Coffee Shop Health and Safety Checklist

Ensure your coffee shop provides a safe and comfortable environment for both customers and staff with our guide to assessing risks and shop safety.

When you run any kind of business, the health and safety of your customers and employees should be a top priority. This is especially relevant when you sell food and drink.

As a leading coffee shop franchise in the UK, we are dedicated to ensuring that everyone who visits one of our Esquires Coffee stores can relax in a safe and comfortable environment and enjoy outstanding quality coffee and food items.

Our health and safety checklist ensures new franchisees and cafe owners can offer a safe and consistent experience for their customers while also adhering to government requirements.

cost of uk franchise

COVID-19 Guidelines for Coffee Shops

Aside from all the usual health and safety checks that businesses have been performing for years, you will now also need to think about the sustained threat of COVID and the appropriate measures you’ll need to maintain.

In the effort to reduce the spread of the virus and reduce the risk for your customers and staff, you’ll need to consider things like:

  • Social distancing – Is there enough space in your establishment for people to be able to safely navigate without feeling crowded and unsafe?
  • Wearing masks – Encourage your patrons to wear masks when moving around your store.
  • Protection for staff – You may also want to install barriers at registers to give staff further protection.
  • Hand sanitiser – Offer sanitiser at the door and encourage visitors to use it when arriving and leaving.
  • COVID signage – make your COVID policy visible so everyone knows the rules.

COVID-19 measures at Esquires Coffee shops

Regular Health & Safety Assessments

An assessment of your current site and procedures will ensure you can identify where any risks might lie.

Undergoing regular assessments means you can keep on top of any changes to your business, ensuring all procedures are current and relevant.

Coffee Shop Risk Assessment

You will need to make sure you are aware of the potential risks and outline which procedures will mitigate these hazards, decreasing the potential for harm or injury. Examples of things to consider in your risk assessment include:

  • The safety and durability of any customer-facing items. Do you provide the correct serving cups and non-slip serving trays?
  • Heat from cookers, kettles and coffee machines.
  • Other potentially hazardous kitchen equipment, like knives.
  • Accessibility of entrances and exits, such as narrow walkways, tables and steps.
  • Trip hazards throughout the café, such as changes in floor levels or the likelihood of spillages.

When you have identified the risks, you will need to consider the actions required to control the risks and who is responsible for managing the risks and recording the necessary steps.

Two baristas in a coffee shop

Keep Thorough Records of Safety Checks & Procedures

Part of your risk management might be continuous monitoring of potential hazards. Make sure you keep detailed records of the checks you make and when.

You can also review old health and safety assessments and accident records from the previous business or building owner. This may give an indication of other unusual hazards you have not yet considered.

Site & Equipment Health & Safety

Keeping your site and your equipment clean is a big part of running a safe coffee shop. You must have a regular cleaning schedule for all areas of your establishment, along with an effective waste management system.

Keeping all kitchen equipment in full working order is essential, not only for the smooth running of your business but also to secure the safety of individuals using this equipment and those consuming food or drink.

It’s also worth considering any potential risks associated with the cleaning materials and chemicals used by your staff. Will skin irritation be caused, and how can this be avoided?

Coffee Machine Care

The coffee machines are the star of any coffee shop, so you want to keep them in tip-top condition. Maintaining your coffee machines reduces their potential to harm employees and ensure you keep producing only the best quality coffee.

You will need to make sure your coffee machines are:

  • Annually inspected to establish general health, cleanliness and potential flaws.
  • Regularly and correctly maintained and cleaned by your employees.

A barista in a green apron working a coffee machine

Food Hygiene

As an establishment that serves food and drink, you need to be vigilant when it comes to storing and preparing consumables safely. To uphold a clean kitchen or food preparation area, you will need to:

  • Have a dedicated area where food and drink are handled in line with appropriate hygiene levels.
  • Eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Ensure ingredients and products are stored and labelled correctly.
  • Ensure food and drink is heated or cooked properly.
  • Provide employees with equipment like gloves, aprons and hairnets if appropriate.
  • Ensure waste is disposed of properly.
  • Perform audits of ingredients to ensure everything is safe to be consumed.

Health & Safety Training for Staff

All of your employees must complete sufficient training in order to perform their job as safely as possible, reducing potential harm to themselves and customers. Training should include the completion of basic food hygiene certificates as well as general workplace health and safety.

When you become an Esquires franchisee, you get access to a variety of support, including guidance when it comes to training your staff.

Display Your Health & Safety Law Poster

As an employer, you must ensure you have clearly displayed the health and safety law poster so all employees can view it. You can also issue each worker with a leaflet with the same information.

Hopefully, our guide has given you an idea of the kind of health and safety considerations you’ll need to address when opening a coffee shop. Of course, this article should only serve as a general overview and is not reflective of the thorough, location-specific procedures we have in place at each of our stores.

If you are still in the decision-making stage and are new to the coffee shop industry, why not consider becoming an Esquires Coffee franchise partner? Head over to our FAQs page to see if you meet our requirements.

Esquires Coffee franchising FAQs


About the author - Jack Anderson

Jack has been working in the franchise sector for over 12 years and is our in-house guru on all things business! Jack is also a keen hiker and can be found in some of the UK's best walking spots on the weekends.

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