A pub group with 52 managed houses has been awarded food hygiene ratings of five at every one of its establishments.
Hall & Woodhouse, which brews Badger ales and manages pubs across the south of England, began its ‘Drive for Five’ project in 2014, when only 50% of houses in its estate had the top hygiene rating.
EHP Ryan Cobb, the group safety manager, said: “Part of that was because some local authorities weren’t scoring yet, but we knew we had some of our own challenges. The company is 250 years old and we have some unique old buildings so the kitchens have to work within the restrictions of those buildings’ listed status.”
Cobb said that key to the drive’s success was analysis of skills and knowledge gaps among new members of staff – for example, understanding that the colour-coding of chopping boards can differ country to country. Hall & Woodhouse worked with Shield Safety to put in place simple kitchen monitoring systems; they also did external safety audits.
The final pub in the group to achieve its five rating was The Talisman near Southampton. “They were excited and relieved to be the final house team to have got it,” Cobb said. “But now there’s the pressure to retain. We don’t prop our businesses up just to get their five ratings – we ensure standards are consistent and have true compliance checks, development checks and have chefs doing reviews and checking food safety standards and food quality throughout the year.”