How to Maximize Your Commercial Restaurant Equipment’s Layout

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Designing a Commercial Kitchen Layout with EquipmentArranging a commercial kitchen can feel like playing Tetris… but instead of directing falling blocks on a screen, you’re moving around giant pieces of restaurant equipment to create the perfect kitchen floorplan. That’s because commercial kitchens have to be laid out correctly, or even a couple of minor inefficiencies can compound to slow down service for every customer. For this reason, focusing on eliminating bottlenecks and creating a high-flow workspace is critical. So turn up that MIDI-generated theme song, take a good look at your kitchen, and maximize your layout with these tips.

“Behind You!”

If you have watched more than one episode of Top Chef, you have almost certainly heard someone crying out “Behind you!” as they pass behind other chefs with a dangerously hot tray of hors d’oeuvres. That’s because a professional kitchen requires people to move hot food, large equipment, sharp utensils, and other dangerous materials very quickly from one station to another; and a jostle at the wrong time can spell injury or disaster. Having a kitchen that allows enough space for that kind of transport is a must.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics, in short, is ‘the science of minimizing the number of steps needed to accomplish your work tasks.’ Designing your kitchen so that each employee needs to change stations as infrequently as possible is one key to keeping things efficient. That means that the arrangement of restaurant equipment should facilitate the order in which a string of tasks occur.

Energy Concerns

In the same way that restaurants need to be concerned about efficiency and ease of motion, they also need to think about keeping costs down. Part of that is keeping the refrigerator and freezer as far away from the ovens and cooking surfaces as possible, so cooling equipment doesn’t have to fight equipment that is giving off intense heat. Additionally, it’s best to keep all of the heat-producing items close together under the minimum number of vent hoods.

Adapt or Die

The last key to kitchen configuration is recognizing that your configuration will need to change as time goes by. Keeping your options open and not permanently locking things in place (for example, by sinking bench legs into the floor) is an important part of being able to adjust to circumstances.

 

Maximizing a kitchen’s layout is half science, half art, and all focused effort. Do it well and your bottom line (and chefs) will thank you.

How to Save Space in a Restaurant Kitchen

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Restaurant Kitchen With Dishes Stacked Under CounterThink all professional kitchens looks like the spaces on Iron Chef? Think again. In reality, the fact is that professional kitchens are often small and cramped; hardly the conditions you see on TV. What’s more, there are two types of restaurant kitchens: those that run like well-oiled machines, and those that are chaotic and messy. Fortunately, by using space logically, following the rules of ergonomics, and leveraging some equipment that can perform several functions, you can create an efficient kitchen no matter how much restaurant equipment you have filling your space.

Less Is More

Finding items that can do more than they appear is the key to saving kitchen space. Don’t have room for a food processor, blender, coffee grinder, bread maker, and mortar and pestle? One good tool (be it a food processor or a Hamilton Beach blender) can do all of those things and more. And as much as chefs love knives, a kitchen only needs a serrated knife, a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a slicing knife. And the right box grater can take the place of a mandolin, a spice grinder, and multiple different kinds of shredders at the same time. (more…)

Get Organized! Ways to Rethink Your Restaurant Shelving

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Here at Short Order, we’re all about making life in the kitchen easier. We know what kinds of equipment it takes to keep a restaurant kitchen running smoothly… and we don’t want to be shelve-ish about sharing our tips. Read on and see for your-shelf how you can stay organized with the right carts and shelving.

Restaurant-Carts-and-Shelving

Types of Shelving

  • Dunnage racks are best for keeping heavy items off the floor. They come in a variety of sizes from brands like Lakeside, Metro, and New Age.
  • Dry storage shelving kits are a versatile way to organize anything from pans to pickle jars. Strong, adjustable, and available in a variety of sizes, dry storage shelving is a good catch-all for your equipment and supplies.
  • Keg racks are suitable for… what else? Kegs. Though you can likely get away with putting your kegs on another type of shelving, keg racks are specifically made to support the weight and shape of kegs.
  • Display shelving is a great way to put your grab-and-go products front and center. Get those dry goods out from the storage room or behind the counter and place them where customers can see them.
  • Security carts are useful for items in your kitchen that need extra protection. An enclosed security cart is best for products like alcohol, and is especially useful for caterers who tend to work off-site and need a safe way to transport goods. Security carts are available as stationary units are mobile units.

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Guide to Buying Certified Restaurant Equipment

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

certified-equipmentBecause not all restaurant equipment is created equal, it’s important for your equipment to have the right certifications. But which one does your operation need? And what do all those acronyms stand for, anyway? Just FYI, here’s the DL on the NSF, FCE, CE, and more.

California Low Lead Qualified

Products bearing the California Low Lead Qualified certification are compliant with the California low lead law. To be compliant with this law, plumbing materials that convey or dispense water for human consumption are allowed no more than 0.2% lead in solder and flux and 0.25% in wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures, as determined by a weighted average.

