Food delivery provider Just Eat said yesterday that it is committed to investing £1m to raise food hygiene and safety standards across the UK takeaway sector.
Under the new programme, it will work with any restaurant on its platform with an official Food Hygiene Rating of zero, one or two to help them improve their rating.
Any zero-rated restaurant which does not improve its score by 1 May will be removed from the Just Eat platform until they do so.
Just Eat’s funding will provide a bespoke improvement plan for any restaurant with a rating of two or below, delivered by NSF, the specialist global food safety consultancy.
The package of support will include a one-to-one visit from an expert food safety practitioner, provision of a detailed action plan on how to make any required improvements, access to resources and guidance on how to request a re-inspection from their local authority to gain a new FHRS rating.
Zero-rated restaurants will also be offered additional follow-up support.
Just Eat already offers food hygiene and safety training to every restaurant that signs up to its platform free of charge.
In addition, any restaurants seeking to sign up to the Just Eat platform from today will be required to have a minimum Food Hygiene Rating of three by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) or be registered and awaiting inspection by the local authority.
Graham Corfield, managing director of Just Eat in the UK, said: “We’re focused on helping the UK’s vibrant takeaway sector grow and thrive. We know that running a small, independent business is not without its challenges, and food hygiene and safety is a vital area that restaurants need to get right.
“This is why we have an ever-evolving programme of work dedicated to raising food safety standards across the entire takeaway sector. The vast majority of the UK’s takeaway restaurants have good food hygiene standards already, but today’s investment means those that need extra help can now access bespoke support for free.”
The latest commitment from Just Eat follows its announcement in December 2018 of plans to include the official FSA food hygiene rating of each of its UK restaurant partners directly on its platform both in-app and online.
Just Eat continues to make significant updates to its API so that a restaurant’s FSA rating will automatically update if it changes following a local authority inspection.
This means Just Eat will receive a notification if a restaurant falls below a rating of 3 so that it can quickly contact the restaurant to offer access to the new food safety programme.
Displaying FSA ratings is currently underway in Northern Ireland and will be rolled out across the whole of the UK in the coming months.
Just Eat has also offered access to Level 2 food hygiene training and certification to every business on the platform since 2016, and in 2018 partnered with digital food safety management software provider Checkit to allow restaurants to access new digital food safety systems at industry-leading rates.
Viresh Patel, owner of The Pizza Company, Gourmet Burger & Fries and China Kitchen, is among the operators to back Just Eat’s initiative.
“I moved from a hygiene rating of four to five after Just Eat gave me access to a digital tool which helps me and my team make sure food safety tasks are carried out at the right time every day. It is the simple but important things that can easily be forgotten when working flat-out in a busy kitchen, such as monitoring fridge temperatures or checking staff are wearing all the correct uniform.
“They seem small but they’re really important and it’s meant we’ve really tightened up our food safety processes. Just Eat’s support in this area has been invaluable and I think their new food safety programme will be a positive step for other takeaway businesses.”