Food & Expo 2010
Cooked Sausages

2011 Reports & Stories from The Big Kitchen

Publication: Eat Out Online / The barbecue season could boost sales for caterers

The Barbecue season is a huge opportunity for caterers, says the big kitchen food company, but businesses do need to bear in mind the food safety challenges that come with it.

The company is echoing the views of the food Standards Agency (FSA) which says that food poisoning cases double during the summer months with one of the primary causes being barbecues that serve up raw and undercooked meat.

Jonathan Ashmore, commercial director, The Big Kitchen, said: “Everybody loves a barbecue and it is a fantastic business opportunity for the food service industry – but there is a downside for caterers because also represent a major challenge in terms of food safety.

The fact is cooking has to be done away form the sterile and controlled kitchen environment which presents a problem particularly during the hot weather when raw meat is open to the elements. Another issue is that it is difficult for staff to cook consistently as the heat and temperature of a barbecue flame can vary remarkably during a trading session.”

“Popular barbecue foods such as sausages can be difficult enough to cook at the best of times on a standard cooker but preparing them on a barbecue is even more challenging. Another factor adding to the pressures facing caterers is that customers are used to fast delivery times and so expect their food to be served up very quickly. This cannot always be achieved on a busy barbecue especially with raw meat.

“Given all these challenges, we believe there is an opportunity for some caterers to consider switching to pre-cooked meat products which will alleviate food safety issues at a stroke. They guarantee that the barbecue occasion is memorable for all the right reasons – and not because somebody goes down with food poisoning!

This approach also allows caterers to reduce preparation times, as the products need just a few minutes to be heated, while guaranteeing a consistent result for customers. Another major benefit of using pre-cooked items is that it makes food preparation much simpler and can speed up the level of service. This has advantages for caterers in terms of the number of staff needed and their level of skills which can ultimately help reduce costs.”

“The barbecue season is about to kick off and we all hope that it will be a good one although this very much depends on the weather! It is a huge opportunity for caterers because nothing beats a great barbecue on a summer’s day but at the same time the risk of food poisoning is significant when you are catering outdoors. This is something that caterers need to face up to if they want to make their BBQ memorable for the right reasons.”

The big kitchen offers a range of sausages including pork, regional and gourmet, which are prepared using quality cuts of meat and blend of herbs and spices. It also offers a range of snack and sharing products that are ideal for barbecues such as the satay selection, a light bite and platter option, and a range of world cuisine dishes such as lamb kofta.    

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