April 16th, 2015
Are you looking to add more area for prep to your commercial kitchen? If your restaurant is lacking counter space, a stainless steel work table could be the solution to your space problems. Before purchasing a table, ask these 4 questions to make the buying process easier and more efficient:
What size and shape?
The first things to determine when looking for a stainless steel work table are the size and shape suitable for your needs and restaurant kitchen space. The standard widths available are 24, 30, and 36 inches—while standard lengths range from 20 to 120 inches. Make sure to measure the area you’re looking to place the table (or tables) in before ordering. Read the rest of this entry »
April 7th, 2015
When I first started this topic, I thought that March or April would kick off the barbeque competition season here in Texas. Upon further research, it looks like the “season” really has no beginning, or ending for that matter. As I’m sure you’ve heard, we take our BBQ seriously in the Lone Star State! Some rumors and legend are just that (like riding horses to work?), but this one folks, is true! (Thank Goodness!)
According to the International Barbeque Cookers Association website, there are competitions starting in early January, and they run all year long until the 2nd weekend in December. I guess the pros take a short break for the holiday season. No matter where you live in Texas, you’re sure to have a competition near your location sometime during the year. Read the rest of this entry »
March 24th, 2015
Walk-in coolers can be the most overlooked piece of equipment in your facility, even though it’s one of the most used. Most restaurants carry a high dollar amount of product in their walk-in cooler and freezer. In many operations, the top of the walk-in becomes a convenient place to store dry goods and consumables like plastic cups or to-go boxes. While I understand that sometimes you “do what you gotta do,” it’s import to remember a couple things.
Storing items on top of the walk-in can decrease the airflow to self contained refrigeration units. This reduction in air-flow can increase the heat bubble around your unit’s cooling system. Over time it will have to work harder, decreasing the life of the unit. In many cases, it can cause the unit to fail entirely. As good as foam to-go cups are at keeping beverages warm or cold, they do an even better job of holding heat around the compressor.
Another issue with storing items on top of the walk-in is cleanliness. Even though items are stored in boxes that won’t come in contact with food, it increases the chance that contaminants will come in contact with food. As much as I hate to admit it, more than once I’ve seen workers pulling to go cups from the top of the walk-in, just as someone pushes a cart of back-ups to the front line. You can see the debris fall from the top of the walk-in and contact the food that is about to be served to your customer! Be honest, how often do you clean the top of your walk-in? You can use degreasers and general cleaners to help with this task, but how often will you do it? Sadly, it’s more likely that the floor of your facility is cleaner than the top of your walk-in. Consider adding a walking check of the top of the walk-in to your daily routine. Make sure that dry goods, consumables and other things are not stored on top. Read the rest of this entry »
March 19th, 2015
Running a bar is hard work for management, bartenders, and bar backs. On a busy night or even during happy hour, you could go through many, many bottles of alcohol that need to be readily available. If you don’t have enough storage capacity behind the bar to serve up beverage after beverage, your customers may leave without the smile and tip you’re hoping for. If you need to take your back bar equipment up a notch, see what the Beverage-Air Back Bar Storage BB94-1-B has to offer.
This high-value Refrigerated Back Bar Refrigerator Storage Cabinet is nearly 8 feet wide, over 3 feet tall, and holds almost 40 cubic feet. On top, you have 2 inches of stainless steel to protect your contents. This Beverage-Air cabinet features three sections with three solid, swinging doors so you can divvy up your supplies as needed and access them easily. Read the rest of this entry »
March 10th, 2015
Many parts of the country are experiencing droughts like they haven’t seen in years (I’m talking to you Texas and California!). Businesses and residents are being asked to conserve water and make lifestyle changes to preserve the water supply. Even if you don’t live in one of the hardest hit areas of the country, you can still benefit from conserving water. Yes, it’s better for the environment, but it’s also great for the bottom line.
Don’t let the thought of conserving water intimidate you. There are 3 areas of any restaurant where taking steps to saving water will make a large impact, with minimal effort on your part.
Ice machines are a large source of water usage in all restaurants. Some things you might consider help conserve: Read the rest of this entry »
February 24th, 2015
Did you know that according to industry averages, chain restaurants are two to three times as profitable as independent restaurants? How do they do it?! One way to cut costs is to do a weekly food inventory count and food cost calculation. While most independent restaurants do a monthly food inventory count, most chains calculate their food inventory weekly.
Though it seems like a daunting task to tackle weekly, don’t fear! We found some tips from RestaruantOwner.com to help you streamline the process.
Get organized! Accurate inventory counts can go out the window when your stock room and refrigerated storage are unorganized. Products should be easy to see and count. Read the rest of this entry »
February 19th, 2015
Refrigeration units play an essential role to any food-related business. Refrigerators help keep food and drinks fresh and ready for customers whether they’re sitting down for a steak dinner or grabbing a sandwich from a display. Just like our restaurant clients own a diverse range of businesses, we here at ShortOrder pride ourselves on offering a diverse catalogue of professional-grade refrigerators. To help you decide which unit works best for your needs and space, we’ve compiled a list of the basic types of refrigerators and quality examples of each.
