Posted on

Foodservice Equipment and Supplies for Reopening

As the vaccination distribution begins to ramp up, you're looking towards reopening your restaurant or foodservice business. However, you want to do so safely, and you know that Americans will always look at safety differently in the wake of COVID-19. This makes it an ideal time to create a plan for additional safety along with a list of the equipment and supplies you're going to need to reopen with safety as your main focus.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Grab & Go Kiosks

Whether you're offering up hot or cold items, these grab-and-go kiosks keep cold items cold and hot food hot. There are several styles and sizes to choose from. You can select a kiosk that comes with shelves above the main heating and cooling section for items that don't need climate control, such as chips, pretzels, or fresh fruit. These shelves can also increase impulse purchases as the customer grabs a bag of chips to go with their cold soda or hot sandwich. You can even have your company name or logo printed on the side.

Mobile Food Carts

Similar to the grab-and-go kiosks, these mobile food carts make it easy for you to offer both hot and cold food offerings except they have wheels to move it where it'll attract the most customers. You can choose among a variety of laminate colors to complement your company logo. The mobile food carts can include custom graphics to use as an advertising source. The cabinets open easily to making cleaning or draining melted ice a snap. A shelf at the end of the cart is a great location for napkins, condiment packets, or plastic cutlery.

Condiment Dispensers

Buying individual packages of condiments is too expensive unless you're offering to-go only options. Condiment dispensers are easier to clean than leaving ketchup or mayonnaise jars out for customers to use. You can easily fill the condiment dispenser and get back to the work you need to do. With dispensers, you can provide more condiment choices and more available products, so you don't spend a lot of time restocking. Also, dispensers help with portion control. You need to create a system for keeping the parts touched by humans hand cleaned and frequently wipe them down with a sanitizer but it's easier and safer than individual bottles.

Clear Partitions

In order to protect both your customers and employees, you need clear partitions set up around your restaurant or food service area. You might put up a partition at the point of sale and in between tables and booths. Anything that you can do to keep different people from introducing their germs to others is a positive. When planning on installing clear partitions, you need to put a plan in place for cleaning and sanitizing them. This should become as second nature as wiping down the tables and seats between customers.

Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Wipe Stands

Americans have become very conscious of keeping their hands clean and their surfaces sanitized. By installing either a hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipe stand in your restaurant or foodservice operation, you can provide your customer base with extra peace of mind. Making these products readily available to your clients and customers helps to minimize the transfer of germs and other contagions. These stands are easy to set up and restock with supplies.

Alluserv is dedicated to partnering with restaurants and foodservice organizations as they reopen safely to the public. We offer a full line of products and equipment to help you keep your company cleaner and safer for your clients and staff.

Posted on

The Essential Role of Nutrition in COVID-19 Recovery

COVID-19 forced healthcare foodservice programs to do a complete 180 in how they serve and deliver food. We've heralded the role of food in healthcare and its healing power, but the coronavirus presents new and unheard-of nutritional challenges for dietitians. So how are they using nutrition to help patients as they fight and recover from COVID-19?

Malnutrition already increases the risk of someone getting sick, staying sick, and worse — dying. Add that into a pandemic, and delivering proper nutrition to sick individuals has never been more vital to the recovery process.

COVID Challenges for Dietitians

For starters, the COVID-19 pandemic has put dietitians in an unenviable position when it comes to working directly with patients. Lack of PPE and isolation requirements often prevent dietitians from performing their typical nutrition-focused exams to identify nutritional problems. Relying on telehealth and virtual exams are available for some facilities, but often a reliance on doctors and nurses to provide dietitians with nutritional updates is necessary.

With up to a quarter of COVID-infected people requiring ICU admission, nutrition is essential in the fight against coronavirus symptoms and helping patients recover quickly. Studies show that these ICU patients, who are often put on ventilators for multiple weeks, will become weaker and lose valuable muscle mass.

Nutrition is one of the best kinds of medicine to fight the virus head-on.

Using Nutrition to Fight COVID

A recent Food Management article on patient nutrition discussed both the challenges and strategies to providing proper nutrition to patients infected with the coronavirus. Some obstacles to nourishing COVID-19 patients include the common symptoms like loss of taste and smell or gastrointestinal distress, while other more severe symptoms like post-ventilator swallowing, respiratory issues, and even psychological ailments ranging from disorientation to depression create more obstacles to recovery.

With all the hurdles to providing nutrition to the people who need it the most, how are dietitians helping get these patients back on the road to recovery through the power of food?

High-calorie and high-protein provide a boost in energy and nutrients in each meal. Nutritional supplements and hydration are also key, especially for people with a lack of appetite to ensure they are receiving nourishment, even when they may not feel up to the challenge. Smaller meals are recommended for patients with poor appetites or respiratory problems so as not to force their bodies to become overworked. Even foods with different ranges of spice can help patients dealing with a loss of taste or smell.

