• Pricing


Understanding ServSafe: A Quick Guide 

Understanding ServSafe: A Quick Guide 

Picture of Clarissa Buch Zilberman
Clarissa Buch Zilberman

Whether you are an entry-level employee or a seasoned manager, obtaining a ServSafe certification can significantly benefit your career and contribute to the overall safety and success of your establishment.  

What is ServSafe?

From running a bustling restaurant to managing a vibrant food truck or operating a catering business, upholding stringent food safety standards is a fundamental aspect of the job.  

According to recent data, approximately 48 million people get sick from foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year, underscoring the importance of food safety training across the industry.  

That’s where ServSafe comes in, a well-known and widely respected food and beverage safety training and certification program administered by the National Restaurant Association.  

ServSafe is designed to educate food service workers about the best practices in food safety. As one of several food safety certifications available in the U.S., ServSafe is recognized nationwide and may be required by health departments and employers to ensure that food service operations meet safety standards. 

The program covers a wide range of topics, including:  

  • Foodborne illnesses 
  • Personal hygiene 
  • Cross-contamination 
  • Time and temperature control 
  • Cleaning and sanitizing  

Types of ServSafe certifications

ServSafe offers several types of certifications, each tailored to different roles within the food service industry. Here are the primary certifications available: 

ServSafe Food Handler Certification 

  • Who it’s for: Entry-level employees in the food service industry. 
  • What it covers: Basic food safety practices, including personal hygiene, time and temperature control, preventing cross-contamination, and cleaning and sanitizing. 

ServSafe Manager Certification

  • Who’s it for: Food service managers and supervisory staff. 
  • What it covers: In-depth food safety management principles, including developing food safety policies, monitoring and verifying food safety practices, and managing food safety risks. 

ServSafe Alcohol Certification

  • Who’s it for: Employees involved in the service of alcohol, including bartenders and servers. 
  • What it covers: Responsible alcohol service, including checking identification, understanding the effects of alcohol, handling difficult situations, and preventing over-service. 

ServSafe Allergens Certification

  • Who’s it for: Food service workers, especially those preparing and serving food. 
  • What it covers: Identifying allergens, preventing cross-contact, communicating with guests about allergens, and managing allergic reactions. 

Most ServSafe certifications require an exam consisting of 40 questions or more. A passing score is usually 75% or higher.  

In addition to these certifications, ServSafe offers a program called ServSafe Workplace, which provides practical strategies and solutions to common workplace challenges. It is designed to train managers and employees in creating a positive and safe work environment in the food service industry.  

This program goes beyond traditional food safety and hygiene, focusing on critical areas such as preventing workplace harassment, managing stress, and fostering an inclusive culture. By implementing these practices, businesses can ensure a respectful and productive atmosphere, ultimately enhancing employee satisfaction and operational efficiency. 


Running A Restaurant Commissary: Best Practices for Consistency and Efficiency

Benefits of ServSafe certification

Obtaining a ServSafe certification offers numerous benefits to both individuals and businesses within the food service industry: 

  • Improved food safety knowledge: ServSafe training provides comprehensive education on food safety principles, ensuring that employees understand how to handle food safely and prevent foodborne illnesses. 
  • Enhanced credibility: Having a ServSafe certification demonstrates a commitment to food safety and can enhance the credibility and reputation of a food service establishment. 
  • Compliance with regulations: Many local and state health departments require food service establishments to have certified food safety managers. ServSafe certification helps businesses comply with these regulations. 
  • Reduced risk of foodborne illnesses: Proper training and certification help reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses, protecting customers and reducing the likelihood of costly food safety incidents. 
  • Increased employee confidence: Employees who are trained and certified in food safety practices are more confident in their ability to perform their duties effectively and safely. 
  • Career advancement: For individuals, obtaining ServSafe certification can enhance career opportunities and lead to advancement within the food service industry. 

How to get certified

Getting ServSafe certified involves a few key steps: 

  • Choose the right course: Determine which certification is appropriate for your role and responsibilities within the food service industry. 
  • Complete the training: Enroll in a ServSafe course, either online or in-person, and complete the training modules. 
  • Pass the exam: Schedule and take the certification exam. Upon passing, you will receive your ServSafe certification. 
  • Maintain certification: ServSafe certifications are valid for a specific period (usually five years for Manager Certificates or three years for Alcohol, Allergens, or Food Handler Certificates). State or employer requirements can vary, so best practice is to check your specific regulatory requirements or contact the local health department. 

The bottom line

ServSafe plays a critical role in promoting food safety within the food service industry. By providing comprehensive training and certification, ServSafe helps ensure that food service workers are knowledgeable about the best practices for handling and serving food safely.  

Whether you are an entry-level employee or a seasoned manager, obtaining a ServSafe certification can significantly benefit your career and contribute to the overall safety and success of your establishment.   

Share this blog: