Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension
https://extension.umn.edu

Service style risks and safe practices

Learn which safe practices protect against safety risks depending on service style. Each service style (way food is served) creates food safety risks. Service style can be cafeteria, buffet, family, potluck, waitress, temporary or delivered. Factors such as food temperature, personal hygiene, dirty dishes and insects can all cause problems.

Cafeteria style: food served from cafeteria in large quantities and immediately served to guests in line.

Food safety risks Safe practices
Improper holding temperature Frequent use of thermometers to monitor holding temperatures
Server contamination Practice good personal hygiene

Buffet or family style: guests serve themselves from large containers on serving or individual plates.

Food safety risks Safe practices
Customer contamination Clean plates for every visit
Sneeze shields
Label food
Serving utensils for each food
Improper holding temperatures Frequent use of thermometers
Adding old contaminated food to fresh Finish old food before adding fresh
Serve food in small serving dishes

Potluck (buffet without hot/cold holding unites): food brought to dinner and prepared in individual kitchens.

Food safety risks Safe practices
Contamination by customers or preparers Reconsider preparation in individuals' homes
Improper holding temperatures No more than 2 hours cumulative at room temperature
Contaminated leftovers going home 2 hours cumulative or dispose of leftovers

Temporary: food prepared and served from a temporary site such as at a fair, booth or festival.

Food safety risks Safe practices
Inadequate electrical supply to operate equipment to maintain proper temperatures Frequent use of thermometers to monitor holding temperatures
Insect contamination Use a solution of bleach water to help keep surfaces free of foods that attract insects

Waiter/waitress: food brought to a table by a server.

Food safety risks Safe practices
Contamination by server or waiter or waitress Good personal hygiene
Avoid contact with food surfaces

Family style: bowls of food placed on table where guests are seated; guests serve themselves.

Food safety risks Safe practices
Adding fresh food to contaminated dishes Put fresh food in clean dish and discard old food
Customer contamination Serving utensils for each food
Food sitting on table for more than 2 hours Throw out leftovers

Home-delivered meals/carryout/catering: food is prepared at a kitchen and then delivered or served at another location.

Food safety risks Safe practices
Improper holding temperatures Use appropriate hot and cold holding delivery containers to maintain proper temperatures
Using a thermometer, check temperatures
Cross-contamination from carryout or delivery containers Provide handling instructions to the consumer
Regularly clean and sanitize all delivery containers

Suzanne Driessen, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2018

Share this page:

© 2018 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.