10 Tips: Eating Foods Away from Home

10 Tips: Eating Foods Away from Home

Restaurants, convenience and grocery stores, or fast-food places offer a variety of options when eating out. But larger portions can make it easy to eat or drink too many calories. Larger helpings can also increase your intake of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. Think about ways to make healthier choices when eating food away from home.

Consider your drink---Choose water, fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, and other drinks without added sugars to complement your meal.
Savor a salad ---Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help you feel satisfied sooner. Ask for dressing on the side and use a small amount of it.
Share a main dish---Divide a main entrée between family and friends. Ask for small plates for everyone at the table.
Select from the sides ---Order a side dish or an appetizer-sized portion instead of a regular entrée. They’re usually served on smaller plates and in smaller amounts.
Pack your snack---Pack fruit, sliced vegetables, low- fat string cheese, or unsalted nuts to eat during road trips or long commutes. No need to stop for other food when these snacks are ready-to-eat.
Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables---Stir-fries, kabobs, or vegetarian menu items usually have more vegetables. Select fruits as a side dish or dessert.
Compare the calories, fat, and sodium ---Many menus now include nutrition information. Look for items that are lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Check with your server if you don’t see them or the menu. You can also check the FDA website.
Pass on the buffet ---Have an item from the menu and avoid the “all you can eat” buffet. Steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes have fewer calories than foods that are fried in oil or cooked in butter.
Get your whole grains---Request 100% whole-wheat breads, rolls, and pasta when choosing sandwiches, burgers, or main dishes.
Quit the “clean your plate” club---Decide to save some for another meal. Take leftovers home in a container and chill in the refrigerator right away.

Healthy Guests: Happy Holidays


Healthy Guests: Happy Holidays


Safety Tips for Brilliant Buffets and Perfect Party Platters

A popular way to celebrate holidays or any party occasion is to invite friends and family to a buffet. However, this type of food service, where foods may be out for long periods leaves the door open for uninvited guests—bacteria that cause foodborne illness.  Here are some tips for a safe and brilliant buffet:

Keep Cold Foods Cold!

Foods on a buffet can be kept cold by placing food dishes in larger bowls of ice. For party trays purchasedat the supermarket, remove lid and fill lid with ice. Put the tray on top.

Rather than serve food from one larger platter, arrange food on several small platters.

Refrigerate platters of food until it is time to serve, and rotate food platters within two hours.

Follow the two hour rule!

Chill leftovers within two hours.  Keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below and use a refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature.

Keep Hot Foods Hot!


Hotfoods on a buffet can be kept hot with chafing dishes, crock pots, and warming trays and

should be at 140 degrees or warmer.

Eat leftovers within 3-4 days.


Reheat solid leftovers to 165 degrees, as measured by a food thermometer. Reheat liquid leftovers to a rolling boil.




Over the years we have all heard advice related to food safety. Some of this advice rings true, while other guidance is just plain wrong. Our goal is to help you protect yourself and your family from foodborne illness. Hampton Roads Food Safety Company and the Partnership for Food Safety Education have information for consumers and educators that debunk common home food safety myths.

Bacteria that can cause illnesses grow rapidly in the“temperature danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F. Keeping a constant home refrigerator of 40°F is one of the most effective ways to reduce cases of listeriosis and other foodborne diseases. There are a lot of “myths” around temperature control, including people can know the temperature of their refrigerator without even measuring ! This year we are taking on consumer myths and ideas about the home refrigerator.


Common Myth

I know my refrigerator is cold enough - I can feel it when I open it! Anyway, I have a dial to adjust the temperature.
Fact: Unless you have a thermometer built into your fingers , you need to use a thermometer to ensure your refrigerator is at or below 40°F. And that dial ? It is important , but it is not a thermometer. As many as 43% of home refrigerators have been found to be at temperatures above 40°F. So, those refrigerators are in the food safety “danger zone” where harmful bacteria can multiply and make you and your family sick. Slow the growth of bacteria by using a refrigerator thermometer to determine if your refrigerator is at 40°F, or below. And if it is not, adjust the temperature dial to make it colder. Then, use your refrigerator thermometer to measure again.

Staying on the Path of Success in the Restaurant Industry

Operating a restaurant is more than just setting up shop and watching the people come in and spend money. You must consistently monitor your restaurant’s performance over time so that you can sustain a profitable business. You will need to evaluate how your restaurant does financially and how efficiently your operation runs. But numbers and charts don’t tell the whole story. Customer and employee feedback also provides a useful analysis of the state of your restaurant as well as changes in the current market.

Review Your Restaurant’s Finance
In any business, it’s important to review your finances regularly. If the numbers don’t seem right, you have to find out the discrepancy and resolve it. The accuracy of the final financial picture depends on how well you organize your sales and expense figures. It is essential to make a good habit of keeping your books updated and to address any errors or discrepancies when they appear. Also, analyze your sales history and cash flow.

