Do’s and Don’ts for Food Takeout Orders
Ever since the pandemic hit, food takeout orders have gone through the roof. There are now several food-delivery apps out there and nearly every restaurant has a takeout or carryout option. With an increased distance from kitchen to consumption, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re maintaining proper safety standards with your restaurant’s food.
After all, you want to ensure that food taken away for carryout or delivery is safe when it gets to its destination. Here are several do’s and don’ts for food takeout orders to consider.
Takeout Order Do: Keep Hot Food Hot and Cold Food Cold
Once you cook a dish, it should be held at an internal temperature of 140°F or above, which means you can’t leave it out at room temperature. Alternatively, if a food is perishable and cold, it should be kept at 40°F or below instead of room temp.
Takeout Order Don’t: Leave at Room Temperature for More Than 2 Hours
The U.S. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) puts it this way: “To keep hot foods safe, keep them at 140°F or above. Cold foods must be kept at 40°F or below. Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 and 140°F. Discard all perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, and casseroles, left at room temperature longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90°F.”
Takeout Order Do: Discard Orders Not Picked Up
It may seem like a waste to not reuse ingredients or serve a dish one customer didn’t want to another customer who does, but the point remains: discard orders not picked up. Whether the customer no longer wants it or the kitchen made two on accident, these orders should be thrown away or given to the manager to use at their discretion.
Takeout Order Don’t: Forget to Wash Your Hands Often
Even if you use food safety gloves, it’s important to keep your hands clean and washed regularly. Be sure to wash them every time you change a task or use something that could contain bacteria. Washing hands is one of the simplest and best ways to promote food safety.
Takeout Order Do: Cook Foods to Proper Temperature
Know your temps! Anything with poultry needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F or more. Anything below 140°F is in serious danger of being undercooked, so use a food thermometer to verify temperatures before you add them to the food takeout order. (You also can’t assume the customer will reheat the dish when they get home.)
Takeout Order Don’t: Work While You’re Sick
Finally, it may go without saying, but don’t work while battling a cold. While food takeout orders may not even have any direct customer interaction, you can still spread germs and bacteria more easily when you’re under the weather.
These are just some of the best practices for food takeout orders. When it comes to food safety, make sure you have the knowledge required for your food handler role.