FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Protecting Yourself Against Pot Luck Poisoning

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Smoke Ring Forum Index -> Catering
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Bestiverhad
BBQ Pro


Joined: 22 Oct 2009
Posts: 571
Location: The Heartland of America

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11 11 12:31 pm    Post subject: Protecting Yourself Against Pot Luck Poisoning Reply with quote

I've done a couple of jobs where I furnished and set up chaffers of pulled pork, brisket, chicken, ect., and the clients friends and family furnished the rest. Salads, covered dishes, desserts, and the like.

My question is this. How do you protect yourself from Aunt Thelma's potatoe salad that she made with the mayo that she forgot and left on the counter over night? Shocked Shocked
Aunt Thelma after discovering her mistake: "Oh, it'll be ok, it was a pretty new jar." Rolling Eyes

I know this is why we have insurance, but I'm pretty sure that being thought of as the idiot that made everyone sick at Aunt Thelma's picnic would be a negative for my business. Embarassed Crying or Very sad

There are several reasons why I don't want to have to tell them that I'm the only one that can provide any food for their event.

How would you guys handle this?
_________________
Tender - Juicy - Smoky - Goodness

Very Happy "What would you like to drink with that?" Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Soapm
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 06 Aug 2010
Posts: 2087
Location: Mile High City

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11 11 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm kind of shy on pot lucks (no catering)...


We had a lady at the job that went in the bathroom and cut tomatoes, lettuce etc... on the counter in there. Salad looked beautiful but it taught me a valuable lesson. Not everyone adheres to the same standards...

I only eat the dishes of people I know and trust...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harry Nutczak
BBQ All Star


Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8558
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11 11 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could try to tell them that your insurance policy does not allow you to serve food not specifically made by you, or if it is not from a properly licensed commercial provider in accordance with current state and local laws provided with a time/temperature log from a licensed food manager that is properly insured.

If they insist, tell them that they need to provide their own serving table and utensils and it cannot be set up near the food you are serving. Imagine if it is tainted, and a guest uses that serving utensil on your items, cross contaminates your product, people get sick, the HD investigates and find fecal coliform an E-Coli, perfringens, C. Botulinum, etc in your product from the cross use of utensils.

I just had an issue like that last Friday, I catered an event where the food was cooked at the restaurant, we delivered and I had servers there to serve, as I am helping get everything set-up, here comes a woman with a crockpot of something that sort of resembled a rice dish. She wanted to put it between our items. I used the "Insurance" tale to stop that from happeneing.

It looked like a crock of crap, no way did I want any guest of that party to even think we would serve something as appalling as that crock of crap that was brought out in a cheesy looking crockpot.

The trick is to be able to politely say no, and have a viable, believable reason behind it.
Maybe say something like "if the guests think I prepared this, they may request it if they hire us to cater their event, I would not be able to reproduce that item, so i cannot have a chance of someone crediting me with your wonderful dish, you need to do that separately so you can get the credit where credit is due.
_________________
Just remember that the toes you may step on during your climb to the top will also be attached to the a$$es you'll be forced to kiss on your way back down!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BBQMAN
BBQ Super All Star


Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15474
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11 11 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How timely, I just had a request like this one from a repeat client.

The client is a non profit which I have a lot of respect for and actively support.

However, they are group that should know better on food safety as well (medical related).

I sent them a proposal for "meats only" something I rarely do.

However, it's no different than someone taking home food from our market by the pound or slab(s) and then serving it to their family and friends later on that day or next day.

So you can be just so paranoid, but................................

This is what I added to their contact just above the signature line:

Note: Client is having members bring additional foods as a ‘Pot-Luck” picnic. While we are accepting of that choice, we assume no responsibility for proper food handling, storage, serving and any/all other issues with food safety. (Company name here) assumes all responsibility for above said provisions.

Weather in May is hot.

Per Serve Safe and HD requirements, we strongly suggest that cold foods be kept at or below 41’, and hot foods be kept at 140’ or above.

Foods that do not meet the above requirements should be disposed of properly within 4 hours of initial service after initially being served at the above required temperature guidelines.


