Fast Casual Pizza: What’s Next for Commercial Restaurant Equipment

Friday, August 30th, 2013

The fast casual restaurant is on the rise, cooking up a frenzied variety of foods on eateries’ commercial restaurant equipment to great financial success. According to the NPD Group, the number of fast casual chain restaurant units increased by 7% from last year’s spring census, and visits to those units increased by 9% during the same time frame, even as traffic in the rest of the restaurant industry was flat.

“Fast casual” is defined as somewhere between a fast food restaurant and casual dining restaurant. The idea is that fast casual restaurants offer higher-quality food than a fast food establishment, without the full table service that comes with a casual dining restaurant. Included in the fast casual category are restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread, Noodles & Co., Smashburger, and Fazoli’s.

Fast casual has been around for decades, but there is a newer trend that has been surfing the fast casual wave that has consumers excited. The “fast casual pizza” trend is one that has been growing for some time now, but seems to have spiked in the last year or so. The concept of fast casual pizza has been referred to as “the Chipotle Mexican Grill of pizza,” meaning that customers proceed through an assembly line of ingredients to build their own single-serve pie. The kind of commercial restaurant equipment and ovens used to craft these personal pizzas vary from conveyor ovens to deck ovens. Consumers appreciate the fast casual pizza concept thanks to its ability to create an American favorite in a healthier, more personalized way, while still serving it quickly using powerful commercial restaurant equipment. Current contenders in the world of fast casual pizza eateries include Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza, The Pizza Studio, PizzaRev, MOD Pizza and Pie Five Pizza, but there are also places in the market like Zpizza, a fast casual pizza chain that has been baking made-to-order pies for 27 years.

Commercial Restaurant Equipment and News from ShortOrder

What’s your opinion of the fast casual pizza trend? What commercial restaurant equipment have you used in your fast casual restaurant? Look up ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and let us know!

 

Ice Machines, Spices, and More: Top Drink Trends

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Are you caught up with the most recent trends in the beverage world? Restaurants that don’t change with the times can find themselves a bit low on profit and slow in business, so it’s best to put your ice machines to good use to offer customers trending options when it comes to drinks. This week ShortOrder offers you some of the top beverage trends in the business, and some ideas about how to incorporate them into your menus, from ice machines to coffee beans.

Pour-over coffee is making headway right now in the restaurant industry. This delectable spin on your basic brew involves pouring boiling water over a filter packed with coffee grounds. The result is the freshest of cups of Joe, and it seems patrons are willing to pay a little more for the quality. To mix things up, serve pour-over coffee on ice from your ice machines.

Try out specialty ice for your cocktails if you want to give your ice machines a rest. Flavored ice cubes might include smoked ice, flowers, fruits, spices, and herbs, and alter the flavor of a drink from start to finish. Use mint-infused ice in a mint julep, or simply add a new flavor to an old favorite with ice flavored with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Spicy cocktails are another trend making the rounds at bars everywhere. This trend is manifesting in everything from cocktails with a strong splash of ginger to martinis featuring harissa, a North African chile paste. The spicy cocktail is actually part of a growing trend in preferences for foods with a kick in all areas of the menu. Take advantage of this trend by shaking up some spicy-but-subtle cocktails over ice from your ice machines.

Craft beer has been a major player in the bar scene, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. In fact, according to the Brewers Association, craft brew sales rose saw a 17% rise last year. To take advantage of this trend, find out where your local breweries are and consider stocking some of their wares. Customers will appreciate the local patronage, and brewers will appreciate the revenue and the publicity.

More Ice Machines and Tips from ShortOrder

What drink trends are you excited about right now? How have you put your ice machines to work to cash in on beverage trends? Connect with ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and tell us about it! You can also browse our selection of ice machines online and find the one that fits your bar or kitchen’s needs the best.

SoundOff – Countertop Ice Machines

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

 

Countertop Ice Machines
August 2013
 
Did your countertop ice machine get a lot of use this summer? Now that the cooler weather is almost here, perhaps it’s time to replace it. With 9 different countertop ice machines to choose from, ShortOrder.com will have exactly what you’re looking for. Before purchasing it, however, there are some key things to consider:
  • Nugget-Style Ice vs. Flake-Style Ice
  • Sensor Activated Dispensing vs. Lever Activated Dispensing
  • Amount of Ice Production per 24 Hour Period
  • Ice Bin Storage Capacity
  • Overall DimensionsMDT4F12A1H

It is important to note that the amount of ice used on a daily basis is rarely uniform. Make sure to choose a machine to meet your peak usage needs. Also, if your company is in the process of growing, consider adding 20% to your current usage estimates to account for this growth.

