Advice for food businesses considering the temporary provision of food delivery
Published on Tuesday, 24th March 2020
Latest advice from Environmental Health for businesses wanting to deliver.
If as a food business, you are concerned about the latest Government requirements on restaurants, pubs, cafes etc. staying closed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic you may be considering advertising and providing food from your normal menu, or new dishes, for delivery.
This is fine to do but there are a few additional steps you should consider:
Ordering and delivery
Allergies - If you have a website you should put a clear sign on this stating “Please speak to a member of staff if you have any food allergies”
When customers phone to place an order, you should ask them if they or any of the people eating the food have any allergies. If they do, make a note of their requirements and ensure their food is prepared safely for them then clearly labelled. Any food prepared for allergenic customers should be stored separately for and during delivery.
Allergic reactions to ingredients can be fatal. Please see the full list of 14 allergens for further information.
Food should be put into food safe containers for delivery.
Try to take payment over the phone to avoid handling cash upon delivery. If you do need to take a cash payment, ask the customer for exact change or consider pricing your dishes to even prices, eg £8.00 instead of £8.20 to minimise the need for change, and ask them to put it in an envelope. If you can, ensure your driver has some alcohol gel to clean their hands between customers.
Government advice is to keep a distance (2 metres away) from others. You may want to have a system whereby you leave the food delivery on the step of the house then telephone the customer to let them know, or similar.
Consider the time and distance for delivering and try and keep both to a minimum to maintain food quality.
Vehicles must be fit for purpose and food must not be subjected to potential contamination. Keep the interior of the vehicle clean and do not transport food with animals or chemicals such as fuel, oil and screen wash.
Check your vehicle insurance to ensure you are covered for business use.
As per your normal operation, food should always be prepared hygienically to prevent cross contamination. The Food Standards Agency consider it very unlikely to transmit Coronavirus through food, however extra and vigilant hand hygiene should be employed during food preparation.
You will need to update your food safety management system if any of your normal cooking processes have changed to provide delivered food, e.g. if you now cook – chill – reheat food to make food preparation quicker upon delivery, where before you used to just cook – serve. It’s important to update your procedures on these changes to demonstrate you have considered any risks to food safety. Ensure any staff are made aware of these changes.
For food safety and quality, you want to ensure food is delivered piping hot. You will need to consider how to do this. Insulated cool boxes / bags are a good way to keep the heat in food. Also deliver the food as quickly as possible after preparing.
If you or any of your staff are displaying the symptoms of Coronavirus, you should not prepare food and should be self-isolating.
If you require any further information on any food safety issues please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Relaxation of planning use
The Government has announced a relaxation of planning rules to assist pubs and restaurants during the Coronavirus pandemic. For the next twelve months premises who were not previously, will now be able to operate as takeaways providing hot food and drink. Further information on relaxing planning rules can be found on the Gov.uk website.
If you wish to do this you must inform our planning team by emailing them at: email@example.com
You should include the name of your premises, full address, your contact details and the date you intend to start offering takeaways.
Alcohol (Premises) Licence
You can only do take away/delivery of alcohol if your premises licence states “Off-sales” or “both” under “Where the licence authorises the supply of alcohol, whether these are on and/or off supplies”, usually on the first page of the licence summary (part B) or page 2 of part A.
When delivering alcohol always ensure that ID checks are still carried out and that alcohol is not given to anyone under the age of 18.
You can only provide takeaway of hot food and drink until 23:00hrs unless you have “Late Night Refreshment” on your licence, if you are offering late night delivery, payment would then need to be taken over the phone or via an online delivery service portal.
Should you require further clarification on this or wish to make a variation to your premises licence, please contact the Licensing team on 01827 715341 or email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Should you require any more detailed advice on changing your menu or your procedures don’t hesitate to speak to one of our officers by calling 01827 715341.
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