Tag Archives: Schools

Traulsen Milk Coolers Give Your School Years of Quality Service

Traulsen has been a leader in the foodservice industry for over 75 years. Traulsen has been known as the premier name in foodservice refrigeration.  They constantly strive to provide safe equipment that is made to last for decades. One of Traulsen’s most reliable products are their milk coolers. From your youngest students to your kitchen staff, their inventive Milk Cooler is accessible to everyone. Traulsen’s Milk Cooler combines innovation, accessibility, and durability for the perfect product that you’ll come to value for years and years.

Check out this video to find out how an elementary school has benefited from using Traulsen milk coolers.

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Find Traulsen milk coolers at Central today. We carry some models in stock, and free shipping on all Traulsen we advertise. Shop today!

Celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month at Your School!

June marks National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and what better way to celebrate than incorporating delicious produce into your school’s meals? Central offers a plethora of products that make it easy for schools to handle fresh fruits and veggies for students from washing and prepping to serving and storage.

Handling Fresh Produce in Schools

The National Food Service Management Institute details their best practices for handing fresh fruits and vegetables in schools, but they are the best practices that any foodservice operation facility could use to follow proper protocol for produce.

Washing and Preparation

Inspect the produce for signs of soil or damage before prepping for further use. If you see affected areas, cut them off or just simply do not use them and avoid the risk! A sharp knife will actually increase employee and safety, and get the job done right! Vegetable brushes are also a great investment to help scrub off dirt and spots on produce.

Don’t forget to actually wash the produce under continuous running water or use a chemical disinfectant. Never soak produce or store it in standing water.

If you receive packaged produce that says it’s ready to eat, washed or pre washed, do not rewash the produce.

There are a variety of food prep appliances that can get the job done while cutting the time it takes in half. Options range from slicing, dicing, chopping or sectioning. If you want apples sectioned out in seconds, or lettuce conveniently chopped for the salad bar, these appliances will make food prep a breeze!

Fruit and Vegetable Month

Photo credit: USDAgov / Foter / CC BY

Finally, it’s important to wash all the equipment, utensils and food contact surfaces that came into contact with your washed produce. Keep these things clean and sanitized for the next use. NFSMI recommends rinsing, sanitizing and air-drying each item before use.

Hand Hygiene

Proper hand washing techniques must be implied to ensure clean, fresh produce that’s safe to eat for everyone! Some might think this is a no brainer, but, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling or prepping fruits and vegetables. Remember to rewash your hands after using the restroom, sneezing, coughing or handing anything that’s not produce.

Use gloves or a utensil when touching ready to eat produce – but remember, you must still wash your hands properly. If you use disposable gloves, change them anytime they could have become contaminated in between tasks. Never wash or reuse disposable gloves, and change them if they are torn or damaged.

Serving

One of the easiest ways to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your school is to serve them on a cold food bar, or display them in an attractive way. This is a popular choice, but it’s important to make sure it’s a safe one, too!

Creating a pretty display is definitely worth the effort, but do not store produce in direct contact with ice or water while on a salad bar or serving line. Place fruits and veggies in a beautiful display bowl or platter and then on ice! Leave out cut produce for a maximum time of four hours, after that it needs to back into refrigeration or in containers surrounded by ice.

NSFMI details how to create a safe salad bar and self-service lines by following these tips:

  • Protect food with sneeze guards or food shields in a direct line between the food and the mouth or nose, usually 14 to 18 inches above the food.
  • Use cleaned and sanitized long-handled tongs, spoons and ladles so bare hands do not touch food and the utensils do not drop into serving pans.
  • Change utensils periodically.
  • Set up the salad bar or self-service line as close to mealtime as possible to reduce the time that produce sets out.
  • Keep cold foods at or below 41°F in a refrigeration unit or surrounded by ice
  • Monitor and document the internal temperature of self-service items every 30 minutes as with other foods on the service lines.

    Fruit and Vegetable Month

    Photo credit: USDAgov / Foter / CC BY-NDs with other foods on the service lines.

