True to their name, convenience stores are great places to stock up on snacks or grab a quick bite. However, in the age of in-and-out dining, many convenience stores have elected to expand their culinary selections. Instead of simply offering prepackaged snacks and beverages, a growing number of these establishments now feature salad bars, buffets and drink stations. While such self-serve dining options can be a boon to convenience stores, they can also present a host of sanitation issues. Fortunately, with the help of the following pointers, convenience store owners and operators can nip these issues in the bud and keep their establishments impeccably sanitary.
1. Prioritize Refrigeration
If your store offers premade sandwiches, fruit cups or sushi platters, it’s imperative that you invest in a high-quality refrigerated display case. When stored at improper temperatures or in faulty displays, the aforementioned foods can become unsafe for consumption and highly conducive to the spread of food-borne illness. Not only can this prove damaging to your store’s reputation, it can also land you in legal trouble and potentially lead to the closure of your establishment. That being the case, you should never settle for second-best when it comes to refrigeration units.
2. Invest in Durable Sneeze Guards
For stores that feature buffets and/or salad bars, durable sneeze guards are an absolute must. A dependable sneeze guard will help prevent food from coming into contact with an extensive assortment of germs and bacteria. The more people who visit your store, the more opportunities there are for contamination. As such, sneeze guards are particularly important for establishments that receive a steady amount of foot traffic.
3. Install Sanitizer Stations
Hand sanitizer stations are necessities for stores with buffets, salad bars or any other type of self-serve station. In light of how many hands come into contact with serving spoons, coffee pots and drink machines on a daily basis, it’s easy to see how many serving stations become veritable breeding grounds for germs. With this in mind, take care to install hand sanitizer dispensers in the immediate vicinity of each of your store’s serving stations.
Many convenience stores have made a substantial number of improvements in recent stores. Although they still stock a wide assortment of snacks and beverages, they now contain a convenient array of meal choices. However, in the absence of proper sanitation, these new options can ultimately do customers more harm than good. Convenience store owners who pride themselves on impeccable sanitation would be wise to prioritize refrigeration, invest in durable sneeze guards and install sanitizer stations in the appropriate areas.