Don’t miss our latest edition of Made For Corrections Mondays. This week we’re reviewing the Five Star Tray; an insulated tray that is made for meal serving in jails or prisons. This tray features a unique design that is more user friendly than most insulated meal trays that are used in corrections. It has six compartments plus a small compartment for condiments located on the top of tray. Flatware is stored at the top of the tray also, rather than on the side and the remainder of the tray has more of a plate like feel than other meal trays on the market. You have a large compartment for your entree, a 4″ x 4″ compartment for your bread, and then three compartments on the top for your sides, with one of these compartments being deeper than the others to accommodate soup or other menu items with liquid in them. Each compartment is smooth surfaced with cove corners for easy cleaning and the back is concave so that if stacked, the food from the tray below won’t stick top the bottom of the tray above it. If you’re looking for a unique tray with a different design that will make your menu look better, the Five Star Tray is a great choice for you. For more information about the Cook’s Brand Five Star Tray or our other correctional meal trays that are made for corrections, give us a call at 800-956-5571 or visit us online at http://www.cookscorrectional.com.
We first included the Cambro GoBox in the 2019 Correctional Buyers Guide. These super lightweight, durable insulated carriers are innovative because of their construction material. GoBoxes are made from expanded Polypropylene (EPP), a closed-cell bead foam that provides thermal insulation and is impact and chemical resistant all while being very lightweight. EPP is lightweight like the old Styrofoam coolers, but significantly stronger. So strong, that during training one of our sales reps stood on an end loader to demonstrate its durability.
When we first saw the New Milk Crate Box, we knew it would be a great product for corrections. This box us designed to hold one 13″ x 13″ x 11″ crate with up to 50 half pint milk cartons. We could see our customers using the Cambro GoBox Milk Crate for any application that that requires holding the milk at temperature for an extended period of time such as transport to camps or off site programs.
Like the other pieces in the collection, this GoBox is resistant to most oil, grease and chemicals. It’s also dishwasher safe and 100% recyclable. The Cam GoBox Milk Crate Box will provide 4+ hours of safe temperature retention. The EPP material is incredibly lightweight yet super durable. And for easy handling, the crate carrier also has an adjustable web strap and molded in handles.
You can look for the new Cam GoBox Milk Crate Box in the New Product Section of the 2020 Buyers Guide for Corrections. It will also be available on Cookscorrectional.com after the first of the year. To learn more, give us a call at 1-800-956-5571.
There’s a new Rhino Cart coming to corrections. This new cart is designed to transport Cook’s Brand Gator and Grizzly Trays, or any correctional meal tray that’s 15” x 13-1/2”. While the cart will hold other sized trays, it best accommodates Gator or Grizzly Meal Trays and was developed at the request of our customers who use these trays. The cart capacity is 84 trays; six stacks of 14 trays each. With trays placed in six stacks, the Rhino-G-84 Cart is optimally loaded. Trays fit inside easily but don’t have excess room and won’t be jostled around during transport keeping trays and meals intact.
To fit the Gator and Grizzly Trays, the Rhino 630-G-84 is a little wider than the other Rhino Carts. The Rhino-G-84 is 34”deep overall, including the new built-in bumper feature which is there to protect walls and doorways as well as the cart. At 58-1/4” H, a taller person can see over the cart to push it, using the integrated handles that are on both sides of the cart. The Rhino Cart is 60” wide, a size that can easily manage most corners and tight spaces. With exterior dimensions of 58-1/4”H x 60”W x 34”D, the interior dimensions are 37”H x 45-1/2”W x 27-1/2”D.
Like the original Rhino Cart; the 630-M-150, and its smaller sibling, the 630-M-102, the new Rhino 630-G-84 is double walled polyethylene construction and fully insulated, adding rigidity and strength to the cart and doors. Correctional facilities that switched to the Rhino Cart from stainless steel carts appreciate that the Rhino doesn’t get dented the way their old stainless carts did. Additionally, being made of highly durable plastic, the Rhino is built with molded in door handles and molded in hinge pins for the doors. Because they are molded in, the door handles cannot be broken off and they don’t stick out, getting in your way when going through narrow doorways or passages.
The molded in door hinges are one of the best features on the cart. These allow the doors to swing out 270O to be flush with the sides of the cart making access to the interior easier in tight spaces. Being molded in, the hinge pins cannot be removed – not even by the most ingenious of inmates – so the doors never fail and they don’t present a security risk. Because the doors are hinged, the Rhino doesn’t have a channel on the bottom that collects food waste creating a sanitation risk. Additionally, customers can open booth doors fully to have unobstructed access to the interior without a center support in the way so loading, unloading and cleaning are easy and fast.
