The Daily Rail: Are Fresh Food Items Causing More Food-borne Illness?

STAFF: Is Culinary School Valuable? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Any restaurant industry veteran knows that our business is all about education through vocation. So many of our most talented managers come from the ranks of entry level employees. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the BoH. Many of our best line guys use the kitchen environment to grow themselves and follow their aspirations. And they all started working their behinds off in kitchens to learn their way.

Don’t get us wrong, culinary grads can be an amazing addition to a staff. They come bearing a basic knowledge of kitchen methods and operational procedure. But just how useful do restaurant owners and operators find culinary school to be for their staff?


Beer & Patriotism

There’s a strong connection between American patriotism and beer, though many would probably have a hard time putting a finger on exactly why. The root of it stems from World War II and an ad campaigned started by the Brewery Industry Foundation. Under the banner of “Morale is a Lot of Little Things”, the campaign implored Americans to lift the country’s wartime spirits with simple acts – including consuming beer. Here’s more on America’s beer-patriotism.

Restaurant Confessionals

Let’s be real – your staff has seen some stuff. Like, serious stuff. Especially if your place is an active night spot for locals. Anyways, Munchies has an amusing (see also: disturbing) post with restaurant pros and some of the weirdest PDAs they’ve seen from guests.

LeBron to FOX?

Apollo Global, a private equity firm in the hunt for Fox’s RSN, is also in talks with LeBron James’ Uninterrupted media company as a “strategic partner.” One of the biggest obstacles RSNs have is filling the hours between live games (let’s face it, the studio shows just don’t cut it).  LeBron’s company could help fill that void. Of course, this is all assuming Apollo buy the rights to Fox’s RSNs and also can get LeBron on board. But it’s an interesting scenario and worth keeping an eye on for now.


Why it matters to you: We must learn from these tragedies and be ready for the next one.

By now you’ve already heard about the 12 people massacred at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA. If you don’t know the town, it’s a fairly wealthy community known for its beauty and tranquility. Unfortunately, that was destroyed as a gunman viciously and systematically murdered and injured folks whose only crime was being at the bar on a Thursday night. The reason we describe Thousand Oaks to you is because this could be your restaurant in any city or town in the nation. Even though this location had security, there was no way they could have anticipated a trained Marine veteran would turn those deadly skill against their patrons.

This horrid event has reignited a conversation around security at places where people gather. As the aforementioned security was inadequate to stop this level of killer, what can you do as an operator to protect yourself? Should we be adding armed guards to our restaurant entrances and egresses to protect our clients, and ourselves, from tragedy? This is an impossible situation and you have no choice but to address it. Take the time now to build a plan for any situation, including an active shooter. It may seem far-fetched, but as these incidents continue in frequency, it’s up to you to take steps to manage them proactively. Having drills/practice and preparing your staff for the worst case scenario is your primary responsibility. It will make them feel safer and more prepared and give you a chance if something horrible does happen.

[Source: NRN]


Why it matters to you: Food-borne illness is more prevalent when you add more fresh items to your menu.

The trend towards healthier options, available faster, has been the hallmark of the Quick Service Restaurant segment rise. Of course, that has come with some risks as we have seen with Chipotle’s food safety struggles over the past couple of years. But they aren’t the only ones to get stung. Panera inadvertently served E.coli tainted romaine lettuce. You would join both of those chains in asserting this isn’t your preference, but you must be aware that using more raw ingredients requires even more attention to your sanitation systems.

Because raw items like lettuce and other veggies served raw don’t experience the “kill step” by heating above the food safe range that is applied to prepared foods. Even the most anachronistic restaurants are trying to accommodate the trend towards healthier, and more, raw ingredients. Of course, there are steps you can take to ensure your food doesn’t cause anyone to get ill, but it requires discipline and rock solid system. Now is definitely the time to review your supply chain approach. Challenge your vendors to demonstrate what they are doing to ensure they don’t delivered dangerous products and enlist their help in your role of preparing and serving them. Together you can reduce and combat food-borne illness in raw ingredients.

[Source: ModernRestaurantManagement]