Storage and Transport
- Posted: March 22, 2018|According to a study published by the CDC in 2014, food allergies affect an estimated 15 million people in the US alone, and nearly half of the reported fatal food allergy reactions over a 13-year period were caused by food from a restaurant or other food service establishment. Of course, since then many restaurants have become more aware and conscientious, but the data continues to show that not enough restaurants are taking sufficient precautions to prevent customers being harmed by reactions to allergens that can come up in the food they eat unknowingly. The issue of tackling food allergy safety can seem daunting, especially in a busy commercial kitchen; not only does it require special training that should be renewed fairly frequently, but the restaurant supplies budget does go up in order to be able to accommodate the need to safely serve customers. On the other hand, if customers come into your business expecting a lovely night and end up in the hospital, that is not going to reflect well on your brand-- so it’s definitely worth making the investment to check on how well your restaurant manages this issue. There are a few things that you can do right away to get a handle on the important problem of making sure your customers-- all of your customers-- have a great time at your restaurant. Audit your existing procedures and resources The first step in finding out what will need to be changed or fixed in your restaurant is to find out what the baseline is. There are a number of companies that offer free or low-cost audits for food safety especially in regards to allergens and sensitivities; consider reaching out and getting a professional, informed opinion from them, and schedule a visit. Even before you do that, though, there are a few steps that you can take on your own to get a feel for how well your restaurant manages the special requirements that people with allergies may have. Check with your front-of- house staff to find out how knowledgeable they are not just about what kinds of food allergies exist, but the menu itself, and how to deal with questions about potential food allergens. Make sure that your customer-facing staff all understand how important the issue is. If you find that your servers are not as knowledgeable as they need to be-- particularly in ingredients in your restaurant’s dishes-- set up an off-hours program to help them get to know the menu better, or a Q&A with the chefs to get the full details. Encourage them to hold onto the information with pop quizzes and/or little rewards for those who have the best performance and retain the new information best. In the kitchen, find out how well your chefs can accommodate a variety of food sensitivities and allergies. If there are gaps in what tools your back-of- house staff have and what they need, take the opportunity to order some new restaurant supplies to make sure that your people can easily prevent cross-contamination, and isolate special dishes from other prep areas where allergens can get into the finished product. Educate yourself Knowing where your restaurant stands, and what it needs, is the best way to figure out how to make your food not just delicious but safe for everyone who comes into your business. There are many free resources available online for educating yourself on the most common food allergies, the best protocols to follow for sensitive customers, and how to incorporate those protocols into the workflow for your business. In addition to those free resources, as mentioned before there are multiple organizations and companies that provide training and reinforcement activities. You can get an audit on current procedures and then schedule classes for the people working for you-- as well as yourself-- to make sure that you know how to do things properly. This includes not just making sure that your kitchen isn’t accidentally exposing customers to allergens, and making sure the front-of- house staff is informed on how to handle special requests and allergies, but also incorporating information for your customers themselves on your menus. While reprinting menus can get pricey, you can start out with a small number of on- request menus that your servers can provide to customers who are aware of their allergies and ask for additional information. While this may seem like a lot of effort, it will pay off in a big way for your restaurant. Not only does making your restaurant safe for all customers who come in to eat there a way to prevent a major opportunity for liability, but the care you take in creating a safe environment will pay off in customer loyalty and recommendations.Read more
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We’re getting close to September, which means that the kids are almost all back in school and the beautifully HOT summer weather is almost over. But it is still warm enough for people to have a lovely evening meal outside. This means that there’s ample opportunity for outdoor catered events and Cambro Food Carriers.
Any of these carriers make a perfect addition to a caterer’s arsenal of portable food trays. They can be used to bring the extras or the main meals, depending on how many fixins that a client needs. One of the indispensable features of the Cambro Food Carriers is that they do exactly as advertised: let you carry food without your worrying about temperature.
While you might not have a portable stove on the premises, you can still keep your cooked food with you inside of these dishwasher-safe carriers. Caterers everywhere sing their praises, as Cambro is one of the most trusted brands in the catering industry.
You’re even able to keep these cold by putting some ice packs into the container. Or fill them with hot water to warm up the food. So, are you catering a few events this time of year? Get your squash on with your caterer. Try the Cambro Food Carrier for your next event.
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If you’ve ever been to an IHOP or a Waffle House, you’ve seen these on your table. In our last post this week on condiments, we’re looking at syrup dispensers. Syrup is a tricky condiment to work with. It’s rather messy, difficult to control, and doesn’t flow through small holes. Syrup also attracts bugs very easily. If you put syrup into a squirt bottle it wouldn’t come out well, but if you left an open container then you’d get a fly-filled table.
