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The Caterer

CESA guide: serveries

12 February 2010
CESA guide: serveries

The serving area is the part of your food operation that your customers are going to see, so it has to look good. But it also has to be right for your style of operation.

The servery is the public face of the food service operation. There are fantastic options on the market for kitting out these areas - counters with classy granite tops, stainless-steel trims and an array of colours and finishes. Manufacturers can mould materials to the most complex of shapes, install modern lighting such as fibre optics and make the whole area reflect exactly what the customer specifies.

However, looks are not enough. Get the planning stage wrong and the whole process will unravel once it goes into operation. No matter how well food is prepared and cooked, if it isn't properly looked after once it gets to the servery area its quality will degrade and customers will be disappointed. Inadequate holding facilities could even continue the cooking process, turning what started out as a perfect dish into an unspeakable disaster.

But even the most fabulous design can't succeed unless careful thought is given to how the customer moves around the area. For example, theatre-style cooking could attract a crowd and block other customers progressing through to choose their menu items.

Capacity needs to be planned around peak demand, with a built-in flexibility for less-pressurised periods. Menu items and specials may require different holding equipment, while chefs and managers need to look at the servery end of their operation before making final decisions on menus.

The serving area has to be designed to copy with throughput at the busiest time of day

ENERGY USE

Regular health and safety checks are essential because the servery area is the place where the public comes into contact with the food and serving equipment. Simple points that can easily get overlooked include sharp edges on counters, lifting finishes on laminate panels, chipped trays and spills.

There are huge savings to be made at this end of the food service operation.

â- Try to site hot counters away from cold counters so that refrigerated equipment is not having to battle to keep cool. Where this is not possible, using high-quality insulation can save pounds on energy bills and actually prolong the life of the equipment, since it will not be working so hard.


HEALTH AND SAFETY

Regular health and safety checks are essential because the servery area is the place where the public comes into contact with the food and serving equipment. Simple points that can easily get overlooked include sharp edges on counters, lifting finishes on laminate panels, chipped trays, and spills.


FOOD SAFETY

Food safety is paramount and hot-holding counters need accurate thermostats to ensure the correct holding temperature is maintained. Sneeze guards protect food and regularly changed serving utensils prevent transfer of bacteria.


Q&A

Q We are looking to expand the use of our function room for food service at our pub but still want to be able to use it for large meetings and music events. How can we achieve this?

A One solution for multipurpose function rooms is a mobile servery unit that can be wheeled into place when needed and cleared away afterward, freeing up the space for other uses. These days there is a high level of choice in specifications and finishes. Dedicated mobile carveries are especially suitable for pubs are available with a variety of finishes to suit budget and space requirements.

Q Owing to the merger of two workplaces we have to refit our staff canteen to cope with increased demand. What is the best way to offer more choice and keep the queues down at peak times?

A Look at island servery areas. These can be dedicated to different food options, giving customers the chance to move freely about the server area without long queues building up. Island units look very attractive and maximise serving area.

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