Running a business isn’t a walk in the park as you need to consider a lot of things. This is especially true if you’re planning on launching a food business. Aside from preparing delicious meals, you also have to ensure you’re serving fresh and safe food.
Part of this venture is observing proper food storage, preparation, and display. This is a critical consideration since poorly prepared food can lead to spoilage, which can affect your business negatively and put your customer’s well-being at risk.
To help you get started, below are some guides on how you can properly store, prepare, and display your food products for your food business:
Food Storage Guide
Food storage is an essential aspect of food prep. Essentially, this refers to the storing of inventories and ingredients. After all, properly-stored food and ingredients play a significant role in keeping the dishes you’ll cook safe and fresh. Moreover, it can help preserve the food’s lifespan and retain its flavor.
And with that, here are some tips you can consider when storing food and ingredients.
- Know The Lifespan Of Each Food
One of the first things you should do when storing food is to make an inventory of food and ingredients, along with their expiration dates. This way, you can have a general overview of what you have in your pantry and how close they are to reaching their shelf life. This can go a long way in helping you maximize your resources and minimize instances of food spoilage.
Furthermore, consider knowing how long you can store certain ingredients without compromising their quality and safety. For instance, how long can grain be stored? Generally, depending on the type of storage, it can remain fresh for six months to a year. And so, by knowing such information, you can better manage your ingredients and use them before they expire or get spoiled.
- Identify Proper Environment
Part of good food management is knowing the proper environment to store your food and other ingredients. It’d be good to note that some products require to be stored in a cool place, while some only require room temperature. For instance, if you’re using meat, fish, and other frozen goods in your dishes, you’ll need to invest in a quality freezer to store them. Meanwhile, condiments and other dry ingredients may only require shelving for more organized storage.
This is crucial, as proper food storage can help preserve the food and other raw ingredients’ quality and freshness and also minimize the development of bacteria and contaminants.
- Separate Raw And Ready-To-Eat Foods
One of the most common and best practices for preventing contamination is separating your raw and ready-to-eat foods. Even if you’re serving them at the same temperature or they’re packed separately, you should never put them side by side as you’re just encouraging contamination.
With this, it’s best practice to keep them away in a different storage area as much as possible.
- Store In Sealed Containers
Another way to avoid contamination and preserve your food’s condition is by placing them in sealed containers. This way, you can prevent any exterior air from entering, harming your food. Moreover, it can also prevent them from dripping from one container to another, especially if you’re selling cold or liquid foods.
Food Preparation Guide
Foor preparation basically refers to how you cook and pack them before distribution or being sold. But aside from knowing your way in the kitchen and how to prepare scrumptious meals, it’s also essential to observe safety practices to ensure the food’s quality.
Here are some of them:
- Practice Proper Hygiene
When it comes to the food industry, practicing proper hygiene should always be a number one priority. Aside from keeping the food neat and fresh, legal problems could also arise if you fail to observe cleanliness and proper food handling in your food business.
Food is generally a delicate product, which means that even a minor mistake could put your customers at risk, such as getting sick or food poisoning. This can damage the trust they have in your brand, which can hamper the success of your food business.
With that, it’s essential to ensure that your hands are clean before handling any ingredient. Also, be sure that you and other kitchen staff wear hairnets when preparing the food.
- Clean All Tools, Equipment, And Surfaces
In line with practicing proper hygiene, you also need to clean all the tools, equipment, and surfaces you’ll be working on. Basically, anything your food will get in touch with should be thoroughly clean and sterilized.
Furthermore, see to it that the entire kitchen is also tidy to avoid the spread of germs, bacteria, and other contaminants.
- Wash All Fruits And Vegetable Thoroughly
If you’re selling fresh fruits and have vegetables as an ingredient in your dishes, it’s an absolute must that you wash them thoroughly through running water. This way, you remove dust, dirt, or bacteria and keep your produce clean and healthy for everyone to consume.
- Thoroughly Cook All Meat
If you have meat selections and chicken and other poultry products on your menu, see to it that you cook them thoroughly to avoid causing food poisoning among your customers. Note that such food products have bacteria from E.coli to salmonella, which can be ingested when not cooked properly.
Food Display Guide
The food preparation process doesn’t end after cooking the meal, and depending on your food business, there may be a need to display them. However, a food display isn’t just about placing the food anywhere you want but also checking the factors that can affect its quality. Below is a quick guide to help you display food properly:
- Keep The Temperature Stable
As mentioned earlier, temperature plays a role in storing and preserving your raw ingredients. The same goes when displaying food. With that, keep in mind what kind of environment and temperature your food needs to be to maximize its lifespan and produce the same quality flavor and texture.
- Keep Away From Heavy Air
With any type of food you’re going to sell, it’s important that you keep it away from any extreme environmental factors, such as a heavy gush of air. With their presence, it can cause your heated food to get cold or your cool foods to melt.
- Provide Individual Utensils
If you’re offering food through a buffet or have a self-service process, it’s essential to ensure that you provide individual serving spoons or utensils for each dish you create. This can help avoid cross-contamination and prevent the sauce from mixing with different dishes, which could affect its flavor.
Ideally, the utensil should just be below the tray, or you can add a label for each to avoid confusion.
- Replace Entire Tray
When running a buffet or self-service type of restaurant, you may need to refill a dish or platter on multiple occasions. And while it might seem more convenient to place your freshly cooked meal on top of your existing one, doing so can encourage contamination, especially since they’ve already been exposed. With that, consider replacing the entire tray with every refill.
Running a food business is more than just serving delicious meals that customers will like and enjoy. And as a business owner, part of your responsibility is to ensure you keep offering and serving fresh, clean, safe, and quality food. This does not only help attract more customers and generate more income but doing so can also help ensure consumers’ health and well-being.
You can use the insights above as a start to guide you on how to store, prepare, and display food.