THE BLOG

Hawaii Edition

It's often overlooked that ice is food. Most foodservice employees are trained in proper handling of food while ice is an afterthought. Ice is transported in buckets that isn't washed regularly, hands or other objects are placed into the ice bin or no one thinks about when the last time that ice scoop was washed because ice is clean right?


Ice is just as susceptible to contamination, if not more so. While foods can be cooked to temperature, effectively killing any bacteria obviously we have to take stricter measures to take care of ice. The only way to get rid of bacteria in ice is to discard it. Many servers think nothing of scooping ice out of the bin with the glass instead of a scoop. This action can easily transfer bacteria that may be lingering on the glass to the ice or even allow hands to get into the ice itself. Or worse, the glass can chip into the ice causing a potentially life-threatening injury!


For these reasons, ice needs to be treated as food would be. Safe handling procedures must be put in place for the safety of your employees and customers alike. But fear not! Carlisle / San Jamar provides the necessary tools to make it easy to handle ice safely.


THE ICE SCOOP

The San Jamar Safe-T Ice scoop & Guardian System made from durable polycarbonate NSF certified material features a knuckle guard to help keep hands away from ice. The Guardian can fasten to the inside or outside of the bin with included suction cups, brackets or hardware which keeps the scoop out of the ice when not in use.


RULES TO FOLLOW FOR SAFE ICE HANDLING:

- Always use dedicated scoop for ice

- store scoop outside or above the bin

- Never use bare hands to scoop ice

- Never use a glass to scoop ice

- Never throw unused ice back into the ice bin

- Always use a dedicated ice tote to transport ice

- Clean & sanitize ice scoops & totes daily


Also important is to wash hands regularly when handling the ice scoop! Between bussing tables & taking orders then making drinks, its often forgotten to wash between tasks.


ICE BUCKETS

Always use a freshly cleaned bucket when transferring ice. Never use a bucket that has been laying around for who knows how long. This is a prime way to contaminate ice. Instead use the San Jamar light duty Ice tote to transfer small amounts of ice & the Safe-T tote for larger quantities up to 25lbs. These totes can be attached directly to the ice bin for easy filling and raised handles to avoid contamination from the floor. Also indents in the base leave an area for hands to easily tilt ice out of the tote. Made from durable polycarbonate NSF materials and has exclusive Tri-Grip ergonomic handles for easy lifting & pouring. Comes in 2 sizes 5 gallon & 6 gallon designed specifically to fit into commercial dishwashers.







ICE TRANSPORT & STORAGE

Carrying 25lbs of ice back & forth between the back of the house to the front can be tiring and just too heavy for some people. Avoid costly work related injuries from ice transport with our San Jamar Safe-T ice cart. It can hold 2 Safe-T totes filled to the max and folds down when not in use. 2 models are available for the 5 gallon & 6 gallon totes.


If you need more storage then opt for our ICE ONLY container which is made with an ergonomic handle for easy handling, deep hand holds on base for controlled tipping & reinforced lids that snaps down to seal.


Also don't forget our Carlisle portable ice caddy with its extra thick foam insulation to maintain temperatures, rounded inside corners & removable lid for easy cleaning. Stainless steel reinforced hinges prevent rusting, heavy duty casters for easy rolling & NSF rated. Remember to wash and sanitize this bin as often as any other ice storage container!


IT ALL STARTS WITH THE ICE...

Of course no matter how careful you are, it all starts with clean ice and that means a well maintained ice machine. Specially trained Refrigeration Technicians are available to do this service for you if you cannot do this yourself as taking apart the machine to scrub can be a daunting task.

CLEAN YOUR ICE MACHINE & BIN:

- Empty & clean/sanitize your ice machine & ice bin every 2-4 months to reduce risk of contamination, eliminate odors and improve taste of ice.

- Completely clean & descale your ice machine every 6 months

- Use a water filter! YES it does make a difference in taste, ice quality as well as cleanliness of the ice machine itself

- Vacuum the coils & air filters of your ice machine regularly

- Install your ice machine in a well ventilated area away from cooking equipment, refrigerators and other appliances that can cause cross contamination

- Think about getting a UV protection system if your ice machine is within close distance of beer, rice making or bread making.