Just as the doors are designed to open wide for quick loading and unloading, they stay shut during transport by design. All three Rhino Carts have a lockable transport latch that holds doors closed even without a lock because there is a heavy-duty hasp that comes down over the doors and pin that you can slide into place to keep the latch in position. The doors are designed with a step joint closure which ensures a tight seal, keeping outside air from entering the cabinet helping to retain heat inside the cart. For added security or if transporting off site, you can easily add a lock to ensure there won’t be any tampering with the contents.
Like the other members of the Rhino family, the Rhino 630-G-84 has a reinforced metal base to stabilize the cart. There are competitor carts that have a 5th caster placed in the center of the base to compensate for possible sagging when carts are fully loaded. You won’t have that concern with any of the Rhino Carts because of the reinforced metal base. And more importantly, having a metal base provides the Rhino Cart with a metal to metal caster mount that won’t get stripped or loosen over time.
Having a solid caster mount is critical because the Rhino caster is one of the most important features to these meal delivery carts. During product development, we heard loud and clear from customers that caster issues cause a lot of pain. We talked with many of our customers to understand why and looked for the best caster we could for the Rhino, one that would meet the requirements crucial to correctional foodservice. We chose the Colson Series 4 Performa® Caster, a stainless steel caster with a maintenance free sealed precision bearing and hard rubber tread. We selected this because a main cause of caster failure is that the interior componentry gets wet and eventually locks up. While the carts are used to transport trays out of the kitchen, they often end up back in wet environments like the dish room. Along with the maintenance free sealed bearing; these are a large 8” x 2” hard rubber caster made to travel over a variety of terrains. Correctional carts move over outdoor pavement as often as they are pushed though concrete corridors. The large size and hard grey non-marking tread travel smoothly over different surfaces. With over 700 Rhino Carts in the field, the Colsen Performa® Caster has proven that it meets the performance requirements of corrections. These casters, which are secured in a metal to metal caster mount, are what you’ll find on the new Rhino 630-G-84.
The original Rhino Cart set a new standard for durability, innovation and functionality when it was introduced in 2015. The New Rhino 630-G-84 continues that tradition with all the great features that are part of the Rhino family and new features like the built-in bumper, and is ideally sized for the Cook’s Brand Gator or Grizzly Trays or any 15” x 13-1/2” meal delivery tray. Look for the cart in the 2020 Cook’s Correctional Buyers Guide. If you want images and cart information today, we have a downloadable flyer or you can get details and quotes with a quick call to Cook’s at 800-956-5571. We’ll be happy to assist you.
Lakeside introduces their new heavy duty utility cart with features that could revolutionize the utility cart as we know it. The unique articulating handle design on these carts allows for the maximum leverage with heavy loads over all types of surfaces. The 42” handle height is ergonomic for utmost leverage and easier push/pull maneuverability. If you need two-person guided transport for challenging outdoor use, you can take advantage of the dual-handle design included on this cart.
These mobility carts are equipped with rugged casters, two rigid and two swivel with brake. The large wheels roll smoothly over thresholds and uneven surfaces. Casters are 6″ or 8″ pneumatic.
The rugged design on these stainless steel carts feature durable U-frame welded construction, reinforced top shelf, and a 700 lb. total load capacity. The shelves have edges on three sides to hold cargo securely while providing easy loading and unloading. They are built to carry the heaviest cargo loads across rough terrains and long distances making them an ideal cart in the correctional environment.
Lakeside set out to build a cart that would allow operators to transport items across a variety of terrains easily and improve efficiency, under the toughest conditions. And that’s exactly what they did. They plan to offer this option on their full line. To learn more about these carts, you can view the spec sheet or call Cook’s at 800-956-5571 for additional details.
The Cook’s team is in Boston, MA this week at the 2019 ACA Summer Conference to showcase many of our most popular products and to meet customers and contacts that made their way to the east coast for the conference. The American Correctional Association has two large conferences a year; the winter conference held in early January each year and the summer conference in August. This year the conference is at Boston’s John B Haynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center.
If you too are on the road for the ACA Summer Conference, stop by and see us in booth #1112. You can meet Linda and Craig who are pictured above in out booth, along with Chadd, John and Jeff. You can also the Rhino M-102 meal delivery cart designed specifically for corrections, our new Raised Compartment Marathon Tray and our popular Flex products and Kettle Tools.
Last year we introduced the Rhino M-102 tray delivery cart, a smaller version of our Rhino M-150. When we introduced the original Rhino in 2015, we had a lot of interest in the cart along with requests for a smaller version. Customer feedback is great for product development, so we asked more questions and found that there were customers who loved what they saw with the Rhino Cart but needed a smaller version for jails and prisons looking to transport 100 trays or less. There were also customers who wanted a shorter meal delivery cart that they could easily see over.
