Five ways that poor hygiene standards will impact your food and drink quality

With the UK On Trade grinding back into action, serving high quality food products and drinks and ensuring customers are well looked after has never been more critical.

The spotlight is on hygiene, too, with both customers and staff members far more acutely aware of the perils of poor personal hygiene standards and working or socialising in an unclean environment. 

Chemisphere UK has been providing high quality cleaning products and equipment to the UK hospitality industry for decades. Here, Hance McGhie talks us through five ways that poor hygiene standards behind the bar and in the cellar can have a negative impact on the quality of your beverages and food offering:

  1. Dirty beer lines equal poor quality, bad tasting beer

The number one reason for bad quality beer is unclean beer lines  – period! Over the years, we have seen some nightmarish beer lines in both local boozers and high quality craft beer bars and restaurants – including some big chains – and lines such as these can have a huge impact on serve quality and customer satisfaction. 

Implementing a strict regular cleaning schedule or installing a high tech beer line cleaning system is imperative, and this way, bar managers and hospitality owners can avoid any mishaps and maintain the quality of the beer they sell at all times.

Craft brewing and the trend for artisan beers is here to stay, so ensuring beer lines are always spotless is the biggest change that publicans can make.

We recommend cleaning at least once a week with high quality products, that break down the contaminants – yeast, proteins and sugar – in the line, which can change the taste of the beer. Our number one seller is Purple Pipeline Original – the world’s first beer line cleaner that actually changes colour if the line is dirty, and remains purple when the lines are clean and yeast and bacteria free. Additionally, in the wake of Covid, we have developed a new product that specifically removes the damp musty smell in the lines that has come about as a result of being left lying in water for many months. This means pythons will no longer need to be replaced, saving landlords and bar owners thousands and helping to maintain customer confidence.

2.    Poor levels of handwashing equals mucky cocktail making!

As well as craft beer remaining popular, the premium cocktail trend is flying due to the boom in sales of off-trade premium drinks over the lockdown periods, with on-trade punters now more than happy to pay £10 + for beautiful creations featuring ingredients such as vanilla foam, fresh fruit purees, fresh herbs, cherry blossom and and honeycomb, alongside high quality artisan spirits. In fact, recent research by the CGA has found out that 47% of British drinkers are willing to pay more for a quality serve.

Craft cocktails and incredible, intricate serves are now part and parcel of the hospitality experience for many, and bartenders create masterpieces with flair.  But, because of the large number of ingredients used in many signature serves, it’s imperative that hygiene is kept front of mind to ensure there is no cross contamination.

We recommend that bartenders wash their hands thoroughly between each serve using a high quality anti-bac soap, and always use different knives and serving utensils for different ingredients and accoutrements.  

3.    Poor kitchen hygiene equals potentially dodgy food

This one may seem like a no brainer, but poor hygiene in the kitchen can cause real problems – including food poisoning. With health number one on the agenda, it has never been more important to ensure your standards are of the highest quality. 

Ensuring that there’s a clean as you go policy in place, different utensils and boards are used for different food products, food is stored correctly and at the right temperatures and all equipment works perfectly are just the basics. Staff also need to be highly trained and follow all procedures for handwashing and personal hygiene at all times.

4.    Dirty glassware equals flat, unappealing drinks

Craft brewers and spirit distillers pour their heart and soul into their products, and so it makes sense for the serve to be perfect so as not to undo all of the hard work.

Serving craft beers, wines and spirits and mixers in dirty glassware will not only repel your customers, but it will also have an impact on the quality of the beverages you provide. Drinks may be flat, have excessive foam or no head for beer, have an uncontrolled gas release for carbonated drinks and simply taste bad. 

We always recommend that glasses are checked for lipstick residue and cleaned thoroughly in a well-maintained pot wash or dishwasher, then – importantly  – left to cool completely before use. Good quality cleaning products should also be used, ideally ones that prevent the build up of limescale, eliminate mould and yeast, and degrease glassware as it is washed. Good quality products will also help keep your pot wash or dishwasher clean, too.

Poor product turnover equals fobbing and hazy pints

If you constantly serve hazy or fobbed pints and your lines are sparkling clean, it could be down to the turnover of your beer itself. As a general rule, if you don’t sell any cask beers within around three days, and keg beers in around five, they will need to be replaced, and beer lines will indeed need cleaning again before you connect a new batch or new product.

Overall, good staff training, excellent personal hygiene and implementing a strict cleaning schedule – using powerful yet eco-friendly products where possible – should help to eliminate most of your serve or quality issues.