If you've recently decided to go into the restaurant business, you're probably excited and apprehensive at the same time. It's natural to be excited when beginning an adventure with a new business, but it's also normal to be a bit nervous, especially when starting a business that's as detail-oriented as the food service industry. However, these details quickly become second nature after you become familiar with them, especially the ones with the potential to negatively impact the quality or the safety of the food that you serve to the general public. Many issues affecting food safety get their start in the refrigerator. The following are three food safety strategies involving commercial refrigeration that every restaurant owner should know.
Use Airtight Containers
Using airtight containers protects the quality of the contents by preventing damage caused by humidity, and it also helps prevent them from absorbing the odors of nearby foods. These containers also guard against the spread of bacteria. Using clear storage containers allows you and your employees to see exactly what's in them. Keep in mind that restaurant kitchens are extremely busy places, so the ability to save even a few seconds has significant value.
Store Food From the Highest Cooking Temperature to the Lowest
All food should be stored according to its required cooking temperature with the items that cooked at the highest heat on the bottom shelf, ready-to-eat foods on the top shelf, and other items placed on the in-between shelves according to their cooking temperature. The bottom shelf should hold poultry products, the second-to-the-bottom shelf should hold red meat that's been ground, tenderized, or otherwise processed, and the third shelf should hold seafood and cuts of red meat. Keep going up from there depending on the necessary cooking temperatures. This approach has the added benefit of preventing meat juice from dripping downward on salad materials, bread, and other foods.
Properly Label All Food Using Detectable Pens
Proper labels help kitchen staff quickly identify food items as well as let them know if certain foods are nearing or have passed their expiration dates. The shelves themselves should also be labeled according to the types of food to be stored on each one. Although this may become second nature to you and your experienced staff members, restaurant kitchens often have high turnover for unskilled positions, so it's best to err on the side of caution and clearly label everything you can.
Using a metal-detectable food pen to write on the label ensures that the writing doesn't become smeared or faded while under refrigeration. They also feature nontoxic ink that's safe for use on food products.
Contact a company like Detectapro for more tips on marking items in storage.