On Food Safety Practices for Daniel Salk

Bon Appétit's Daniel Salk talks food safety training.

As general manager for Bon Appétit at a B&I account in Calif., Daniel Salk has committed himself to promoting a culture where workplace safety and safe food handling are a priority. He spoke with FSD about his company’s efforts, including a 52-week training program and a food safety committee with appointed Unit Safety Champions, to ensure a safe work environment.

Q. What are the aspects of your food safety efforts for Bon Appetit?

We focus on training regarding both food and personnel safety. We offer a 52-week training program, which is combines Job Safety Analysis and F.A.C.T. (Food Assurance Certificate Training). These programs have been developed to ensure our employees are trained in proper food and equipment handling. The complete training program breaks down those programs into modules suited for daily/weekly training. We also have a food safety committee that focuses on both food and personnel safety. 

Q. What does the 52-week training program include?

The JSA portion provides documents from our corporate office that break down pretty much every type of task that could be potentially dangerous into a step-by-step procedure. It covers everything from what tools are needed to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)-type stuff, as well as other supplies like using a steamer or cleaning out a coffee maker, or real important ones like cleaning a slicer properly. It even goes into the proper, safe disposal for fryer grease for conversion since [Bon Appétit] is so committed to sustainability.

The FACT training is like [Bon Appétit’s] internal ServSafe training. Also, in California it is mandated that all associates go through ServSafe training. All of our management team is ServSafe certified.

Q. How does the food safety committee work?

The committee has a weekly team meeting with all the managers and chefs. We have one individual who collects the information from our 52-week program and decides on a weekly safety topic. We start the meeting discussing the week’s topic. From there, the managers and chefs go back to their unit’s teams to discuss the week’s topic. There is also an appointed Unit Safety Champion who helps the manager with the dissemination of that information. They also have a daily checklist with items like, ‘Is everyone wearing the same shoes? Do you have your cut gloves?’ just the basic daily tasks to make sure that everyone is going to leave in the same fashion they came in.

Q. What is the biggest challenge with managing these programs?

I would say time is the greatest challenge. We’re always working as hard as we can to make sure everything gets done and everyone gets off the clock when they need to be. It’s important to carve out that time to focus on safety. In terms of the rest, it wasn’t that hard to implement. It just took a couple of people to say, ‘what would make this easier?’ We’d seen reports in terms of years past where we weren’t faring well in terms of safety, and that didn’t make sense. So we focused on it and it has really mitigated the issue. We still get the occasional incident. We work with knives and heat so it’s going to happen, but focusing on it really does help. I love to see how the team has really taken it on. It’s also a great motivator. If we can get through the quarter without any injuries, we get a gift card for each member of the team. If you make it through the year, then we are having a party. We have one team that is a year and a half without an incident. It’s beautiful.

Q. What advice would you give to other operators who might want to improve safety efforts?

Get the team involved! Whatever we focus on always improves. We were very excited to see how our teams responded once engaged—for both their safety as well as the guests’. Try to stick to a schedule, as consistency is key.

As general manager for Bon Appétit at a B&I account in Calif., Daniel Salk has committed himself to promoting a culture where workplace safety and safe food handling are a priority. He spoke with FSD about his company’s efforts, including a 52-week training program and a food safety committee with appointed Unit Safety Champions, to ensure a safe work environment.