If you’ve had your food safety posters up for more than a couple of years, chances are your employees are suffering from banner blindness. The term was coined to explain how people have adapted to ignore many forms of advertising, even when it’s right in front of them.
The same thing happens to posters and signs, which means your kitchen teams may not be refreshing their memory on proper handwashing technique, ideal fridge storage, and other food safety topics you have signage for.
That’s why we reviewed 100+ food safety posters for restaurants, then narrowed down the list to our top 16 most clear, helpful, and aesthetic.
Yes, you read that right: aesthetic. Nobody enjoys staring down a poster that looks like it was designed by an accountant from a corporate office in the 80s. Well-designed posters are more likely to be studied by your team over time, which mitigates risk for your restaurant.
Let’s give your kitchen some signage TLC.
*Note: Specific food safety signage may be required by your franchisor. We suggest double-checking with your representative before removing corporate-distributed signage.
Squadle: 5 Visually-Pleasing Food Safety Signs for Restaurants
After realizing how dreadful many food safety posters are, we scratched our own itch and designed five posters for restaurants that your employees won’t mind reviewing regularly.
Our free pack of posters contains the following five displays:
- Handwashing Procedures Sign (x2) — Two styles of handwashing posters that reminds employees the many times they need to wash up again.
- Refrigeration Guidelines — The fridge is one of the easier places to fall behind on compliance. This sign offers a gentle reminder to stay vigilant.
- Change Gloves Alert — Washing hands is second nature, but changing gloves between tasks is easier to forget, especially for newer employees. This alert will make sure nobody cross-contaminates food with reused gloves.
- Raw Food Prep Area Alert — The standard raw food alert sign is so similar to a plain-text banner ad, your team probably hasn’t really noticed it for months. This one will get your employees’ attention.
Free Download: 16 Food Safety Posters
State Food Safety: 5 Posters for More Effective Employees
Our friends at State Food Safety have a handful of well-designed food safety signs for both restaurants and consumers. Out of 30 total posters, here are the five we believe are most valuable for your kitchen.
- Cleaning in Place Poster — We’ve studied hundreds of food safety checklists, and most don’t offer more guidance than simplified task names, like “clean the toaster oven”. This CIP poster quickly details the steps to effectively cleaning gear.
- Use Chemicals Safely Poster — Experienced kitchen workers may feel that cleaning with chemicals all comes down to common sense. For the average employee who doesn’t use heavy-duty chemicals at home, proper usage isn’t so obvious. This poster breaks down the essential Dos and Don’ts.
- Quick-Reference Temperature Poster — Smart technology used in most franchise restaurant kitchens nearly eliminates the risk of undercooking, but the consequences of under-cooked food can be so severe, it’s necessary that everyone in the kitchen be able to assess temperature compliance regularly.
- Fridge Storage for Food Safety — Refrigerators always start off organized, but when you’re in the middle of a rush, not everything gets put back where it’s supposed to go to avoid cross-contamination. This poster is an excellent reference point for reclaiming safe food storage.
- 8 Major Food Allergens Poster — The standard allergen chart is bland and forgetful. This one is visually stunning and includes four principles to follow in the restaurant setting to make the information more practical.
We appreciate the attention to detail put into each sign, and in particular, the focus on being practical for employees. It’s one thing for a sign to be informational—it’s another for it to be helpful in day-to-day operations.
FDA: These Food Safety Posters Are Cheesy, but Haunting
We’ll dip slightly on our high standards for poster aesthetic, because there are occasionally times when thoughtful design just doesn’t cut it. Some employees need to have a healthy sense of fear put back into them. These FDA posters—despite being cheesy—do the trick.
Rather than being framed as an infographic, each poster features a small story of a restaurant worker who didn’t take food safety seriously, then ended up hurting multiple people. One poster ends in death with a gravestone unironically displayed. Well, that escalated quickly.
- Stay Home If You’re Sick — The temptation to go to work while feeling sick can be great, but the risks are greater. This poster tells the tale of a boy who celebrated his 4th birthday at a restaurant, but ended up ill (with 20+ other people).
- Stay Home If Your Family’s Sick — Sick children may not seem a likely conduit for foodborne illness outbreaks, but parents who fail to take precautions not to spread illness when they arrive at work put others at risk.
- A Salad to Die For? — Have an employee who keeps preparing raw meat and veggies with the same cutting board or utensils? Show them what’s on the line with this chilling story of cross-contamination and death.
- COVID-19 Food Handling — This dense infographic poster goes into more detail than the average coronavirus-related poster, offering employees practical ways to stay healthy, clean, and interact with customers.
If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s likely that your employees will mock how cheesy these FDA food safety posters are—but that’s just fine. At least they’re noticing them.
Also Read: 5 Food Safety Tips and Red Flags
King County: 2 COVID-19 Posters for Restaurants
Preventing the spread of the coronavirus is everyone’s job, but not everyone is familiar with the established best practices. King Country (Seattle area) published a variety of “Prevent the Spread” posters in 2020, including two aimed at restaurant staff and customers.
- Prevent the Spread: Customer Facing — Your franchisor has likely given you signage that reassures customers of your strict cleaning procedures. But if not, this is a great sign to put up in your takeout or dining areas.
- Prevent the Spread: Restaurant Staff — It’s tempting for employees who see each other daily to lay off the rigid guidelines, but the pandemic still rages on. This poster is a healthy reminder to staff of ways they can reduce the spread in the kitchen.
We appreciate that these posters are available in a variety of languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali, Russian, Korean, Chinese (simplified and traditional), and Amharic.
Signs Don’t Ensure Employee Compliance, But This Does
Let’s be clear about what posters do and don’t do.
- They do help employees refresh their food safety memory
- They don’t create tangible checks and balances that elevate food safety compliance
As someone managing multiple restaurant locations, you know that repeatable and reliable systems are the best way to streamline food safety operations. It’s why you have things like cleaning checklists, so people know exactly what they need to do.
Paper checklists, however, don’t always ensure follow-through either, because tired employees can simply “pencil whip” checkmarks beside unfinished tasks without anyone knowing.
We’re advocates for transforming your paper checklists into digital checklists.
- It’s easy to monitor employee compliance remotely (10 tasks completed in 30 seconds? Suspicious)
- You can gather data from multiple locations in one dashboard
Employees appreciate great food safety posters, and they love great digital checklists. Together, they’re an excellent way to refresh your food safety program, get everyone on the same page, and operate restaurants with greater confidence.
Want to learn more about digital checklists? Check this out: Digital Checklists: The Ultimate Guide for Restaurants.