How to get a 5 hygiene rating

Follow this simple food hygiene guide and achieve top marks every time.
Michael Radley
Dec 2020
3 min read

With customers more aware of food safety than ever, you need a top score on the door to protect the reputation you’ve built.

What is a food hygiene rating?

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is run by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and operates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The food hygiene rating—chosen on a scale of 0 to 5—illustrates a venue’s food safety, taking into account everything from food handling to how ingredients are stored, and of course, general hygiene.

Displaying your rating is compulsory in Wales and Northern Ireland, and it’s only a matter of time before England joins them. JustEat have already listed the rating for all their restaurants in the app. So, it’s crucial your business gets top marks.

What is an EHO looking for?

To receive your rating, an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) will visit your premises to carry out a hygiene inspection. EHO’s focus on the following 3 areas:

  1. Food hygiene compliance – assessing how food is handled, prepared, cooked and stored.
  2. Structural compliance – measuring how clean the building and facilities are, and whether the lighting is suitable.
  3. Confidence in management – judging whether staff are trained correctly, and what procedures are in place.

How to get a food hygiene rating of 5

If you perform well in all three areas, you will be awarded the top score. Here are some simple steps you can follow to ensure your business achieves “scores on the doors” greatness:

Food preparation

Take the following measures to ensure cross-contamination doesn’t occur during food prep:

  • Avoid washing raw and ready-to-eat foods in the same sink.
  • If you have a large kitchen, separate workspaces for raw meat, fish, vegetables and ready-to-eat food.
  • If your kitchen is too small for separate sinks/workspaces, establish a food-preparation schedule where you have dedicated times to prep different types of food.
  • Make sure the areas and utensils are thoroughly cleaned between each stage of preparation.

Food storage

Your food storage system should keep raw foods and ready-to-eat foods completely separate:

  • Make sure you have a clearly labelled storage system with use-by dates displayed.
  • Store food on racks and never on the floor.


This one might seem obvious, but regular and thorough cleaning is vital:

  • Maintain a cleaning schedule to make sure routine cleaning jobs take place, and the standard of cleaning is consistent.
  • Sanitise the handwashing sink and ensure you’re stocked up on antibac and blue handroll.
  • Use blue roll and sanitiser to clean work surfaces as cloths that are used more than once can spread bacteria, causing cross-contamination.

Staff training

Training staff on how to safely prepare food can reduce the risk of contamination. Training should include:

  • Food hygiene, personal hygiene, food handling, responsibilities and best handwashing practices
  • Training should be constantly updated, and in line with any new government guidelines—particularly important during the pandemic.

Record keeping

Even if you carry out all of the above steps, you won’t receive top marks unless you maintain a secure record, you need the following:

  • Records of your food safety policy, daily checks, risk assessments and staff training files.

All of the above can be quite hard to remember. We get it. But don’t worry, we have a library full of food safety checklists to help you stay on top.

How would you feel if an EHO walked in right now?

Even with the best intentions, paper checks, spreadsheets, and email chains can make it hard to know exactly what’s being done on-site every day. Especially if you manage your team remotely.

Trail takes the guesswork (and the paperwork) out of your food safety. Simple digital tasks are assigned to teams throughout their day. And your business gets a daily performance score. So you can resolve any problems and improve your rating before your next EHO inspection.

5 ways Trail can help you get a five  hygiene rating:

✅   Perfect record keeping – Trail is a complete historical record of all activity, time and date stamped with evidence attached where needed.

✅   Build the right habits – Trail tells the right person at the right time what needs doing, so good hygiene becomes second nature.

✅   Visibility – Daily reports and scores give managers peace of mind that everything is being done correctly.

✅   Improve staff knowledge – Tips, videos and guides can be added to any task to make sure they are always completed correctly.

✅   Boost your score – Turn any actions from your previous inspections into daily tasks to make sure you get 5 at the next inspection.

What customers are saying

"It’s the app I can’t live without in my working day."
Beth Cole
Assistant General Manager
"Trail is making it easier for our teams to ensure our food and safety practices are upheld."
– Trail is making it easier for them to ensure our food and safety practices are upheld."
Tracey Colbert
Risk & Compliance Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director
"Trail was so easy to set up and the pubs love it"
Simon Swann
Regional Manger
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Trail has given us realtime insight into every facility across our estate, so we can react to maintenance issues before they become large."
Scott Vernon
Chief Financial Officer

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