School House BBQ: To Be Or Not To Be

August 18th, 2015

BBQ RibsRecently, a friend of mine asked me about turning a piece of property he has into a restaurant. To be clear, he doesn’t have a passion for foodservice per se, he is a successful operator of several assisted living facilities. The property he owns was purchased with the ambition of opening a new assisted living facility. He sees this endeavor as a “fun” investment. I thought I would comment on the thought process people go through as they look into opening a restaurant. In this case, the plan is to open a tap house and restaurant.

The property in question is a school house that is 106 years old. It sits on 2.5 acres in a well-populated midwest suburb near a major city. The first step was to take the idea to the city to see if they would support changing the use of the property from assisted living to a foodservice establishment. Not only was the city enthusiastic about the idea, they sent my friend to look at a tap house in a nearby large city. They said, “If you can do something like this, we’ll be your best customer!” With that hurdle cleared, now the real work could begin! Read the rest of this entry »

Football Frenzy: Prepping Your Restaurant For The Season

August 13th, 2015

Football FansThe beloved American football season is fast approaching. Whether or not your restaurant caters to gathering around to watch the game, the game’s spirits are high no matter where you are. To prep your business for the frenzy of football, consider the best ways to prepare food and drink for the season that fans love the most.

Direct Draw Kegerators
Let’s cut to the chase: football and beer are best friends. An effective and efficient way to keep your draft beer cold and on-hand is a direct draw system that keeps your beer on the floor and easily accessible. With some models holding up to five kegs, you can pick the commercial kegerator that suits your business best.

Undercounter Refrigeration
In addition to a draft system, you’ll need convenient storage and refrigeration for your bottled brews as well. Undercounter refrigeration units vary far and wide according to the amount of space you need and the way you’d like to organize your beverages. Read the rest of this entry »

Hey True, What’s With The New Model Numbers?

August 4th, 2015

True - Commercial RefrigeratorYou may have noticed that some of the True model numbers that you’ve known for years have grown a bit longer. If you haven’t noticed, they’ve all been tagged with “HC” in the model number. The change will affect all of the model numbers, but it’s a slow change over at True Manufacturing, taking place over several months starting this past February and will continue through 2015.

So what’s with the change? The folks over at True have converted all of their refrigerant from the old R-134 refrigerant to a new HydroCarbon R-290 refrigerant (or “HC”). It’s a sweeping change for the manufacturer with several benefits to you, the customer, as well as for the environment. Read the rest of this entry »

What Equipment Do You Need For A Food Truck?

July 21st, 2015


Don’t you wish you could open a famous restaurant? Do you want to share your food with the world? What’s stopping you? Afraid of the investment? Afraid of locking in a long-term lease and the cost build out? If so, consider… a food truck. Thousands have and many have succeeded. Sure it’s a trend, but it ain’t going anywhere soon!

If I wanted to open a food truck today, I’d have a lot of decisions to make. The old adage is the best designed kitchens are designed where everything is at most, one-step away. In a food truck, that’s not only a feature of good design, it’s also forced by space limitations. Read the rest of this entry »

3 Ways To Outfit Your New Restaurant Affordably

July 16th, 2015

New RestaurantYou’ve always wanted your own commercial restaurant, but you never thought it was possible – yet, here you are. The financing is secured, a location has been chosen, and the menu you’ve been perfecting over the years is finally complete. If all goes well, you’ll be the proud owner of your city’s soon to be most raved about culinary sensation. However, before you dole out that first serving of your signature dish, you’ve got to have something to cook it in!

That’s where we come in. At ShortOrder, we understand better than anyone what it takes to get a restaurant up and going—and staying that way. Outfitting a new restaurant can be stressful, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Just mind these three tips for outfitting your new restaurant affordably, and you’ll be cooking up a storm sooner than you think. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Know Your Customers?

July 7th, 2015

Conversation With CustomerAs a restaurant owner or manager, you spend a lot of time thinking about food costs, employee schedules and generally how to keep things running smoothly while making a profit. What about customers? Without them, you won’t have much else to consider! So, let’s talk about customers for a moment.

