Food Safety During Summer

The recent (still happening) heat wave across the US reminded me that it is well past time to do the summer check on all cooling and refrigeration equipment. Most smart franchisees and small food shops will have this booked in for that start of every summer. If you are not one of them, call your service provider and change the inspection times to coincide with the summer and winter season beginnings.

There are several reasons to ensure your refrigeration and cooling systems are at their optimum during the summer and the first and most important is the safety of your customers by ensuring that all equipment can do the job of keeping foods at the correct temperature all day and every day. In other words ensuring full food safety.

All foods are at a higher risk during hot weather. Restaurant refrigeration systems struggle to keep safe temperatures, delivery trucks are even worse and the processing factories have the same heat problems as the restaurants Summer is also the time of insects which can find their way into your restaurant and food, so pest control will have to be stepped up.

Refrigeration will be working at it’s hardest over the summer so ensure that the coolant is recharged and all condensers are clean and free of dust. You may have to move the equipment, get into crawl spaces or ceilings to do this but it is worth it as it will help the overall efficiency of the system. Ensure that your service company also does this as part of your normal service so that you only have to check it once or twice in between services.

Do the same for your air conditioning so as to ensure a comfortable environment for your customers. Good A/C also assists refrigeration as a cool area surrounding the refrigeration system assists with good airflow around motors and condensers. Also a good idea to check that there is nothing blocking air flow near any of the motors as this could cause serious overheating and may even cause a burnt out motor, which could lead to a lot more serious problems like spoiled food and even food poisoning.

The start of summer is also a good time to do a complete strip down, clean and sanitize on all fridges as well as checking door seals for cracks and tears and anything else that will affect the running of your equipment. It is also a great time to schedule a full team meeting on the importance of food safety and to stress sanitation, FIFO and all the other things that can be impacted by the hot weather.

I have found over the years that normally the only time I have had any problems with equipment in summer was when regular servicing had not been done. It ends up costing significantly more in call out fees, wasted food, and unhappy customers because  equipment always breaks down when it is at full stress and that is usually on the weekend when call out fees are higher, you have more perishables in stock and more customers to be angry at you when the A/C breaks down or the ice cream is soft.

Pizza Update

A quick word on a previous blog.

There is trouble in my family: My opinion has been put in doubt!! Some of my extended family have made aspersions as to my sanity regarding the best Pizza in Georgia. Fellini’s in Atlanta has been mentioned as definitely the best pizza. Rubbish!

What fool could even think that a reheated crust with topping added later could even come near Louie’s On the Lake. I have decided to divorce them all!! I may even write them out of my will, if I had anything worth leaving to them but I will definitely have them all committed to the local asylum. Does anyone get the idea that I take pizza very seriously!!

As an aside I have returned to Louie’s On The Lake since that blog and I can tell you that it is still number one in my books. I have actually talked to Louie and I had to apologize for the remark about him building his kid’s play house in the entrance way. It is not a play house but he and his kids are going to be making candy on the premise for sale in their own little kiosk over the holidays. What a great idea!!

Pizza Perfection – Louie’s On The Lake

I don’t normally give recommendations to any establishment let alone a non franchise one but last weekend my family and I went to a pizza establishment in Rabun County, North Georgia and I had one of the best pizzas of my life.

The crust was light, crisp and exceptional although a little salty but my wife said this was not normally the case; the toppings were of the highest quality and matched the cheese to perfection and they were all cooked in a brick oven to a magnificent golden brown.

Now I do not want to get into an argument regarding New York vs. Chicago or your favorite pizza place just around the corner but a good pizza is worth telling the world about and this one was fantastic. Besides different pizzas are what makes the world go round and they are all just the same food group….the food group of the gods.

So if you are ever in Rabun County take a drive to Lake Rabun and visit “Louie’s On The Lake” I guarantee it will be worth the trip.

The décor is a bit eclectic, the tables are all wobbly, you either overlook the car park or the road and, yes, he is building what looks like his kids playground in the entrance way but that is all part of the ambiance. The wait staff are great and for $16.95 for a 16 inch pie you cant go wrong.