Food and beverage safety is the number one priority when running a restaurant, especially a successful one. That means making sure your managers, service staff and bar staff are trained and that their certifications stay up-to-date.

Enter ServSafe, the most popular food and beverage safety training program in the industry. Accepted in every state, it’s the obvious choice in terms of training resources. Now, you just have to figure out when and how to make sure your employees get ServSafe certified and that’s where we come in…

Here are the pro-tips to ensure your staff has all the training they need:

Create a schedule for everyone to get certified routinely

The ServSafe certificate is good for 5 years. In addition, many states mandate that you get re-certified once every certain number of years. For instance, California wants recertification once every 5 years, in Utah it is every 3 years, and Alaska is every 5 years.

No one expects you to keep track of all your employees hire-dates in your head, so have a schedule up in your break room that shows re-certification dates by hire date. For instance, if you hired 3 people in 2014, all three get a training day together in 2017.

Pro-tip: Make sure managers are also on the schedule, since many states (Rhode Island and California, for instance) mandate that a manager certified in safe food handling is always on site when food is being prepared.

Let technology be your friend

ServSafe has online courses that allow employees to take classes in the comfort of the break room or their own living rooms. Online courses make it easy to get new hires certified quickly and lets you work around everyone’s busy schedules.

To make things even more convenient, you can request eCertificates.

Students can request that the PDF file of the certificate be emailed to them immediately after they pass the exam, which means that you can have the proof of their training displayed right away.

Get all your certificates at once

ServSafe certifies in food safety for managers, food safety for food handlers, responsible alcohol serving, and allergen safety. Their website also has links to National Restaurant Association programs for food management professionals.

Line everything up at once so you don’t have to keep track of different expiration dates and which certificates you are missing.

Make sure everyone passes the first time by offering study help

Honestly, some people don’t take tests well. They may be fantastic Chefs and Managers, with sterling records regarding safety and sanitation, but they have a hard time taking notes or they freeze at the word ‘exam.’

Remind your staff that if anyone needs a little assistance in note taking or understanding questions, you’re more than willing to help, and that ServSafe has links to quizzes and other study guides.

This way, your world-class employees can spend more time doing their jobs and less time fretting about a test.

Food safety certification is mandatory in most states and counties. These tips will make complying with these regulations easy and efficient, and will keep your establishment focused on producing good food, instead of keeping up with paperwork.