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When an EHO visits

The Trail guide to getting that top 5 rating
Sarj
 • 
Oct 2020
8 min read
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No matter how prepared you and your business are, you will still have that ‘oh s**t’ moment when the EHO visits…

Why it matters

Most food business see an EHO visit as the ultimate test, where ‘scores on the doors’ are handed out for the world to see. There’s no hiding from this. Meeting food safety compliance can be a daunting task.

In an era where customers have information at their fingertips, a bad rating could spell disaster for the business. Gaining the EHO’s confidence and getting that 5 rating is critically important.

What they’re looking for

Their visit is principally based on 3 simple categories:

  1. Food Hygiene
    Are you handling and storing food safely? Are food handlers clean and are they cooking and hot holding food safely?
  2. Structure — ceiling, walls and floor.
    How clean is your unit and is it in good condition? Are there any pests? Is there hot water? Do you have sanitiser spray?
  3. Confidence in Management — the biggie.
    The business will be graded on how well the first 2 are being managed. Process and daily habits, food safety knowledge, corrective action.

The power of confidence

Having been an EHO in a busy inner London authority, I could gauge how well a business was performing within the first 5 minutes of entering.

Whilst washing my hands I would instantly know whether they had the basics: hot water, soap and paper towels. I could see how people were handling and preparing food, the basic cleaning standards and unit conditions. I would often see the manager run off to the back of the kitchen, grab their clipboard and furiously write things down. All this information immediately fed into my ‘confidence in management’ barometer.

Next I would physically inspect the area. Talk to the team, probe food for their temperatures and check their due diligence records. Gaps, overwritten or Tipp-Ex on any records would arouse suspicion and my confidence in management barometer would be shifting again.

Now an EHO would never penalise a business for things going wrong, but the critical thing we look out for is learning and responding with corrective action. In many cases, businesses could not show this and if they could, it often meant the manager frantically calling head office or firing off emails left, right and centre.

Where Trail can help

Trail cannot clean the floor for you or keep your food hot (yet!), but it can help with the all-important confidence factor.

Trail provides real data in real time.

With the transparency of data on Trail you can remedy an issue before it becomes a problem. Trail makes it easy to see when tasks have been missed or are repeatedly late, or record corrective action when it has been taken. This information is very powerful. It enables a business to focus resource to the areas that matter. Not only this, over time Trail can pave the way for permanent behaviour changes to ensure food safety becomes second nature.

As Trail sets out key tasks throughout the day at set times, it establishes good working habits throughout the team, and provides accountability where this may have traditionally sat squarely with the head chef or manager.

More importantly, Trail can help prevent business amnesia. When a manager moves on, someone within the team is ready to step up with all the information they need.

Confidence is what sets your business up for success. Don’t let an EHO put the fear of god in you. Get Trail and have the confidence to shine!

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