You can shop for countertop ice machines hereat ShortOrder.com.

Featured: Countertop Ice Machines
Model
Rating
Performance
Features & Specifications
RNS12AT
Manitowoc

5 Star

- 261 lb/24 Hours
- 12 lb Bin Capacity

 

- Nugget-Style Ice
- 16.25“W x 35″H x 24″D
- Warranty: 2 yr. parts & labor

 

MDT5N25A1J
Scotsman

5 Star

- 523 lb/24 Hours
- 26 lb Bin Capacity

 

- Nugget-Style Ice
- 26″W x 41″H x 22.5″D
- Warranty: 2 yr. parts & labor

 

MDT4F12A1H
Scotsman
5 Star
- 453 lb/24 Hours
- 12 lb Bin Capacity
- Flake-Style Ice
- 14″W x 34.31″H x 23.75″D
- Warranty: 2 yr. parts & labor

 

MDT6N90A1H
Scotsman

5 Star

- 720 lb/24 Hours
- 90 lb Bin Capacity
- Nugget-Style Ice
- 35.19″W x 45.75″H x 29.25″D
- Warranty: 2 yr. parts & labor
Copyright © 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Meatless Mondays May Be Good for Restaurant Equipment Business

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Just a heads up to those in the foodservice industry: it might be time to prepare your restaurant equipment for Meatless Mondays.

“Really?” we hear you ask. “Didn’t Meatless Mondays go out with World War I?” Well, yes and no. During WWI, the U.S. Food Administration encouraged rationing of staple foods by promoting “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays.” Today, Meatless Monday plays something of a different role. The modern Meatless Monday was actually established in 2003 by Sid Lerner, an advertising agency executive, and is an international health campaign intent on improving the world’s eating habits one week at a time. The idea is that by cutting out meat from our diets once weekly, we can reduce our cholesterol levels, improve our heart health, and generally improve our physical well-being. It turns out that thousands of restaurants, schools, and companies have jumped on board this movement.

In many foodservice establishments, this has translated into an altered menu on Mondays, and it turns out the move may actually be good for business. Participation in Meatless Mondays allows restaurants to attract new customers, especially since, as Meatless Monday’s campaign director Peggy Neu says, it “plays into the vegetarian and ‘flexitarian’ trends.” It also allows restaurants to turn their attention to utilizing fresh, seasonal produce and local resources. But don’t worry: you don’t have to take all of your omnivorous entrées off of your restaurant equipment to participate in Meatless Monday. Add vegetarian dishes to your Monday specials and advertise your existing vegetarian dishes more prominently as well.

So go ahead, get your restaurant equipment and char broilers and cook up your favorite vegetarian recipes for your customers. You might find that it’s both good for you heart and good for business!

More Tips and Restaurant Equipment from ShortOrder

Do you participate in Meatless Mondays? Has it been a profitable a practice for your restaurant? Find ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and tell us about your experiences with Meatless Mondays and restaurant equipment!

Harness the Impulse Buy with the Benefits of Display Shelving

Friday, August 9th, 2013

The impulse buy is a major draw in foodservice establishments, and display cases help facilitate impulse buying in a big way. Whether you’re promoting baked goods or beverages, display shelving and display refrigeration can help an establishment move product and earn a greater profit in the long run.

Display shelving and refrigeration are best for small products that customers can pick up and take with them, either as to-go items or as items that accompany a meal. Chips, muffins, cookies, bottled water, wrapped sandwiches, juice, and fruit are all great candidates for display shelving success. Place your displays next to the checkout counter for optimum impulse buying potential.

Display Shelving

Display shelving is great for wrapped dry goods like baked goods and bagged snacks. For places that are short on space, vertical display shelves take up less room than horizontal ones, and are a great way to put things closer to eye level. Place heavier items on the bottom shelves to ensure the display doesn’t tip over during busy, crowded hours. The most popular items should be kept on the top shelves.

