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Server Tip: Hands Off

When it comes to food safety, there are so many rules you have to learn to keep customers safe. But while most food safety practices take place back in the kitchen, there is one rule that takes place right in front of the guests: no bare hand contact. This rule, for the most part, is socially acknowledged and properly encouraged. Touching the rim of a coffee cup, for example—even if it’s on accident—is a huge faux pas and will likely be a turnoff for most customers. Even if a customer doesn’t acknowledge disgust openly, chances are high that they will think twice before coming back to eat at your establishment again. That means less business for your company and ultimately fewer tips for you. More importantly than the money, though, is that bare hand contact on dishes and utensils is also a big food safety no-no. Why? Because bare hands spread germs!

It might sound obvious, but this means that as a server, you should not touch certain parts of dishes or utensils that will be used by guests. While you will have to touch dishes eventually if you are going to serve your guests, there are definite guidelines on where and how to hold them. Think of it this way: if your guest’s mouth or food is going to come in contact with an item, your hand shouldn’t.

Follow the tips listed below to make a good impression on your guests while still keeping germs at bay. Your healthy habits will be appreciated and will most likely pay out in the end, literally.

  1. When you carry a plate, never let any of your fingers, especially the thumb, touch the top of the plate. Hold the plate in the palm of your hand with all fingers tucked below, or just touching the very side of the rim where food will not touch. Don't place your thumb on the edge of the plate.
  2. Always carry eating utensils, including knives, forks, and spoons, by the handle.Hold utensils by the handle.
  3. Never carry a glass by placing a hand or palm over the opening or by grasping the rim of the glass with your fingers. Rather, carry the glass or cup by the base or handle.Never touch the top rim of a cup.

You can find these tips and others in our online food handler course.

Happy serving!

Aubrey Pontious

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