If you’re starting a restaurant, you’re facing a lot of decisions that determine how your business will be run. From the concept of your restaurant to the kinds of restaurant equipment you’ll need, there are a lot of factors that determine a restaurant’s success. If you’re not sure what kind of service format would best fit your restaurant, read on for ShortOrder’s breakdown of the types of restaurant service formats.
First, the quick service restaurant, or QSR. Also known as “limited service” restaurants, QSRs are all about fast service and convenience. The price point of the average meal at a QSR is about $5, and the meal might include “combo” options for a better price with additional sides or drinks. QSRs have no table service, have simpler interior décor and ambience, and are often structured with a single service counter and/or a drive-thru. Although food at QSRs is known for being of a lower quality, a trend toward upscale food in QSRs is currently on the rise. Expanded menus with specialty items are becoming popular. Although QSRs can be difficult to manage due to a high turnover rate, they are easier to franchise. Popular restaurant equipment items in a QSR could include Gen2 fryers, Vulcan ranges, and commercial microwave ovens.
Full service restaurants, which can include both casual dining and fine dining, include full table service and a “sit-down” meal with a relatively extensive menu. There is a heavier emphasis on décor and ambience in a full service restaurant. Casual dining is often accompanied by a family-friendly atmosphere and professional but informal service staff. Fine dining has upscale ambience and a professional, knowledgeable wait staff. Casual dining restaurants can attract a wide customer base with better affordability and wide menu selection, but must compete with a wide range of full service restaurants. Fine dining establishments are known for their quality service, food, and wine, but may find it hard to compete with the lower price points of casual dining restaurants, QSRs, and fast casual restaurants in a poor economy.
The fast casual restaurant—a relatively modern term—is sort of a hybrid between quick service and casual dining. Fast casual is all about speed and convenience, but sets a price point between $7 and $10 per meal and aims for better service and higher-quality food. Recently, new fast casual restaurants have become more concept-focused, like the idea of the fast casual pizza restaurant, or fast casual potato dishes. The focus may also be on customizing your food order, so fast casual restaurants often have restaurant equipment like combiwave ovens to produce hot, customized orders quickly. Fast casual restaurants also have a wide customer base. However, like QSRs, fast casual establishments can also experience a lot of turnover.
More Restaurant Equipment and Tips from ShortOrder
While most restaurants do not require their employees to be certified food allergen experts, the right knowledge and training for your restaurant’s employees can make a crucial difference in reducing your liability. National Food Safety Month may be over, but safe food handling where it concerns food allergies is a year-round must. Ingredients that are commonly seen in almost every restaurant’s menu – milk, fish, wheat, nuts, shellfish, eggs – can have some uncommonly devastating effects on patrons with certain food allergies. It is estimated that over 15 million Americans are allergic to some of the most common kitchen ingredients, which could very well threaten their lives and your business in an emergency situation.
Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to ensuring that your staff is properly trained and educated about food allergies, so your guests can feel safe eating at your restaurant and your staff will feel comfortable knowing how to safely handle restaurant equipment to prepare allergy-sensitive food. The list of food allergy preparedness to-dos include:
A restaurant’s kitchen can be a hazardous place. It’s a fast-paced environment with all manner of dangerous areas and precision commercial restaurant equipment. Unfortunately, the best commercial restaurant equipment is also the equipment that is kept the sharpest or is able to heat the highest, so you and your kitchen staff need to exercise caution day in and day out in the back of house. Here are some guidelines to evaluate the level of safety and cleanliness in your kitchen so you can be productive and cautious at the same time.
Have a Cleaning and Safety Checklist
Sanitation and safety should the top priorities in the kitchen. Preventing food-borne illnesses and problems that stem from food allergies are major concerns for restaurants, and nipping those problems in the bud with a strict cleanliness policy is a must. Likewise, it is critical that you ensure that the kitchen is a safe environment. Creating a checklist for the end of the day can encourage good habits. A proper safety and cleaning checklist should include items like …
So, it’s wine o’ clock at your restaurant, and you have no idea what wine to serve your customers. Don’t worry; ShortOrder is here to help. We’ve put together a short four-step plan that will turn you into a wine guru.
1. Develop Your Own Wine Palate
If you have never been one for the taste of wine, we suggest starting out with a modest wine. For example, many white wine-only drinkers who want to try the world of red wine start out with a nice Malbec, because its flavor isn’t as bold as, say, a Merlot or Cabernet. Also, to help you truly experience all of the flavors, we suggest that you make sure to swish each sip around your mouth instead of just throwing it back.
Because there is less time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, restaurants are coping with a shorter holiday shopping season, and are looking for ways to make up for missed revenue. Fortunately, it looks like it is prime time to take advantage of the gift card. Overall, more than 80% of shoppers plan to buy at least one gift card during the holidays this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s gift-card spending survey. And as the economy improves, shoppers are moving away from retailer gift cards and willing to buy restaurant gift cards. Both full service and fast casual restaurants are faring well with this trend, with everyone from Olive Garden to Starbucks showing up as top contenders in the top 20 of a survey of most-desired gift cards by the Baltimore-based card-exchange company, GiftCardRescue.
So how can your restaurant capitalize on rise of the gift card? Here’s how to boost your restaurant’s gift card sales.
Here at ShortOrder, we like to keep an eye on what’s ahead in the food industry. From new restaurant equipment technology to fast casual trends to the best ways to promote your restaurant, we’re interested in keeping you informed and supplying you with the best restaurant equipment for success.
This week we’re looking at the top trends on the horizon for the upcoming year as brought to you by two major players in informing the food industry. Technomic, a leading food industry consulting and research firm, has put out a list of the top developments expected in 2014 based on data gathered from site visits across the U.S., interviews and surveys of operators, chefs, and consumers, qualitative data from its Digital Resource Library, and quantitative data from its MenuMonitor database. The National Restaurant Association (NRA), a leading business association for the restaurant industry, has also created a list of predictions for 2014. This one was culled from a survey of more than 1,200 members of the American Culinary Federation. The results of these two lists are mixed, with some overlapping trends and some disparities.
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