CE (Certified European)

Equipment with the Certified European label complies with the requirements the European commission has for the import and sale of products.

Energy Star® Certification

An Energy Star® certified appliance is backed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and has been proven to perform as well as or better than a product of its kind that consumes a higher amount of energy. The certification was created in 1992 to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Today all kinds of appliances bear an Energy Star® label, from washing machines to ice makers.

EnerLogic™

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New Technologies Debuting at 2014 National Restaurant Association Show

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Are you attending the National Restaurant Association Show this year? The NRA Show plays host to some of the industry’s top chefs, suppliers, and experts. The 2014 National Restaurant Association Show will be held May 17-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, and will feature educational sessions led by foodservice industry experts, plus more than 2,000 exhibitors. There are expected to be a lot of interesting, innovative products showcased this year. At Short Order, we’re big on having the right tools and restaurant equipment for the job, whether you’re in the kitchen, at the bar, or front-of-house. Here are the places you’ll find kitchen and restaurant technology showcased at the 2014 NRA Show.

The Kitchen Innovations Pavilion – Featuring recipients of the Kitchen Innovations Award, booth #2440 in the South Hall will showcase supplies that are in the business of creating forward-thinking technologies that focus on solving problems in innovative ways.

The Technology Pavilion – Located in the North Hall, the Tech Pavilion will feature demonstrations and presentations by operators and suppliers. Topics range from restaurant operations efficiency to customer satisfaction.

Keurig’s New BOLT Carafe Brewing System – The coffee brewer manufacturer is set to unveil a new brewing system that makes a 64-oz. carafe of coffee. It was created specifically to cater to QSRs.

Booth #5575: Exploring Technology Industry Trends with Hudson Riehle – Riehle, an NRA executive, will talk about how QSRs can integrate technology to differentiate their businesses and improve customer satisfaction. Visit booth #5575 on Saturday at 2 PM.

Booth #5575: The In-Store Experience – This presentation will outline how technology is changing QSRs and fast casuals. With a look at innovative additions like touch screens, on-table ordering, apps, and revamped POS systems, there are lots of new ways restaurateurs can take advantage of growing technology trends. Visit booth #5575 on Sunday at 2 PM.

Booth #6229: NCR Corporation – This tech company is planning to discuss the ways any restaurant can leverage new technology to its advantage. NCR will be showcasing some of its solutions including software, hardware, and services geared toward the areas of quick service & fast casual, table service, mobility, back-office, and innovation.

Are you at the NRA Show? What are you looking forward to the most? Let us know by finding Short Order on Twitter or Facebook!

 

4 Things to Know Before Buying a Restaurant Work Table

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Eagle-Work-Table-T2424B-BSWhat, oh what, is a work table good for? Restaurant work tables quite literally support the kitchen’s operations, serving as surfaces for food preparation as well as storage for equipment and cookware. If you’re in the market for a new work table, don’t just buy any old stainless steel standard. Know these 4 things before you choose a restaurant work table for your kitchen.

1. What types of restaurant work tables are there?

Commercial work tables are available with risers or backsplash, or without. You should get a table with a backsplash if your worktable will be up against a wall. The backsplash acts as a barrier that prevents food or liquids from spilling between the wall and the table. Most work tables have undershelving, often adjustable in height, which is ideal for restaurant equipment storage.

2. What size work table should I get?

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Quick Service, Full Service, and Fast Casual: What’s the Difference?

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Quick Service, Fast Casual, and Full Service: What’s the DifferenceIf 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

Want to keep up with the latest in the restaurant and restaurant equipment industry? Keep reading What’s Cooking, and follow ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook!

 

How to Make an Inventory Form for Easier Ordering

Monday, November 4th, 2013

To make a restaurant kitchen run smoothly, there are a lot of factors that need to be accounted for. While having a smoothly-running front-of-house is a very important part of keeping customers coming back, it’s just as important for behind-the-scenes operations to run well. Restaurant equipment that functions optimally is one of those factors. With the right quality restaurant equipment, you’ll experience less downtime due to malfunctions, be able to increase rate of production, and produce dishes that are of a higher quality. In addition to great restaurant equipment, you’ll also need to keep the right amount of food and supplies in stock at all times.

There are two secrets to an efficient ordering process: an efficient inventory and an excellent inventory form. First, you should streamline your inventory process so you can take food inventory faster. It’s best to do inventory weekly. (While this may seem too frequent, it will save you time in the long run.) You should also be sure your space stays clean and tidy to help things go faster.

