Food for Thought: Restaurant Hygiene Compliance


Since 2008, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has operated a ratings scheme to measure businesses’ hygiene standards. It makes hygiene compliance critical, as consumers can now search for a businesses’ rating online to help them choose where they eat.

Read on as we take a closer look at the ratings scheme and what restaurants need for hygiene compliance.

Introducing the rating scheme

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, to use its full name, gives businesses a rating between 0 and 5. This is based on how well their establishment adheres to hygiene standards, where 0 requires urgent improvement and 5 is very good:

0 – Urgent improvement required

1 – Major improvement required

2 – Some improvement required

3 – Generally satisfactory hygiene standards

4 – Good hygiene standards

5 – Very good hygiene standards

Who gets rated?

Hygiene ratings can be given to anywhere where food is sold, supplied or just consumed, including restaurants, pubs and cafes, but also any of the following:

  • Workplace canteens
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Care homes
  • Hotels
  • Takeaway restaurants
  • Food vans or stalls
  • Supermarkets or shops selling food

How are they rated?

To rate businesses, local authorities send a food safety officer to undertake a full inspection. They check three key areas:

  • Food handling – How safe are practices for food preparation, cooking, storage, cooling and reheating?
  • Physical environment – Is the layout, lighting and ventilation hygienic? This includes cleanliness and pest control.
  • Hygiene management – How does the establishment keep food safe? From staff training to cleaning processes, this gives inspectors an idea of how standards will be maintained or improved following the inspection.

To get the best rating, businesses need to perform well in each of these three elements. Any failures will result in a rating of less than 5 and specific reasons will be given. That way, businesses know how they can work to improve their next rating.

Improving hygiene compliance

So, what steps should restaurants take to improve their hygiene compliance?

Everyone who handles food is required by law to have level 1, level 2 or level 3 food hygiene training depending on the degree to which they’re involved in food handling. This covers the vast majority of food handling hygiene and hygiene management, so most restaurants are well aware of how to handle food safety. With this in mind, step one is to make sure all staff have up to date training.

However, one area where many restaurants slip up is their physical environment. While it’s required by law to keep staff training up to date, many businesses fall behind with the facilities in their kitchen.

To remain fully compliant, restaurant kitchens should be kitted out with hygienic facilities and furniture from top to bottom. This includes surfaces like table tops, floors and even walls. Even with regular cleaning, unsuitable surfaces or those in a poor condition can be impossible to maintain.

Hygienic wall cladding for your restaurant

Flaking walls and hard-to-maintain tiles are no longer suitable for modern, hygienic kitchens. Fortunately, Igloo Surfaces offers an alternative that’s long lasting, cost-efficient and refreshingly easy to install. Our Arctic PVC wall panels are the perfect solution for commercial kitchens of any size. They’re low maintenance, highly durable and have an excellent rating.

Contact us today for more information.

Commercial Kitchen Wall Cladding – 5 Things to Consider


Wall cladding is a smart option for commercial kitchens. It’s attractive, cost-effective and easy to install. And whether it’s for a restaurant, workplace cafeteria or school canteen, there are a variety of features to consider before purchasing wall cladding.

Read on as we look at 5 points to consider when choosing kitchen wall cladding.

1. Hygiene

In commercial kitchens, it’s important to make sure every aspect of your set up is compliant with hygiene regulations. For wall cladding, this means finding something that’s easy to clean and doesn’t harbour harmful bacteria.

PVC is superior in this sense, because it doesn’t soak up any substances. Any stains show up clearly and surfaces can be wiped clean with ease.

2. Fire resistance

Fire safety is paramount in commercial kitchens. From deep fat fryers to hobs, ovens and even electrical appliances, there is a vast array of potential fire starters. What you don’t want is that fire to spread easily.

If they’re not fire resistant, walls can provide a quick route for fire to spread. Fortunately, there are fire ratings on products to protect against this. A class 1 rating means wall cladding allows no surface spread of flame. Class 0 provides an additional level of protection, limiting combustibility.