Make Patient Nutrition Easier With the Right Tools

Healthcare foodservice programs everywhere are adapting their methods of meal delivery during COVID-19, and Lakeside is here to help you get the tools you need to keep patients, guests, and staff well-nourished. From meal and tray delivery carts for in-patient dining, hydration service, mobile grab-and-go solutions for guests and staff, and handwashing and PPE storage and transport solutions, Lakeside has you covered.

Alluserv has the COVID-19 Product Solutions you need! Learn about these solutions in our COVID-19 Resource Guide. 

Posted on

How Foodservice Is Going Touch-Free

One thing we all know for certain is that the current COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we look at foodservice and the restaurant industry. What many don’t know, though, is that 76 percent of consumers say it’s changed how they look at public behavior forever. This means many of the pivots and transitions we saw in 2020 are likely to still exist in 2022 and beyond.

One important pivot in food and beverage was the shift toward low-contact and touch-free dining. According to Modern Restaurant Management, 38 percent of people say they’re worried about touching things others have touched, while 28 percent say being near other people makes them nervous. Add them up, and it translates to low-engagement transactions creating consumer confidence.

So how exactly are foodservice operations and restaurants going touch-free?

ORDERING

It all starts with the ability to order, and thanks to mobile apps and online ordering systems, it’s getting easier and easier to navigate menus, make selections, and place orders. Even for in-person dining, reducing touch points can be important, and scanning QR codes to reveal menus is a great way to reduce the number of things a customer has to touch.

PAYMENT

This goes hand-in-hand with ordering, and most mobile ordering applications also include the ability to pay and add gratuity, as well. With technologies like Apply Pay, in-person diners can often just scan their phones to pay by credit card, which also reduces the number of things restaurant staff members have to touch.

PICK-UP

Pick-up is often the point in the transaction when the diner encounters restaurant staff or even other customers. This means it’s critically important to make sure everything is smooth and efficient. Counters need to be sanitized between customers, and technologies like pick-up lockers that can be open with mobile phones further enhance the touch-free concept. When customers pick up foods, this is also the time when they might pick up utensils and condiments. Touch-free carts and serving stations can help mitigate any potential dangers

TOUCH-FREE WILL ONLY CONTINUE.

Unfortunately, we’re not out of the woods yet, and even when we are, we suspect there will be a greater emphasis on sanitation, safety, and low-touch environments. There will still be customers who only want to push open the door. That’s it.

Lakeside can help you assemble the needed equipment for a touch-free foodservice operation.

Alluserv offers various COVID-19 product solutions. Let us help you find the best way to offer low-contact and touch-free dining. 

Posted on

The State of Our Food Supply

 

From dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks to pursuing solutions that allow foodservice operations to stay operational, things have been increasingly challenging in the last year. At the very beginning of the pandemic, there were concerns about food shortages as it relates to processing and distributing our food supply, and those challenges continue in varying forms today.

Let's start back at the beginning when the national food supply was in possible jeopardy and was an unknown factor. Many people rushed to grocery stores to stock up for weeks and even months on canned and frozen goods. This left grocery shelves bare and consumers terrified for what was to come.

The industry that struggled the most during this period was the meat processing business.  With heavy staffing working in proximity, many processing staff members fell ill with the coronavirus causing many plants to close. Companies responded, though, and measures were put in place such as temperature scanning, social distancing, and increased sanitation. By June, meatpacking was back to operating at roughly 97%, as reported by WebMD.

While the initial scare put us in a world of uncertainty, we slowly began to find a balance. More resources were available, and shelves were less bare. What we learned was the importance of keeping staff healthy across the entire foodservice spectrum, from grocery stores to restaurants to delivery drivers to meat processing plants.

As the virus continues to sweep across the United States, many are now worried that the industry won't suffer from a supply shortage but rather a staffing shortage. Even with new regulations and rules set in place, extra cleaning, and additional precautions, people are still testing positive for COVID-19.

Critical labor is being put at risk in order to keep our food supply functioning, leaving many questioning if their jobs are worth that risk. On the other end of the spectrum, many are still seeking jobs and a surplus of people are working from home, keeping grocery stores flooded with business.

New solutions are popping up daily to help prevent the spread of the virus as well as assist in keeping operations functioning, and even in the initial scare, most weren't going hungry due to a lack of food supply. Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics reported the biggest vulnerability for food insecurity was due to the loss of jobs from lost income with collapsing prices and lowered market demand.

While there's still concern over the potential changes in the industry as we continue to deal with the pandemic, for the foreseeable future food supply looks promising and reliable.

