
  • Pest control
  • Supporting staff

Other Training Courses to Consider For Pubs

Bar staff have the opportunity to complete other courses relevant to the job role and we have listed them below.

  • Cellar Management Courses: Anyone working behind the bar in a pub will need training in pouring ales and being able to change barrels. These skills are paramount to running a successful business with minimal wastage.
  • First Aid Courses: It is likely at some point in a pub environment that someone, be it staff or a customer, will need first aid treatment. Knowing the basics and how to administer first aid could save lives. With food allergens such a big issue, it’s important to recognise incidents such as anaphylactic shock
  • Health and Safety Courses: Keeping employees safe should be a priority in any workplace and one of these courses will help ensure this happens. Senior staff can complete this to ensure the appropriate risk assessments are in place and hazards are effectively identified.

Word Of Mouth Can Make Or Break A Pub Business…

First impressions are everything when it comes to walking into a pub for the first time. Customers straight away take in the ambience, the decor and the cleanliness of the establishment.

Grubby floors, sticky tables and dishevelled staff will not leave a good impression. From the taking of orders to the food prep to the cooking, and to the table service, customers expect personal hygiene to be a top consideration.

If customers encounter staff with poor hygiene it is not going to encourage them to order a meal or drinks. Reviews like these below can damage a business before it has had a chance to begin.

Customers care about cleanliness and food hygiene. A lapse in procedure can lead to damaging reviews like this one:-

…the bartender did not use basic hygiene in handling the food. The quality of toastie was basic. The cheese was applied without any hand-cleanliness or protection.

Tripadvisor review


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