What Equipment Do You Need For A Food Truck?

July 21st, 2015

Foodtruck

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 ShortOrder.com, 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 »

3 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Commercial Range

May 14th, 2015

ShortOrder_Range-Garland-h284Whether you’re looking to broil, fry, grill, or simmer, commercial ranges offer an array of cooking choices in one piece of equipment. As one of the most useful tools in the kitchen, finding the right commercial range for your restaurant is important. How many burners do you need? Will you want griddles? Before investing in a range for your commercial kitchen, ask these 3 questions:

How much output do you need from your range?

There are two basic types of commercial ranges: restaurant duty and heavy duty. Restaurant duty ranges—the most common choice—work great for most commercial kitchens. They are made to stand alone, with durability and easy use in mind. Additionally, restaurant duty ranges are less expensive than their heavy duty counterparts. For kitchens that require high volume usage, a heavy duty range is the best option. However, these ranges typically cost more up front and are more expensive to maintain. Read the rest of this entry »

Promoting Your Restaurant on a Small Budget

May 5th, 2015

Male Owner Of Coffee ShopOK so you opened your restaurant and you’re trying to get the word out about the new place in town. Or, you’ve been open a while and want to try to drum up some new business. Either way, you’re probably wondering where to start.

Let’s start with the budget. Think about how much your average customer spends. You can calculate that on the average table or you can calculate it based on the customer. Then, calculate how much you make off that ticket. So, for every person or table that walks in the door, you make an average of $x. Of that money, what percent do you feel comfortable spending on advertising?

Another consideration: what percent of your customers come back? You might be able to spend a bit more to get someone to come in the first time if most of your new customers turn into repeat customers. Keep in mind, if you’re offering a coupon or opt to run a Groupon-type special, you’re likely to see fewer customers return than your average. There is always the table/person that is just there because they got a good deal. Don’t let that discourage you – just account for it in the budget. Read the rest of this entry »

Stop, Watch and Learn

April 21st, 2015

Line Cooks In Restaurant KitchenSince I’m in the biz, I can’t stop watching and analyzing operations in restaurants… often times to my wife’s dismay! I look for missed opportunities and often suggest to the managers a slight change that might make a big difference. Recently, I was at a diner where my family and I enjoy dining on a regular basis. The place is always packed on the weekends and the speed of service is… fair. The food offsets the wait for a seat and the time it takes to get served. The diner is an open-kitchen operation. You can sit at the counter and watch the sausage being made. A couple visits ago, the place was a madhouse. Customers were waiting, the kitchen staff was arguing and the food was moving slowly and with little accuracy. Remakes were clogging the already bogged down line.

In the hour or so I waited for my food, I drank coffee and watched the craziness, I noticed something. The font on the tickets was too small! The confusion in the back was being greatly increased because the tickets were hard to read. The staff had to actually pull the tickets off the rack and hold them up to their eyes to see what they said. On top of that, everyone had reading glasses on their heads. They needed two hands to read each ticket! Read the rest of this entry »

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