For a full list of all available COVID-19 product solutions, we encourage you to visit our main COVID-19 Resources page. 

Posted on

Reducing Waste for Restaurant Delivery and Takeout

As a restaurant, it's important to offer convenient options for people on the go. Takeout is becoming increasingly popular, and that's great news for businesses and for consumers. However, it can also lead to increased waste. For this reason, it's important to maintain high sustainability standards. This will not only reduce your costs but will also increase your appeal to many of your customers and contribute to a healthier planet.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

From a financial perspective, this initiative saves a lot of money for your restaurant. On average, you'll have about $5,091 that you can put towards other expenses, or better yet, profit.

Of course, these practices are also much more sustainable when it comes to preserving our beautiful planet. Litter from take-out orders alone accounts for approximately 269,000 tons of plastic pollution in the earth's oceans. Furthermore, the majority of packaging we use every day goes into our landfills, which significantly increases our carbon emissions. Climate change is a major issue facing our society today, and we must do everything we can to improve our planet for future generations.

Lastly, you'll likely attract more clientele if you participate in initiatives that reduce environmental waste: A staggering 73% of consumers would definitely like to change their habits so that they can reduce their carbon footprint. This could potentially lead to more revenue for your business in the long run.

ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS IF THEY WANT NAPKINS WITH THEIR FOOD

This may seem like a small action, but it makes an enormous difference. Many customers would rather just use their own cloth napkins and reduce their waste. A majority of the paper napkins handed out in to-go bags are never even used. 

USE FOOD DELIVERY APPS THAT OFFER YOUR CUSTOMERS SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVES

Food delivery apps such as Postmates, GrubHub, and UberEats allow your customers to indicate whether they'd like utensils or not. This is super convenient for everyone involved and it also reduces your environmental impact significantly.

You can also ask your clients what their preferences are. Perhaps you want to add a feature on your website that gives them the option to opt for no utensils, straws, or condiments. This initiative will help your restaurant reduce its environmental impact significantly.

LIMIT PLASTIC AND PAPER PLATES

Of course, you want your customers to have an amazing experience eating your delicious food, and sometimes that might mean providing them with paper plates. However, a lot of people are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and would rather not use these items unnecessarily. Therefore, it's important to train your employees to ask your clients if they want plates or, better yet, avoid them altogether and save your restaurant some money.

You may want to sell reusable containers on your website or opt for biodegradable takeout boxes. Your customers will probably be attracted to your restaurant as a result.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS WHEN IT COMES TO BAGGING ITEMS

It's understandable that a lot of restaurants put takeout boxes into plastic bags: They don't want it to spill all over the place because this could lead to dissatisfied customers. However, it's important to ensure that you're only using one bag and ask your customers if they even want it. Many people are becoming increasingly aware of these sorts of things. You may also want to opt for paper bags instead of plastic ones because they are both recyclable and reusable.

Reducing waste isn't easy, but with a little more mindfulness we can all do our part to make the world a better place. These practices also reduce your expenses and attract loyal customers, so implementing them is well worth your time.

Posted on

How Digital Tools are Transforming Foodservice

Chef Taking Food Inventory

Are you interested in improving efficiency, increasing output, and reducing food waste in your restaurant or other foodservice business? If you are, it may be time to get technical. That's right, technology is playing an increasingly important role in the foodservice industry.

According to an article in Forbes magazine, we owe many of the improvements in the production, packaging, shelf life, and safety of food to improved technology in the food industry. From drone farmworkers to robotic butchers, technology is impacting all areas of food production and distribution. For example, satellite imagery helps monitor weather patterns that can affect the timing of planting and harvesting. Farm drones pinpoint diseased crops so that pesticides can be applied precisely where they're needed instead of blanket bombing entire fields. Advanced packaging can improve food safety, increase shelf life, and help eliminate waste.

Going Green

Technology can even help your business go green. An app such as Copia can keep track of your food inventory to help you make more informed purchasing decisions. It will also help you reduce food waste by connecting you with local non-profits who can make good use of your surplus food.

After-school programs, shelters, and other programs will benefit from that surplus while you reap the tax benefits of your donations. Not only that, but you'll no longer be contributing to the 40% of American food that gets wasted each year. That's an important point for many customers, especially millennials and generation Z.

Sustainability is a major concern for many of these younger customers. They may even choose a place to eat based on it. Reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions go hand in hand with reducing food waste. So too does sourcing food locally, since it reduces the fuel and emissions associated with long-distance shipping. Not only is improved sustainability beneficial to the planet, but it also benefits your bottom line through lower food costs and an increased customer base.