Is the customer always right? How will you know if you don’t listen to them? Take some time each day to visit with the customers. Really listen to what they have to say and respect their opinions. They may differ from yours, but consider what they have to say with an open mind. You might be surprised with ideas they offer! Recently, Jim, the president of, went to eat at a local business and while waiting for his table, he noticed the kitchen staff was slowing down to squint, or even worse, pausing to grab their glasses to read each food ticket. He mentioned to the manager that he thought that they could be more efficient by increasing the font size on their ticket printer. The next time they visited, the manager stopped him and thanked him. They had significantly reduced ticket times and customer wait times by implementing that change! Read the rest of this entry »

A Cheap Fryer Is Hard To Afford

June 23rd, 2015

ShortOrder_Frymaster-FryersHave you ever looked at the fryer market and wondered why there was such a difference in prices? Why are some fryers $600 and others $2,000? A fryer is a fryer is a fryer.. right? The answer is yes, and no.

Let’s keep things simple. Cooking is a function of temperature over time. If you have a fryer at 350 degrees, it should cook as well as another fryer at 350 degrees. A lot of fryer manufacturers will agree I am over simplifying things here, but it’s true. If all things are equal and in the interest of over-simplifying things, that statement is correct. (I’ll save you the fry curve and recovery temperature curve lesson)

So then, all things being equal, why are some $600 and some $2,000? The answer is efficiency. Cheaper fryers can cost a lot more to operate. We did some research and here’s what we found:

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At the end of the day, the cheaper fryer might be the one you can’t afford.



Top 3 Things You Need To Know About Commercial Fryers

June 18th, 2015

tmp1E6EFryers aren’t just for fast food restaurants. Kitchens all around the country are using fryers to make new culinary creations. From deep-fried squash blossoms to tempura-battered Oreos, commercial fryers offer restaurants and their chefs the opportunity to create unique, fresh food served up crispy and hot. Whether you’re new to the restaurant business or a seasoned professional, eventually you’ll be in the market for a new commercial fryer. Let’s take a look at a few things to consider before purchasing:

Fryer Specifications

Do you want a gas or electric fryer? What size do you need? Fryers come in all shapes and sizes with a wide range of features. Gas fryers were once the most popular power source option. However, rising natural gas prices have increased the sales of electric fryers. Also take into consideration the space you have in your kitchen; make sure your new fryer fits appropriately into your floor plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Best In Class Equipment

June 10th, 2015

Each year Foodservice Equipment & Supplies (better known as FES) Magazine polls their subscribers and asks them to evaluate equipment and supplies manufacturers on seven characteristics. The seven key factors are:

  • Product Quality
  • Product Value
  • Product Design and Aesthetics
  • Service and Support
  • Sales Representation
  • Product Inventory and Availability
  • Product Information Availability


The results come out each in October. You might be shopping now, and if you can’t wait until October, here are the top performers from 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

Ketchup, it’s Not the #1 Condiment Anymore

May 26th, 2015

KetchupNo, I’m not kidding. Salsa is now the most popular condiment in the United States, surpassing even ketchup! Is this just an interesting fact or maybe an opportunity in disguise? I think it’s the latter.

Let’s face it. Ketchup is just ketchup. That segment of condiment world is owned by two primary brands. You have one, or the other, or you are cheap. Customer’s expect ultimately one brand over the other, but both are acceptable. Ketchup is interesting as it isn’t something that most people make in-house and push as a “homemade” item. Homemade ketchup wouldn’t really be a destination or a draw for your business.

No one is having ketchup festivals that I am aware of… but salsa is another story. To this day, chips and salsa are still my favorite pre-meal food. Traditionally, salsa was solely a mexican restaurant staple. No one was serving Pace at good quality mexican food places. More often than not, the salsa was homemade and a thing of personal pride; Grandma’s recipe, shared with the clientele. Read the rest of this entry »

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