Steps to Take When a Guest Complains of Foodborne Illness

Hotel Management's Steps to Take When Handling Guest Complains of Food Poisoning

The Hotel Management should have a plan for handling such situations; all HOD's should practice it, and communicate it to their team members employees. The General Manager should determine who is authorized to speak to any guests complaining of illness and what the proper response should be. The plan should also clearly outline the steps to take from how to respond to the customer, notify vendors, to when and how to contact the authorities.  

It is essential that management and staff do certain checks every time a hotel kitchen opens and closes. These should include: making sure fridges, chilled display equipment and freezers are working properly; ensuring staff are fit for work and wearing clean work clothes; and confirming that food preparation areas are clean and disinfected and there are plenty of hand washing and cleaning materials available.

Steps to Take When a Guest Complains of Food borne Illness

  1. Show care and concern. You are in the hospitality business and you want to exceed your guests’ expectations so being empathetic should be second nature.

  2. Ensure you get the callers contact information.

  3. Document the name, address, and telephone number of the guest who complains of an illness. 

  4. Note down the date and time the guest visited your restaurant. 

  5. Document all items eaten in your facility by the guest during the visit in question. 

  6. Obtain the name and address of the physician treating the guest. If the guest has not contacted a physician, encourage him or her to do so.

  7. Contact the physician to determine if in fact a case of foodborne illness or food poisoning has been diagnosed.

  8. Notify the local health department immediately if a foodborne illness outbreak is confirmed, so the staff there can assist you in determining the source of the outbreak, as well as identifying affected guests and employees.

  9. Evaluate and, if necessary, modify your training and certification efforts that relate to the areas involved in the incident.

  10. Document your efforts, and notify your attorney or company risk manager.

  11. Notify the chef immediately; Chef should ensure his employees are following all food handling rules.

  12. Secure all the ingredients in the dish with potential contamination.

  13. If there are more complaints, local health authorities, the CDC, and vendors must be contacted.

  14. All affected diners must be contacted to offer them assistance and reimbursement.

  15. Hotel or Management obligation now is to clean, contain, and cooperate with local and federal health agencies.