  • Clean up spills promptly. Wiping cloths should be stored in sanitizing solution and laundered daily.
  • Teach children salad bar etiquette. Assign an adult to monitor the salad bar and self-service line to make sure the customers – especially children – are not touching food with their hands, tasting food while in line, putting their heads under the sneeze guards or returning food items.
  • Clearly label all salad dressings and other containers to discourage tasting.
  • Never add freshly prepared food to food already on salad bars and self-service lines.

Storage

Always keep fresh fruit and vegetables at the right recommended temperature, whether it be refrigeration or in a dry atmosphere. Store produce in a covered container, at least six inches off the floor and above items that might cause contamination. Mark dates on when you receive the product, when it’s been cut and when to throw it out by.

Proper storage bins, cold food pans, plastic wrap and date labels will be essential for proper storage in your kitchen. Be sure you stock up!

We’ve Got What You Need

Central has everything you need to celebrate national fresh fruit and vegetable month all year long! From food prep equipment all the way to storage containers, you can find it with us. If you’re a little confused as to how to properly prep your produce or set up a suitable buffet or food bar, give one of our helpful Product Consultants a call at 800-215-9293 or chat with them live!

Featured image photo credit: USDAgov

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: February 24

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for February 20-24.

Restaurants Not Affected by Rise in Gas Prices…Yet…
From National Restaurant Association, Read Article

Over the last few weeks, gas prices across the country have been on the rise.  Here in Indianapolis, we literally just saw gas prices go up 20 cents overnight.  With a rise in any price, there is a trickle down effect that can put a strain on recovering businesses.  However according to a recent NRA article, restaurants haven’t been seeing a decline in sales due to the higher gas prices.  They spoke with David Portalatin, director of industry analysis for market research The NPD Group, who said since gas has been above the $3 mark (December 2010), people have now just accepted it as the “new normal.”  But prices nearing $4 per gallon “could create pause.”  Only time will tell.  Read the full article on the NRA website.

Daily Meal Releases the 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2012
From The Daily Meal, Read Article

The Daily Meal recently released their second annual list of the United States’ 101 best restaurants.  To create this list, they said they have a nomination process with a panel of judges made up of restaurant critics, food and lifestyle writers and bloggers.  This panel took a look at last years winners then The Daily Meal’s editors added in nominations.  It was narrowed down from a list of 202.  Then though voting, the top 101 were created.  So of the 101, which were the top five places?  Take a look below and read the full article on the Daily Meal website.

Pepsi Creates a Happy Medium Between Regular and Diet Soda
From HuffPost Food, Read Article

We’ve seen regular soda, diet soda, “zero” soda, one calorie soda, etc.  These days many people are giving up soda because they don’t want the calories in regular soda or they don’t like the taste of diet or fear the potential effects of aspartame.  So Pepsi has tried to find a happy medium with “Pepsi Next.”  HuffPost Food said this drink, which will hit shelves at the end of March, is about 60 calories and tastes more similar to regular Pepsi as opposed to Diet Pepsi.  This is the second attempt to create a medium, Huff Post said Pepsi tried a similar product called “Pepsi Edge” in 2006, but was taken off shelves due to low sales.  Read the full article on the HuffPost Food website.

Test Tube Burgers in the Works
From Climate Central, Read Article

All thanks to a rich anonymous donor with hopes to lower the amount of cows farmed for food, a lab in the Netherlands is working on–you guessed it–lab grown meat.  Or as many have been calling it, test tube burgers.  A recent Climate Central article said Head of Physiology at Maastricht University, Dr. Mark Post, has been working on the test tube burger that may be released in October.  Post told Climate Central he could estimate seeing mass production of this type of burger in 10 to 20 years.  Read full article on the Climate Central website.

Schools Serving Three Meals a Day
From HuffPost Education, Read Article

“Too often it is after the fact that teachers discover their students are worrying less about math and reading and mroe about where their next meal comes from,” said a recent article from HuffPost Education.  But many schools across the country are taking advantage of funding from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 which is available to schools where half or more of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches.  There’s mixed feelings about the program.  Some wonder why it’s a school’s responsibility, while others worry about the children who don’t get meals when they are at home.  Read the full article on the HuffPost Education website.

