This was the statement my son greeted me with as I came home from work one Friday afternoon. Most dads would expect a familiar word like “Hello” or the ever popular phrase “How’s was work today?” But, not my son. No, he likes to “hit me with some knowledge” whenever he gets the chance. And on that day, he dug deep to find something he knew I didn’t know.
So instead of just ignoring him, which I tend to do in these types of situations, I told him I didn’t believe him and he needed to prove it to me. He was initially shocked by my response, but not ten minutes later, he yelled for me from the upstairs bathroom. I ran upstairs only to find him with his acoustic guitar, kneeling down as close to the toilet as one could get without getting wet.
“Watch this, Dad!” he said with a smile.
He strummed an E flat and then flushed the toilet. It was perfectly in tune with his guitar. I know you don’t believe me but it is true. He had proved his statement and let me tell you, he was proud. Trying not to seem too impressed, I chuckled and then told him that I thought the other toilets in the house were out of tune and that he need to fix them right away.
I filed this new information about toilet harmonics in my head under the “Useless Information” folder. Unfortunately the folder was getting full, with the last entry having something to do with burning more calories eating celery than there are in celery itself. Surely you know which folder I’m talking about, right?
Unfortunately, food safety practices and procedures get relegated to this same folder. Of course, the information is not useless but if it is not emphasized or regularly practiced in your restaurant, it might as well be. Could this be true with you? Think about the following statements:
o When was the last time you taught your employees about the basic safety procedures in your restaurant?
o Do you remember the time you said to yourself you would never let that happen again?
o Do you recall when the health inspector pointed out some potential issues you needed to address?
o What about that time standardizing your food rotation system was high on your priority list?
As you can see, we all fall victim to filing important things away as useless information due to the crisis of the moment or the exorbitant amount of “to do” items on our list. But make sure you’re not ignoring the important at the expense of the urgent, especially as it relates to the safety of your employees and your customers. If you do, much more than your toilet will get "out of tune".
/ Paul McGinnis is the VP of Marketing for Ecolab's Food Safety Specialties division (formerly Daydots). He is an author and a speaker, and currently serves as editor-in-chief of Food Safety Solutions magazine.