These were our top priorities and the Rhino M-102 delivers. The first thing you’ll notice when you see the two carts side by side is that the Rhino M-102 is a full 14” shorter than the original. It doesn’t block your view and because it’s shorter, smaller quantities of trays fit better inside. Fully loaded the Rhino M-102 holds 102 Marathon trays where the original Rhino will hold 150 Marathon trays. Hence the names; M-102 holds 102 & M-150 holds 150, we want to keep it simple. For facilities using the Gorilla tray, the smaller Rhino holds 84 trays and the larger Rhino holds 120.
When we designed this cart, we had the benefit of a year’s experience in the field. We kept all the features that our customers loved and we refined anything that we could make better, but why read about it when you can see it? Watch our video demonstration of the Cook’s Brand Rhino M-102 Meal Tray Delivery Cart presented by Jeff Breeden, CEO of Cook’s. In less than 4 minutes you can learn why the Rhino M-102 is a great tray delivery solution for corrections.
You can also see more online at https://www.cookscorrectional.com/product/cooks-630-m102-gr-rhino-cart-grey.
We also have a Rhino Flyer that you can download and print for future reference: http://ccr.commercev3.com/downloads/Rhino.pdf
When it’s time to select an insulated tray for your facility, there are three critical components that must be considered:
1. What is your menu like?
Tray configurations can range from 3-6 compartments depending on your menu (4 and 6 being the most popular). Begin by analyzing your menu for a month to determine the biggest serving sizes and type of food served. Next, decide if you want two items to share the same compartment or if you want each item to have its own compartment. Then, if the inmate receives a spork with every meal, decide if the spork will have its own compartment or be placed in a compartment with other food (normally, dry food, like bread). Check out the 4 compartment Gator Tray or Grizzly Tray for ideas of this style of tray. If a dedicated flatware compartment is important, check out the 6 compartment Gorilla Tray or Marathon Tray.
2. How do you serve your inmates?
Do the inmates eat in the dining room or in their pods? For pods, insulated trays or heated carts are necessary to maintain food at the proper temperature. If you are re-therming in the tray, you will need trays that tolerate a wide temperature range, like the Cook’s Flex Trays. Its temperature range exceeds 450 degrees F. Check out the video below to see them in action. If you are serving in a dining room, we recommend a standard, co-polymer 6 compartment tray.
3. How do you transport your meals?
Do you prefer to transport in an open cart or enclosed cart? Are your required to deliver the meal with hot food above 140 degrees or does the food need to be above 140 when it leaves the kitchen? Two shelf or flatbed carts provide economical transport of insulated trays. Trays transported using this method generally hold temperature for 30 minutes. Enclosed carts will hold temperature slightly longer, especially when transporting outside. Cook’s has a wide range of two shelf carts, flat bed carts and enclosed carts.
Cook’s has an extremely deep assortment of insulated trays to meet all of your correctional serving needs, for more information visit the Tray Buying Guide or check out the best meal trays for Correctionals.
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) establishes minimum internal temperatures for cooked foods.
It is important to remember that these values can be superseded by state or local health code requirements, but they cannot be below the FDA limits. Temperatures should be measured with a probe thermometer in the thickest part of the meats, or the center of other dishes, avoiding bones and container sides. Minimum internal temperatures are set as follows:
165 degrees F (74 degrees C) for 15 seconds:
- Poultry (such as whole or ground chicken, turkey, or duck)
- Stuffed meats, fish, poultry and pasta
- Any previously cooked foods that are reheated from a temperature below 135 degrees F (57 degrees C), provided they have been refrigerated or warm less than 2 hours
- Any potentially hazardous foods cooked in a microwave, such as poultry, meat, fish or eggs
155 degrees F (68 degrees C) for 15 seconds
- Ground meats (such as beef or pork)
- Injected meats (such as flavor-injected roasts or brined hams)
- Ground or minced fish
- Eggs that will be held for a length of time before eaten
145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for 15 seconds
- Steaks and chops such as beef, pork, veal and lamb
- Eggs cooked for immediate service
145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for 4 minutes
- Roasts (can be cooked to lower temperatures for increased lengths of time)
135 degrees F (57 degrees C) for 15 seconds
- Cooked fruits or vegetables that will be held for a length of time before eaten
- Any commercially processed, ready-to-eat foods that will be held for a length of time before eaten.
In addition, hot food must be held at a minimum internal temperature of 135 degrees F (57 degrees C) if it is not immediately consumed. The temperature must be checked every 4 hours or else labeled with a discard time. Although monitored hot food can be held indefinitely in this way without a food safety concern, the nutritional value, flavor and quality can suffer over long periods.
You can find more helpful cooking information in the resource section of the Cook’s Correctional Buyers Guide which is available for viewing on CooksCorrectional.com.
Pre-portioning meals on insulated trays for delivery to pods or units is efficient and economical. Yet it’s amazing how many tray assembly operations end up inefficient because of the order of foods on the line. Hot foods should go on trays last, not first. Start with room temperature foods like bread and rolls, and next add cold foods. Last, add the hot portions.
