Catering is challenging business. Taking food from point “A” to point “B” and keeping it safe can be a challenge on a normal day. Planning for serving equipment, utensils, plates, napkins, drinks, table cloths and every other item you will need takes an incredible amount of organization. Add to that the hazards of food transportation during summer heat and your job is even more treacherous. Here are five tips to help you keep food and your guests safe:
- Watch Temperature – The number one danger in transporting foods in summer is spoilage due to warm temperatures. Otherwise, make sure you invest in good transporting equipment: coolers, holding cabinets and carts. Try to limit the amount of time food spends in a transport vehicle. Spoilage can even occur in refrigerated trucks during brutal summer heat. When you arrive at your destination, get it out of the truck as soon as possible and into warmers or coolers. Monitor temperatures regularly to make sure they are not in the danger zone. Keep hot foods above 135 degrees Fahrenheit and cold foods below 41.
- Avoid Danger Foods – The pitfalls of catering during summer multiply when you’re working with foods that spoil easily. Potato salad made with mayonnaise, any kind of fish or shellfish will demand extra attention from your team. Hard boiled eggs at room temperature will go bad before too long. Keep this in mind when preparing your menu.
- Say No to Bugs – Make an early plan to keep bugs away from guests and food when serving outdoors. There’s nothing less appetizing than watching flies swarm around a serving tray. Whether it’s extra lids for serving trays, fans, bug zappers, or whatever, have a plan in place because they will be coming for your food. Take extra care to remove trash quickly as that will also attract flies and other unwanted creatures.
- Stock Up on Ice – Whether for the drinks or just the food, ice is essential to any outdoor catering event. Make sure you have coolers that will keep your ice from melting and if necessary, replenish half way through your event. Lugging coolers full of ice around in summer heat might be a bit daunting, but completely necessary.
- Keep Your People Cool – If temperatures are dangerous to your food, they’re also potentially dangerous to your people. Make sure you have stocked coolers with ice, waters, sports drinks, snacks and anything else they might need. Remind servers to drink water often and stay out of the sun as much as possible. Fresh fruits like grapes, oranges and watermelon can also help everyone stay hydrated.
Catering during summer heat has challenges you won’t find when serving in a restaurant. They key to success is thoughtful planning with an eye toward safety. Plan for the worst conditions but expect the best! If you are in the need of food server or alcohol training for your team, get everyone certified today at Learn2Serve.com!
Source: TABC Blog by Learn 2 Serve