The Christmas season is HERE! As much as we love it – we in the catering industry know it’s going to be a very long few weeks (and probably already has been) of Christmas parties for businesses, friends and families. Late nights and lots of dishes served but you know what – bring it on after the last 18 months of hardship for the industry! 

With that in mind it is extremely important that you have your catering plan in place to deal with the increased volume of work, get your staff prepped, get your catering equipment fired up and get ready to give your customers a Christmas meal they will never forget.

The following four tips will help you to ensure your commercial kitchen is ready to take on the extra challenge the Christmas holiday period can bring.

Kitchen equipment.

Roasts, roasts and more roasts are the general rules at Christmas! The last thing you, your staff and your customers want is for your catering equipment to fail or slow down your service. Make sure all your appliances and utensils are up to date and are working efficiently and effectively – an absolute MUST is that all your equipment must be thoroughly cleaned – cleaning can help prevent the build-up of dirt, grease and grime that can cause equipment to breakdown or potentially even catch fire.

It is important that you are extra vigilant with your cleaning now more than ever – make sure staff are on top of their cleaning routines, the wiping down of surfaces, utensils and potentially look at additional training to support staff with cleaning tasks. Out of date or dirty kitchens can also affect cooking times and the quantities of food you can produce. Deep cleans are essential all the time but even more so in preparation for the Christmas onslaught.

Make sure all your catering equipment is serviced and ready for action.

Kitchen and restaurant staff.

Health is of utmost importance this year and keeping Covid at bay is vital to keep your team running at 100%. Make sure hygiene information is clearly visible to all staff and ensure handwashing and cleaning of stations is undertaken regularly – as per the above.

A great way to get the best from your staff is to motivate and incentivise them – most restaurants offer staff at least time and a half for working Christmas Day – it is a special day after all (and whether celebrated or not it is still keeping staff from family and friends) It is also important to offer staff drinks, snacks and maybe even a small gift as a token of your appreciation – for those working a double shift, think of some entertainment for the staff room during their breaks.

Looking after customers dietary requirements.

Your menu should cater for all dietary requirements and information should be provided for each dish on your menu highlighting vegan and vegetarian options and ingredients that may trigger allergies, lactose intolerance and coeliac disease. The effects of not doing this could potentially harm your business and ruin a customers Christmas by serving them something they can not eat.

Staff must be trained on adjustments to menus and cross-contamination is another risk so ensuring there is enough catering equipment for staff to use for different ingredients is vital – as well as reminding them of the importance of cleaning equipment throughout the day.

Health and safety in your commercial kitchen.

Health and safety is something that should always be adhered too but during busy periods like Christmas, it is especially important that everyone is aware of the health and safety procedures in your commercial kitchen. 

Before and during the festive period make sure all your food storage is well organised and that there are no trip or fall hazards, this is especially important if you have to buy in additional stock to cope with demand. Make sure you have the correct shelving and floor space available, this will reduce the potential of any accidents within your commercial kitchen.

To help with the smooth running of your kitchen you should have enough staff in to help prepare meals by doing this it means that staff are not under pressure or having to work faster than necessary to get dishes out on time. It also reduces the likelihood of any potential accidents that may  occur from working too quickly for example knife cuts, burns or slips. Your food will also taste incredible as your team has had enough time to prepare the dish properly.

Finally, make sure you have some fun! Your commercial kitchen environment will function a million times better if the atmosphere is lighthearted and energetic, bring working together as a team to the forefront and you will never fail.