The party isn't until May, but a week later I have not heard back from them! Shocked
_________________
BBQMAN
"I Turned A Hobby Into A Business".
Providing "IMHO" Since 2005.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
corndog
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 02 Dec 2006
Posts: 1209
Location: Zebulon, NC

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11 11 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a party like that where the host asked if other family members could bring some other food. I said that was fine by me, but I would not be held liable if anyone got sick. She agreed w/ me, signed a waiver and they brought their food along w/ mine..But that's the only one I had like that..
_________________
Kevin "Corndog" Cameron

Dang it boy, that's some mighty fine eatin'!!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Geronimo
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 29 Jul 2007
Posts: 2896
Location: Montgomery, Texas (and lovin' it)

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11 11 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In case if illness, although the HD may not ALWAYS be able to figure out what exactly made a group sick, through their investigation, they can usually exclude a caterer that HAS followed ALL proper food handling techniques.

I know I wouldn't even want to BEGIN something like this but in our business, there is not much you can do to stop a client from doing it. We just have to do what we know to protect ourselves (our reputation).

Pot lucks are as old as time itself and if you really think about it, people rarely get sick from attending (eating at) one....although it does happen and it is no excuse to drop your guard.

We as caterers should always adhere to the proper food handling and let our clients know the hazards of improper food handling....because MOST of them don't have a clue. Shocked Shocked
_________________
Where rumors end and legend lives forever...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Louie
BBQ Super Fan


Joined: 25 Oct 2010
Posts: 491
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12 11 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I veer away from potlucks,too many risks, it only takes one bad apple!
_________________
From vending to Brick & Mortar
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mattytee
Newbie


Joined: 07 Oct 2009
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12 11 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent advice Harry, thanks for the guidance on this. I did a couple of meat-only jobs last summer and it did not sit well with me for all the reasons pointed out here. I think going forward I will give these a pass.
_________________
DPP Fat 50 Ultra
WSM 18.5
Weber Kettle
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
G's BBQ
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Posts: 1641
Location: NV

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12 11 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bring a waiver with me and have them sign it.
_________________
California State Grand Champion-Shake,Rattle & Smoke-July 2007
American Royal Invitational 2007-11th place Ribbon Brisket
2nd Place BBQ Sauce-Best On The Mountain Rib Cook-Off-Horizon Casino, South Lake Tahoe-May 2008
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harry Nutczak
BBQ All Star


Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8558
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12 11 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just did a charitable donation for 60# of pulled pork last weekend for an 'Ice-Golf" tournament, We sponsored a hole on the course.

A grocery store was providing burgers and brats for this event, the organizer wanted to us to have credit for what we provided and asked for some banners to put behind the buffet, I politely declined because I was afraid people would think the burgers and brats were from us to.

I was not concerned about anyone getting ill from the other food, I just did not want anyone thinking that the low-quality crap food like burgers or brats soaking in water was ours!

He asked why we didn't want to advertise, and I simply said, "Our customers will know where the pork came from"
_________________
Just remember that the toes you may step on during your climb to the top will also be attached to the a$$es you'll be forced to kiss on your way back down!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BBQMAN
BBQ Super All Star


Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15474
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13 11 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty simple- just place a table top sign that says "Pork provided by Harry Nutsack" and your golden.

I'd also have left business cards for your place in the same area.

Great to do the donation, but you might as well get some advertisement out of it.
_________________
BBQMAN
"I Turned A Hobby Into A Business".
Providing "IMHO" Since 2005.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harry Nutczak
BBQ All Star


Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8558
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13 11 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBQMAN wrote:
Pretty simple- just place a table top sign that says "Pork provided by Harry Nutsack" and your golden.

I'd also have left business cards for your place in the same area.

Great to do the donation, but you might as well get some advertisement out of it.


Without me or one of my trusted staff actually serving the product, or even being onsite, I would rather remain anonymous.
We got advertising by sponsoring a hole, that was good enough for me. Did I mention this was a charity event for several local charities such as a local hospice facility?
_________________
Just remember that the toes you may step on during your climb to the top will also be attached to the a$$es you'll be forced to kiss on your way back down!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Geronimo
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 29 Jul 2007
Posts: 2896
Location: Montgomery, Texas (and lovin' it)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14 11 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just because one sponsors something or donates food for an event they should not EXPECT that everyone knows where the food came from or that everyone one has even heard of you.

You would be surprised how many people right near you have not heard of your business...even though you might THINK everyone for 100 mile radius knows you.

