The numbers — chosen on a scale of 0 to 5 — illustrate a venue’s food safety rating, taking into account everything from food handling to how ingredients are stored, and of course, general hygiene.
Unsurprisingly, the rating your restaurant receives is very telling around food safety and hygiene, and could make all the difference between increased footfall and enduring customer loyalty, and a bottom line that suffers.
Establishments in England aren’t legally obliged to display them for the moment(as opposed to their Welsh counterparts), but that won’t last for long. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to the ratings and what they mean for their dining experience.
Access to informative apps and rating decisions for customers means that there’s more pressure than ever to be transparent with scores, both good and bad. After all, not having a rating on display is likely to pique suspicion — and it’s now easy for them to check the rating out themselves.
What’s more, we know that people are more trusting of restaurants with positive reviews, be it online or denoted by a score out of five. This is where the scheme thrives: by providing a lot of information about their potential dining experience in a simple and effective manner.
With an outstanding ‘5’ (or even a confident ‘4’), establishments can entice new customers onto the premises, opening up new demographics, or putting to bed any misconceptions around hygiene and food practices.
Of course, it also happens the other way too, with lower scores having the opposite affect altogether. Low scoring venues are likely to be avoided by customers making a snap decision based on the Score on the Door, leading to lower profits and stalled growth plans.
In short, a four or five-star rating should no longer be considered a ‘nice to have’. Establishments need to make the ‘5’ their target, and take measured steps to achieve that goal.
So you’ve decided to secure the top score for yourself — great!
Although we can’t promise you the path to ‘Scores on the Doors’ greatness will be easy, we can tell you it’ll be rewarding. Along the way, food businesses can learn a lot about themselves, put in place procedures to facilitate their future growth, and ultimately strengthen their position in the market — and that’s all in addition to the benefits of having a perfect score.
Everybody wins from this scenario: customers benefit from great service, hygiene and an informative score; employees experience transparency and consistency; and the bottom line benefits from greater footfall and customer confidence. What more could you want?
As with starting any journey, it’s best to break down the path to ‘Scores on the Doors’ greatness into bitesize stepping stones first. Taking each of these stages into consideration will make for a measured and successful approach — rush into things, and you could find yourself being swept away in the current.
Here’s how we break it down for Trail’s users:
1. Digitise your checklists and task management — sticking to old fashioned paper-based processes for the sake of it means you’re missing out on opportunities to create sleek, efficient operations, all while increasing the risk of human error. Opt for digital checklists and record keeping to focus your efforts and improve efficiency, helping the journey to ‘Scores on the Doors’ success.
1. Develop consistency — we understand the challenges of establishments rolling out to multiple sites in an effort to grow. To keep all branches at the same high standard, consistency is key: consistent training programmes for employees (especially health and safety), consistent hygiene standards, and consistent checklists.
3. Be audit-ready, always — eliminate the stress of having to pull together information and reports at a moment’s notice by cultivating daily habits in your team. It’s the perfect way to prove how seriously you take your rating.
4. Be specific when assigning tasks and responsibilities — every team in each location should know who is responsible for what tasks, allowing them to quickly take action if something needs completing. This is also a great way to keep everybody on the same page and moving towards the same goal of a ‘5’ rating.
Trail’s template library provides a starting point for digital checklists if you need some inspiration, and offers further insight into the steps you need to take to reach high food safety standards.
With ‘Scores on the Door’ continuing to roll out and consumers being given easy access to their favourite restaurant’s rating, it’s become clear that establishments can’t ignore the opportunity knocking on their door.
Embracing the ‘Scores on the Doors’ program — and, by extension, greater operational success and cast iron food safety — offers sites the chance to flourish, and support a business’ growth plans, all while indicating to passers-by that this is a food establishment which takes food safety seriously.
In a more general sense, as the scores continue to become more prominent, so too do the growing standards around achieving that much-coveted ‘5’ rating. To meet those standards, food businesses must be willing to embrace innovation (digital over paper) and put consistency (in training and in food safety) at the forefront of their multi-site strategy.
With the right tool, it’s a lot less daunting than it might seem, and a lot more rewarding than unrated or low-rated businesses might suspect. So, what are you waiting for? Go out and get that five!
Questions? Get in touch with Trail.