Display Refrigeration

When it comes to display choices, display refrigeration presents a lot of different options. Tall, short, enclosed, open-air… choosing the one that works best for your establishment is easy. Just think about the kind of product you want to promote and where the optimal place for it would be. For example, if you want your display to be near the checkout but still allow customers to see over the counter, an open-air self-serve case might be best. If you have a corner or wall that needs extra refrigeration space, a one-door or two-door upright display refrigeration unit might fit in your restaurant better.

Connect with ShortOrder

Do you use display shelving or display refrigeration in your establishment? Does it help you with sales of small products? To tell us, and to keep up with ShordOrder for more tips on display shelving, display refrigeration, the restaurant industry, and more, find ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook.

Now Serving – August – How High-Tech Culture is Changing Dining

Friday, August 9th, 2013

 

AUGUST 2013 A monthly newsletter showcasing the taste of cookware ISSUE 56
Now Serving

Can you believe summer is almost over? It’s that time of year to start thinking about fall and to take advantage of the back-to-school sales. Speaking of sales, be sure to click here and check out the closeout specials we are currently offering on all Gen2 products. With several different types to choose from, you should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for.

This time of year is often referred to as the “dog days of summer.” Not to be confused with dogs themselves, this term actually originated from the Romans. During the month of August, Sirius, the Dog Star, would rise at the same time as the sun. Consequently, the hot weather was then associated with this star.

schoolbusHow are you preparing for fall? Let us know on our Facebook page! While you’re there, you can also find out about our one-day only deals! Don’t forget to review a product online and you will be automatically entered into ShortOrder’s monthly giveaway.

Please join us in congratulating this month’s winner: Daniel Reitzell!

And remember to visit our clearance section. We have a wide variety of discontinued, and scratched and dented products that are all covered by the full manufacturer warranty.

In this month’s issue: How high-tech culture is changing dining, ABC Melt to get your day off to a good start, and our featured products: a Robot Coupe food processor , a Gen2 fryer, and a Wolf stock pot range.

Do you have any suggestions for us? We are always ready to hear from you. Please drop us a line anytime!

Ann Marie Hillier

How High-Tech Culture is Changing Dining

Stay Current with these Great Points

 

It was only a matter of time before the Internet would play a role in the way people dine out. Although restaurants have been among the businesses least effected by technology, the same is not true for its consumers. As food critic from San Francisco, Michael Bauer, observes in his article How the High-Tech Culture Has Changed Dining, he lists the top 5 ways in which the dining scene has been altered by the overwhelming presence of social media.

1. Living life publiclyDue to the effect of websites like Facebook and Twitter, consumers are much more comfortable living their life publicly. Consequently, restaurants across the country are adopting an open-air concept.

2. Bigger, open spacesRestaurant interiors are inheriting the industrial look at a record breaking rate.

3. Casualization of the dining experienceIt is no longer the norm for a four-star restaurant to have an equally upscale atmosphere. It is becoming much more common for fine dining establishments to have dining tables set up next to a bank of stainless steel refrigerators.

hightechdining

4. Restaurants as barsIn an effort to accommodate the high-tech crowd, restaurants are merging the dining and bar area into one. Although an emphasis still remains on cocktails, bar patrons now have access to the full dining menu.

 

5. Smaller menus and wine listsWith the allowance of 160 characters or less on Twitter, restaurants are following the trend and shortening their menus. While an average menu used to have over 30 food items to choose from, it is now down to an average of 13.

Featured Products
R2DICE
GEN2F3NAT
WSPR2NAT
Robot Coupe Food Processor
R2DICE
3 Qt. Gray ABS Plastic Bowl
$1,475 delivered
Gen2 Fryer
GEN2-F3-NAT
3 Tube, 40 lb. Capacity
$758.00 delivered
Wolf Stock Pot Range
WSPR-2-NAT
2 Burner/330 lbs.
$2,114.00 delivered
Click for more info! Click for more info! Click for more info!

