The Bulk Tea system allows employees to nearly eliminate many of the hazard associated with bulk tea.  Lifting is reduced and the system allows you to fill more tea into the container, reducing the number of times a person must carry buckets to the dining area.

Like all systems, the bulk tea system must be properly maintained to ensure safety, quality, and proper sanitation.  Costly accidents have occurred due to the system not being maintained properly, or, the system not being purged properly, with customers even drinking the cleaning solvent when filling their iced tea.  With most of these issues, the bulk tea system was either not being cleaned properly, not being purged, and cleaning solution was still in the system/lines when tea was served.  In other cases, the customer service area was not properly secured during the cleaning process.

Each store should have documentation on the proper operation, preventive maintenance, and weekly cleaning procedure for the system.  It is important to follow all procedures, and document what you have done to ensure that quality is present.  Also, as manager, it is important that you verify that the system has been properly clean.  If you are not absolutely sure, then the system should be shut down and re-cleaned.  Manuals include the Bulk Tea Manual, Bulk Tea Weekly Cleaning, and Iced Tea Brewer PM Card.  All locations with the bulk tea system should have these manuals, and be familiar with how to properly use the system.

The procedure for the weekly cleaning includes the cleaning of the bulk tea container, use of the degreaser, rinsing and purging of the system, cleaning of the tubing and dispenser valves, and then the cleaning of the bulk tea container using the daily cleaning procedure.

The cleaning itself is best performed at night, so a customer cannot try to access the system for iced tea during serving hours.  If the store is a 24 hour location, be sure to properly lockout or restrict access to the system.

Copies of the bulk tea operations system, the daily PM manual, and weekly cleaning/PM manual should be handy, with explicit training performed on how to properly operate and clean the system.  Managers should verify that the system has been cleaned and purged properly as described in the manual.  Documenting the training, plus the PM schedule also helps to ensure quality.

One costly, and visible claim regarding tea, or any food item can cost your business for years.  It is up to you to ensure that this never happens and that your customers are kept satisfied with your service, and food, and safety.