Monthly Archives: May 2017

How to attract and retain food and hospitality super stars

It’s no secret that the tourism industry is booming in both Australia and New Zealand. This coupled with the fact that people are dining out more regularly has created the perfect storm for the food and hospitality industry. On one hand more patrons is a huge opportunity to build your business. On the other hand it is one of the biggest challenges facing business owners in 2017.

However welcome the increase in business might be, it has resulted in a serious shortage of trained staff in Australia and New Zealand. Chefs and bakers are on the skills shortage lists in both countries. Competition to attract and retain the best staff has ramped up across the industry. As you know, you can’t run a successful business without the right staff so we’ve put together a list of our top tips to help you secure the best staff.

4 top tips for how you can recruit and retain the best in the industry:

1. Dedicate time to the recruitment process
Don’t just think about talent when recruiting new staff. Spend some time identifying the candidates with real sticking power too. If you’re serious about reducing staff turnover and securing someone for the long haul it’s worth investing some time in the recruitment process. You could do this yourself by advertising online, via social media or searching LinkedIn for potential candidates, or you could enlist the help of a recruitment agency. It’s also worth considering offering slightly more salary to keep ahead of your competition. Make sure you attend the interview yourself so you can get a feel for whether the candidate is really passionate about the job or whether they’re just filling in time before they go back to uni or using hospitality as a stepping stone rather than a career path.

2. Provide a real career path for your staff
The best talent want to know that your business is going to offer them a real opportunity, especially if the position is lower level. People want to see how your business will help them progress their career. If you’ve got staff who have worked their way up the ranks tell candidates their story, or better yet, get them to share their story with candidates themselves. A lot of people will take a low level position if they can see where it could take them in the future.

3. Promote the benefits of working for you
It’s no secret that working in food and hospitality involves accepting long, unsocial hours, a busy working environment and often lower than average pay. But, there are a lot of other great things about working in a fast-paced, dynamic, exciting industry. Identify what those things are in your business and start promoting them in every interaction with potential staff. Don’t forget, your competitors will be doing the same so have a really hard think about how the benefits of working for you are going to make your business stand out from the rest.

4. Start talking to your local food and hospitality training provider
The saying ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ has never been more accurate. Making contacts with the staff at your local training provider is key to securing the best up and coming talent. You could get a group of students into the kitchen for the day, head into their training kitchen to do a demonstration, get yourself on the faculty advisory board or whatever else you can dream up. Whatever method you choose, get your name out there. You’ll find that staff start sending their best and brightest your way.

SKOPE has been supporting the food and hospitality for the last 50 years. If you’re looking for premium quality, reliable commercial refrigeration with superior warranty protection you can depend on SKOPE. Visit our website for more information.

The art and science of preparing food

Creating an outstanding dining experience for customers is both an art and a science. The art comes from chefs and business owners who are passionate about food, flavour and have flair for creating an outstanding customer experience.  The science from the importance of getting aspects like food quality and safety right, particularly in regards to food temperature.

Food safety is almost the antithesis of what makes a great hospitality venue. The foundation of safe food is all about attention to detail, process and consistency. From handling to storing of fresh, raw and cooked food. Having a proven and well understood approach across your business, from initial purchase of ingredients through to correct food storage is critical to minimising food safety risks.

Avoiding the ‘danger zone’ – temperature is key to keeping your food safe

Key to the science of food preparation and storage is avoiding the so-called ‘danger zone’, where food at temperatures between 5°C and 60°C. At these temperatures bacteria is more likely to grow faster and the risk of food poisoning increases.  This can be a real challenge in a hot, busy environment like a commercial kitchen.  Bacteria can double in number in as little as 20 minutes between 5°C and 60°. In a commercial fridge, bacteria is prevented from growing if a tight temperature control of between 0 and 4°C is maintained inside the fridge.

Safe temperatures are 5°C or colder, or 60°C or hotter. Potentially hazardous food needs to be kept at these temperatures to prevent food-poisoning bacteria, which may be present in the food, from multiplying to dangerous levels. These bacteria can grow at temperatures between 5°C and 60°C, which is known as the temperature danger zone.

The challenge

Places like kitchens and sculleries are often subject to high ambient temperatures. With all the activity and appliances running, the ‘room’ temperature can run in excess of 45°C. This poses a number of challenges in regards to refrigeration.

Each type of fridge or freezer will have an optimum temperature that it is set to and will stay at while the door is closed and operating. However, once the door is opened, warm kitchen air rushes in replacing the lost cold air and bringing in moisture. This moisture can contain bacteria, which then condenses as it cools, falling like raindrops onto the food. As the cold air drops out the opened door, hot air flows in and the compressor and fans inside the fridge will stop to prevent further air from leaving, but the temperature inside the fridge still increases.

All fridges are not equal when it comes to food safety

When the temperature is fluctuating frequently (for example when the door is opened and closed frequently) and the fridge is working hard to maintain its optimum level,  the quality and potentially the safety of your food is at risk. By getting a handle on this and maintaining a more consistent temperature level in your fridge, you are guaranteeing a higher quality level of food and reducing the risk associated with poorly stored food.

One way to do this is to restrict the amount of times that a door is opened and closed. This reduces the time the food is exposed to warm air outside the fridge but is not a viable solution during busy service hours.