Break Down the Sale of Menu Items
Aside from reviewing your restaurant in financial terms, you have to evaluate your operation’s efficiency and profitability. Not only do you need to keep track of how much money your business is generating, you should review which items are selling and which are not, and more importantly, how much are you profiting from each item. To do that, you have to break down your total sales according to the number of items sold.

Evaluate Your Inventory Efficiency
There are two factors to look at when evaluating how efficiently you are utilizing your inventory.
The first factor is your cost of sales, which is your actual food cost percentage. The second, which is related to your cost of sales, is your inventory turnover rate. Both of these factors can help you pin point where problems may lie if your bottom-line profit is not meeting your expectations.

Respond to Customer Feedback
Customer feedback can be positive or negative, and in either case, it can be a valuable source of information for you on improving your business. Don’t rely on your customers to approach you and let you know what they think. Make every effort to find out what they think and how you can respond. Getting feedback from comment cards, in person and via the internet are good tools.

Listen to Your Employees
Your employees may also provide some valuable feedback concerning the restaurant’s operation. Keep the lines of communication open with your staff, from your staff down to your bussers.

Take Notes on Restaurant Reviews
Restaurant reviews written or broadcast in local media can have a positive or negative effect on your business in the short run, but they aren’t going to make or break you. Take all reviews, positive or negative, in stride. If you are fortunate enough to receive a good review from a critic, don’t rest on your laurels just yet.

Restaurant News


National Restaurant Association’s hot trend predictions for 2018
Gourmet kids meals, Peruvian cuisine and house-made condiments

In 2018, American kids will be eating a wider range of foods and grown-ups will be swapping out cards for vegetables and eating heritage breeds of meat with uncommon herbs, according to chefs polled by the National Restaurant Association.
In it’s annual What’s Hot survey, the NRA asks members of the American Culinary Federation to rank a long list of items as either a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorites.”
New cuts of meat ranked in first place, same as last year, followed by house-made condiments, which leapt five places to second. Street-food-inspired dishes, ethnic-inspired breakfast items and sustainable seafood rounded out the top five. They all scored in the top six last year, with ethnic-inspired breakfast jumping up two spots to fourth.
Healthful kids’ meals fell three places to sixth, but gourmet items in kids’ meals moved up two spots to 18th and ethnic-inspired kids’ dishes joined the top 20 trends for the first time to 16th place.
Other newcomers are vegetable carb substitutes (think riced cauliflower and parsnip puree), uncommon herbs (ingredients such as yarrow and stinging nettle), Peruvian cuisine, heritage breed meats, Thai rolled ice cream (ice cream base poured on a super-chilled “anti griddle”, frozen and rolled into a tight cylinder), doughnuts with nontraditional filling and ethnic condiments (such as Sriracha, gochujang and chimichurri).
Doughnuts filled with nontraditional filling is the fastest-growing trend. More chefs voted for it this year compared to last year than any other trend. It was followed by ethnic-inspired kids’ dishes, farm/estate-branded items, heritage breed meats and Peruvian cuisine.
In terms of nonalcoholic beverages, the hottest trend was house-made or artisanal soft drinks. Of the 700 chefs surveyed, 56 percent said it was hot. Cold brew coffee, gourmet lemonade and locally roasted/house-roasted coffee got 55 percent of votes. They were followed by specialty tea (hot or iced), mocktails and kombucha.
By Bret Thorn

What to do if a recall happens?

What To Do If A Recall Happens?

Here are 5 Tips


An E. coli outbreak is a nightmare for everyone: the customers, the community and the restaurant where it happened. For restaurant operators, corrective next steps are crucial to success; they can’t afford to make one mistake.
What should you do in the event of an outbreak? First, pay attention to all information, updates and product recall announcements. Because the food supply chain is complex, sometimes suppliers or manufacturers don’t deliver timely notices of the recall.

Here are five tips on how to deal with an outbreak and the removal of contaminated foods or other products:

1. Execute an effective recall plan: If you identified a product affected by a recall, look at the brand of the product as well as the code date, lot number and manufacturing facility if it is available.

2. Remove the affected items from your inventory and place them in a secure and proper location, away from any food, utensils, equipment, linens, or single-use items you are planning to use. Also, make sure to wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products. In addition, make sure you wash your hands with soap and hot water following the cleaning and sanitation process.

3. Label affected items in a way that will prevent them from being put back into inventory.

4. When isolating or disposing of the products, refer to the vendor’s notification or recall notice. This is critical because product reimbursement often only occurs if you take the required actions provided by the vendor.

5. Inform staff members not to use the affected products. A helpful practice is to create a communications plan employees can use to explain to customers how the restaurant responded to the outbreak and is addressing the problem. They should know how to properly answer customer’s questions and concerns, and communicate a consistent and accurate message.