If you own a restaurant, delicatessen, butcher shop, or other food-related retail establishment, you already know just how important it is to provide products that are safe for your customers to eat. It goes without saying that you’ve no doubt completed some required training in food safety and hopefully you’ve followed through by providing food presentation solutions that keep your customers safe from harm.
If you’re just starting out or you need to refurbish a food-related space that’s gotten boring or out-of-date, food safety needs to be at the forefront of your plans. If you’re using a shopfitting professional to help you with your design, he or she should be able to remind you of the rules of food safety and the importance of choosing display solutions that keep your customers from ingesting something that might be spoiled or – worse yet – teeming with dangerous bacteria.
Along with your shopfitter, take a close look at your space to determine where to best display each type of item. Some items will be shelf-stable, so there will be less worries about those products. However, there will probably be items that will need to be kept at certain temperatures – either cold enough or hot enough – so those should be at the center of your discussion where food safety is concerned. Any business selling food is required to comply with Australia’s Food Act 2006, so ask your shop fitter about the particulars that go along with that legislation.
If you’re the owner of a delicatessen, chances are that you are displaying food in some way or another, intent on enticing customers to make purchases. You might also have a hot or cold food bar (salad bar, etc.) that includes food that remains “out” for the duration of the day. This is true for restaurants and grocery stores as well. There is potential for food spoilage in any of these situations.
So, when pondering the proper displays that will be both attractive and safe, consider these issues:
• Is food being held at the correct temperature?
• Is the food subject to cross-contamination from the environment, including from both workers and customers?
• Is the food subject to cross-contamination from other foods; i.e. raw and cooked foods contaminating each other?
Finding the right solutions to these issues could mean the difference between running a successful business and one that will eventually be shut down due to violations. Food safety is an issue for which you should never cut corners. Money spent for proper food presentation is never wasted and you’ll find that, in the long run, you’ll wind up with less spoilage, which makes your investment well worth the dollars spent.
Food poisoning can seriously destroy the reputation of an otherwise good restaurant, delicatessen, butcher shop, or market. When consulting with your shopfitter, choose solutions with lids or sneeze guards where appropriate. Be sure your display solutions keep your items out of the so-called “temperature danger zone”. Never store hot or cold foods in areas where they could dip below or rise above the appropriate temperatures. (5 degrees C or colder, 60 degrees C or hotter) Be sure to regularly maintain any food presentation solutions that could cause food poisoning issues if not working properly.
Of course, you’ll want your food to look attractive as well, so talk to your shopfitter about choosing presentation options that display your items in a manner that customers find appealing. Let him/her show you a variety of products that match your establishment’s theme or mood. You’ll see your profits soar when food is presented in both a safe and pleasant manner!