Carlisle makes a wide range of sanitation supplies so ask us for some assistance or browse their catalog to see more! We're always here to help our foodservice community in anyway we can.


Mahalo - PAC RIM REPS

#pacrimrepshi #werehereforyou #carlisle #sanjamar #sanitation



With the effects of the COVID-19 hysteria looming over our Hawaii foodservice industry, a lot of small businesses are having a hard time dealing with the lack of customers at a time of year when business is usually pumping. Cancellations of events are felt not just by restaurants & hotels but also flower shops who do all the floral arrangements or leis for venues, non-food suppliers who supply the foodservice establishments, all the way down to the farmers who work hard all season to grow fresh crops. Instead of sitting back & worrying, a lot of businesses are fighting back and coming up with brilliant ways to get them through this rough patch. Here are some ideas that I thought were worth mentioning:


CURBSIDE PICK UP:

Of course everyone is pushing for customers to call in for take-out but a lot of restaurants who may not have advertised this in the past such as 3660 on the Rise are now offering curbside pick-ups. Also restaurants like Fete Hawaii offer online ordering along with curb-side pick up. Many other restaurants offer this service as well so make sure you ask your favorite restaurant how you can order take-out either by phone or online.


A REMINDER TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES

island olive oil company reminds people that you can still shop there for your pasta instead of making a run on your local grocery store. Also beef Jerky is a nutritious food that keeps well for long periods. If Costco is out of your favorite Jerky go check out small businesses like Snack addicted for their amazing beef Jerky. Supporting each other by supporting local businesses.


MOVING YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE

Not only are restaurants starting to have convenient services such as online ordering & google reservations, they are creating non-perishable goods to sell for pick up or online. From sauces, oils to jams and even meat! Butcher & Bird offers a 'Baller Pack' of $250 worth of USDA prime meat that is vacuum packed and ready to throw into the freezer or right onto your grill. They will vacuum seal any order small or large. A great way to get cuts of meat you want if your local grocery store is out. Not to mention, supporting a local small business!

Also worth mentioning is Garlic Lime Chili or @garliclimechili808 on instagram which is now offering a 20% discount for online orders from March 15th to the end of the month with promo code: COVID-19. Such a great way to get peoples attention and a promo code you CAN'T forget!


GIFT CARDS & GIFT CERTIFICATES

Many businesses in this industry in combination with the high cost of doing business in Hawaii in general, work off of VERY small margins. Gift cards & certificates can offer businesses a small reprieve to get through this slow time. Noodle club of Waimea is advertising their gift certificates to give to a friend in need or to keep for a later date. That way when things settle down you can go in & redeem them for their awesome services!


LIMITING DINE-IN SEATING

Some restaurants such as Buzz's steakhouse in Kailua have opted to limit their seating by taking away tables & barstools to minimize the risk of spreading the infection in conjunction with upping their sanitation practices. They are also recommending to call them for take out if you don't want to dine-in. This is a bold move but this will not only reduce the task of having to sanitize many surfaces but also reduces the risk of large crowds. A commendable move for the safety of their employees & customers.

Verde Hawaii in Kauai has also announced that they are practicing social distancing by alternating tables for their dine in customers. This limits seating but at least gives customers some distance between each other & gives employees time to sanitize tables between parties - very creative!


GOING ON THE ROAD - TRUNK SALES OR FREE DELIVERY

A lot of smaller businesses who rely on the open markets & pop-up food truck style events to sell their products are trying to figure out ways to keep afloat. Farmers are sitting on perishable goods that they don't want to see go to waste! I see some farmers setting up tables where they can such as empty schools on the weekend or other empty parking lot areas so as not to create too much of a crowd.

Some small bakers are asking department stores or shopping malls to set up small tables to display their baked goods they had prepared for an event that was cancelled. When events are cancelled at the last minute, not only do the vendors have to worry about getting their booth fees back but now they are sitting on product they had to buy ingredients for.

Other companies like Punaluu Pastures in Kailua is asking their customers to pick-up fresh eggs directly from their farm because of cancellations. If you have a favorite vendor you pick up perishable goods from please contact them to see if you can pick up direct or where they are setting up their tables.

One very savvy business owner Dipped By Dee who has made it known that her location is hard to find because of all the food trucks that sit parked in front of her little store, is advertising trunk sales where she drives out to locations across Oahu. If customers can't come to her - she will come to them!

