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I have been running my store in the village of Sawtry for over 40 years. The needs of our customers are always changing so my role has been to keep up with them.
Last December I created an opportunity from the closure of the in-store Post Office. I decided to change the store to have a full convenience offer. I also joined Booker so that I had the support of the premier symbol group. (You can read about our success in this article that was published in RN earlier this year.)
When I attended the Local Shop Summit this October, I had a conversation with Steve Denham, associate editor of betterRetailing.com. He told me that he had seen that the Food Hygiene Rating for my store, a 3 star score, was dated from before the re-development.
To be honest, this was one of the store management issues that I had addressed in the store's development plan. We had majorly upped our game in the way that we manage food hygiene and safety since the Environmental Health Officer inspected the premises in 2015.
What I had missed was the need to get rerated to reflect our redeveloped business.
Steve suggested that I should contact our local council Environmental Health department and ask how the store could be rerated – but before I could contact Huntingdonshire District Council, one of their EHO’s visited my store to undertake a food hygiene inspection.
The inspector looked at everything relating to food: from the chill cabinets and their temperature records to the stockroom and good inwards procedures. She also talked to the members of the store team to understand their knowledge and their part in keeping the food we sell safe for our customers.
The inspector went away very satisfied. Just a week later, I received a 5 Star rating sticker and proudly placed it on the front window for our customers to see.
I have learnt that that it isn’t just important to deliver high food hygiene standards. It's equally important to have our Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Score on the door that shows everyone, from customers to suppliers, that we take our role in delivering safe food seriously.
Have you made changes to your store and improved how you manage food hygiene since your premises were last rated? If you have, ask your local council to be reinspected. You might have your own 5 star sticker on the door soon.
John Green has been running his store in the village of Sawtry for more than 40 years
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