As we head into the holidays, bookings for seasonal celebrations are robust, already approaching and even exceeding pre-pandemic levels in some areas. The last thing you need is a foodborne illness to ruin your customers’ holiday revelries, not to mention your restaurant’s sales and reputation. Whether a company cocktail party or a catered dinner, many of these festive events revolve around buffet service. Reminding your staff of proper food safety procedures for buffets and displays will help ensure that everyone has a happy holiday season.
“There are several holidays during the fall and winter months when folks come together—work parties, family gatherings, children’s events—and many of those involve food,” says Patrick Guzzle, vice president of Food Safety for the Association. “We all have probably experienced ‘food poisoning’ but what we might not realize is that many different microscopic pathogens can be found in our natural environment, and when conditions are just right (like leaving food out) those pathogens can multiply to levels that will make us sick.”
Foodborne pathogens aren’t the only causes of illness to watch out for, though, Guzzle says. Norovirus, a particularly nasty little bug that causes symptoms similar to “food poisoning,” is highly contagious and primarily spread through person-to-person contact. “This is especially true in closed settings,” Guzzle says, “where we all find ourselves during the colder months. Since those who are exposed can continue shedding virus particles for several days after their symptoms have resolved, norovirus can easily spread through the community even when there is no food involved.”
Here are some tips to remember to keep your patrons safe this holiday season.
Keep it clean
Time and temperature
Keep it fresh
Everything in its place