Other companies are offering FREE delivery as well so keep an eye out for these options.


MEAL DELIVERY SERVICES - REQUESTING NO CONTACT DELIVERY

In an email sent out by Doordash, they are now offering a no-contact option for delivery. In the delivery instructions you can indicate you want 'no-contact'. Once your driver is assigned, you can text the driver to remind them of the no-contact option and an image of the delivery location. Your 'Dasher' will confirm with you once the order is delivered along with a confirmation on the app. Just one way these meal delivery services are trying to adapt to the current situation.


CREATIVE MARKETING

It is well known that in Hawaii, when we prep for disasters the first thing we grab is spam, bottled water & toilet paper. You can't blame us because we are water locked and all our supplies have to be brought in via barge or airplane. But it's funny how it has swept the nation - did we start this trend? Quite possibly but now the people who actually need toilet paper cannot get! This lack of supply for common items has caused more hysteria.

Some companies are taking advantage of this situation with clever marketing. Like Purve donuts who have posted a contest offering the winner a 6-pack of toilet paper if they subscribe to their instagram, like that post & tag a friend. Contest ends Sunday 3/15 but they not saying when so hurry up & get those comments in!

Other companies have made cheeky posts about trading a roll of toilet paper for a beer or ON THE WALL's post says "there's no Corona here, only Local beer!"


In all seriousness, this situation will only get worse so if we can help share some ideas to help companies pivot & adjust to this new way of doing business or inspire others to get just as creative with marketing and offer solutions, that's what we're here for. We at PAC RIM REPS are not on the front lines of the foodservice industry but we are very much a part of it & feel the stress as much as these business owners do. #notsponsered Even if you don't buy anything from any of the amazing Foodservice Manufacturers we represent, we still want see everyone get through this together & succeed.


- PAC RIM REPS, Honolulu HI

#pacrimrepshi #hawaii #hawaiifoodservice #foodservice #hawaiireps





In light of what is going on with the COVID-19 virus, it's no surprise that our foodservice and hospitality industry was hit first & the hardest. Normal downtown & Waikiki hotspots which normally boasts lines of people had no wait. Cheesecake factory & Marukame Udon had no line when we walked by which is not the norm. Waikiki at noon looked like a lazy Sunday morning. Our Hawaii economy depends on tourism and the affects of it suddenly halting was felt across our industry.


Unfortunately it's not as if someone can give an 'all clear' and things would go back to normal. UHERO said our Hawaii economy will not see improvement until the summer of 2021 and sadly a lot of small businesses will not be able to hold out that long. I haven't seen a downward trend like this since 9-11 and it took Hawaii over a year to even begin recovering. People are eating in more (as if the lines at Costco & grocery stores weren't an indicator for that) and opting to hold onto their extra cash to weather this financial storm. Meal delivery services could possibly increase because of social distancing but companies who charge a commission to the restaurants for their services, may lose this income due to owners opting to do their own delivery to save money. Also servers with no customers may be asked to do these deliveries instead of being laid off entirely.


It will take the public a long time to feel comfortable again. When it comes to sanitation, our carefree way of life is forever changed. Foodservice sanitary maintenance isn't the most interesting topic to discuss and in our experience is also the last thing restaurant owners like to think about but right now is more important than ever. Besides providing anti-bacterial dispensers to your store fronts or making sure gloves or possibly masks are worn when ever food is being prepared, there are a few other things you can do internally to pivot in regards to your sanitation practices so you can meet the demands of this new foodservice landscape.

hand sinks in dining room

HAND WASHING STATIONS

On our last trip to Japan in late 2019 we noticed that it was quite common to see hand washing stations outside of restrooms and in the center of big foodcourts to not only decrease unnecessary traffic inside of restrooms but also make it easier for people to wash their hands in general. Hand sanitizers are ok but the best protection is just washing your hands with plain soap & water. I noticed an exterior hand washing station outside of the restroom at the newly opened Waikiki Food Hall which was very refreshing to see. Also flash back to Sam Choy's Breakfast lunch and Crab who had a foot activated hand washing station in the middle of the restaurant! Do you think you can incorporate this into your restaurant design?



