Maintaining Food Safety for Off-Premise Operations

Food Safety for Off-Premise Operations

Offsite events can be tricky, but if you remember that offsite food prep operations require the same safety standards as your in-house operations, you can avoid trouble. Careful, consistent management and execution of the delivery and food prep will help ensure food safety for your guests.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind.

Your Staff

  • Be sure staff is properly trained for your offsite operations, including all food safety processes and standards.
  • If you are using temp staffing, don’t assume they know the specifics of safe food prep and service. Take 10 minutes and have a briefing of key food safety points.
  • Always hold all staff members to the highest of standards, no matter where you are operating.

The Facilities

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Before booking an event, perform a comprehensive site survey and analysis to identify any cleaning and sanitizing needs prior to the event.
  • Determine if there will be potable water onsite and whether there are dishwashing facilities, or if you will need to plan on packing up dirty dishes.
  • Inspect, and if necessary, sanitize all rented wares. Don’t assume they are clean.
  • Determine how trash and waste will be handled.
  • Lastly, determine how staff will wash their hands and access the restroom.


Will there be refrigeration onsite? You will need to have a plan for maintaining temperature control of your products. This may mean transporting cold products in insulated coolers. You may want to consider renting a refrigerator for larger events.

The Food and Beverage Products

Some food items can be quite risky to prepare and serve in an offsite environment. For this reason, for some events, consider creating a menu based on a risk analysis. There really is no limit to where and what you can serve, but the food safety risk should be considered, just as you consider the cost per portion and labor for the function.

Here are some basic steps to follow for maintaining proper food and beverage products during off premises events.

  • Always maintain temperature control of your food and beverage products, including supplies of ice and water.
  • Minimize the opportunity for someone to adulterate your food products by making staff easily identifiable and maintaining controlled areas.
  • If you cannot maintain food at the proper temperatures, you must control for time. This means you must take temperatures at regular intervals and maintain careful logs.

Be careful to promise only what you can safely deliver given the materials and equipment you will have. For events held offsite, food safety capabilities and proper facilities should never be taken for granted.

About Johnston

At Johnston, we hold food safety as our highest priority within the Food Service industry. Whether you are catering an event on-site or off-site, We are committed to providing customized products to help address any potential issue before they arise. Our heritage means years of accumulated industry knowledge, the ability to see the bigger picture, and the know-how to determine the best possible approach. Combining this mastery with the drive to deliver exceptional results, Johnston goes beyond sales, developing strategic, end-to-end tailored solutions for each customer since 1881.

Contact a Johnston expert today!

See what solutions we can customize for you.

Call us at 800-800-7123 or visit our Contact page.