When it comes time to actually take inventory, you need an order form that will facilitate a quick, accurate count. Make one form each for each product or food category. Some might include:

1. Meat
2. Produce
3. Alcohol
4. Paper products
5. Cleaning supplies

Each order form should have at least 8 categories:

1. Description
2. Ordering unit
3. Price
4. Supplier
5. Weekday par level
6. Weekend par level
7. On-hand quantity
8. Order quantity

You’ll probably need to tailor your inventory form so it is specific to your restaurant, of course, but the idea is that you make it as comprehensive and orderly as possible. For example, “alcohol” could be further divided into “liquor,” “beer,” and “wine” and you might need to add a section for reminders to certain forms. When it comes to food forms, you should list each food product to mirror the order in which it is arranged on your shelves. (Dry, then refrigerated, then frozen is the most likely order.)

Restaurant Equipment and More from ShortOrder

How do you make inventory and ordering easier? What restaurant equipment do you use to make your kitchen run at its best? Find ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and give us your tips! You can also follow us and keep reading here at What’s Cooking to stay in the know about restaurant equipment and the restaurant industry.

Blender Equipment: All-in-One Efficiency and Healthy Recipes

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Among your business’ restaurant equipment, whether it be in a restaurant, coffee shop, or bakery, you may find a lonely, unused blender with untapped potential.  Sure, you break it out every once in a while to mince the garlic or speed up some vegetable purée, but there are so many advantages to a good blender that may motivate you to begin exploring your blending options.

Of the top advantages of having one of the best brands of blender equipment, the simple idea of efficiency is probably the first. By taking the all-in-one approach of combining ingredients, you eliminate the prep time involved in cooking three different courses with four different dips to match. Not only will combining raw (preferably local ingredients to ensure freshness) ingredients in one blender save prep time, it will also severely reduce the clean up involved afterwards. Without having to fire up the grill and get into the messy business of pots and pans, all you’ll have to worry about is washing the blender after a quick meal.

Another benefit of opting for a blended snack or meal is, of course, the nutritional benefit. By blending and puréeing your raw ingredients, you are facilitating a much easier digestive process and intake of nutrients and vitamins. The simple fact of the matter is that our chompers don’t physically break down food the way a high-powered blender can. The other nutritional benefit of creating a blended meal is retaining the maximum amount of proteins and nutrients within your food, much of which is denaturated or broken down when you introduce the element of heat through grilling, frying, boiling, or baking your vegetables. Blending food is also a fantastic way to get your day’s worth of vegetable and fruit servings without having to sit down and gnaw through it all over the span of a day.

Here are some of ShortOrder healthy blender recipes, easily customizable and full of purposeful nutrients:

    • Mean and Green: Try combining kale, green grapes, cucumber, and granny smith apple for a delectable combination of both fruits and vegetables. This eerily green concoction will provide guests with a burst of energy and improve general health.
    • Boost of Immunity: A mix of your citruses (grapefruit and oranges) with kiwi will pump you full of the Vitamins A and C you need to help guests combat the inevitable sickly seasons.
    • Hummus: Top-grade blenders are not restricted to making smoothies and fruit juices. Try throwing chickpeas in with a number of fresh ingredients (garlic, parsley, red pepper) to make a fresh, healthy hummus to serve with pita chips!
    • Soup: Puréeing vegetables such as broccoli or tomatoes for use in a warm, simple soup served with a side of bread can always be a great way for guests to enjoy something light and healthy.

 

Check out ShortOrder’s selection of blenders to see which fits your business’ menu the best! Have some favorite blender recipes of your own? Share them with ShortOrder via Twitter or Facebook!

The Gameday Essentials Checklist for Restaurants

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Has your restaurant seen an increase in action every Monday night since the football season started up? If so, there are a few appliances that your restaurant needs to have to be able to run a successful Monday night football event that will not only keep your customers happy, but keep them coming back for more.

The first item, and probably most important piece of restaurant equipment on our checklist, is a good draft beer cooler. Draft beer is more popular than ever, so it’s a good idea to keep plenty on tap to cater to guest’s tastes. ShortOrder suggests getting one with a 2+ keg capacity so that your customers have a few options to choose from. Plus, by using a Kegerator that has a multiple keg capacity, you’ll have a smaller chance of running out during a big game. After all, the last thing a football fan wants while watching their favorite football team play is to run out of beer.

Next on our list of essentials is a nice, heavy-duty commercial fryer. When you get a fryer from ShortOrder, you don’t have to worry about it breaking down in the middle of a football game when your customers are ordering a plethora of fried foods. If this happened, your customers would not be happy, and might change their gameday hotspot for watching the football game.

Last on our gameday checklist is the perfect commercial charbroiler. Any restaurant that caters to football fans knows that on Mondays it’s best to be fully stocked up on favorites like hamburgers and hot dogs, which are staples in the Monday night football fan’s diet. This is why you need a charbroiler that will grill a great hamburger every time.

So are you ready for next Monday based on our checklist? If not, contact ShortOrder today and let us take your kitchen to the next level.

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