If you think you’ve missed American Craft Beer Week, don’t worry! Stock your bar equipment and get ready for this weekend. American Craft Beer Week runs through this Sunday, May 19th, so you still have plenty of time to find a craft beer to serve with the bar equipment at your business or enjoy at your favorite watering hole.
What is American Craft Beer Week? It’s a week dedicated to celebrating the small and independent craft breweries that populate this fine nation. (As of June 2012, 2,075 of America’s 2,126 breweries were local craft brewers.) The Brewers Association, the national non-profit association behind ACBW, has called it “The Mother of All Beer Weeks.” ACBW gives all bars, restaurants, and purveyors of alcoholic beverages a reason to feature beers from their local breweries, bringing craft beer fans together to drink and make merry. For a list of craft beer events going on this weekend, check out CraftBeer.com’s events calendar.
But why not make your own ACBW fun? Or for that matter, make every week American Craft Beer Week? Stock up your bar equipment with local brews and prepare for success. It’s not just generous to support your local breweries—it can also be advantageous to your business. No longer a niche market, craft brew is gaining in popularity; so much so that major chains like Chili’s are putting their bar equipment featuring craft brews on their menus. Additionally, in the “What’s Hot in 2013 Alcohol Survey” by the National Restaurant Association, locally-produced beer was the #1 predicted trend in beer for 2013, with craft beer and house-brewed beer following close behind in 3rd and 4th places. And according to Jennifer Zegler, a beverage analyst for the Mintel market research consultancy, “…craft beer has kept an upward trajectory throughout the economic downturn and subsequent slow recovery,” outdoing domestic and imported beer counterparts.
Do you stock craft beer in your restaurant? What’s your favorite craft beer? How do you use your bar equipment? Find ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and let us know how you’re featuring local brews with your restaurant bar equipment these days.
As a restaurant owner in the digital age, it pays to keep up with current technology—literally. Whether that means investing in advanced, energy-efficient Manitowoc ice machines, engaging with your customers on social media, or creating a mobile-friendly version of your restaurant’s website, staying on top of the newest technology for business can save you time and money, and in some cases can even help turn a profit! One such way the restaurant business has evolved to take advantage of apps available for mobile devices. This week, ShortOrder has compiled a short list of apps from which your restaurant could benefit.
Manitowoc Ice Machines’ Resource Library
At the beginning of April, Manitowoc Foodservice (of the much-lauded Manitowoc ice machines) announced a new app designed to help you better operate your Manitowoc ice machines. The app allows users to access important Manitowoc ice machines’ documents all in one place. Called the “Resource Library” app, it offers mobile viewing of product specification sheets, operations manuals, literature, CAD symbols, and more. The app is currently only available for the iPhone and iPad, but Manitowoc is currently developing the app for the Android as well.
Ambur – Point of Sale (POS)
Ambur was built by a team of former restaurant owners and employees, and is meant to increase a restaurant’s efficiency when it comes to ordering, reporting, running payroll, and more. Reviewers agree that Ambur is reasonably-priced, boasts excellent support and customer service, and has major potential to streamline a restaurant’s day-to-day operations.
National Restaurant Association Show 2013 App
If you are planning on attending the NRA Show 2013 between May 18th and 21st, this app is a must. It allows you to view the show’s events and speakers, create your own schedule, see a list of the exhibitors, connect with the NRA via social media, access maps, and more. Among this year’s attendees are various international buyers; Starbucks’ Chairman, President, and CEO Howard Schultz; and Anthony Bourdain.
ChowNow lets customers view a restaurant’s menu items, customize an order, and check out right on their mobile device. ChowNow incorporates your restaurant’s logo into the app’s easy-to-use interface, allows you to send push notifications to customers with the app, and lets customers access contact information, hours, and location for your restaurant. ChowNow is ideal for restaurants targeting busy professionals who need a way to order meals or large orders at their convenience and without wait time in the actual restaurant.
Designed to make employee scheduling easier, ShiftPlanning is an app that lets you create, edit, and manage time clocking, payroll, HR, and schedules. You can do it from pretty much anywhere, since ShiftPlanning is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and WAP devices.
More News and Manitowoc Ice Machines
Want to know about the advantages that Manitowoc ice machines could give your business? Read more about it here and here. For more news about the restaurant business, restaurant equipment, Manitowoc ice machines, and beyond, visit ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook. Tweet or write on our wall and tell us: which apps do you use in your restaurant?
