Category Archives: Food Safety

How to practice food safety

Even though food safety month is once a year, it is imperative to practice food safety every day. Today, let’s talk about your service operation. It’s your responsibility to make sure your staff is serving food correctly. Here are 5 quick practices your staff should be doing.

  1. Use an ice scoop to put ice in a glass. Never use bare hands.
  2. Hold glasses by the bottom, or stem. Never hold glasses by the top.
  3. Use utensils to serve ready to eat food. Never use your bare hands.
  4. Store flatware with their handles facing up. Never grab flatware by the mount-contact surface.
  5.  Serve condiments in their original packaging. Never  re-serve uncovered condiments

Food safety month is a great time to set up training for your staff. This can be a 1-2 hour exercise on a Sunday morning, before opening hours, where you go over food safety best practices. Check out for tools you can use.

The World Of Mocktails

Some people like the taste of alcoholic drinks without chancing drinking and driving, or otherwise abstain completely from alcoholic beverages. “Mocktails” are the safe-to-drink variations of cocktails, and with one of the most iconic mocktails, Shirley Temple, having its namesake pass away this week, it’s a great time to look at a drink (and a range of drinks it is included in) that she made iconic.

Common Mocktails

Arnold Palmer, Shirley Temple, Freddie Bartholomew, Roy Rogers, and even Virgin Mary: these people may have nothing in common, outside of the fact they’re inspiration for mocktails. What does it take to make each of these?

  • Arnold Palmer: 50% lemonade, 50% iced tea. When you can’t decide what cold drink to have for refreshment, go for this one.
  • Freddie Bartholomew: ginger ale and lime juice.
  • Shirley Temple: ginger ale (or lemon-lime soda), splash of grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry. Commonly, this can be made alcoholic and named “Shirley Temple Black”, her adult, married name, by the addition of vodka.
  • Roy Rogers: cola and grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry.
  • Virgin Mary: a non-alcoholic version of a Bloody Mary, containing tomato juice, Tabasco sauce, and garnished with a celery stalk.

Beyond these named for famous people, there are other mocktails that stand on their own.

  • Virgin Colada: a non-alcoholic version of the Piña Colada, combining cream of coconut and pineapple juice, garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.
  • Gunner: ginger beer or lemonade combined with ginger ale and a dash of lemon juice or lime cordial, and a dash of Angostura bitters (while considered non-alcoholic, bitters are 44.7% alcohol).
  • Lemon, Lime and Bitters: lemonade, lime cordial, and Angostura bitters.
  • Tortuga: Much like American Sweet Tea, a Tortuga is iced tea with brown sugar, garnished with cinnamon and a lime wedge.

Why might you want to look into serving mocktails?

Cost Efficiency and Safety

Many people might like these drinks when they’re in a situation where they can’t drink. Offering mocktails allows them to have a unique drink, but also allows you to not tap in to your expensive alcohol offerings. Some people may even want to look like they’re drinking (to act as if they’re keeping up with friends), so mocktails might allow them to continue a night without pressures from friends.

One way to even encourage patronage with non-alcoholic drinks is to offer free drinks to designated drivers. The designated driver concept is an honorable one for many bars and restaurants; in a good night of drinks and debauchery, one pal might opt to be the designated driver. While everyone else can enjoy their drinks with alcohol, he or she can have free drinks at the cost of not being alcoholic. One way to institute this program is to offer the designated driver a wristband; this wristband will indicate to staff, bartenders, and waitstaff that they’re not to have alcoholic drinks, but can have free drinks.

Mocktails can keep the world safe, and increase your profitability. Don’t make the mistake of skipping them on your menu.

Should You Open During Inclement Weather?

There’s a legend in the worlds of both restaurants and crisis management: The Waffle House Index. It’s an informal metric for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and bases the severity of a disaster and the response needed on how local Waffle Houses handle it.

There are three levels of status to The Waffle House Index:

  • “Green” indicates that Waffle Houses are open and serving a regular menu. This indicates that all staff can get to work, machinery can run correctly (gas and electricity are running), and there’s no major inventory problems.
  • “Yellow” indicates that there’s not a full menu. This could be from limited inventory (unable to replenish), limited or even no power, and that they may even just be using generators.
  • “Red” indicates one thing: the restaurant is closed. At this point, it is a severe disaster, and FEMA knows what it needs to do.

Your restaurant may experience inclement weather from time to time, especially if you operate in certain areas. Much of America has been dancing with the “polar vortex” and “snowpocalypses” this year, so restaurants have had to handle the decision: should you open for business?

Staff Capabilities

First and foremost, the safety of your staff is paramount. Never ask your staff to do something you wouldn’t if you don’t think you could get out to the restaurant and open it, it’s not worth it. If you can make it and your staff can , you may want to consider opening, if only for limited hours. If only one of your chefs can get there (but you normally have two over the course of the day), you may want to run for a half-day. If you can’t have any waitstaff show up, you might find yourself filling in for that position. During disasters, your staff may be forced to be flexible, taking upon tasks they’re not used to. Once the disaster is done, you may want to reward their flexibility with paid vacation time (especially if they need to take care of damage at home) or other treats. They took risks getting to work, you need to reward.

Inventory Capabilities

If anything, you can’t run a restaurant without food: that’s common knowledge. If you’ve had a delivery truck not arrive, you may be limited in your food supplies, and might need to go down your menu and see what you can and can’t make. Can’t exactly make chicken noodle soup without carrots and chicken. When you have customers show up, just be honest with them. In most cases, they’ll understand the limited menu.

Customer Safety

Even if your staff can get to the restaurant and you have full inventory, you may not want to open for the simple fact that nobody would show up. Given how bad disasters are, people may be stuck at home, leaving the area for the safety that family and friends offer, or just in a mindset to save money for repairs that’ll need to be made. If nearby restaurants are closed, you can take a gamble and open up to be the one place that makes money, or play it safe and give everyone a day off.

In all situations, safety comes first. Don’t go in if it’s too dangerous. If you can, take all factors into account; you might just find yourself in a very profitable situation.