It’s the start of a new year, and as January is usually a quieter month in the catering world, it’s the best time to get organised. We will guide you through key annual checks and vital tasks, to ensure your business embarks on the best possible start for the year.

Things to get in the calendar

Food Hygiene Rating Inspections
When was your last food hygiene rating visit? In Wales and Northern Ireland, the scheme is set out in law, but display of the rating sticker is voluntary in England. Inspections are carried out every 6 months – 2 years, depending on your businesses risk level. It’s worth noting when your next inspection is, so you can be prepared. All Scottish businesses must have a food hygiene inspection, but it’s not a requirement to have them updated.

Annual gas safety check
Regular inspections on your gas equipment are vital for your staff’s safety. It is a legal requirement to maintain your gas appliances, so make sure you don’t miss your annual gas safety check. When was your last inspection?

Essential ductwork cleaning
When was the last time you had your ductwork and extractor fan cleaned? As exemplified in the TR19 guidelines, commercial kitchen ducts should be cleaned at least once every twelve months. Uncleaned grease in extract ventilation systems are one of the greatest potential fire risks in commercial kitchens.

Planned kitchen maintenance, cleaning and organising
A safe, clean and well organised kitchen comes from good planning. When was your last deep clean, when did your fridges and freezers get a proper inspection, clear out and clean? If you’re too busy to do these jobs yourself, there are many great companies who will clean and degrease every surface, oven, fridge, ceiling, storage, floor and racking.

Marketing events
Get ahead on the most important marketing opportunities by getting them in your calendar well ahead of the event. The classics like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day may already be in the diary, but have you considered lesser known events like British Beef Week, English Wine Week, Cocktail Day and National Curry Week, as options for special events.

Important tasks

Staff training and performance reports
The January lull is the perfect time to consider which staff you can upskill and when. We believe every great catering business should be actively improving their team’s skillset. Arrange catchups with your team to discuss where they are at and allow them to share details on what they would like to learn.

How’s your menu looking for 2024?
Eating out is increasingly seen as a treat or for a special occasion, so it’s important to get your offering right. Look at your sales data to see which dishes performed the best and worst and look to improve or remove the ones that flopped. Looking ahead for this year it’s been noted that health-conscious choices are set to be increasingly important to consumers. From a sustainable and a nutritional perspective, consumers are looking more for locally sourced ingredients which can be traced back to their origin.

Conduct a tech review
The apps, web tools, software and technological equipment you use are all constantly evolving and swapping from one table booking software to another for example, could save your business thousands of pounds. Don’t be a fool to company’s price increases; take a look at what you’re using and scour the market for newer, better, cheaper options.

Could you be paying too much for your electricity and gas?
Use a tool like Compare the Market to see if you can save money on your electricity and gas bills in the coming year. It takes minutes and could save you thousands.

Is it time to rejuvenate your restaurant’s layout or design?
If your establishment has been around for a few years, consider tweaking the layout to test out a new flow, or give it a fresh new look with new furniture and flooring. If you’re interested in exploring a revamp, reach out to our team of experts today.

We hope you have found this checklist helpful. By incorporating these measures, you will not only enhance the overall functionality of your restaurant but also position it for success throughout the year. What is the first on your job list this January?