4 tips on how to train Gen Z workers in food safety

4 tips on how to train Gen Z workers in food safety

Ensuring proper food safety at restaurant and foodservice operations is, perhaps, the most important thing you can do to protect the public health. When best practices aren’t established and food isn’t handled properly, a foodborne illness outbreak could occur, negatively impacting customers, employees and business.

As we look to recruit more Gen Z employees into the industry, it’s important to understand how potential new hires process training information, particularly where food handling and safety are concerned.

Generation Z, whose oldest members are about 22, are really the first ones to grow up using social media, texting and streaming video to get information. For them, everything is visual; textbooks are an anathema. Furthermore, they don’t necessarily care all that much about theory. They’d rather know about your mission, purpose and outcome. It’s all a value-added proposition.

How should you educate Gen Z employees in proper safety practices? Ashley Miller, one of the National Restaurant Association’s food safety experts, offers four tips for training this young work staff:

  1. Prepare the employee for success. To achieve this goal, you first must ensure that your training environment or space is equipped with the proper tools and resources, including time, so they can receive adequate training.
  2. Allow the employee to watch as you demonstrate the task. First, break the task down into small steps he or she can remember easily. Then, visually and verbally demonstrate each step deliberately, clearly and patiently at a pace that is comfortable for the employee. During each step, explain why it is important to perform it in the way you’ve demonstrated.
  3. Allow the employee to perform the task. Ask the employee if he or she has questions or would like you to demonstrate the task again. When comfort is established, ask the employee to perform the task under the trainer’s supervision. One good rule is to allow the employee to demonstrate the task three times to ensure comfort and understanding with what is required. If the employee can’t perform the task correctly, demonstrate it again and ask them to perform it for observation.
  4. Provide follow-up training. Once the employee is performing the task for some time, the trainer should check up to see if he or she has any questions that need answering and ensure they perform the task correctly.

Reinforcing the reasons for performing food-safety tasks correctly is critical to training your staff properly and protecting your customers’ health. By doing so, you will make food safety a personal mission for each of your employees.

Source: National Restaurant Association