Standard operating procedures (SOP) in the food industry are in place to distinctly outline all expectations and requirements.


There are many sections that should be included in the SOP  guidelines of an establishment, and today, let’s start with safety and health compliance. 

This section lists foodservice employees’ expectations regarding maintaining good personal hygiene practices, timely communication about health concerns, and food safety. These are just guides to compare your existing guidelines or to help you in creating one.




  • What is the expected grooming from hair to shoes before reporting for work? 

    – Trimmed and filed fingernails
    – Is nail polish allowed?
    – Are artificial nails allowed?
    – What types of jewellery and hair restraints are permitted?
    – How about piercings?
    – Is facial hair allowed? 

  • Proper attire – description of appropriate clothing,  should employees only wear a uniform with sleeves? What is the type of shoes allowed? 
  • What are the rules on wearing the apron – are employees only allowed to wear the apron in the kitchen area? Can they wear it to the restroom?


Hand Washing Procedure


  • Using warm water and soap, wash hands (including under fingernails) and up to forearms, thoroughly for 20 second
  • When to do handwashing :– Upon entering the facility before actual work starts
    – Right before food preparation or equipment handling
    – As frequently as necessary during food preparation when contamination occurs
    – Right before putting on gloves for food handling
    – After each toilet use and when returning to the workstation
    – In between handling raw and cooked foods
    – After touching any body part and after sneezing/coughing
    – After cleaning or unsanitary activities (disposing of trash or wiping tables)
    – In between tasks
    – After eating, drinking or smoking
  • Employee’s hands should be washed on designated hand sinks.
  • Dry hands with single-use towels or a forced-air dryer and turn off faucets using a paper towel to prevent recontamination of clean hands.


Glove and Utensil Use


  • The expected wearing of gloves 

    – Employees are expected to wear gloves or utensils to handle all ready-to-eat foods
    – Gloves should be worn when handlers have cuts, sores or burns on the hands 

  • Changing of gloves: 

    – At the start of each new task
    – When gloves get soiled or torn
    – When gloves have been in continual use for four hours.
    – When handlers have finished handling raw meat and before handling cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
    – Cover them first with clean bandages for cuts and sores on hands, including fingernails, before         wearing gloves.

Smoking, eating, and gum chewing:


  • Smoke or chew tobacco only outside production facilities or in designated areas 
  • Follow correct, sanitary and approved tasting methods to prevent contamination and ensure food safety, such as the Two Spoon Tasting Method:– Use one spoon to take a sample of a product from a container.

    – Transfer that sample onto a second spoon, away from the original food container, and taste.
    – Use clean and sanitary utensils for each tasting. Therefore, never re-use used spoons. 

  • Restaurant employees break policy:

    – Follow established length of breaks and meals.
    – Employees should eat and drink in designated areas and never in the work area (except cooks tasting foods to ensure the quality)
    – Employees may use a closed beverage container with a straw or sip-lid top for drinking in the production area. This is to prevent contamination of the employee’s hands and container, leading to contamination of everything exposed in the area.


Sick and illness protocols


Reporting of symptoms, reporting of exposure to infectious virus/bacteria, management action and expectations:

  • Bandage any cut, scrape, or burn that has broken the skin.
  • Cover bandages on hands with gloves and finger cots, and change appropriately.
  • Inform unit supervisor of all wounds. 


Contact with Blood and Bodily Fluids


Blood and other bodily fluids (including vomit, diarrhea, and blood ) will be handled to minimize the possibility of cross-contamination and exposure of employees, consumers, food, and surfaces to the blood or other bodily fluids.

  • All restaurant employees must contain the source of the blood.
  • Employees should wear disposable gloves when exposed to blood or bodily fluids to minimize the risk of contamination.
  • The contaminated gloves should be disposed of immediately so as not to contact other people, food, or equipment.  
  • Dispose of any contaminated food.
  • Clean and sanitize all affected food contact surfaces, including cleaning supplies after use.
  • Secure assistance from someone trained to handle blood or bodily fluids as needed. Ideally, a food establishment should have a Blood-Borne Pathogens Kit when handling blood. 


As much are expected from employees, much is also expected from management:    


  1. Monitor employees compliance to proper hygiene requirements before reporting to work and during work.
  2. Ensure that adequate supplies are available to application protocols.
  3. Observe employees if they are conducting allowed activities in designated areas.
  4. Include all practices as part of new employee orientation.
  5. Secure signed statements to report any illnesses.
  6. For reportable diseases, work with the applicable local regulatory agencies.
  7. Conduct appropriate follow-ups. 


In Summary:

Restaurant SOP should include step-by-step instructions for clarity. Depending on the type of establishment, these rules can either be tedious or relax. But what’s important is to use vocabulary that is straightforward to understand. If there is jargon, make sure that these are explained to new staff members to avoid confusion. You need everyone to comprehend what the rules stand for so that everyone will follow.  


That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

Ciao for now,


If you are interested in joining our team, read here for more info!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!