Keep Food Safe and Customers Coming Back For Seconds

Vito Racanelli of The Budweiser Taste of St. Louis on Food Safety

September is Food Safety Education Month so there is no better time to make sure everyone on staff at your bar or restaurant understands and implements the proper procedures to keep customers safe.

Having a clean and trustworthy establishment could be the difference between success and failure. Nightclub & Bar caught up with Executive Chef of The Budweiser Taste of St. Louis, Vito Racanelli, to get his professional insights on how he keeps his customers happy, healthy and coming back for more.

The three most important factors to consider, according to Racanelli, in order to keep food safe for customers are:

Time – Everything should be used as fast as possible. It is very important to give customers fresh food every time.

Temperature- Bacteria develops very quickly. It takes only four hours at room temperature to make cooked food hazardous. That is why you keep hot food hot, (over 145 degrees) and cold food cold (under 40 degrees).

FIFO-First In First Out - Making sure there is a proper rotation is not only important with food quality it also helps with food cost. These are some obvious tips, but putting up a hand washing chart in larger kitchens and timers on sanitation buckets can also be very important.  

Racanelli continues that using an opening and closing check list geared toward keeping the restaurant or bar clean and sanitary before and after shifts is a must. Managers on duty must make sure that sanitation stations are being set up and that there is actual proof the task as been completed. These stations must also be reset from AM to PM services in order to keep the place clean.

“I like to use the Serv-Safe program that is offered through the local health department to train my staff. It is a cost worth investing in,” says Racanelli.

What about food inspections? Racanelli inspects his food at Taste of St. Louis regularly. He tastes everything before service and makes sure his staff is doing the same. Making sure everything is labeled and dated properly is also vital to evade confusion, customer illness and lost profit.

In addition, twice a year Racanelli hires a local company to come in to help with equipment maintenance. Fixing and replacing kitchen equipment is another step that’s imperative for the safety of your customers and staff. If equipment is not working properly and neglected, it can result in poorly cooked food and a pricey repair.

Restaurants and bars can be breeding grounds for foodborne diseases if the proper steps are not taken. Vito Racanelli keeps customers coming back to The Budweiser Taste of St. Louis by being proactive and maintaining a steady flow of communication with his staff regarding safety precautions.


Vito Racanelli will be speaking at the 2015 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Want more information on kitchen procedures and food advice? Head out to Las Vegas March 30 - April 1 and take away a year’s worth of industry knowledge in just three days.