Pros and Cons of Recycling at Your Restaurant

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Garbage and Recycling BinsRecycling: we know it’s good for the Earth, and thus by extension for humankind, but is it the right move for your restaurant? The decision isn’t as easy as you might think.

About 3 of 5 American restaurants recycle at least some part of the waste they produce; most of it in the form of plastic and cardboard packaging, or compost. Very rarely are major items such as unusable restaurant equipment, tables and chairs, or other durable goods recycled, even if they could be.

Right now, the most significant predictor of whether or not a given restaurant recycles is the quality of their municipal recycling program. But even in places where the program is excellent, there are several reasons a restaurant may decide against it.

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The FDA Food Code and Your Restaurant: What You Need to Know

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Chef Preparing a SaladThere are a lot of rules in the 2013 Updated Food Code published by the FDA. Most of them are commonsense rules, but there are some very important bits that every restaurateur should know for fostering a safe work environment, safe storage and handling, cleaning restaurant equipment and much more.

The HACCP

The FDA strongly encourages the creation of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. Essentially, this is a document printed out and available to all of your kitchen workers that details what how to correctly respond to any form of common kitchen emergency. The FDA offers a useful document called “Managing Food Safety” that explains precisely how to execute this process. Having an HACCP isn’t mandated nationwide yet, but a good number of municipalities require it within their borders. (more…)

Fresh Convenience Store Food on the Rise

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Woman Choosing Drink at Convenience StoreMost of us remember our neighborhood convenience store. Before the days of instant streaming and iPhone games, there was sitting curbside in front of the 7-Eleven with a Slurpee brain freeze and a newly opened pack of gummies, wasting away the hot summer days. Things have changed a lot since then, and convenience stores have taken notice. More and more people these days are concerned with healthy living, cutting artificial flavors, gluten, and carbs from their diets. Fewer people are buying steamer rack hot dogs and increasingly opting for packaged salads and fruit instead.

So what happens to the Twinkies and potato chips of the c-store world? Some convenience stores are now offering fresher and more sophisticated food selections to keep up with the growing demand. These stores serve up a plethora of “food prepared on-site” items like sushi, prosciutto and cheese cracker snacks, and made-to-order sandwiches. A recent study found that a 2.4% increase of consumers cited “food prepared on-site” as motivation to visit convenience stores. (more…)

5 Documents You Should Have in Your Restaurant’s Kitchen

Monday, July 7th, 2014

chef-kitchen-clipboardRestaurant kitchens are fast-paced work environments, which means things can get pretty hectic. Having all your restaurant’s essential documents readily available ensures that operations run smoothly and safely. So, which documents are most important to have in your kitchen?

1.    Licenses and Permits

The most important documents to keep accessible in your restaurant are your various licenses and permits. Many state governments mandate that a food service license and sellers permit remain visible in the restaurant. Additionally, most states require that employees have food handler permits, which should be kept on file in the restaurant. If you aren’t sure about what license and permits you need to have, check with your local or state health department.

2.    Employee Handbook

Employee handbooks shouldn’t just be distributed when you hire new employees. Having an employee handbook nearby can aid your employees with any questions they might have about standard operating procedures, job descriptions, or dress codes. This establishes clear expectations for both kitchen managers and employees.

3.    Daily Operations Checklists (more…)

Restaurant Technology: It’s Here to Stay

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

In this day and age consumers rely heavily on technology to do their daily activities. In fact, according to a study by the National Restaurant Association, 63% of consumers use technology to enhance their dining experience by using it to make reservations, search for restaurant locations and reviews, place in-app and online orders, check out menu items, and look up nutritional information.

Even with this data, many restaurant owners have been slow to implement technology into their business plans due to possible risks, high costs, and fear that this might be a fleeting trend. However, this is no trend; technology is here to stay, and here’s why.

1. Brand Awareness and Engagement

Technology provides a unique opportunity for businesses because it allows them to reach out to potential customers through various mediums such as mobile applications, social networks, and online orders. By using one or a combination of these mediums, a restaurant can create a positive consumer experience and develop real relationships with the consumer.

2. Quick Turnaround

If you utilize technology correctly, you can create a quicker turnaround time for orders than ever before. If you develop a user-friendly restaurant application, customers can place orders before they come in, speeding up transactions and ultimately generating more revenue.