Schools to Celebrate National School Breakfast Week

During the week of March 5-9, schools and organizations across the United States will celebrate National School Breakfast Week to highlight the importance and availability of the School Breakfast Program.  Each year, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) creates a theme that starts in January and runs through National School Breakfast Week.  This year’s theme is “School Breakfast—Go for Gold.”

SNA’s goal with this campaign is to help students learn the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. They also mention it lines up with the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.

SNA has put together several resources on their website to get schools back on track and ensure they have all the tools they need for a successful breakfast program.

The also want to make sure students, parents and the media know:

  • The School Breakfast Program is available for schools
  • There is an established link between breakfast and academic success
  • Eating a nutritious breakfast is important as it helps children keep at a healthy weigh

It’s extremely important for children to maintain a healthy weight.  According to the Let’s Move! website, every one in three children is overweight.

“Thirty years ago, most people led lives that kept them at a height weight,” Let’s Move! said. “Today, children experience a very different lifestyle.  Walks to and from school have been replaced by car and bus rides.  Gym class and after-school sports have been cut; afternoons are now spent with TV, video games and the internet.  Parents are busier than ever and families eat fewer home-cooked meals.  Snacking between meals is not commonplace.”

The good news is, as Let’s Move! went into its second year this February, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said they didn’t see a rise in childhood obesity.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, MyPlate and the new standards for school meals are a few of the many factors that have helped in the fight against childhood obesity.  Now the goal is to give children the tools they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

For all information about this year’s National School Breakfast Week, including tools and resources for schools, visit SNA’s website.

Will your school be celebrating National School Breakfast Week?

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: February 17

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for February 13-17.

Tip-Income Questions with Answers from NRA
From National Restaurant Association, Read Article

As we move into tax season, the National Restaurant Association wanted to be sure some of the major questions were answered.  They put together an article that talks about restaurateurs filing tip-reporting data with the IRS, qualifications for a federal income tax credit on the FICA payroll taxes paid on certain employee tips and a reminder on law requirements.  Read the full article on the NRA website

Senate Approves Lower Minimum Wage Requirements for Servers, Bartenders, etc. in Florida
From Orlando Sentinel, Read Article

Florida workers who rely on tips aren’t too happy about a recent bill that passed through a Senate committee. Why? According to a recent Orlando Sentinel article, the minimum wage requirements will allow restaurants and employers to reduce the current minimum wage of $4.65 an hour to $2.13 an hour. Many workers are infuriated.  The Orlando Sentinel said the bill was proposed by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.  “The organization argues that it’s necessary because the minimum wage, which under state law rises annually to cover inflation, is among the expenses financially crippling restaurants in Florida,” they said.  Read article in full on the Orlando Sentinel website.

Valentine’s Day Specials at Chain Restaurants Image: alvimann/MorgueFile
From L.A. Times, Read Article

Valentine’s day was Tuesday, February 14.  It’s a very popular day for couples to eat dinner out, but with the United States’ current economic situation, not everyone can afford fine dining.  Fast food chains and quick service restaurants picked up the slack and provided great deals for those who didn’t want to cook their own Valentine’s Day dinner.  In a recent L.A. Times article, some of the specials they mentioned were Papa Murphy’s heart-shaped pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts heart-shaped doughnuts.  For more details on what restaurants were planning for, check out this L.A. Times article.

Chicago Schools Will Soon Stock EpiPens
From Education Week, Read Article

The number of food allergies is on the rise.  In a recent Education Week article, they found statistics from the American Academy of Pediatrics that say approximately every one in 25 school-age children has a food allergy.  To help prevent possible life-threatening allergic reactions, Illinois has passed a law and soon all Chicago Public Schools will stock approximately four to six EpiPens each.  They will also train school employees on how to use them.  Read the full article on the Education Week website.

Restaurants Gearing Up for Lent
From Restaurant Hospitality, Read Article

Next Tuesday, Feb. 21, is Mardi Gras–then the following day is when Lent begins.  During Lent, Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays, so many restaurants update their menu to provide Lenten specials.  In a recent Restaurant Hospitality article, they say many fast food chains have a fish sandwich, and those who don’t usually have one will add one.  Then other restaurants will provide other specials during the season with seafood menu items such as tuna and shrimp.