Don’t compromise on fire safety. Choose wall cladding that is rated for both class 1 and class 0.

3. Appearance

Commercial kitchens need to give off the right impression. This is especially the case if you’re serving paying customers. That’s where your kitchen’s design comes into play – and wall cladding has a pivotal role to play. It provides a backdrop to your kitchen and can make or break the kitchen’s overall appearance.

Look for wall cladding that’s modern in appearance and, again, easy to clean so you can keep it looking great. Ideally, you should choose wall cladding that’s white for practicality. This will make any stains easier to spot and clean.

4. Durability

Commercial kitchens are a harsh environment. That’s the case not only for kitchen staff, but also the equipment and surroundings. Wall cladding needs to be able to withstand constant knocks, spills and heat over long periods every day.

Be sure to choose durable wall cladding or you could end up forking out in the future to replace and repair panels. PVC is a good option because it’s strong, heat resistant and won’t weaken over time like some other materials.

5. Cost

Chances are you have a budget for refurbishing your commercial kitchen. And wall cladding costs can easily stack up if you’re not careful. After considering the key points above, be sure to consider how cost-effective your wall cladding is, factoring in its durability and how much it could save you over time.

Introducing Arctic PVC – Commercial Wall Cladding

If you’re looking for commercial kitchen wall cladding that ticks all the boxes, Igloo Surfaces can help. Our innovative Arctic PVC wall cladding system provides high quality, versatility and durability in abundance. It’s hygienic and fire resistant – rated Class 1/0 – with a 20-year guarantee for complete peace of mind.

To find out more or order your free samples, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


3 Attractive Alternatives to Tiles in the Bathroom


What choices do you have for your bathroom walls? If you think you’re limited to tiles, think again!

While tiles are a conventional choice found in plenty of UK homeowners, they’re also expensive, difficult to install and tricky to maintain. Fortunately, they’re not the only option available. Read on as we look at 3 alternatives to messy bathroom tiling.

Why is it a tricky choice?

Unlike the living room, kitchen or bedrooms, the bathroom is especially difficult to decorate. Why? Its walls are within the ‘splash zone’ from the bath or shower. That means, over time, they’re inevitably going to get wet.

Conventional wall coverings like wallpaper will be destroyed by this moisture, leaving the bathroom looking a mess. That’s why tiles have become the ‘go-to’ option for bathrooms. They’re water resistant, so being in the splash zone is no problem at all. But what other water-resistant options are available?

1. Paint

Yes – it’s true – typically, paint shouldn’t be used in high-moisture environments. However, some paint is produced with a tighter structure, providing a tougher, mildew-resistant finish. The result? A wall covering that is steam and moisture resistant, so there’s no risk of damp on your bathroom walls.

With that in mind, specialist paint provides an easy way to add some colour to your bathroom – though it may need updating every few years as the paint eventually weakens.

2. Laminated panels

Laminated panels have been an alternative to bathroom tiles for years. Generally used in commercial settings, they have a laminated surface often backed with a wood or waterproof foam core. However, they can also be purchased as a laminate sheet. Because they’re laminated with a water-resistant coating, they are a durable option for bathrooms that can last for years.

Because they expand and contract with moisture, however, laminated panels typically need expansion gaps to be left during installation, making things a bit more complex.

3. PVC wall panels

One option that’s completely hassle free are PVC wall panels. Because they’re produced using PVC, they won’t expand, so they’re quick and easy to install. Simply apply good quality adhesive to the panel and you’re ready to go – they can even be fitted over tiles.

PVC wall panels are one of the best alternatives to tiles in the bathroom because – as well as being easy to install – they look superb. With a wide range of colours and finishes, they allow homeowners to personalise their bathroom to match their style to a tee.

High quality bathroom wall panels

If you’re looking for an attractive alternative to bathroom tiles for your home or commercial property, Igloo Surfaces can help. We stock PVC wall panels in a wide range of styles and colours. All of our products come with a 10 to 20-year guarantee, with free samples available before ordering, so you have complete peace of mind.

For more information, get in touch with our team who are always on hand to help.