Syrup dispensers solve both of these problems. These condiment containers have a trigger on top. When pulled back, it retracts a metal plate covering a large hole. Users can control the flow of syrup from the container by how far back they pull the trigger. When released, the plate snaps back over the hole to close it. It also pushes excess syrup back into the container when you do this. This solves both problems in a snap.
Syrup dispensers are also good to use in buffet tables for salad dressings. Their low-mess design reduces cleanup, and many customers think they are more sanitary than traditional dressing bottles. Syrup dispensers come in a lot of varieties. Check out our page to learn more.
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Continuing our theme on fire, today we’re going to talk about chafing dishes. Chafing dishes are decorative portable containers for serving buffet items. They have a ledge on the bottom for holding a heat source. Many restaurants use them to put hot items out on a buffet without using heat lamps, which can dry food out.
Winco makes a large variety of chafing dishes. There are several things to consider before choosing one. First, how much capacity do you need per dish? Most chafing dishes come in 6 quart and 8 quart sizes. Second is features. Most restaurants will need more than one chafing dish. From there, it’s a matter of choosing what decorative features you want. Round or rectangle? Metal accents or not? Mirror finish, or not? Utilitarian or upscale? Lids that open in several ways? The choice is yours.
The prices range widely depending on the features you want. You can get a simple chafing dish for around $30 or get an extra heavyweight one for over $300. There’s lots of options in between though, so start with thinking about your features and that will guide your price.
Once you’ve decided on a dish, don’t forget the fuel! We sell that too here at Restaurant Supply. Chafing dishes are sturdy and last for quite a long time, so why not splurge on the model that compliments your restaurant the best?
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Have you ever heard of a restaurant that got closed down because of slime in the ice machine? Ice machines and ice bins get contaminated easily, and workers are often careless about cross contamination issues. One company has come up with an ingenious solution for cleanly retrieving ice from a bin.
San Jamar has a product called the Saf-T-Ice Tote. The main components are an ergonomic bin and a new kind of ice scoop. The ice scoop has guards to keep workers from accidentally touching the ice and a holster that can go either inside or outside of the bin. These holsters expose the scoop to air for fast drying.
The bin has several ergonomic features. It hangs off the rim of the ice bin for easy filling. It also has an ergonomic handle. The clear bin is dishwasher safe and can carry up to 25 pounds of ice at one time. It also comes with a hook so it can be hung upside down on the side of the machine between fills. Need more than 25 pounds at a time? We also carry the Saf-T-Ice Cart. It is a dolly that can hold two of the bins at once.
With all these features, the San Jamar Saf-T-Ice system is a great way to help keep your ice bin clean and your ice sanitary from accidental contamination. Whether you have a bar or need to fill up a drink machine constantly, we’re sure this product can help you.
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Making an impression on people is becoming more and more difficult these days. They have already been exposed to the bigger better deal a thousand times over. One of the ways to stand out, however, is to create your own cobranding kiosk in a completely unlikely place.
Cobranding efforts have worked for years for different places. Right now, for instance, the Taco Bell locations serve Cinnabon products. There is also the partnership between Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts. But, putting those aside and taking into account the trend of pop-up restaurants and soda stands, a kiosk might be the best option.
Sometimes food trucks just doesn’t cut it. After all, you can’t fit your food truck inside a building unless you’re selling the truck (do they still do those crazy ‘touch this car’ contests?). The 10 food kiosk might be the thing. Officially, it’s called the Vollrath 75675W 10’ V-Class Custom Merchandising Cart With Wood Composite Material, but we just call it a little slice of the heaven that is your restaurant.
Where can you put one of these mobile carts?
- At the mall
- In the theater
- At a convention
- At small Carnivals
- High school football games
Basically, any place where you can think of having a presence, you can put this 10 foot cart. Renaissance faires? Who knows? You’ve just got to ask. It’s an extension of you and your brand, so you can get it wrapped like a vehicle and go on the road.
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There’s something vaguely romantic about having a dish prepared tableside. Many high-end restaurants do a tableside offering as a special service. What are some great things to prepare tableside?
Caesar salads are a blend of leafy romaine lettuce, a little bit of pepper, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a bit of garlic, and more. Anchovies are a popular fish that’s added to the salad or to the dressing, making for a little salty repast for diners.
Now, there are those of you out there who would rather give up your Mobile Mixing Bowl Stand for mobile carts. We definitely understand that you might want a little meat at your tableside.
While it’s not a Caesar salad, the Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 Salad is tossed right at your table.
One of the easiest dishes in the world to prepare, with only fettuccini, butter, and Parmesan cheese. You can definitely cause a stir if you dramatically throw these ingredients together.
