Date Dot Chart

The Date Dot Chart is a great system to track when you should use items that have been prepped? If used properly and consistently it helps reduce food waste and possible outbreaks of foodborne illness.

Using  the Date Dot Chart is a great way to know if food should be used first or tossed out. Use First stickers are very simple ways to help keep food rotated and know what item should be used first. This helps keep food safe for your guests and also helps reduce your food waste. In addition to Date Dots and Use First stickers, you can use a Waste Record Sheet.

Managers on duty should develop a good habit of checking for date dot usage. This should be the first thing on their shift and just before the completion of their shift in all food storage areas.

Proper Completion of Date Dots

Date Dot Chart

There is a proper way to fill out a date dot. The information on the Date Dots should be:

  • Name of the product
  • Shelf life date or use by date
  • An Employee’s name that prepped the item.

Laminate copies of this chart and post it in your prep room and kitchen for quick reminders. Furthermore, if you aren’t sure of the shelf life of a prepared food, we recommend you go with the shortest shelf life of any ingredient. For example, eggs, mayonnaise, and many meats and fish have a short shelf life and once combined with other foods, that shelf life may even decrease.

Do you want to know more about Food Shelf Life?

The best resource for food safety, we have found is the Food Safety website:

In addition, the Food Safety site shows some great information about other ways to keep your food safe. Most health inspectors also expect the use of dates on foods, and date dots is a great habit.

Date Dot Chart


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Date Dot Chart

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Also, check out these other great resources to use in your restaurant:

Because you may be new to these ideas, feel free to contact us about how to improve your restaurant, please email us at or call us at 717-774-3698 or toll free at 1-800-753-0657

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