Filling Your New Restaurant Shelves: A Mini-Guide for Using a Food Delivery Service or Vendor


When you’re setting up a new restaurant business, there will be a lot of things that you have to set up and organize. One of these things is familiarizing yourself with food safety and protection but an aspect of this that can be overlooked is the delivery of your food.

From separating cooked and raw foods to making sure food is the right temperature, all of these protections should be in place when you have food delivered too. Whether you’re having something delivered fresh from Citarella or you’re working with a number of different suppliers, there are a number of ways you should inspect your food when you receive it.

You will find that your food deliveries arrive in a variety of different ways. The larger firms may have a group of suppliers who make their food for them then ship it out to various locations while others will deliver large amounts of food to a variety of different restaurants throughout the day. Whatever their delivery methods, it’s important that they’re keeping your food fresh, and here’s how you can check this:

The Temperature of Food

When you receive a delivery, it’s important that you check that the food has been held at the right temperature during transport. 41 degrees Fahrenheit is the recommended holding temperature for cold food, so make sure it is this temperature. If it isn’t, don’t accept the delivery. You won’t know how long the food has been out of the correct conditions, which may mean that it isn’t safe for human consumption.

The Packaging of the Food

As with any deliveries, you will find that packaging becomes damaged or torn in some cases. However, when this happens during a delivery of food, it’s important that this is identified. Check the containers that your food has been delivered in for tears and rips, and look to make sure it isn’t falling apart or wet. Anything that’s been delivered in cardboard boxes could be quite easily compromised with the chance of rodents or pests crawling inside. And, if the box has been sat on a wet floor, this could have seeped through onto the food. So, always make sure all of the packaging is intact and isn’t damaged in anyway – otherwise, refuse the delivery.

The Time Food’s Delivered

You may find that some suppliers want to deliver their food to you before your premises opens so there isn’t anyone there to take the delivery. This isn’t recommended because it’s important that the food goes straight into its proper place, i.e. cold food goes straight into the refrigerator. If you can trust your supplier to do this, then it will be OK to accept deliveries in this fashion but if they want to leave it outside, this is a big no-no.

The Delivery Truck

Even though you’re not going to want to pester the delivery truck driver, it’s important that you’re making sure your food has been delivered in a safe vehicle. This is particularly important if you’re using a new supplier or one has recently changed their courier company.

Ask the driver what the temperature is inside the truck, whether the inside is clean, whether the truck has been closed to prevent pests from entering and whether the condenser stays on when the truck engine is off. Any answers that come back as no should flash up warning signs and you should start to find a different food delivery service straight away. Equally, if the truck doesn’t just have food inside it and is delivering other items, this should ring alarm bells too as cross-contamination could be occurring.

Delivering Food to Customers

If you’re going to be delivering food to customers, it’s important that you take all of the necessary precautions here too. Don’t make too many stops when delivering because the more that you make, the harder it will be to keep their food at the right temperature. This won’t just affect the quality of the food but could also affect its safety.Just like you want all of your restaurant diners to enjoy their eating experience, the same should be achieved for the customers you are delivering food to too.

By taking all of the above precautions when accepting food deliveries or conducting them yourself, you’ll be able to make sure the food you’re serving is fresh, high-quality and delicious! Being extra vigilant in these areas will help to ensure you don’t come unstuck with any potential problems or outbreaks.

Mason Bruce opened his small restaurant just a couple of years ago, but has already learned so much on how to run a successful business. He is helping others get their feet under the table by writing some articles.