Serving food on wood? This is for you

With customers uploading photos of their food onto Instagram as soon as meals hit the table, presentation has never been so important for restaurants. Magnificent plates and disastrous dishes can spread like wildfire. Everything we were taught about 'word of mouth', we can multiply that by hundreds; such is the effect of social media.
It's increasingly popular for restaurants to present food on wooden boards. We can all see why - the rustic, laid back feel is welcoming, and it photographs well. Natural materials create emotional responses and when paired with food, the effect can be magical. Yet serving food on wood can be both complex and costly and its worth examining both the challenges to be managed and the alternatives.

The Challenges of Serving Food on Wood

Food Safety

UK Restaurant Fined for Wood Boards
It was reported last week that one UK restaurant was fined $87,000 (50,000 GBP) for serving steak on wood, because of the unacceptable health risk it presented - many of their customers suffered food poisoning as a consequence. So why is wood unhygienic?
  • Wood is porous, which allows bacteria to find its way below the board's surface
  • Scratches in wood from knives, charred areas and cracking all act as channels to capture food debris and accelerate bacteria growth
Cleaning is not impossible - it is challenging, time consuming and difficult to determine when complete

Ongoing Cost

Wooden serving boards are not cheap. A superior cut of wood takes years to develop and the cost reflects this. Of course, quality is worth paying for if the return on investment is present. However, the high cost of wood is not balanced by extended life. Compared to other popular materials for serving ware, wood has the lowest lifespan. Porcelain, melamine and stainless steel all outlast wood. Wood absorbs water during washing, losing its shape and finish. Some restaurants are discarding wooden boards after only 2-3 uses, so replacement is both a high cost and a frequent cost. When you're fighting for small margins, an overhead like this can be fatal.

Occupational Safety

Are you working as a food server? You already know this challenge! Wooden board are heavy. At best, this makes a day of serving tough - at worst, the additional weight causes drops. Whether this creates a hazard or is limited to the cost of a replacement meal and board, it's another thing to manage. For good measure, let's throw in a splinter or two!

The Solution - Professional Wood-Effect Melamine

To restaurateurs looking for an effective option, a professional-use Wood-Effect Serving Ware, made from 100% melamine is an excellent choice. It overcomes each of the challenges presented by wood
  • Melamine is not porous and will not absorb bacteria
  • Cleaning is simple as melamine is dishwasher-safe. 
  • Price points of commercial-standard melamine tableware are comparable to wood
  • Durable melamine is shatterproof, scratch and stain resistant, so replacement is less frequent, reducing operating expenses
  • Lightweight material is easy to carry and handle - less drops
  
While there are a number of manufacturers around the world providing melamine tableware, I recommend Dalebrook's Professional Range. Dalebrook specialise in melamine for food service - and have done so for over 75 years - so the quality is excellent and constant. Serving leaders in the food service and hotel industry around the world, Dalebrook's designs are both functional and attractive. You can see the Rustic Wood range of platters and trays here - and more items in the Dalebrook range here. Do you need some guidance on calculating the ROI on melamine, or want to see some design choices? Get in touch with the Euroswift Australia team.   
Dalebrook Rustic Wood Platter

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