Coronavirus presents a strange landscape. Social distancing. Shuttered schools. Closed offices. Empty tables at eateries. Restaurants have turned to takeout only, and operators need to use best practices to maintain the safety and quality of their food and packaging.
By now, we’re all aware of the importance of handwashing and sanitizing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has produced a Q&A on the safety of food products to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here are some highlights:
Anyone handling, preparing or serving food should always follow safe handling practices:
- Clean hands regularly
- Wash utensils and surfaces after each use
- Keep certain foods separate (produce, meat, poultry, seafood and eggs)
- Use separate cutting boards for foods
- Cook foods to the correct temperature
- Refrigerate and freeze foods properly
In addition, these safety practices are as important as ever:
- Clean and sanitize storage and food prep areas
- Disinfect cash registers/POS systems used for takeout
- Clean door handles and countertops where exchanges take place
While reassuring customers about safety is vital, operators also should protect the quality of the food they serve. Takeout food should look and taste as close to the dine-in experience as possible. Packaging plays a big role in food quality. Evaluate packaging for these functions:
- Does it keep hot food hot?
- Does it keep cold food cold?
- Does it control humidity?
- Is it sealable?
- Is it microwaveable or oven safe for reheating at home?
Making a difference
During the challenging days ahead, don’t overlook the importance your business plays in the community. The actions you take now offer value and can make connections in the months ahead. Here are some things to consider, if possible:
- Set up foodservice for people in need
- Have a low-price version of your specialty
- Set aside a portion of sales for staffers out of work (or for charity)
- Create a separate pickup area for the elderly or people at higher risk
- Set up a giving board where people can communicate needs and get help
Even though we are being urged to remain several feet apart, it’s worth remembering we’re all in this together. Ask your Gordon Food Service Sales Representative for advice or products to benefit your takeout program.