June 1st is tomorrow, meaning summer is officially here. And for the catering business, this is good news. Summer is one of the liveliest times of the year for the catering business, and with good reason.BBQ’s, weddings, and graduation parties abound providing you with a plethora of business opportunities and more than enough catering gigs to keep you busy.
And while you should follow catering “Best practices”, summer is a particularly important time to brush up on your standard operating procedures.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your operation runs as smooth as a whistle.
1. Create a Summer Friendly Menu
One of the biggest mistakes that caterers make during summer is assuming they can use the same menu during the hot summer months that they relied on during the milder spring and fall seasons.
Pick menu items that will stay safe during the summer heat and minimize your client’s risk of foodborne illness.
2. Create Safe Hot Weather Catering Conditions
Be sure to take some extra time and energy to create the best possible conditions for your catering. Be sure to take extra care when covering your food as it is critical to keep direct sunlight away from foods that have a high risk of spoilage.
In an article from Catersource, Jeff Farlow, executive chef at Wente Vineyards said “Although most would like to display a wedding cake throughout their event, for example, the integrity of the cake and food safety is at risk. Plan to put the cake out as late as possible—no more than 30 minutes in advance if it is super hot.”
3. Enforce High Levels of Employee Care
One of the most common sources of catering mishaps actually has nothing to do with the foods, but rather the catering professionals serving the food. And the main culprits is dehydration which can easily lead to heat exhaustion.
Be sure to take special care to ensure that you and your entire team remain properly hydrated throughout the entire event. As soon as you are feeling its effects, it is too late and you or your team members will likely suffer from some sort of performance problems.
If even one team member falls prey to heat exhaustion, the entire operation is put at risk from a loss in morale (at the least) to a total unravelling of the event (at the most).
4. Leverage Technology
While you should always follow the age old principle of having twice the amount of ice you think you need, there are other ways to combat the summer heat by leveraging technology.
Using small chilled platforms, you can food that is at the buffet, at stations, and behind the scenes safe from spoilage without spending large amounts of money.
Summer is a great time to be in the catering business and if you execute properly, it can be a highly fun and profitable season for all. Keep the above tips in mind and you will never go wrong.