Another way to look at the problem is to consider the accuracy of the temperature being recorded from inside the fridge – you will often see an increase in temperature when the door is opened.   This is due to the cold air spilling out from the fridge and the temperature internally rising.

SKOPE has become aware over recent years of cheaper imported products entering the market that appear not to display a temperature increase on the controller. This may be down to the placement of the temperature probes inside the fridge and where the temperature is being logged.  If the sensor or probe is placed where the cold air is spilling out (rather than where the returned air is circulating inside the fridge), you will see a decrease on the temperature display when the door is opened.

However, this is not only impossible, it is misleading and dangerous. Customers can easily
be fooled into believing their fridge is working as the temperature reading on the controller is moving up and down, but not necessarily understand what this means for food safety and safe product temperatures.

How cool is SKOPE?

SKOPE’s test objective is to guarantee average temperature readings inside the fridge within 0.5 accuracy. Our state-of-the art environmental test chamber has significantly increased testing capacity at SKOPE and is continually improving accuracy in temperature control for food safety.

SKOPE sets high standards to ensure customer expectations are exceeded. We design products that are made to last, with a focus on tight temperature control and rapid pull down of temperature, in the harshest of climates. This is proven in our latest ActiveCore technology.  Below, is a graph taken from the MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standards) report, showing that an ActiveCore 2 door bottom mounted fridge not only has incredible temperature consistency inside the fridge but consistently holds temperature at below 5°C. The report measures the thermal properties of up to 476 MEPS packs (M packs) using dataloggers and probes to record the core temperature of each of pack throughout the cabinet.  The M packs represent the same properties of perishable product, and comply with the ISO Standards for Performance Tests on Household and Commercial Appliances.

The test data shows internal temperature over a 24 hour period, at Climate Class 3 (Minimum Energy Performance Standards) in testing conditions of 25°C – 60% Relative Humidity. The graph lines show that the product remains between -1°C and +5°C for the duration of the test with minimal fluctuations and minimal energy consumption.

SKOPE’s testrooms and equipment is calibrated by Air New Zealand Engineering every 12 months. This includes dataloggers, room controllers and humidifiers.Test packs are measured & weighed on regular a basis to ensure they conform to the 5% mass limits and size tolerances.

How airflow helps achieve consistent temperatures

Air is the most commonly used heat transfer in refrigeration systems. We typically remove heat from a refrigerated space by circulating cooled air throughout the fridge. A good airflow pattern is critical to an even and consistent spread of chilled air onto a product.  In SKOPE fridges, chilled air is pushed directly onto the product. It is a commercial refrigerator’s job to keep the product inside in optimal conditions for as long as possible, to ensure food safety.  Many “market- standard” fridges fall well short  of this objective. 

A poor airflow pattern will result in fluctuations in a product’s core temperature affecting its flavour, quality and nutritional integrity.   For food to remain safe, the internal temperature must not go higher than 5°ᶜ. Many inferior fridges can’t maintain these tight temperatures during busy periods and seasonally warmer temperatures, even though the temperature display may say otherwise. A good airflow pattern will keep tight cabinet temperatures, regardless of the frequency of outside fluctuations.

The selection of a fridge depends on several factors such as the type of food being stored, the volume of meals being prepared daily, and the frequency of the food being delivered to patrons (i.e. how many services being managed). Before selecting refrigeration equipment, check out our Guide to Commercial Refrigeration or talk to your local SKOPE representative, who can give you helpful advice.

Selecting the wrong type of fridge can make it hard to avoid that danger zone which significantly increases your risk of unsafe food.

What are your best options for different types of refrigeration to promote safe food?

  • Beverage Fridges: intended solely for the storage and display of packaged beverage products such as carbonated beverages, beer and wine. They are not designed to store potentially hazardous foods, and are often the culprit in food safety incidents.
  • Display Fridges: designed to display foods to the consumer for purchase in areas where environmental conditions are controlled and maintained. This type of fridge is designed to maintain a consistent, safe temperatures – not for cooling down.
  • Rapid Pull-Down Fridges: also known as Blast Chillers, these are specifically designed for rapid chilling of food products. When used correctly these are ideal for the rapid cooling of hot foods.
  • Food Preparation Fridges: designed with a refrigerated open top or open condiment rail. They include refrigerated sandwich units and pizza preparation for example. The fridges are designed to maintain foods at a safely cool temperature.
  • Storage Fridges: cold storage for non-frozen foods between periods of preparation, service, display or sale. Could be referred to as “day” fridges because they are not intended for long-term storage of foods.
  • Walk-in Fridges: enclosed, mechanically refrigerated and temperature controlled room with integrated walls, floor and ceiling used to maintain prescribed cold food at consistent temperatures. Probably the most widely used in food service.

SKOPE have 50 years’ experience keeping your drinks cold and food safe and are market leaders in energy efficient products. You can depend on us for the best in refrigeration and our unique ActiveCoreTM technology can help lower your operating costs. We offer the ability to customise the solutions to suit your requirements and you can rest easy with our superior warranty protection.

To understand more about the science of keeping food safe in your kitchen? We’ve prepared an eBook called “Why bad food is not cool; a practical guide to NOT destroying your kitchen’s reputation. Download it now to read about ways to protect your reputation.