At ShortOrder, we’re always looking for new ways to help the enhanced professional kitchen make the most of its restaurant equipment. This week, we’ve got some great steps your restaurant can take to become a sustainable business. Making a greater effort toward sustainability has many benefits. According to the National Restaurant Association’s president and CEO, Dawn Sweeney, “Many restaurant operators have been working on sustainable practices for years, finding it’s good for business by helping attract new guests, boosting communities, and driving savings as operations become more efficient.” With that in mind, read on for our top tips and tools for using your restaurant equipment and turning your business into an environmentally-conscious operation.
Turn off the Lights
Not all night, of course, but it’s a good idea to be mindful of when you have all of the lights on in your restaurant. Equipment in your kitchen use plenty of energy, so why not save a little on the electricity bill? Turn off the lights during breakfast and/or lunch hours, especially in the summer when the days are longer. If there are lamps on or above each table, make sure their bulbs are low-watt. Consider investing in LED lighting, which can save thousands of dollars per years in electric bills.
Use Efficient Restaurant Equipment
Part of being a sustainable restaurant includes saving energy wherever possible. One way to cut costs is to invest in quality, energy-saving restaurant equipment. Lower costs don’t mean you have to sacrifice value, however. Brands like Scotsman ice machines are Energy Star certified, meaning that they provide significant energy savings to consumers, have increased energy efficiency, and maintain a higher quality of performance than other products of its kind.
Maintain Your Restaurant Equipment
You should also be sure to regularly maintain your kitchen’s restaurant equipment so it remains in proper working order at all times. Equipment that uses up more energy than necessary can be a drag on your business’s expenses. For example, click here for energy-saving tips for your restaurant’s ice machines.
Donate Uneaten Food
A study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that 40% of all edible food in the U.S. goes to waste. Restaurants can reduce this number by making an effort to donate or compost un-served food. Find out about “food-rescue” programs, including national organizations like Food Donation Connection, 2nd Harvest, and Feeding America in your area, or start your own program!
More Restaurant Equipment Tips
For more tips about keeping your restaurant sustainable and making the best use of your restaurant equipment, keep reading our What’s Cookin’ blog! You can also follow ShortOrder on Twitter and like us Facebook.
Here at What’s Cooking, we’ve been focusing lately on the benefits of our fantastic ice machines. This week, however, we would like to talk about how you can put them to good use. We are talking, of course, about updating your drinks menu. Why is it important to update your drinks menu? It helps keep your restaurant on the map and distinguishes it from the rest. Whether you choose to add a few signature drinks or mix up the entire menu altogether, changing your drinks menu can be very good for business. Read on for ShortOrder’s tips on how best to use ice machines and more to make the most of your beverages.
How to Update Your Drinks Menu
Get creative with your menu change. Make some signature drinks, see what is popular at other restaurants, incorporate new beverages on the market into your menu… the possibilities are endless. If you don’t want to commit to long-term change, consider have a special drink of the week. You won’t have to invest in new ingredients permanently, but you will be able to keep your menu fresh and interesting, ensuring that newcomers are drawn in and regulars keep coming back.
Advertise Your Drinks Menu
It is not only important that you update your menu; you need to advertise it. The idea is simple: make it easy for customers to see and select a new drink. Advertise your new menu on your restaurant’s website and social media outlets, include special inserts in your full menus, or add stand-up drink menus to each table. Also add your business to websites like BeerMenus and Taplister, which allow customers to search for craft beer near their location. Advertising on these sites also allows customers to find your restaurant while on the go. Customers search most often on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday between 1 and 9 PM, so be sure that your beer lists are up-to-date at those times.
Consider stocking local beers, wines, and spirits on your new drinks menu. In the “What’s Hot in 2013 Alcohol Survey” by the National Restaurant Association, nearly half of the top 20 trends involved a demand for locally-produced alcohol. Onsite barrel-aged drinks was the #1 predicted trend, while micro-distilled/artisan liquor, locally-produced spirits, regional signature cocktails, locally-produced beer, craft beer, and signature cocktails all made the list as well. Additionally, going local can be a great way to support local businesses and create a niche for your own business. Put those ice machines to good use and come up with some signature cocktails. Obviously the more unique the cocktail the better, but a signature cocktail can also be as simple as putting a twist on a familiar drink and giving it a name that is specific to your restaurant.
Coffee and Tea Menu
You can also mix up your coffee and tea menu! In another survey of 2013 trends by the National Restaurant Association, specialty iced tea and organic coffee ranked among the top 5 beverage trends. Try a coffee combined with a special syrup, flavored milk, or even spiced tea. Offer it hot or use your ice machines to serve it up over ice. We recommend dice-sized cubes from your ice machines for cold coffee and tea drinks.
