We’re Having a Heat Wave, A Tropical Heat Wave…
Just as Irving Berlin wrote, “The temperature’s rising/ It isn’t surprising”.
This week’s heat wave has been forecasted and we tend to have one or two every summer. Restaurant owners should be prepared to take some proactive steps to keep both their guests and employees safe when the mercury rises.
Here are 4 areas to keep in mind to keep guests and employees safe in a heat wave:
Keeping People Safe –
- Keep guests and workers cool, comfortable and hydrated – make sure everyone is drinking plenty of water
- Either provide both shade and air circulation or close outside seating during the hottest part of the day – to ensure the safety of both your guests and employees.
- Provide water and food for your staff – hydration is vital, but so is maintaining blood sugar levels.
- Monitor staff and guests for signs of distress or heat stroke.
- Lighten the uniforms of the dining room staff – think about a summer weight uniform, with light colors clothing and short sleeves.
- Monitor patron’s alcohol consumption as over consumption in extreme heat can be accurately dangerous.
- Service all refrigeration and AC units prior to summer so they don’t breakdown in a heat wave.
- Instruct your staff to keep the AC at a consistent level. Turning the AC or refrigeration units down too far will overload and freeze up your cooling system, rendering them useless.
- Ensure kitchens are properly ventilated and have fans
- If your ice machine is air cooled and struggling to keep up, consider purchasing cubed ice for drinking; similarly, if your refrigerators and walk-ins are struggling, consider purchasing dry ice.
- Monitor refrigerator and product temperatures closely and take corrective action immediately. Remember all foods must be stored at or below 40°F. If your walk-in is above 40°F, your food is not properly stored and can be a health hazard.
- To keep cold food cold –
- Keep walk in and fridge doors closed as much as possible.
- Do not overload refrigerators – if the fan unit in the fridge is blocked, this will cause poor air flow and will inhibit the unit’s cooling ability.
- Do not block refrigerator’s external condensing unit with debris and storage items; which would inhibit the units cooling ability.
- Prepare food in small batches to reduce the amount of time food is out of refrigeration and in a very hot kitchen.
- Use proper thawing and cooling techniques: do not leave food out on counters to thaw; thaw all food under running cool water (water should be below 70°F).
- Offer lighter menu items for the summer – heavy sauces, stews and roasts are can be unappealing when the mercury rises. These could include cold options such as salads, sandwiches and cold soups.
- Add more small plate and appetizer options as people not only eat lighter food, but they tend to eat smaller portions when it is very hot outside.
- Add frozen non-alcoholic drinks, chillers and fruit flavored waters to menus.
Don’t know where to begin? Ask yourself, do you have the proper written procedures and operational guidelines in place to help you be as successful as possible? 4Q Consulting can develop customized operational guidelines and training programs to meet your needs. Email us today for a free business consultation at www.4qconsult.com.
All original content copyright Noelle E. Ifshin, 2012-2013.