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What Recommendations Do You Have For Me For Properly Bagging French Fries?

Q:

I own two fast casual burger restaurants in middle Tennessee. We only serve Idaho grown potatoes. 50% of our orders are to go orders/take-out orders. While I understand that using styrofoam boxes is a huge no-no for bagging french fries, it is not clear what is recommended for proper bagging of hot french fries. I recognized that french fries need to be ventilated when bagged. What recommendations do you have for me for properly bagging french fries? What can you teach me when bagging french fries?

A:

Properly bagging French fries for take-out orders is essential to ensure they remain hot, crispy, and delicious for your customers. Here are some recommendations to help you bag French fries effectively:

  1. Use Ventilated Containers or Bags: As you mentioned, ventilation is crucial to maintaining the crispiness of the fries. Opt for containers or bags with small holes or openings that allow steam to escape, preventing condensation buildup that can lead to soggy fries.
  2. Wrap in Paper: Line the bottom of the container or bag with parchment paper or unbleached paper towels. This helps absorb excess moisture and prevents the fries from sticking to the container, maintaining their crispness.
  3. Fry Basket or Cone: Consider using a small fry basket or cone made of food-safe materials to hold the fries. These provide excellent ventilation and create a visually appealing presentation for your customers.
  4. Separate Portions: Divide the fries into manageable portions before bagging. This prevents them from clumping together and ensures even ventilation, keeping them crispy throughout.
  5. Proper Packing Technique:
    • Place a layer of fries in the container or bag.
    • Add a sheet of parchment paper or a paper towel to separate layers if needed.
    • Continue layering fries and paper until the container is filled.
    • Close the container or bag without sealing it completely, leaving a small gap for steam to escape.
  6. Timing: Bag the fries just before handing the order to the customer. This minimizes the time they spend in the bag, helping to preserve their freshness.
  7. Quality Containers: Invest in high-quality, food-safe containers or bags that are designed for take-out orders. Some options include clamshell-style containers with ventilation holes, paper bags, or specialty fry bags.
  8. Inform Customers: When handing over the order, inform customers about the proper handling of the bag. Let them know that keeping the bag slightly open during transportation can help maintain the fries' crispiness.
  9. Condiments on the Side: If customers order condiments or sauces with their fries, consider packing them separately to prevent the fries from becoming soggy.
  10. Quality Control: Regularly assess the quality of your take-out fries to ensure they meet your standards for taste and texture. Adjust your packaging techniques if necessary.
  11. Customer Feedback: Encourage customers to provide feedback on their take-out experience, including the state of the fries upon arrival. This can help you fine-tune your packaging methods.

Remember, maintaining the quality of your French fries during take-out requires a balance between ventilation, packaging materials, and timing. Experiment with different packaging options and techniques to find what works best for your specific restaurant and clientele.