Introducing Smallwares on ShortOrder.com

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Smallwares Food CanisterShortOrder.com has been in the business of providing high-quality, low-cost restaurant equipment since 2007, and we’re proud of the products we offer and the service we provide. That said, we are always looking for ways to improve our service and offer additional quality products for the food service industry. In an effort to expand our product offerings, we proudly announce the introduction of smallwares!

What is a ‘Smallware’?

Smallwares are the small items that every kitchen needs in order to function. We are moving beyond just kitchen equipment and adding a variety of vital and useful items, including:

  • Plumbing Supplies: Faucets, water filters, pre-rinse lines, drain baskets, and more.
  • Disposables: Plastic cutlery and dinnerware, food wrap, take-out containers, etc.
  • First Aid, Personal Safety, and Food Safety Supplies
  • Janitorial Supplies: From brooms and mops to cleansers to soap dispensers and beyond.
  • Kitchen Supplies: Including aprons, food scales, cutlery, timers, serving cards, and so on.
  • Food Service Equipment: From condiment pumps to overhead warmers and more.
  • Dining Room Supplies: Flat- and dinner-ware, beverage and napkin dispensers, etc.
  • Restaurant Hardware: From power cords and switches to trash bin coasters and beyond.
  • Restaurant Furniture: Child seats and crowd control barriers.

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Get Ready for Kickoff: The Necessary Restaurant Equipment for Football Season

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Tailgating Football FansFootball Season starts September 4th — is your restaurant ready? The football crowd has its own dynamic and its own wants and needs; if your restaurant equipment is not up to the demands they are going to place on it, you may be leaving money on the table. So what exactly do you need?

Fryers

There is nothing the football crowd loves more than deep-fried food. Hot wings, chicken fingers, onion rings, french fries, and mozzarella sticks; these should all be a snap for your kitchen to pump out when the guys arrive for their ritual of beer and carb-coated snacks dipped in boiling oil. Fryers should be easy to access and well-maintained, because they are going to be seeing a lot of use this season.

Kegerators

Did we mention beer? There’s a good reason for that; it’s always been popular among the football crowd. This season, it’s going to get cranked up another notch as craft beers become the standard in many places from the Pacific Northwest to the Alamo. Kegerators combine the fresh-from-the-fridge taste of a bottle with the direct-to-the-mug convenience of draught — be sure you’re equipped.  (more…)

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.

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