When diners visit a restaurant, they are more concerned with the food quality and the beverage list than safety. Restaurant workers such as hosts, servers, and bussers all share the responsibility for safety so they can dazzle diners without injury.
If you work in a restaurant, you require comfortable and supportive shoes with a slip resistant sole. Proper footwear protects you from potentially slippery dining room and kitchen floors. Consider anti-fatigue mats for areas that you stand in, such as food prep, service areas, podiums, and front desks. Dim lighting in the restaurant can cause slips, trips, and falls if you can’t see hazards in the walkways. Watch the dining area carefully for spills and clean them up promptly.
Restaurant hosts are the first impression that many diners get when they enter a restaurant. Proper dress is important, but wear clothing that you can stand and walk in for long periods of time. Hosts may be in charge of dining room reservations, organization, and seating management, as well as the emergency management plan. Know the procedures for a fire, evacuation, or first aid emergency. Keep emergency numbers handy and know where emergency equipment, routes, and exits are throughout the restaurant. Be prepared to respond to emergencies and direct staff and patrons to a safe exit.
Servers are rewarded by customers when their food arrives quickly and while it is still hot. However, good and speedy service doesn’t mean taking safety shortcuts. Follow in/out patterns into kitchen and service areas. Watch for kitchen hazards such as hot surfaces and sharp knives. Ask cooks if plates are hot and use dry hot pads or cloths when necessary. Consider trays for hot liquids so you don’t get splashed. Keep trays close to your body when you lift and carry them. Don’t overload trays.
Servers should bring steak knives to the table with the blade down; don’t carry sharp knives in your apron pocket. When you open bottled wine, use a specialized opener. Keep your thumb on the cork of sparkling wines during opening until you can grip it firmly to twist and remove it completely.
Table bus service workers do a lot of heavy lifting of tables, chairs, and dining ware. Use proper lifting techniques by keeping your back straight and the items close to your body. Ask for assistance for heavy or awkward items. Bussers may be called on to clean up broken glassware, so use tools such as a broom and dustpan, never your fingers, to pick up broken glass. Never put sharp implements in your apron pockets. Take several trips to bus a table; don’t try to stack too many items at once. Watch for sharp knives, grab them by the handle only, and stack them separately and securely on a plate. Grip glassware by the stem or around the base, not on the rims, which break more easily.