Featured Recipe
ABC Melt
abc melt
Get the day started right with this recipe from tasteofhome.com
Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 English muffins, split and toasted
  • 2 Tsp prepared mustard
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese

Directions:

  1. Place muffin halves on baking sheet
  2. Spread with mustard and layer with all remaining ingredients
  3. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted
Short Order
Frymaster
Vulcan
Manitowoc
Beverage-Air
Globe

Restaurant Success in the City: Urban Franchising Tips

Monday, August 5th, 2013

If you’re franchising your restaurant in an urban area, you’re going to need more than quality restaurant equipment to make it work. While, yes, your focus should always be on turning out a quality product and providing excellent service, setting up a franchise location in an urban environment comes with a special set of challenges.

How can you open your restaurant and ensure that your restaurant equipment will always be busy? Read on for tips for urban franchising success.

Get the Word Out

To gain publicity in an urban area, creating awareness online can be a great stepping stone. Turn to your own social media outlets, connect with others, and invite food bloggers to come in to create a buzz about the opening of your location.

Know the Codes

Urban locations may have special regulations that other locations lack, and you should make sure your restaurant can comply with them. Whether it’s the method of trash storage and disposal, the location of deliveries, or special fire code limitations, it’s important to be well-informed before starting operations.

Bring in the Experts

Franchisees who have experience in an urban market are ideally-prepared to help with the opening of a city franchise. Using operators who are already familiar with the operational challenges and quirks that come with the urban restaurant business can eliminate some of the floundering that may occur when a franchise location first opens.

Prepare for Lunchtime

There are several challenges that come with operating a restaurant in the city during lunch. In a smaller community, customers might come in to your restaurant for a leisurely lunch. In a city environment, however, the lunch hours are often populated by hurried patrons and professionals who are lunching within a time limit. As a result, lunchtime will see a higher volume and intense activity on your kitchen’s restaurant equipment. Prepare for this by making to-go ordering easy (as with a separate waiting area or ordering station), clearing space for large lines, and servicing your restaurant equipment regularly to make sure it is working optimally.

Employ Locally

If you’re expanding in an urban area, you want the people working your restaurant equipment and running your restaurant to be from the area, as well. Hiring the right staff may allow you to be connected with local vendors right away, be aware of the area’s regulations from the start, and be able to connect with the people of the city on a more personal level.

More Tips and Restaurant Equipment from ShortOrder

What tips would you give someone opening a franchise in an urban area? Connect with ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and tell us about your experiences with urban franchising and restaurant equipment!

For more restaurant industry tips, the latest on quality restaurant equipment, and more, you can keep reading What’s Cooking.

Fire Up Your Restaurant Equipment for the Food Truck Buzz

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

In recent years, the humble food truck has moved beyond the street vendor stereotype into the realm of specialty foods, serving up everything from Asian fusion to gourmet doughnuts. That’s why food trucks employ all kinds of restaurant equipment to serve up their unique mobile cuisine to fans and followers. It seems that there is now a fleet of food trucks in every major city, and the types of food they serve are just as numerous as the trucks themselves. Some cities even have designated places where food trucks can congregate during the day, allowing patrons to travel to them.

If you are considering catching the food truck wave, read on. You can use these tips to make your way to portable culinary success.

Choosing a Concept

A food truck doesn’t have to rely on a gimmick or a complicated concept to be successful. While competition for quality is indeed high amongst food trucks, the important thing is to consistently serve quality food in a clean, friendly atmosphere. So whether a food truck’s menu is rooted in Brazilian street food or French desserts, great food and great service should always be top priority.

Buying Restaurant Equipment for a Food Truck

There is no major difference between the actual restaurant equipment for a full-sized kitchen and restaurant equipment for a food truck. However, you should consider the size factor when buying restaurant equipment for a food truck. You will have less room to maneuver than in a normal kitchen, so space-efficient equipment is best.

Setting up a Food Truck

The arrangement of your food truck’s kitchen will help determine its efficiency and success. You’ll need to choose restaurant equipment that allows you to move freely, especially during peak business hours, but you’ll also need your layout to be flexible so you can change out restaurant equipment if your menu alters.

Powering a Food Truck

Different components inside a food truck’s kitchen will have different power requirements. Keep in mind that everything in your mobile kitchen should be 120V. Additionally, griddles and ovens have a higher power requirement than other pieces of restaurant equipment like refrigeration units, so they will most likely need a tow-able generator.

Connect with ShortOrder

What restaurant equipment do you use in your food truck? Have you had success in the food truck business? Reach out to ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and tell us about your experiences!

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