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Why you should already have a food handlers card

food handlers card

Trying to get your first restaurant job? Getting your food handlers card now demonstrates that you’re responsible and you understand how to handle food safely.

If you’re thinking of getting your first restaurant job, you’re going to need to get your food handlers card. Many states require that you’ve obtained your food handler certification within 30 days of employment, but getting it beforehand will place you above your competition.

Melissa Smith from eFoodHandlers® gave us the top reasons why it’s important and impressive to already have your food handlers card when applying for your first restaurant job.

It looks good on your resume
Trying to break into any career is challenging without experience, but for the restaurant industry — getting your food handlers card truly is the first step. Many employers appreciate when someone is already certified, because they don’t need to stress about whether or not you’ll remember to get it in time. Melissa states that those who have their certification, “Present less of a liability to an employer. It shows they already have the knowledge to handle food safely as opposed to those who are unfamiliar with safe food handling procedures.” So if you don’t have experience, but do have a food handlers card, then that’s just one less thing the hiring manager has to think about while training you — giving you a leg up when interviewing for an entry-level position.

It can also say a lot about your character. Melissa states that those with their food handlers card, “demonstrate they can buy-in to a safety-first culture regarding protecting the public.” She continues that it also shows “they understand the safety requirements for their job and take them seriously.” That’s the kind of attitude all restaurant hiring managers are looking for.

“48 million US consumers get sick every year from food poisoning. The FDA has determined that food handlers are a primary cause.”

You gain an important base-knowledge 
Having a basic understanding of food safety is not only the first step to gaining experience, but it allows you to serve and handle food properly, protecting your patrons, your coworkers and yourself. Melissa explains that, “food safety teaches food handlers how to prepare and serve food in a way that doesn’t make people sick.” She continues, “48 million US consumers get sick every year from food poisoning. The FDA has determined that food handlers are a primary cause.” Knowing how to handle food to keep people safe is a big responsibility and it’s how restaurants maintain a reputable business. So having your food handlers card demonstrates that you understand the dangers of improper food preparation and have taken important steps to avoid them.

You need it, it’s easy to get – so why not just get it already!
Most states require that you have a food handlers card. If you really want to work in the food and beverage industry you need one, so you might as well rip the band-aid off now. Melissa states, “food handlers cards are not required in every state or locality. However, even in areas where it is not a regulatory requirement, many restaurants require food handlers to take the training…” The reason being that it maintains the reputation of the restaurant when the staff is knowledgeable on cleanliness and how to keep customers safe. Obtaining your certification is super easy and doesn’t take long at all. Melissa says that her “eFoodHandlers® ANSI-accredited Food Safety course offers a fast and easy process,” that takes “only 75 minutes to complete the training program.” You also get a choice between text-based training or their 6-part video series.

So if you’re serious about getting your first job in a restaurant and have a free night to kill, why not just get your food handlers card now? You’ll need it anyway and it will set you up with the basic tools for having a successful career in the food and beverage industry.

Ashley McNally

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.

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