Undercounter Refrigerators and Freezers:
Undercounter units are ideal for businesses with smaller or nontraditional spaces. For those of you cooking in a cramped area like a small kitchen or a food truck, an undercounter refrigerator capitalizes on typically unused and underappreciated space. A prime example of an undercounter refrigeration unit is the True Undercounter TUC-60-32F. This deep undercounter freezer offers stainless steel tops and sides as well as four coated-wire shelves and two stainless steel doors. If you need to maximize your space while still providing plenty of deep-space storage, then a True undercounter refrigerator could be for you. Read the rest of this entry »
February 3rd, 2015
Having a refrigerator or freezer in your facility might not be enough. Commercial foodservice regulations are so strict that those units must maintain very tight temperature tolerances to safely store food. Food storage temperatures can affect many aspects of the product being stored. Nutrient content, appearance, taste and safety can all be compromised if the product is not stored at the correct temperature.
So what is the right temperature? For refrigerated goods, the holding temperature should be maintained between 35F to 38F. At this temperature, bacterial growth is greatly slowed allowing for prolonged freshness and safety. The lower the temperature, the longer the bacterial growth will be hindered. Since every unit can vary slightly, make sure to know the cold zones in your refrigeration unit to reduce the chance of accidentally freezing products like produce and dairy. Read the rest of this entry »
January 27th, 2015
Some of the most overlooked items in the kitchen are the spaces in the ice machine that we cannot see. Bacteria in an ice machine can cause the production of a biofilm. In turn, that biofilm causes visible mold. Even in the cold section of the ice machine, bacteria can survive. That bacterial can secrete a film and as that film increases, it gets harder and harder to remove.
I’ve been in the foodservice equipment business for almost 20 years. In that time, I’ve seen some scary things on-site. I’ve even closed a few establishments for the day as a means to reclaim the cleanliness of the facility. I have sold thousands of ice machines and have seen thousands more. I know that cleaning the ice machine thoroughly is inconvenient. If you have a 24/7 facility, you can’t do without a constant flow of ice from your machine. Regardless, you will lose ice production unexpectedly if the machine becomes so dirty it can’t function!
The ice machines of today have come a long way. Machines like those by Scotsman and Manitowoc provide on-board cleaning functions to help disinfect the ice machine. Add-on items like Manitowoc’s LuminIce Growth Inhibitor® keep your machine in top working order in a high-yeast environment (think bakeries) and the i-AuCS is an optional automatic cleaning system. Keep in mind, this won’t replace a periodic deep clean, but it will make them easier and less frequent. Scotsman’s Prodigy Ice Machine line and water filtration systems come built with AquaArmor®, an antimicrobial compound that is molded onto key components of the ice machine to protect against bacterial growth. Filtration of the water coming into the machine can also help in keeping the machine running safe and efficiently. Read the rest of this entry »
January 23rd, 2015
Ice is serious business, whether you’re serving fountain drinks or adult beverages. Without a constant, consistent supply of good ice, you can’t keep your customers refreshed. Maybe you have a large ice machine that is inconveniently placed and are looking for something to have on-hand while serving. Undercounter ice machines are designed to fit below a counter to maximize your kitchen’s space while still producing a serious amount of ice. Thinking about upping your ice game? Here are a few things to consider about undercounter ice machines.
How much ice do you use?
Ice machines use a measurement of pounds of ice per day. It’s good to know your range of ice usage on a 24-hour basis to know what capacity you are looking for. This is also important because while your ice machine is making an amount of ice per day, the bin holds a lesser amount (for example, the Manitowoc Ice Machine UD-0310W produces 271 lbs. daily and has a 100-lb. bin). If the ice bin fills, the machine will stop making ice, and if you use all of that at once, you’re starting from scratch. Keep note of how much you use on a day-to-day basis to find what size storage bin and commercial icemaker you need.
Before you pick out your perfect ice machine, think about where you would like to put it and make sure your icemaker will fit. Most are between 34 and 39 inches in height and vary in width and depth.
Types of ice
You’ll find that there are three types that commercial ice machines make: cubes, flakes and nuggets. Cubes are measured in “dice” size, usually with the option of “half dice” or “whole dice.” These are the most popular types of machines purchased.
With flakes, the machines produce small, hard bits of ice that mold to any shape, making it great for salad bars. Flakes also have a low production cost.
Nuggets are small, soft, chewable pieces of ice that are great for carbonated beverages and making blended beverages. This type of ice does tend to melt and stick together in a dispenser, so make sure you get an appropriate agitator kit.
Nothing is better than an ice cold drink on a hot day. Find the perfect undercounter ice machine for your business at ShortOrder.com!
A Restaurant Equipment Blog for the Enhanced Professional Kitchen