Steak au Poivre
Take one of the best cuts of meat and fearlessly coat it with peppercorns. Sear that with some oil or butter right in front of your patron. Watch your diner be delighted at the attention to detail and the service that they receive.
Anything which doesn’t take a lot of preparation can be prepared tableside. For this example, we’re choosing guacamole, inspired by Rosa Mexicano’s famous tableside service of guacamole en molcajete. Delicious, enough to make the homemade chips taste even better.
We love the idea of tableside service and giving something extra back to the diners. We’re in love with open kitchens, the show of the cooking, and more. Hopefully, more restaurants will bring back tableside service to their menus.
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We liked restaurant shelving so much, we wanted to devote a second day to it. Yesterday, we took a look at safety checks for shelving. Today, we’re going to look at what the health inspector would examine when they look at the shelves. Namely, is there a hidden health hazard?
Are your shelves dirty or greasy?
When you take a good look at your restaurant shelves, do you feel your stomach turn? Do you see a lot of grease or, more to the point, when you wipe your fingertip across them are you met with slimy goo? If you are, then you probably want to take steps to clean them! Many restaurant shelving units are wire grates to prevent this from being a problem, if you keep your floor washed frequently.
Are your shelves rusty?
The same goes for whether your shelving units are rusty. We understand that you didn’t get your job in the kitchen only to be scrubbing the rust off of shelves. Most restaurant shelves have a rust resistant coating, but it’s only a temporary solution. If they’re rusty, you have a choice: get new ones or clean them off. Replacement may be the only option if there is too much rust.
Is everything on your shelves properly labeled?
If it’s not labeled, the health inspector can take points off of your rating. Labeling makes things easier to find, but not only that, cuts the time that your staff will be looking for things in the restaurant. Check out the labels on all of your stuff – if it’s not there, make some changes.
Is the stock rotated regularly?
Finally, you don’t want the inspector to find a can of peaches that got stuck behind the cup box since last year. Old inventory must be checked for expiration. You don’t want to be caught with expired food!
These aren’t the only questions that you should be asking about your kitchen shelving. Take a few moments to see if your restaurant is up to your standards. If it’s time for a replacement, we have shelves to fit your needs. Check out our inventory of shelving solutions.
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Every restaurant needs shelves, but have you taken a look at them lately? Unsafe shelving can be dangerous for workers. That’s not the only danger shelves have though. A shelf that hasn’t been cleaned in a while could be a health hazard. In this two part series, we’re going to give you a rundown on safe shelving.
Is your restaurant shelving level?
If your shelving isn’t level, it might be indicative of a host of other problems. The seals holding the shelves up could be wearing out, or the feet could be out of adjustment. Too much weight on a shelf could also cause them to go out of alignment.
Standing shelves should sit firmly and evenly on the ground, and there should never be any bowing in the middle from weight. This can compromise safety.
Are you stacking too high?
In the interests of efficiency, we’ll often try to stack things up way too high. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. What gets stacked high will eventually have to come down.
Even if it is stacked safely at a high level, do you have the safety equipment to get it back down? Could your shorter coworkers get something off the stack safely without falling? Better to keep everything in reach and get rid of excess inventory. Or just get more shelves or stepladders.
Once it’s been determined that the restaurant shelving is structurally sound, the next thing to do is take a look at is how dirty they are. A dirty shelf can be a host for lots of vermin!
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If you thought about what the top three most consumed beverages in the world are, you might believe that soda would be among those numbers. While soda does hold a special place in the hearts of Americans, the real winners in the beverage wars worldwide are in the water, tea, and beer markets.
Reigning as the number one most consumed beverage in the world is water. This makes perfect sense since it is required for life, but over the past few years there’s been a booming market in bottled and mineral water. Sales revenue for bottled water in the US in 2012 was $11.8 billion wholesale dollars.
Second on the list is tea. Tea is a curious drink, consumed by people from many cultures in a wide variety of styles. There are a huge number of ways that tea can be processed, each yielding a different flavor profile. Add the caffeine and you’ve got a drink that has some variety to please anyone’s palate.
The third beverage is beer. There are over 20000 brands of beer in the world, each one with a different mixture of ingredients and brew styles. Like tea, this variety is part of the appeal. The alcohol helps a lot too.
Here at Restaurant Supply, we love all three. If you enjoy brewing tea for your friends at tailgate parties, we’ve got the beverage dispenser for you. If you’re looking for a beer dispenser, we can set you up with that, as well. Water and ice? Yup.
Special thanks go to Billy Wilson on Flickr for the Creative Commons use of the picture.