Many a time I’ve been in charge of setting up the Easter brunch buffet and over the years I’ve seen many things in that self service line that have been, well lets just say… gross. How can you make sure that your guests have a nice Easter experience and don’t get “grossed out” by other guests or even get food poisoning from your buffet? Well, here are a few simple rules.
The most important thing is to assign a buffet attendant. This person should be responsible for the guest side of the area. They should be interacting with the guest like a host and monitoring for guests returning to the buffet with dirty plates or utensils and providing them with clean ones. The attendant should also be shifting utensils around in the area to make sure the handles that the guests are touching are extended away from the food and if something falls on the ground, the attendant will be there to replace it.
Children should be monitored closely in self service areas as well, schools report major incidents of children touching food and returning it to the lunch line and lunch workers are instructing them to keep the foods on their plates. It might even be viewed by parents as a nice touch to have the buffet attendant helping their children with their plates.
Don’t forget that time and temperature are also an important factor in keeping food safe in a self service area. Even though keeping foods cold with ice or hot in warmers is the best way to keep food safe it is also acceptable to just use it up in a reasonable amount of time. For the most part using food within four hours is the best way of using time to keep food safe but remember someone needs to be checking. Make sure that there are labels on food containers for foods that need to be used up quickly so the buffet attendant will know when the food was put out and when it needs to be thrown away.
And lastly, if you do an omelette station make sure those eggs are being handled correctly. It’s recommended that the eggs are prepared ahead of time but when these eggs are pooled they must be kept cold with ice or in the refrigerator and can never be left out on the counter.
There is nothing better than a really great Easter brunch, especially with a nice mimosa. But it could easily turn into a disaster for your facility if you don’t take precautions to keep your customers safe or make they sure don’t get a negative perception because of what other guests might be doing. I hope that following these tips will help ensure nobody wakes up the next morning with food poisoning and that you don’t end up with a bad yelp review.