Don't Neglect Those Catering Bags -- Cleaning Them Helps Your Business
New food service professionals, be they bloggers who went on to create a catering service or new restaurant workers who feel a bit lost on the job, should be aware of how to care for catering bags to ensure the longevity of the bags (and preservation of the business' supply budget). Properly caring for the bags also helps promote food safety for customers. As the bags are used more and more, their prior care becomes more important, so it's vital to start taking care of them from the get-go.
Wipe out After Each Use
This is one of the most basic moves, but in a busy food service business, it can easily be forgotten. Wipe out the bags after each use. That will remove any condensation that might have formed and clean up any spills. Those areas that did have spills should be spot-cleaned with a mild cleanser and water.
Clean at the End of Each Day
At the end of the day, spill or not, the bags should be cleaned. Some are made to be dishwasher safe, so give yourself a break there and place those in the dishwasher. For the others, a mild cleanser and water, plus thorough drying, is essential. If you don't clean them daily, you can end up with scummy bags that appear to have dirty corners and strange-looking stains. Those are not nice if a customer sees those because the dirt and stains can make your business look less than sanitary.
Inspect for Rips Daily
Each day, inspect the bags you're going to use for rips and punctures. It's easiest to do this when you're cleaning out the bag, since you're going to be looking through the whole bag to begin with. Check seams, closures, straps, brackets, and any other features on the bag. Insulated bags work by creating a barrier between the food inside and the environment outside, and if there are rips in the main bag, the insulation won't be as good as you need it to be. Food could cool down or warm up faster than expected. Straps that are ripping are more of an issue for the delivery person than food safety; no one wants to drop the food being delivered.
If you do find an insulated bag is finally giving up the ghost, get a new one quickly. In a food delivery service, no matter what the specific cuisine or type of service, those bags are tools that help you maintain a good reputation. Keep them in good shape so that customers know they can trust your food.