I would have also at least left cards and or a small sign...But what do I know???
_________________
Where rumors end and legend lives forever...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Grnmtn BBQ Chef
BBQ Fan


Joined: 24 Nov 2008
Posts: 161
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15 11 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I first started this gig 11 years ago I was a bit more flexible. But in the world in which we live and someone always looking for an angle to get a larger slice of pie not neccearly earned, I just say no to pot lucks now. No matter how good your insurance or LLC, someone gets sick, even if it is not your food at a party you are catering at... bad words are coming your way whether they are true or not. It is your "REP!" on the line here, not Aunt Betty's.
_________________
Eat hearty and live life to the fullest..... Chef Brian

Meadow Creek PR72T modified adding a 2nd Meadow Creek PR 60 this week and 2 well loved Red Rivers going into retirement
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
feldon30
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 01 Dec 2009
Posts: 1623
Location: Charlotte or Thereabouts

PostPosted: Mon Mar 28 11 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can certainly understand Harry's choice not to want to advertise. I know that sounds strange to folks, but unless he has control over all the food, service, tables, utensils, temperature, everything from plate to stomach, I would be apprehensive of all the things that can go wrong.

If a customer says "wow this pulled pork is amazing, where did it come from?" then of course it can be answered.

I really like the idea of pushing any potluck items to a SEPARATE table separated by at least 5 feet from the catering table.

One idea I had was to pin a little laminated label or business card to each cambro or dish that was brought by the catering company. Then it's obvious which items are from the caterer and which are from Sally Sue.


*I am not a caterer, restauranteur, or any other other -eur.
_________________
22" Weber Smokey Mountain + Weber Spirit
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Beast BBQ



Joined: 10 May 2011
Posts: 5
Location: New Orleans, LA

PostPosted: Tue May 10 11 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

other peoples' potato salad scares me to death (not to mention the mysterious crock pot of...something). It's not the mayo, it's the potato starch that spoils quickly and causes "The Quick Step". So, as policy, we don't serve the food at pot lucks--only drop off the meat steaming hot in thermal boxes and drive away. And to take it further, I try to provide all the sides I can for the greater profit margin.

We have found good meat-only gigs are supplying other caterers that don't have time or resources to roast/smoke and slice 20 brisket flats for a buffet. They pick up the meat and take all the credit (or blame). We gets paid.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Harry Nutczak
BBQ All Star


Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8558
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Tue May 10 11 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beast BBQ wrote:

We have found good meat-only gigs are supplying other caterers that don't have time or resources to roast/smoke and slice 20 brisket flats for a buffet. They pick up the meat and take all the credit (or blame). We gets paid.


Bingo!!
Looks like we have a new forum member with a smart head on their shoulders!
_________________
Just remember that the toes you may step on during your climb to the top will also be attached to the a$$es you'll be forced to kiss on your way back down!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Beast BBQ



Joined: 10 May 2011
Posts: 5
Location: New Orleans, LA

PostPosted: Tue May 10 11 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
Beast BBQ wrote:

We have found good meat-only gigs are supplying other caterers that don't have time or resources to roast/smoke and slice 20 brisket flats for a buffet. They pick up the meat and take all the credit (or blame). We gets paid.


Bingo!!
Looks like we have a new forum member with a smart head on their shoulders!


Thank you for the kind words! I've been doing this in one form or another for the past ten years. Found the forum a few months ago--WOW all the stuff I learned the hard way in one place!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Pit Boss
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2362
Location: Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

PostPosted: Tue May 10 11 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: Protecting Yourself Against Pot Luck Poisoning Reply with quote

[quote="Bestiverhad"How do you protect yourself from Aunt Thelma's potatoe salad that she made with the mayo that she forgot and left on the counter over night? Shocked Shocked
Aunt Thelma after discovering her mistake: "Oh, it'll be ok, it was a pretty new jar." Rolling Eyes [/quote]

Paranoia is running rampant in this thread.

Meat only gigs are money makers for those in the restaurant business. I can understand caterers not wanting to fire up their pits for jobs like that.

Anyway...I have no earth shattering information to add. I just wanted to point out that the scenario quoted above actually would not cause a problem. You know me...knit picking the details from a thread. LOL
_________________
Somewhere in Kenya...a village is missing their idiot.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BBQMAN
BBQ Super All Star


Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15474
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue May 10 11 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I catered the above mentioned event Saturday.

There were no problems, the client was happy, and I booked a full meal for their 4th of July party.

Even with a heavily discounted meats only menu I still made a fair days wage for my efforts, and kept the client happy.

I also had the advantage of looking in on a wedding for July in an area that I don't normally travel to (it was on the way home).

Win-win for everyone! Cool
_________________
BBQMAN
"I Turned A Hobby Into A Business".
Providing "IMHO" Since 2005.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Smoke Ring Forum Index -> Catering All times are GMT + 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group