No one likes to be served “soggy” takeout food, yet it happens all the time in restaurants across the country. By “soggy” food, we, of course, mean the soft, limp texture that hot and fried foods take on when they spend too much time in to-go containers. Texture is an important part of food, and a dish that isn’t as light and crispy as it’s supposed to be can be very unappetizing. Some people think having to contend with soggy food in take-out food containers is just an inevitable peril of ordering anything to go, but restaurants can avoid it if they keep these tips in mind.
Move Away from Styrofoam
Styrofoam packaging was the norm for takeout food containers for years. It seemed like everything from fast-food burgers to leftovers from five-star restaurants were placed in foam clamshell containers so that customers could enjoy them in their own homes. There are good reasons for this; Styrofoam packaging doesn’t leak, and it makes a great insulator against heat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t breathe, which means hot food effectively gets steamed until it is a limp, soggy mess. If you really want your customers to be able to enjoy your food at home, you need to move away from Styrofoam packaging. Switch to cardboard and paper packaging instead. It may not seem to be as durable as Styrofoam, but it will breathe much more easily and allow steam to escape. This will ensure that your food will be as crisp and fresh as it was when it was first served.
Use Vented Takeout Containers
If you must use Styrofoam or plastic containers for your hot food, make sure they are properly vented. Vented containers will keep moisture from building up near your hot and fried food. These vents don’t need to be very large, either. In fact, they’re more effective if they are kept smaller. The vents will still be large enough to allow steam and moisture to escape, but they won’t be so large that your food will get cold on the way home.
Keep Food Loosely Wrapped
If you have to wrap food before putting it in a container, be careful not to wrap it too tightly. You may think that a tight wrap will keep the food fresh, but all it does is seal in moisture and ensure that it will be soggy if it isn’t eaten quickly. Wrap burgers and other fried foods loosely so that they have room to “breathe.”
Serving food in take-out food containers and to-go containers is something of a lost art. It’s not enough to just place food in a box and sending it out the door; you need to think about what your packaging and packing technique is doing to the texture of your food. Keep these tips in mind, and remind your customers to eat their food as soon as possible to ensure the best dining experience.
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