When managing a restaurant, proper sanitation can never become an afterthought. If your eatery doesn’t prioritize cleanliness and diner safety, the consequences can range from lost business to costly legal action. Proper sanitation is particularly important at buffet restaurants. Since buffet food spends more time exposed to the elements than traditional restaurant entrees, extra care needs to be taken in ensuring that it’s safe for consumption. In the quest to keep your buffet safe and sanitary, take care to avoid the following blunders at all costs.
- Cold Food
Cold food is among the most common sanitation mistakes found at buffet restaurants. Considering how long certain restaurants leave food out, it’s no wonder it becomes cold. Not only is cold food unappetizing, it can also cause food-borne illness. When certain foods – most notably meat and dairy products – are left out in room temperature environments, they become unsafe to consume. That being the case, it behooves restaurants to keep such foods warm. This can be accomplished with the help of self-warming buffet tables from a trusted hot food merchandiser.
- Reused Plates
Every buffet restaurant should actively discourage diners from reusing plates. More often than not, serving utensils make contact with plates – and if a plate is already awash in a diner’s germs, those germs will rub off on the aforementioned utensils. Once the contaminated utensils are placed back into their respective trays, the food subsequently suffers the same contamination. For this reason, re-using plates should be strictly prohibited. To ensure that diners are aware of this rule, place informative signs in the immediate vicinity of your display tables.
- Leaving Food Out
Even if you have access to self-warming buffet displays, food should not be left out indefinitely. The frequency with which entrees should be replaced varies depending on the type of food, so it’s in your best interest to educate your staff on how often each of your featured dishes needs to be swapped out. While it’s true that this will result in wasted food, this is an unavoidable part of running a buffet restaurant.
Maintaining proper sanitation at a buffet restaurant doesn’t have to be an arduous undertaking. Although some poorly-managed buffets make it look difficult, keeping your buffet free of germs and safe for diners is well within the abilities of any competent restaurateur. Swapping out dishes as needed and taking preventative measures against cold food and reused plates can prove tremendously helpful in promoting sanitation.