COLOR-CODED FOODSERVICE TOOLS

When it comes to foodservice operations, we just need to be more diligent in our cleaning & food handling practices. It is so important to not only train staff in the seriousness of this task but to make sure the right tools are being used for the right job. This prevents cross-contamination of any sort from food borne illness to other types of bacteria.

HACCP COLOR CHART

You don't want to use your meat marinating food box to store your freshly chopped lettuce. Nor do you want to use that mop from the restroom to clean your dining room floor where everyone eats. The color coding system is an easy visual indicator for staff to understand what tool is used in what location. Basic HACCP colors for food handling (see picture) is pretty common knowledge but not everyone uses different color food bins. Nor do they have specific microfiber or cloth rags for specific areas. For non-food handling sanitation you can determine the color-coding that works for your business so long as it is clearly communicated & practiced by all staff.


SANITATION BUCKET SOLUTION

This is a required tool in any foodservice establishment and if you don't have anything like this I suggest you go get yours today. The problem with this tool is not the tool itself but in that the sanitation solution is not changed often enough.

SANITATION CHEMICAL

Chemical can be expensive but not only that, changing sanitation solution is just something that is overlooked in the busy day to day running of a restaurant.

Make sure the sanitation solution is well above 50ppm and contact of solution to surface is at least 7 seconds. If you don't have high volume foot traffic where it makes it easy to remember to change the solution frequently such as every 4 hours, please use chlorine test strips to ensure you are within safe range.


CLEANING YOUR TOOLS AS YOU GO!

When a chef is cooking on the line or chopping freshly roasted meat on the front customer counter for take-out, the last thing they're thinking about is how clean the tool they are using is. Do you remember standing at the counter ordering your subway sandwich and watching them wipe the mayo off the knife on that terry cloth rag? Tell me you didn't ever question how clean that rag was...at the time, it was just the way things were and we accepted it was clean. It only touched clean food so why clean it right away right? Now we know that it depends how long you've been using the tool (or the rag). Food debris on tools can still go bad even while in use and at the same time you don't want TONS of utensils cluttering your front counter because you're having to wash it after every use. This concept can be daunting but when a customer sees that the tool is being cleaned right in front of their eyes, it gives them comfort in that their prepared food is clean & safe. Perception is everything right now so make sure you're making your customers feel comfortable so they keep coming back for more.

REPLACE CRACKED, CHIPPED OR DISCOLORED TABLETOP

Tabletop is expensive which is why operators will continue to used chipped or discolored tabletop for longer than they should. Any kind of surface crack or missing glaze will hold bacteria. Replace chipped plates or mugs immediately and see if the manufacturer has a chip-warranty like RAK Porcelain with its limited lifetime chip warranty. See what the handling guidelines are to ensure full warranty coverage.

How to prevent chipped tabletop is to make sure you stack plates vertically - do not slide plates across each other. Wash plates in its own cycle rather than mixing it with other metal cutlery or hard objects. Don't hit the plate against objects or trashcans - use the right tools to clean it before going into the dishwasher. Also store your items properly in dish racks.

Discolored polycarbonate cups also give the impression that the items aren't clean when it very well could be. Clean your polycarbonate cups by soaking it in a mild bleach water solution overnight to get the caffeine stains out. Make sure the insides are scrubbed regularly to prevent bio-film build up with the proper brushes. Keep customers coming back by making sure your tabletop is looking as clean & inviting as possible.




VerTerra Packaged PLA & Wooden Cultery

DISPOSABLE CUTLERY:

I've noticed that some restaurants are taking away their grab-n-go self serve cutlery and opting to hand it to their customers individually. Some are opting to provide prepackaged cutlery to prevent spreading of germs just from handling. Although prepackaged may be more expensive than loose cutlery, it will give your customers piece of mind which is what will keep them coming back.


Our foodservice community rose to the occasion of the ever increasing demand of better, more interesting & higher quality eateries. Hawaii is now an epicurean destination with so many amazing & talented world renowned chefs & mixologists. We want to see it continue to be so and with a little internal diligence we can make our customers feel comfortable enough to patronize again. We can do it Hawaii - we are here for you!


- PAC RIM REP

#PACRIMREPSHI #HAWAII #Foodservice #sanitarymaintenance


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