Ideally, cold food should be kept below 40 degrees F and hot food above 165 degrees F. Minimize the distance a worker has to move food from well to tray. Be sure to keep the conveyor line moving fast enough to keep workers busy with no time for mischief.
Here are some easy to follow guidelines for your conveyor line set-up:
- Allow 30” per worker for adequate shoulder space.
- Using 16” wide hot and cold steam tables keeps workers close to the conveyor
- Pitch the conveyor line ¼” per 1’0” from the head of the line to the end.
- Cover hot food after portioning as quickly as possible to keep heat in or store trays in a heated cabinet.
- Since cold trays chill hot food fast, keep trays in a warm tray washing or other area.
- Always strap together for transport to retain temperature.
When planning your line, use this guide to steam table pan portion capacities:
- 2 ½” D Full Size Pan: 9 Quarts = (72) 4 oz. portions
- 2 ½” D Half Size Pan: 4 Quarts = (32) 4 oz. portions
- 4” D Full Size Pan: 15 Quarts = (120) 4 oz. portions
- 4” D Half Size Pan: 7 Quarts = (56) 4 oz. portions
- 6” D Full Size Pan: 22 Quarts = (176) 4 oz. portions
- 6” D Half Size Pan: 10 Quarts = (80) 4 oz. portions
If you’re looking for additional capacity guides you can go to the resource section at the back of the Correctional Buyers Guide (click here to view the catalog online). You can also contact your Cook’s Correctional Sales Representative for any help you may need with
This is the third and final post (in this series) on Tray Delivery Carts and things to know or think about prior to purchasing. Our first blog post was on the questions we ask our clients before recommending or quoting carts (click here for Part 1). Our second blog post was on general facility and cart questions that should be answered before making a purchase (click here for Part 2). This post is going to cover some of the various cart options available to you that you should consider as you review your Tray Delivery Cart options.
1. Will you be holding or transporting things on the top of the cart? You can find carts that offer a sheet pan rack for 18″ x 26″ pans. These can be open, enclosed and even insulated. You will want to think through how many pans you would want to carry and the spacing. If you do this, you need to also consider how much space you will need above the cart to fit the rack.
Rather than product on sheet pans or in steam table pans, will you be transporting Beverage Servers? You’ll want a rail on the top of the cart to keep them in place. You also want to consider how tall the cart is because someone needs to be able to put the fully loaded beverage servers on top of the cart. If you have a five gallon beverage server – it will weigh 40 lbs. fully loaded, as a gallon of water weighs 8 lbs.
A rail can keep wash racks in place too, if that’s how you’re transporting tumblers or mugs. A top rail can be three-sided which allows you easy access to load the top of the cart or it can be four-sided which keeps things in place more easily.
2. Will you be doing any assembly at point of delivery? You may want to consider a work shelf option. These are available in pull out or flip-up styles. You will need to consider where you would like it located on the cart, the size and the height you want it to be above finished floor.
3. Are you purchasing heated carts? If you are, do you want a thermometer on the outside of the cart that tells you the internal temperature of the cart? This is a really good idea because then you’re not opening the door and letting the heat out in order to make sure it’s at temperature. Consider how many thermometers do you want on the cart and where you want them to be.
A nice option to consider is a cart with a removable heater because it can extend the life of the cart. By removing the heater before you wash the cart you minimize potential for damage to the heater. Additionally, with a removable heater – if the heater goes, you can replace it pretty easily.
4. Have you experienced damage in your facility from carts or have specific failure areas on your current carts? You may want to review options for special bumpers beyond the standard 1″ vinyl. You may also consider wear plates, which are extra stainless. Be sure to specify where you need these to be located. There are also options for a top bumper which adds additional protection to walls and cart.
5. Do you want to gang carts together? A tow hitch can be used to create a string of carts. Tow hitches can be ball style, pin or ‘C’ Clamp. If this is a new option, you’ll want to consider who will actually tow – is it the inmate or the staff, and how many carts will be towed at one time. Keep in mind that there is typically NO warranty beyond towing ONLY two carts at one time.
6. Do you have any special considerations regarding the doors? There are options like a magnetic latch which helps to keep heat in by closing and sealing the doors. Do you want your door pulls to be flush? This can ensure there are no handles to get in the way in tight spaces. A special transport latch will keep the door latch covered so that it stays closed. You may need to specify a security latch or locking latch so that you don’t have any concerns about contamination during transport.
Meal Delivery Carts are a large investment for the correctional kitchen and they will impact your meal serving operation significantly. Any time you spend before hand making sure you get what you need, what you want and what will work is time well spent, and possibly dollars not thrown away. If you need help with on carts or other equipment, all the Cook’s Correctional sales reps are trained on our products we have lots of experience that we’re ready to share with you.