As a restaurant owner, you need to know everything about food safety to protect your business, satisfy your customers, and maintain an impeccable reputation. Today, I have a special guest who took his food safety exam recently with me. I have Alvin, who is going to be answering questions about food and talk about his business. Welcome, Alvin! Thank you for having me, Dario. Okay, so, how long have you been in the restaurant business? Since 2009 so, I’m officially in a business since 2010; it’s been great. it’s been really good so. What type of food service business do you have? It’s a barbecue and a meal prep catering business so we’re located here in California and so like you told me earlier, everyone loves barbecue.
Yes, that is great, and how have you been managing now that we are still dealing with the pandemic? Have you been changing from doing takeout and delivery, and how is that going? Yeah, I’m glad you asked that Dario; a lot has changed; I mean, again, our main source back then was catering and also, you know, going to different events such as farmers markets and fairs and so forth. So, you know, with this pandemic, all that’s closed. We transitioned into almost, I’ll say, 90 percent we’re doing meal prepping, so we have to redo there redoing our business plan model. Now we’re doing meal prepping, and also, we’re doing takeouts so those people could come order on online meal prep food or come pick up or else take out. So, we had to re-change that it is working out a little bit okay due to this pandemic. Great because people like to eat.
Why did you go into the barbecue business? Well, a lot of it is because I’m from the south. I was born in Texas, so you know what they say. I know that it’s a battle between Kansas City and Texas barbecue. Texas will always win. But growing up, I grew up in Texas town by five years old, but I will watch my dad barbecue, and so there’s a certain type of flavor and the smoke you get that I fell in love with for years, and so that was my dad’s passion, and it tripled down to me.
A great thing that you recently got the ServSafe certification for food safety and sanitation; how are you feeling now? Oh man, Dario, I feel like I could conquer a war right now with this because, you know, especially like in California and different cities and different counties, they have different types of safeties you could take and still establish your business. I mean, you can establish like right now; California passed the law that you could do prep meal prep within your kit within your home kitchen now, and people are getting what is needed for safety, so they’ll say. Well, you can get a food handler’s license, and you’re covered, and it’s like that’s what I was always I would say always taught, but that’s what they’re giving us here in the counties and in cities.
But to get the detailed training to know the ins and out about foodborne illnesses and so forth, you need your manager’s certification, and that covers all broads of the safety. Not just dealing with the food itself, so that is why I reached out to you. I had seen your website on the ServSafe, so you know, I mean, whenever you pick someone up, you hit search, and that first name, your business, came up. So, when I read all your reviews, I read you’ve been doing this for so many years. This is what you need, so that’s why I took a test and I passed. Congratulations, it was great! I take food safety seriously because, believe it or not, one of the most important decisions a person will make is what a person eats each day. I like to help business owners like you to provide safe food. That’s what I like to do. So that you’re going to be serving a lot of customers now working from home and they need to eat. If they order from you and they call out and have delivery, it is good for them to be enjoying your food with the quality because you have been in the food business for a long time.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant or food service establishment and seeing something like quite not all, right? Any story to tell? Yeah, I’m not mentioning a company name, but I recently went out to eat and, you know, standing in line and talking with people and so forth. So, I went to this restaurant, and they’re the type of restaurant that makes your plate, and then you keep moving forward to pay. So, right at the cashier’s register, like six or nine feet away, was the restroom, and one of the workers walked around the restroom wearing an apron. I was like, whoa time out, time out, and then because what happened was he came around the counter and he was the last one to bag my food. I waited for the manager and said he just came out of the restroom with his apron on, and what happened will amaze you is that the manager just said, “Don’t do that again.” Still, when I was looking at the manager, she had no idea what I was talking about, like basically that wrong. I’m like, well, it is wrong, and that’s what I had noticed.
A lack of training or lack of knowledge for every manager needs to go through this type of program. I go to restaurants all the time, and that is correct. A restaurant manager needs to understand the importance of food safety as it is paramount. That is why I created a review process that includes a video where I go into detail because it is important. Probably, that manager needs to have a little bit of training about food safety because if the health inspector shows up in an instant like that, guess what it’s gonna happen? It is gonna get shut down. Another thing is that it only takes about two people to complain about your business for you to be shut down by the health department.
What kind of system do you use at your restaurant, and how do you protect your food?
Well, we have a lot of documentation, and everything is pretty much you know, within our laptops and so far with the Ipads. We track all our hazmat through a program such as ServSafe, and there are Google programs, but we track all of our all-right documentations on hazmat qualified software. We are tracking reheating process tracking, the proper cooling test, and all that’s tracked just in case a health issue comes. It would be a difference if we said, oh yeah, it’s all up here. I have paper documentation, and also the same document is saved within our software. We do paper and electronic just for backups.
Do you have any advice for anyone planning to open a food service business from a business perspective? What would be your advice based on your years of experience?
It is always good to get better training on anything. It’s always good to ask if you do not know. That’s why I like your approach; it’s okay if you don’t know that’s what your job is for to really hone in on what we don’t know as a business to let us know because one thing is you don’t want us to shut down or to get fined, but I highly recommend you get the proper training because some of these cities and counties they’re just going in and saying hey you just need this. I highly recommend you as a food safety instructor because you get the intense training and the knowledge needed to establish your business moving forward. It’s always good because you don’t want to hang anything on your wall like food certification that you’re not complying with because you don’t know. I recommend getting someone to train you, such as Dario, who is an outstanding trainer. He makes it remarkably interesting for you to know and sharpen your tools. Knowledge is power, and what I tell people when because I do this all the time is to train you not only to pass the exam but also to manage your place because if you can do that, you will succeed.
Anything else that you would like to add before we go?
I’ll just say that I do appreciate you training me thoroughly. I like your approach; this training is more of a hands-on where you walkthrough. Sometimes you go through pieces of training, and you’re like well, this person doesn’t really care about what they do. When I spoke to you Wednesday or Thursday, and we had like a casual conversation just where we’re at as a company/ You know food safety, what do you want to know you know. Then, you sent me over a review to kind of get familiar with what you’re going to be training me on. It was great because it kind of anyone could like going to training just having this anxiety attack. Oh my god, it’s going to be seven hours; we’re not gonna learn anything, and your approach was very genuine. So it’s like, kind of like, please take your time. You prepared me for it, that what I like about your training and your company, and again.
I highly recommend this to anyone out there that’s hearing me as a customer because sometimes you know you can read all these reviews, and then once you go into a company, you’re like but they’re not living up to what they say so I’m here to tell you I am not a paid actor I’m a genuine owner of that’s my cue. I highly recommend that you all reach out to get training from Mr. Dario. Okay, I appreciate that; my goal is to help. Suppose you talk to any of my former students, business and hospitality students. In that case, they probably will tell you something like that because they knew that my goal was to prepare them for careers and to become business owners. Some of them, by the way, are business owners right now, and that makes me proud.
My concern is customer service as it is my forte. In my opinion, I don’t like to promise something that I would not be able to comply with and make sure you go on the internet. You’re gonna find that you’re gonna find fancy people talking about whatever you think you want to hear. Still, when you send that email, you don’t get an answer, or you get an automatic answer when you reach out the telephone voicemail uh and that’s not how food safety works in anything in business. I appreciate your time, and I’m so glad that I could help because you are in business to make a profit. I’m glad just knowing that you have employees that you support, and that is how we build wealth, and that’s how we help society; that’s how we help the community. I really appreciate your time. I wish you good luck with keeping your business up, and I get in touch with you later. Thank you, Dario. I appreciate it. Bye for Now!