If your restaurant hasn’t considered updating your menu for Lent, Restaurant Hospitality says, “Pick up a couple items that would work within your restaurant’s pricing structure/service scheme and you’ll have a mini-Lenten menu you can promote.” They also say this is a good way to “pump a little life into your restaurant in what can otherwise be a drab time of the year.”  Read the full article on the Restaurant Hospitality website.

All images used from MorgueFile.com.

Buying Guide: Milk Coolers and Dispensers

Need help making a purchase? Central has you covered with a library full of buying guides you can conveniently find on our website. Today’s buying guide will cover milk coolers and dispensers.

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Think milk coolers and dispensers are just for schools? Think again! Milk coolers and dispensers can actually reduce labor and delivery time in a variety of foodservice establishments, including hospitals, churches, grab-and-go eateries, college campuses, healthcare facilities, hotels, motels and many, many more. Read below to find out how the major benefits of these refrigerated units can be useful to any foodservice location.

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MILK COOLERS

  • Reduce labor and delivery time by storing and serving directly from the delivery carton
  • Low working height for easier stocking of product
  • Mounted casters make moving the unit to the back for storage after usage an easy task
  • Young children have open access to contents without the need for help from an attendant

Shop Milk Coolers

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MILK DISPENSERS

  • Reduce labor and delivery time by storing and serving directly from the delivery carton
  • Low working height for easier stocking of product
  • Mounted casters make moving the unit to the back for storage after usage an easy task
  • Young children have open access to contents without the need for help from an attendant

Shop Milk Dispensers

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MILK CRATE DOLLIES

  • Rugged polyethylene construction won’t rust or corrode
  • Fits 14″Wx19″D milk crates
  • 3″ swivel casters

Shop Milk Crate Dollies

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For more information, view this Milk Cooler and Dispenser Buying Guide.

Ready to order? Click on any of the “Shop” links under each of the sections mentioned.  And don’t forget to check out all of Central’s buying guides.

Central’s Week in Brief: August 19, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more. It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

 1. While food trucks and restaurants have been battling it out since the trend began, a part of Canada may just be figuring out how to make the relationship work.  This Calgary Herald article discusses a new food truck pilot program, which essentially maps out where food trucks can park. One of the individuals interviewed even told the reporter he had received calls from restaurants and pubs in the area asking he park near them!

2. Lately restaurants have been getting slack for unhealthy menu items, but let’s not forget those who really are making changes for the better.  MSN Fitbie covered the topic showcasing some of these healthier changes such as Cheesecake Factory’s SkinnyLicious menu items, McDonald’s revised Happy Meal that replaces fries with apples and Chick-fil-A’s multigrain oatmeal.

3. Where do Millennials (ages 16-24) enjoy dining the most?  Quick-service restaurants.  It makes sense, after all they are always on the go.  Convenience Store News recently wrote about the Executive Insights report that looked into this, finding 20 percent of Generation Y go to a QSR every other day.  Some favorite QSRs found in the study included Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, Chipolte and Boston Market.

4. Schools are continuously looking for ways to curb childhood obesity.  This USA Today article discusses one of the latest topics from a School Nutrition Association (SNA) survey, which looked into how long students actually have for lunch.  They found the average time was 25-30 minutes, but after factoring in using the restroom then waiting in the lunch line, it’s approximately 10-15 minutes.  SNA found healthy foods can take longer to eat and in a rush, students opt for the unhealthier quicker items. Perhaps making lunch a little longer could help in solving the childhood obesity problem?

5. “Rockuccinos” and “You Shook Me All Night Long Moscatos” makes one wonder if rock bands are taking over the foodservice industry.  Well, it might be a possibility! KISS will be opening up a coffee house in Las Vegas, which will be their second location (the first being in Myrtle Beach).  Then band AC/DC recently announced a new partnership with New South Wales on a wine collection.  This New York Post article mentions some of the names which are “Back in Black” Shiraz, “Highway to Hell” Cabernet Sauvignon and “Hells Bells” Sauvignon Blanc.