Being in the food service industry is exhausting. Transporting food without the proper procedures can be even more exhausting. The ability to perform this task according to regulations and expectations can be frustrating at times. But with a little information and a few tips, these challenges can be overcome.
1) Know the Basics of Transporting Food
Proper temperatures are crucial to food safety! Food safety is essential to your business and customers’ overall health. Both hot and cold foods must be held at proper temperatures to prevent the growth of bacteria. Hot foods must be held at (at least) 145 F and cold foods must be held at (at most) 40 F. These temperatures must remain during the course of transportation. Then, upon arrival, the temperatures must be checked for safety.
In addition to temperatures, food-safe containers must be used to store the food in a location that has been sanitized and maintained. During transportation, always separate the foods that may cross-contaminate.
2) Vet the Venue
After food is transported safely to the venue, you must make sure it is prepared and presented in a way that maintains its quality. Always check the venue beforehand. Even before you sign a contract make sure that you will be able to maintain the quality of you food (it is better to loose the business of one then to lose the business of many due to poor reviews).
Consider asking these questions on your client form so you always know what to expect at a location:
- Is there a kitchen at the event venue?
- Is there adequate fridge and freezer space?
- Is there an oven -- and if so, what size is it?
- What kind of counter space is there?
- Are there plugs and outlets for mechanical items?
- What kind of equipment will you need to bring to supplement what the venue provides?
Some off sight venues (actually most) will not have sufficient kitchens that will allow you to keep food hot and cold at proper temperatures for any extended length of time. Now what? This usually means you are going to need to bring your own equipment. Don’t worry the food service business has been around for a long time and with that innovations and great new equipment.
3) Have the Right Equipment
The right equipment can make or break your catering business. So, if you are just starting out, know what's available and what works. Catering equipment needs to be reliable and not bulky. Equipment must be able to maintain temperatures, but it must also be easily sanitized and easy to carry. Without these qualities, transporting food safety and maintaining its quality would be impossible. Pan carriers are a great way to keep food up to code. Pan carriers can hold food at the proper temperature for hours with little fluctuation. The right pan carrier can boost your business and make you and your staff more efficient. Carriers come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, and models (heavy, to lightweight efficiency, top loader, front loader, etc.)