Catered parties will never go out of style. And with the holidays coming up, there are sure to be more than just a few on your business’s schedule. If you run a catering company, you’re sure to have processes and training programs in place to ensure that cross-contamination doesn’t occur. But during the busy holiday season, it pays to be extra careful about preparing, transporting, and serving food to your guests. If an issue were to occur, not only could it affect your company’s reputation, it could result in heavy fines or even the loss of licensing.
At Nutri-Rific, we offer food safety classes, allergens training, alcohol training, and more. With many of our classes, you receive a ServSafe certification and the ServSafe online classes can be taken in either English or Spanish. The team at Nutri-Rific are passionate about providing better proctored exams with all of the materials and testing supplies you need. If you want a career in the food service industry, sign up for a class today.
Protecting Your Catering Company From Contamination
Providing safe food for your customers all starts with ensuring that you’re working with the best food possible. A majority of catering businesses work with suppliers who have food safety processes in place. If your supplier doesn’t have a method for protecting their food, look for a new supplier. The fresh foods you receive should all be stored and transported in safe containers. Cold food, such as meat and poultry, should all be transported in regulation containers and immediately transferred to refrigerators at your business.
A large part of making sure that food is safe happens during preparation. Similarly to preparing food in a restaurant, there are processes that need to be followed.
- Employees need to wash their hands thoroughly before handling food.
- Employees should use hair nets when necessary.
- Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw poultry, a second set for meat, and a third for produce.
- Use color-coded processes to ensure the equipment doesn’t get confused.
- Clean and sanitize work surfaces.
- Employees should practice safe hygiene.
This is often the hardest part for catering companies. Hot foods need to remain at 145℉ or above and cold foods need to remain at 40℉ or below. Both hot and cold foods to be maintained at these temperatures during transit and check for proper temperature when they arrive at the party location. To ensure the foods remain at the correct temperature, they need to be transported in proper, food-safe containers. All of the foods that could result in cross-contamination should be in their own separate containers.
From the delivery truck to the table to the guest’s plates, the food needs to be monitored for temperature. Hot food should be placed in a chafing dish to keep them at the correct temperature. The hot food should also be checked with a thermometer throughout the event for safety. Each food item should have their own serving utensil. Perishable food should never sit at room temperature for longer than two hours.
Regardless of the event, there may be a few guests who have allergies. Whether it’s wheat, dairy, or gluten, these foods should be prepared separately, delivered in their own container, and marked with an identifier to ensure that the foods don’t get confused with non-allergy foods. Marking special foods for allergies is essential to prevent the guest from receiving the wrong food. Long before the event, your catering company should ask the organizer if guests have allergies and if so, what they are. If your employees need special allergens training, sign them up for a ServSafe online course.
If the event is serving alcohol, be sure that the bartender has all necessary training in how to ID guests and, if necessary, refuse to serve alcohol. Catering companies need to have all necessary licensing and certification in order to serve alcohol at an event as well.
Before a catering employee works an event, whether they are preparing the food, delivering, or serving the food, should complete all necessary training and certification. Nutri-Rific provides training for all sorts of careers in the food service industry and our ServSafe online courses are a great option for anyone with busy schedules. In addition, you may want to provide additional training to long-term employees so that they are kept up with all of the latest laws and regulations.
Throughout the preparation and serving the event, as you deliver the food and check the temperature of the foods, be sure to document each step. If an incident were to occur, you can point back to the documentation to verify that all rules and processes were followed.
Catering an event provides a unique opportunity to bring joy to your guests evening, but it requires a lot of attention to detail, training, and implementation of proper rules and regulations.
If you’re interested in working in the food service industry, or if your employees need additional training, get in touch with Nutri-Rific for ServSafe online food safety courses. We provide a range of classes, both online and in-person. We love working in this industry and we love providing the best education available to our clients.