An Exploratory Study of the Efficacy of ServSafe® Online


  • Andrew Hale Feinstein
  • Michael C. Dalbor
  • Amy McManus


ServSafe® is the most widely utilized food safety training course in the United States, providing certification to over 300,000 learners in 2005. Because of its prevalence, there has been interest in offering this training online. Further, as online programs continue to proliferate in the hospitality industry, the authors hope to provide insight into methodologies designed to evaluate the effectiveness of online instructional systems. The primary objective of this study is to determine whether there is a significant increase in learners’ food safety knowledge as a result of taking ServSafe Online. Three hundred forty-three participants with various backgrounds were used to take ServSafe Online. The mean improvement in the post-test score when compared to the pre-test score was more than 22 points. Overall, 81 percent of the respondents passed the exam, as compared to the 79 percent for those who took the traditional exam during 2005. A general linear model and analysis of variance was conducted to determine if various factors such as age and experience, significantly affected the results. No significant factors were found. These findings support the notion that ServSafe Online is an effective method of instruction.