Have pests become a problem for you this summer? Take extra care with garbage disposal to avoid becoming a haven for them (or encouraging them to make a longer-term home with you once the weather starts cooling). Statefoodsafety.com suggests reminding staff to avoid leaving garbage in places or for long periods where pests can access them easily. That means taking full trash bags to the dumpster immediately — not leaving them in and around your establishment — and emptying bins before they overflow. Use strong plastic liners, clean bins regularly so there are no spills or crumbs left to attract pests, and keep garbage bin and dumpster lids closed securely when not disposing of garbage.
Vegan cheese is on the rise, according to a new report from Persistence Market Research. The report found that globally, 75 percent of the global population is lactose intolerant. That, paired with growing consumer interest in and acceptance of plant-based foods, has resulted in a predicted annual growth rate of nearly 9 percent for vegan cheese over the next decade. That means that vegan cheese is becoming less of an afterthought and more of a canvas for popular flavor on menus. New Food Magazine suggests looking for varieties such as cream cheese, parmesan, cheddar and ricotta.
Meat replacements are getting a lot of attention lately. But the recent EAT-Lancet Commission report compiled by top nutrition science experts has put a specific target on the amount of meat consumers should eat each week for optimal health and minimal stress on the environment: 3.5 ounces, or just one serving of meat per week. The report also calls for less consumption of poultry and dairy — and says replacing those foods with nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes could prevent as many as 11 million premature deaths per year. As guests clamor for the Impossible Burger and other plant-based proteins, consider working in some of these Mediterranean staples as additional health-focused menu options.
Don’t be a rodent shelter this winter
As the weather cools and people are spending more time indoors to escape the cold, rodents want to do the same. Now is a good time to make sure your restaurant isn’t a haven for them all season. Total Food Service suggests you conduct routine inspections to identify holes, cracks or gaps around the exterior of your facility. Seal any cracks with weather-resistant sealant, plug holes with steel wool, and use weather stripping on doors and windows to prevent warm air from leaking out and attracting pests from outside. Finally, if you have plants and shrubs surrounding your facility, make sure there is space between them and your building — having a two-foot strip of gravel between your building and your outdoor plants can make it less convenient for rodents to access your facility. (Contact Team Four to learn more about services to help you save on pest control costs.)
Higher standards for high chairs
As Millennial customers become parents, you will likely be serving more babies in your restaurant. If you’re in need of new high chairs, note some pending federal standards designed to improve the safety of high chairs made and/or sold in the United States. Nation’s Restaurant News reports that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved the standards, which are intended to enhance chair stability, provide warning labels and improve restraint systems. (Between 2011 and 2016, there were an estimated 18,500 high-chair-related injuries treated in emergency rooms in the U.S., according to the CPSC’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Of that number, an estimated 1,600 resulted from incidents that occurred in restaurants.) While the new standards, which go into effect in mid-June, don’t require restaurants to use high chairs that meet the new standards, keep them in mind when replacing old chairs — and be able to answer questions guests may ask about them.
Alexa, remind me to bring dessert menus to table 9
The hospitality technology company SevenRooms is looking to bring the voice-enabled power of Amazon’s Alexa to restaurants. Skift reports that the company, which just invested in an Amazon fund earmarked for the development of Alexa in restaurants, is partnering with Amazon to develop technology that will allow operators to use voice commands during service, access guest profiles and preferences, and streamline table service with reminders. The company hopes to offer the service to its restaurant customers in 2019.
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