The Three Temperatures You Should Know For Restaurant Service

Usually, we’re used to four temperature points, in Fahrenheit: 0 degrees (freezing point for water), 72 degrees (room temperature), 98.6 degrees (body temperature), and 212 degrees (boiling point for water). But when you enter the world of restaurants, the amount of temperatures you have to keep in mind are increased almost exponentially. Here are a few essential temperatures you should keep in mind.

Note: The degrees we’re talking about in this article is in Fahrenheit. We Frogs have yet to convert to the metric system.

By Gmhofmann (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Gmhofmann (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

1. The Danger Zone (40 degrees to 140 degrees)

Nope, none of us Frogs made that up. The Danger Zone is in fact created by the USDA. The 100-degree range is the difference between the average fridge temperature (low-point), and the holding point for cooked foods. If you own a cook’-n’-hold or a food-holding cabinets, they’ll usually reach a temperature of 140 degrees no matter what. But keep in mind that the upper point depends on what you are cooking. The full Danger Zone is available here.

If you don’t follow the Danger Zone, then you have a good chance your customers may be susceptible to food poisoning.

2. 38 degrees

Ideally, a refrigerator’s ideal cooling range is from 35 to 38 degrees (37 if you ask Consumer Reports). For energy saving’s sake (as one degree, at least on a home AC basis, could save up to 2% on one’s energy bill), it’s safe to put your fridge/coolers on 38 degrees without worrying about hitting that Danger Zone.

3. 400 Degrees

If you are frying, 400 degrees is about the maximum recommended temperature for your cooking oils. Anything higher than that, then your oil can start to smoke. What does that mean? If you fry something and the oil’s smoking, the food can taste burnt. Of course, you can always go higher (depending on the oils), but as a safe point, if you want to fry something keep it between 325 and 400 (fryers have accurate thermostats for that, anyway).

There are more temperatures to know (like -20 is the recommended temperature for storing ice cream). but these are the essential temperatures to know. Of course, if you are following proper cooking procedures (if you don’t or want a refresh, then you might want to take a ServeSafe class wit us), then most of this shouldn’t be a problem. But still, it’s good to know.