How to Take Food Inventory Faster

Friday, May 31st, 2013

When it comes to efficiency in the kitchen, organization is a must. From commercial restaurant equipment to your walk-in freezer, keeping things tidy is imperative for keeping a kitchen running successfully. Part of this imperative includes taking food inventory. Taking inventory helps you calculate your food cost, and evaluate your spending and day-to-day operations to maximize profitability. When your inventory depletes due to waste, the poor handling of food, theft, transfers, or free food items, it’s important to assess what’s left and adjust your ordering and spending accordingly.

If you find yourself spending too much time doing inventory in your restaurant, read on. These simple tips can help you drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your inventory and improve the way you operate your restaurant, letting you put your commercial restaurant equipment to better use.

Stay Clean and Organized

In order to function at its best, your kitchen should be tidy and organized. This means keeping your commercial restaurant equipment in good working order to minimize breakdowns and extraneous costs, cleaning that commercial restaurant equipment at the end of every business day, clearly labeling containers and shelves, and keeping everything visible for inventory. This step alone can speed up the inventory process tremendously, since you won’t have to spend time rummaging around while counting and recording.

Do It Weekly

This is especially important for independent restaurants and single-unit operations, which are accounted for by about 7 of 10 restaurants in the U.S. Independent restaurants need to optimally compete with chains, most of which do their inventories weekly rather than monthly. Basically, the more regularly you take inventory, the more accurate your food cost calculations will be. For most restaurants, Sundays are the optimal day of the week to take inventory. Why? That’s when inventory will be at its lowest, and Monday through Sunday is a natural calendar for inventorying.

Count Efficiently

There are several ways you can streamline the actual act of taking inventory. First, separate your inventory into cost categories. By categorizing groups like meat, dairy, seafood, and produce, you make cost calculations easier, which is part of the point of inventory. Next, arrange your spreadsheet so that it reflects the order in which you count the inventory. You’ll spend less time searching and more time counting. Finally, use two people—one to count, and one to record. As they say, two sets of eyes are better than one, so in addition to being faster, fewer mistakes will be made overall. If possible, use the same two people every week.

Commercial Restaurant Equipment

ShortOrder brings you the best commercial restaurant equipment in the industry, from quality ice machines to top-of-the-line Gen2 ranges. For more tips about how to get the most out of your commercial restaurant equipment, and how commercial restaurant equipment can improve your business, keep reading What’s Cooking, and follow ShortOrder on Twitter and like us Facebook.

What’s New in the Beverage Business: Using Trends and Commercial Restaurant Equipment to Succeed

Friday, May 24th, 2013

If you’ve been keeping up with What’s Cooking, you know we’ve recently been looking at how you can utilize commercial restaurant equipment to increase the quality of your restaurant’s beverage menu and level of operation. We’ve examined ways to make the most of your bar equipment for serving craft beer, ice machines for updating your drinks menu, and plenty of other ways to improve the way your restaurant runs. This week at What’s Cooking, we look into the world of drinks once again to focus on ways to make the most of your commercial restaurant equipment by checking out popular beverage trends, innovations from a variety of restaurants, and what’s ahead for the beverage business.

So, why the focus on commercial restaurant equipment? While we admit that we’re a little biased in favor of it, the fact is that a successful kitchen needs the right tools, and quality commercial restaurant equipment can make a huge difference in a restaurant’s success. Staying equipped with the best commercial restaurant equipment brings an enormous advantage to your establishment. A restaurant with top commercial restaurant equipment is able to function more smoothly and efficiently, leading to increased revenue. Investing in quality equipment from the start and caring for it during its lifetime will mean fewer breakdowns that require servicing (which also means more funding), and ultimately results in greater productivity.

Just as important as using quality commercial restaurant equipment, however, is keeping up with, and even anticipating, trends in the restaurant business. The rising popularity of craft beer, the locavore movement, gluten-free menus, and other trends can prove to be advantageous to your business if you use them draw customers. So what’s coming up in the world of beverages? Check out these developments.

Chipotle Tests Freshly-Made Margaritas

Restaurants like Chipotle are finding success through a major menu change that both complements its current menu and brings something totally new to the table. Introducing the Chipotle margarita. At the end of April, the fast-casual Mexican food chain introduced a premium version of their pre-mixed margaritas, which are made with Patrón Silver tequila, Triple Sec, fresh lime and lemon juices, and organic agave nectar. Since their introduction, margaritas (along with pre-existing beer choices) account for 1-2% of Chipotle’s total sales.

Burger King’s Coffee Makeover

Burger King has revamped its coffee choices several times, and its latest round of changes includes new flavors from Seattle’s Best Coffee in the form of 10 new drinks. Burger King’s vice president of global innovation, Eric Hirschhorn, says this drink renovation is a response to consumer trends and customers’ desire for specialty coffee beverages. It is also a response to a growing trend with its competitors, however. By introducing new coffee menu items, it attempts to compete with options available at major chains like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Beverage Flights on the Rise

Several chains have added beverage flights to their menus, including California Pizza Kitchen and Smokey Bones. Beverage flights are small tastes of a variety of drinks that can be served before, with, or after a meal. CPK offers wine flights, while Smokey Bones offers a flight of craft beers. Beverage flights saw a surge in popularity at the end of 2012, and the trend has continued well into the spring of this year.