Managing Inventory and Production Schedules

Use technology to help you with more accurate inventory management so that you always know what to order and when. You can also use it to manage your production schedule in order to improve efficiency and reduce wasteful overproduction. According to the non-profit ReFED organization, you can save thousands of dollars annually just by using technology to track and reduce waste.

Want More Like This? View the recording of our "Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021" webinar!

Posted on

Food As Medicine – An Intro Guide

Fruit and Medicine Bottles

 

If there's one thing we learned in the past year, it's that our health is the most important thing we have. And as we know, one of the most important aspects to staying healthy is eating a healthy diet. Yes, food is important because it helps us stay healthy.

Eating a healthy well-balanced diet year-round is key in keeping your immune system healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables give us many of the vitamins and minerals our body craves and prevents infections. While supplements can be useful, it's better to get what you need from fresh or frozen foods and not a capsule. Hospitals and senior care communities across the country know this, and that's why food is often viewed as medicine — food has the power to heal.

With cold and flu season in full swing, now is the time to do everything necessary to keep our bodies healthy and free from disease. Especially in the age of COVID-19, bodies need these six beneficial vitamins and ingredients:

Vitamin C

Your mother probably told you to drink your orange juice because it was packed with vitamin C, and you should always listen to mom. The simple reason it's so important is that it may increase white blood cell production, which helps to fight viruses, bacteria, and infections.

Foods packed with vitamin C include:

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli

Not only do these foods help boost immunity, but they're also great for maintaining skin and eye health.

Vitamin E

Not always thought of as the most common vitamin when boosting immunity, but vitamin E is a powerhouse. Packed with antioxidants, which help protect cells against free radicals, vitamin E is important for eye, blood, and brain health.

Foods full of vitamin E include:

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is super important in that it is anti-inflammatory and may help antibodies respond to toxins in the body. It's also fat-soluble, which means it's best to include healthy fats with it to aid in absorption.

Important for vision and cell division and reproduction, here are some common foods packed with vitamin A.

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Spinach
  • Dairy products
  • Cantaloupe
  • Dark leafy greens

Iron

Iron helps support immune health. It is a key nutrient in helping develop white blood cells and mobilizing their response. Iron is also crucial to blood health and reproductive health.

Need more iron in your diet? Try these foods.

  • Chicken
  • Red meat
  • Turkey
  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Canned tuna

Zinc

In order to produce new immune system cells, zinc must be present. Unfortunately for us, zinc is a mineral our body doesn't produce, so we need to get it elsewhere. It's typically found in shellfish (oysters, crab, lobster), but eating yogurt or chickpeas will also do the trick.

The thing about zinc is that you need it for healthy immune function, but getting too much of it can have the opposite effect and impair immunity.

Garlic

Garlic isn't used to just season food or give you stinky breath, but it contains a myriad of compounds to support immune system health. It has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase the production of T-cells. This superstar may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol according to recent clinical trials. Used throughout the ages to treat colds and infections, soldiers even used it in World War II to prevent gangrene.

The concept of "food as medicine" is just one trend to look for in 2021. Learn more about the top food and beverage trends of the new year in our recorded webinar, “Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021”.

Posted on

2020 Year in Review: Healthcare Foodservice

Healthcare Foodservice 2020 Year in Review

Here are the highlights of our healthcare foodservice blogs from this year.

In the face of a global pandemic, we saw healthcare systems pushed to their limits. As we adapted to this new environment in 2020, we saw a change in how healthcare foodservice is handled, from delivery to sanitation to everything in between. Not only were these new solutions designed to keep patients safe, but healthcare staff safe as well.

Here are the highlights of what we saw transpire in healthcare foodservice this year:

Continue reading 2020 Year in Review: Healthcare Foodservice

Posted on

2020 Year in Review: Senior Care Foodservice

Here are the highlights of our senior care foodservice blogs from this year.

Senior care facilities were put on high alert early on during the Coronavirus pandemic. With residents at a higher risk than most, it has been vital for senior care staff to continue to deliver necessary foodservice safely. Meal delivery during COVID-19 has never been as important, and with the right tools, it was being done in a safe, effective manner. The changes we saw over the course of 2020 will no doubt impact how senior care foodservice is handled as we embark on the new year.

Here are the biggest takeaways of the significant changes we witnessed in senior care foodservice in 2020.

Continue reading 2020 Year in Review: Senior Care Foodservice

Posted on

The COVID Resource Roundup

If there was one word to describe 2020, “uncertainty” has to be at the top of the list.

The world has completely changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ability to adapt and adjust to this new world we live in, especially in foodservice, has never been more critical. Here at Lakeside, our first instinct is to help our customers, whether it’s through in-room meal solutions in healthcare, sanitization in restaurants, or meal delivery and accessibility in K-12 and colleges and universities. Continue reading The COVID Resource Roundup