Every restaurant owner must take measures towards preventing the possibility of food poisoning or food-borne illness. Laws require that restaurant owners utilize food safety practices. Unfortunately, some situations may be out of the owners’ control.
If you find yourself facing allegations of causing food poisoning or illness, avoid panicking and keep the following things in mind.
Have empathy but remain organized
When a customer approaches you with a complaint about food poisoning your response requires a careful balance of empathy and understanding without admitting guilt. Treat the customer with respect and act politely but resist the instinct to apologize for their illness.
Since tracing food poisoning often becomes complicated, you should gather details from the customer. Ask when they ate at your restaurant and what they ordered. See if you can find out if others in their party also suffered sickness.
Respond to the situation
After receiving a report of potential food poisoning, you must do your part and investigate the situation in your restaurant. Make sure that your business complies with food safety and food handling regulations. If possible, retain samples of the ingredients used in the suspected dish for testing. Keep in mind that if any staff are sick or not following hygiene rules, they may also have been the source of illness.
Whether or not you think your restaurant was the source of the foodborne illness, consider reporting the situation to the health department. This can help uncover whether the situation was due to a more widespread contamination of a specific product.