More Beverages and Commercial Restaurant Equipment

What beverage trends are you taking advantage of in your restaurant? What do you think is next for the beverage biz and commercial restaurant equipment? Find ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and tell us!

Now Serving – May – Strawberry-Mint Limeade and How to Deal with Whiners

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

MAY 2013 A monthly newsletter showcasing the taste of cookware ISSUE 53
Now Serving

It’s that time again, school is out (or almost out), the sun is shining brighter and longer – that must mean that summer is almost here! Do you have any big plans for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend? Don’t forget that ShortOrder.com has everything that you need to get your restaurant ready for all of the summer fun that is rapidly approaching – ice machines, kegerators, hot dog

warmers, fryers, the list goes on and on. Inspect your equipment now, and make sure that it is ready for your summer business!

hot dog

Last month we announced that we are now accepting phone orders. It has been going very well, so if you don’t have time to set-up your account and place an order, call us at (800) 211-0282 and we will take care of it for you. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page from time-to-time, as we do random daily promotions. This month David L. is the winner of our monthly drawing for submitting a product review on our site. He won a $50 Gift Certificate towards his next purchase with ShortOrder.com! Keep submitting your reviews. You could be next month’s winner!

Our clearance section is a great place to start on our site as it contains scratched and dented, and discontinued products that are all covered by the full manufacturer warranty. Check it out! In this month’s issue: How to deal with whiny workers, a refreshing Strawberry-Mint Limeade in honor of National Strawberry Month, and our featured products: an Amana microwave oven, a Beverage-Air undercounter refrigerator, and an Advance Tabco sink .

We always encourage your feedback, as that is the only way to know what we can do better for you, our great customers.We really do want to hear from you! Please, give us a shout!

Meghan Jarrell

 

Do You Have Whiny Workers?

 

Productively Deal with Them with These Four Tips

Every company has one… a whiner. I know because in a previous job, years ago, I was that whiner. It can happen in any company – from an office to service industry to retail and beyond. It is easy to manage if it is a legitimate complaint here or there, but if it is one employee who continuously expresses their grievances, it can truly be contagious and drag down the mood of your other employees. Sometimes they are doing it intentionally and sometimes they are not. I was not the “intentional whiner”. I was just not aware of how often I was verbalizing my frustrations about the company. Kevin Daum points out four tips for handling these types of employees in an article on www.inc.com“4 Ways to Productively Deal With Whiners”.

The first is this, confront them. They might be like I was, and be completely oblivious of the impact they are having on their fellow co-workers. Call them in for a meeting, or (if it is appropriate) take them to lunch and discuss their actions. Directly explain how it is negatively affecting the environment at work. If you are not comfortable doing it in person, you can send an email or place a memo in their employee box, either way, it needs to be brought to their attention.

Secondly, as an employer you can attempt to resolve their complaints. They might be consistently whining because they have real complaints and feel that they are not being heard and that changes are not being made. You can help them take ownership of their problems by asking for them to come up with some solutions. You can also work with them to come up with a plan to resolve the situation. This may or may not stop the complaining.

No whine jpg

The third option of how to handle a whiny worker is by removing them. The employee might just be truly unhappy and not fit in with the culture that you have set up for your company. As the supervisor, you will need to provide them with feedback and give them a specific period of time to make a change, if they do not meet that time period then you have legitimate reasons to let them go.

In the event that the employee has a necessary position in your company, and is too valuable to be lost, you can isolate them. Assess the nature of your business; is telecommuting, a private office, or satellite office an option? If not, how about a cubicle away from others? If your company is a team-like atmosphere then the problem may be unavoidable, other than again attempting idea number one and be very direct with them.

No one wants to spend a majority of their time at a job where there is constant negativity. Everyone has bad days, but there is no way that every day is a bad day. It’s your job as the boss to be aware of these grumblings, and stop them before they start. Once, you have multiple workers on the whiny side, it is a much bigger problem to deal with.

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Amana Microwave Oven
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Featured Recipe
Strawberry-Mint Sparkling Limeade
limeade
Try this refreshing beverage from www.myrecipes.com
Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 Cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 Cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 1/4 Cup agave nectar
  • 1 (750 ml) Bottle chilled sparkling wine – (OR substitute 3 Cups club soda for non-alcoholic)
  • Whole Strawberries (optional garnish)

Directions:

  1. Blend the first five ingredients until smooth (about 1 min)
  2. Pour about 1/2 cup mixture into each glass (6 glasses total)
  3. Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of wine into each glass
  4. Gently stir to combine
  5. Garnish with whole berries if desired
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Get Out Your Bar Equipment: It’s American Craft Beer Week!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

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 to use by 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.

 

Mobile Apps for Restaurant Owners from Manitowoc Ice Machines and More

Friday, May 10th, 2013

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

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.

ShiftPlanning

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?

Be a Sustainable Business! Use Restaurant Equipment and More

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

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 uses 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. Also consider investing in LED lighting, which can save thousands of dollars per year 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.

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A Restaurant Equipment Blog for the Enhanced Professional Kitchen

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