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Brush Up On Basics for Food Safety Month

safe food

Although food safety should always be a top priority for your business, September is National Food Safety Month, a great time reinforce its importance with your employees. Brush up on these basic principles with your employees this month:

  • Temperature Monitoring – Maintenance of proper food temperatures is critical for preventing foodborne illnesses. Poultry should be cooked to 165° F, ground meats to 155° F, and seafood to 145° F. Instawares offers a variety of thermometers to monitor food temperatures while cooking and serving. Plus, from now through the end of the month, all Ecolab thermometers are 20% off.
  • Cross Contamination – Pathogens can easily be transferred from one surface or food to another during prep and storage. Avoiding bare hand contact with food and cleaning and sanitizing food-contact surfaces are good ways to prevent this from happening. Another easy way to avoid cross contamination when prepping food is using a produce wash like ProduceShield to guard against harmful organisms.
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing – Always clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces:
  1. After they are used
  2. Any time food handlers are interrupted during a task and the items being used may have been contaminated
  3. Before food handlers start working with a different type of food
  4. After four hours if items are in constant use

Following these simple steps goes a long way in preventing illnesses and can save you time and money.

Breakfast

Coffee & Breakfast for Dessert?

As a kid, breakfast for dinner was always an incredibly exciting weeknight twist. For students and night shift workers, breakfast 24/7 from fast food restaurants like Jack in the Box has its cachet. But now, breakfast for dessert is what’s on everyone’s mind!

This emerging 2014 food trend adds day-break foods to the modern chef’s weakness for mash-ups and also ties in American’s re-found love for tea! Earl Grey panna cotta is the lighter side of breakfast for dessert; doughnut sundaes are the extreme!

There’s really no way to get it wrong. Creativity is where you’ll find your own hit. Serve any kind of coffee- or tea-infused panna cotta in this modern gelato dish by Libbey. Could chocolate covered bacon be served in a pretty Dobla chocolate cup with some fresh whipped cream and candied nuts. How about serving kids a plate of cookies and milk from an old-fashioned milk bottle or a sundae in a cereal bowl with an assortment of cereals as toppings?

Respecting Your Elders (While Keeping Business)

For many people, a trip to the restaurant, especially a quick-service one, follows a few beats. Get to the restaurant (wait on friends or family if you’re meeting people there), deduce what you’re going to order, place the order and wait on it to be ready, enjoy your meal leisurely while making a few jokes or sharing stories, wait on everyone to finish and reach a point where they realize they need to go about their day, and leave. Hopefully, some sort of payment was included in the timeline.

For many restaurants, though, one step might take a bit longer than desired. While no restaurant wants to kick a person out, eventually there’s a reasonable limit of time spent in the restaurant. If you’re sitting in the restaurant for hours after you’ve finished your meal, and especially after you’ve stopped ordering drinks or snacks, you’ll drive the staff a bit crazy.

While we’ve given you tips on how to take care of “Internet Squatters,” there’s a bit more of a sensitive subject when it comes to elderly.

Consumerist reports that a McDonald’s in Queens, New York, has run into problems with a group of elderly ordering minimal amounts of food (a cup of coffee, or splitting a small French fry order) and staying in the restaurant for hours, from morning to the evening hours. Various measures have been taken in the effort to get the group out of the restaurant, with police being called to remove them (only for them to return minutes later) and posting signs indicating that customers have 20 minutes to complete their meal and leave the premises.

It took elected officials to reach a compromise; during the peak hours of 10AM to 3PM, the group will have to abdicate their seats if they are needed by others. As these particular customers speak Mandarin and Korean, signs will be posted in both languages, and a local senior center has offered up shuttle service to get them to other places to wile away the day.

At a Burger King near Boston, though, the staff had an opposite problem. They had 14 seniors who would park at the Burger King and then disappear with a rented van into the city for a day excursion. Despite the fact they have done this for two decades, the restaurant decided to post signage indicating that cars of non-customers would be towed. Eight cars were towed, which the seniors were unhappy to find to be the case when they returned. The total sum of the towing was $800 (after the towing company reduced it).

Have you run into seating issues with certain demographics? No restaurant profits when customers take up seating spaces without purchasing food, and when parking spots are taken up without customers, actual paying customers won’t be able to park. While police and towing companies might be pushing it too far, addressing the subject with the “offenders” might be the best course of action; in the first situation, a compromise was reached by simply talking things out.

Do you have any suggestions on keeping your restaurant moving, and getting customers in and out?