Ice Machines and More
For more information about ice machines that can help your business thrive, check out ShortOrder’s lines of Manitowoc ice machines and Scotsman ice machines. You can also explore more of our blog and learn about the favorite drinks of famous authors, how to choose ice machines for your business, how to save energy with your ice machines, and much more.
ShortOrder knows that ice machines are vital to your business. Foodservice operations need ice machines for any number of purposes day in and day out, most often requiring ice in large volumes all day, throughout the week. This can result in high costs, not only in terms of ice machine wear, but in energy, as well. We have already touted the benefits of Manitowoc ice machines and Scotsman ice machines, and we’d like to share some more tips with you on how to stay green and save money when it comes to operating your ice machines.
1. Make sure that your ice machine is of the proper capacity for you restaurant. An ice machine that produces too much or too little ice for your needs can be a big waste of energy.
2. Invest in an air-cooled ice machine. Air-cooled ice machines use less energy and less water than their water-cooled counterparts.
3. Close your ice machine’s lid. Keeping the lid open for longer than is necessary makes the ice machine work harder to remain at the correct temperature, causing a further loss of energy. Make sure your employees know to close the ice machine’s lid promptly after every use.
4. Clean your ice machine regularly. This includes changing out the water filter according to the manufacturer’s directions. Cleaning ice machines on a regular basis allows the machines to remain in proper working order to operate smoothly.
5. Maintain your ice machine regularly to ensure that all components function correctly. Regular maintenance will prevent the ice machine from breaking down later, leading to not only major repair costs, but to disruption of your business.
If you are evaluating ice machines to purchase a new one for your business, you know that are many options available. So what kind of ice machine’s right for you? The answer depends on several factors, so a little forethought in the beginning when considering ice machines can save you money and a major headache in the long run.
Your Ice Machine’s Dimensions
Perhaps the easiest thing you can ask yourself about your ice machine’s requirements is what its dimensions should be. After all, you don’t want to buy a machine, only to find that you can’t fit it through the door! Measure the doorways and the space you want to put the ice machine to make sure you will have plenty of room. Allow for five to eight inches of space on every side of the ice machine. If you are going to purchase a compressor, be sure to consider the space it will fit into also.
Volume of Ice
Calculate the volume of ice you will need to remain operational. Keep in mind the fluctuations in the amount you will use from season to season, as well as the climate in which your business operates, especially during peak hours. You should also take into account the potential of growth for your business, so we recommend adding 10-120% to your estimate. When you evaluate ice machines, keep this number in mind, as ice machines come in a variety of options when it comes to pounds of ice produced per 24 hours.
Types of Ice
Next consider the types of ice you’ll need. You may only need a few kinds, or your need may vary with the seasons. (For example, nugget ice may be more popular during the summer than the winter.) Because of this factor, you may need to consider multiple ice machines.
Make sure you have the proper electrical and plumbing connections available where you want to place your ice machine. Ice machines need a direct connection to a supply of cold water, as well as a separate drain line for both the ice machine and its bin. Additionally, electrical and water connections need to be at least within six feet of the machine.
Manitowoc ice machines come in all shapes and sizes. You already know about the many different types of ice that Manitowoc ice machines can make, and that Manitowoc ice machines are easy to maintain… but did you know that they have a secret, energy-saving weapon? Manitowoc ice machines that are air-cooled could be the best restaurant equipment decision you make when it comes to ice.
About Air-Cooled Ice Machines
So what is an air-cooled ice machine? It’s pretty simple: air-cooled ice machines use a fan to reduce the heat generated by the mechanical refrigeration components inside. The alternative is a water-cooled ice machine, which circulates cool water around the components via pipes to keep the inside cool. The difference between the two, however, comes in the operational costs. Air-cooled ice machines use less energy and water than their water-cooled counterparts, since many water-cooled ice makers use more water to cool the system itself than to actually make ice. Thus, the cost of operation of air-cooled ice machines is lower, and they are more efficient for both day-to-day and long-term use. You could ultimately save quite a bit on your utility bills.
Air-Cooled Indigo Manitowoc Ice Machines
Manitowoc’s Indigo Series line of commercial ice machines, for example, contains some great air-cooled Manitowoc ice machines. The Manitowoc Ice Machine ID-0322A/B-320/115-1, for example, is an Energy Star certified machine that will get the job done with efficiency and ease. It monitors the machine’s critical systems, has an easy-read interface, and is fully programmable so that you can conveniently choose how much ice to make and when to make it. Never worry about losing ice production capabilities on a busy Friday night with Manitowoc ice machines in the kitchen. Manitowoc technology is steadily improving to keep commercial ice makers clean, efficient, safe, and energy-saving.
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