3. Efficiency

Besides creating a quick turnaround time in your restaurant, technology can also influence consumers’ decisions to come to your restaurant, boosting your operational efficiency. For example, you could incorporate a third screen in your restaurant that might include daily promotions or specials that can be changed quickly, and with no additional cost. This type of advertising is more eye-catching that traditional printed materials, and could result in more point of purchase sales. Although investing in such screens can be expensive up front, they can pay for themselves very quickly.

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Summer 2014 Restaurant Prep Checklist

Monday, June 9th, 2014

summer-restaurant-prepMemorial Day weekend has kicked off summer festivities, and restaurants all over the nation should be looking forward to busier summer days. Be prepared for the hectic hotter months and make the most of the season with this short summer restaurant preparation checklist from Short Order:

1. Finish Any Last Minute Spring Cleaning

If you still haven’t gotten around to scheduling a cleaning day for your restaurant, do so before the busy summer season hits. Take a few days to freshen up your interiors and do the heavy cleaning that doesn’t get accomplished during daily sidework. For example, wait stations often accrue a lot of dirt and grime and could use a thorough cleaning, and any carpeting that gets a lot of foot traffic should be shampooed. Take the time to properly deep clean frequently-used restaurant equipment like fryers and stoves.

2. Service Your Commercial Restaurant Equipment

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2014 Summer Hiring Survey: Results Are In

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Employees-in-Kitchen_Waverbreakmedia-Ltd-Copyright_ThinkstockEarlier this month, Snagajob announced the results of its 2014 Summer Hiring Survey that examines hourly employees in the hospitality, retail and foodservice industries. Of the 250 employers surveyed, 36% of the respondents were from businesses with fewer than 50 employees, while 39% of respondents represented companies that were substantially larger with more than 500 employees. Below you’ll find the most pertinent information from the survey.

  • According to this report, the number of youth that are employed between the ages of 16-24 years old will increase between April and May by more than 2 million (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • President Obama’s proposed federal minimum wage for 2014 increased from $7.25 to $10.10, but based on this survey, the average wage for the upcoming summer months will be $10.39 (a 29-cent difference).
  • (more…)

The Art of Getting Positive Restaurant Reviews

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

reading-restaurant-reviewsThe food and beverage industry is fraught with competitors and in today’s digitally connected culture, every restaurant patron with a smartphone may as well be considered a journalist or food critic. It’s no secret that the importance of word-of-mouth marketing is on the rise, and positive restaurant reviews can have a direct impact on a restaurant’s yearly revenue. People now trust the opinions of others online – not opinions of professional critics, but rather those of friends and peers. Top-of-the-line restaurant equipment and experienced chefs in the back of house do not always guarantee positive reviews from patrons.

Before we delve into the good ways that a restaurant can garner positive reviews, we’ll start with the absolute no-nos. For reasons that should be apparent, do not take it upon yourself to write your own reviews. No matter how much you consider yourself a literary master, consumers can usually tell when reviews are faked by someone who obviously works there. There are also negative repercussions to paying someone to write positive reviews for you. For example, Yelp has created a consumer alert that lets searchers know when they’ve caught a business paying for fake reviews. Authenticity and transparency are key when dealing with reviews and customer communication.

So, how do you get real, positive reviews? ShortOrder has some actionable tips for restaurants looking to increase their number of positive reviews:

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Lean, Green Manitowoc Machines Get 2014 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Energy-Star-Manitowoc-id-0452We have good news for all of you environmentally-conscious restaurateurs: Manitowoc Foodservice was recently named by the EPA as 2014 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year and given the Sustained Excellence Award. Yes indeed, one of our very favorite ice machine manufacturers has been recognized for its continuing concern for the environment and dedication to excellent equipment. Manitowoc, known for its superior kitchen equipment and ice makers, has consistently exhibited a commitment to environmental protection and energy efficiency while producing quality products. Manitowoc has been an ENERGY STAR Partner since 2001, with an ENERGY STAR portfolio comprised of 556 products, some of which are the Manitowoc ice machines we carry here at ShortOrder.

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Trending Spring Vegetables for Your Restaurant Menu

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

fresh vegetables‘Tis the season for lush, leafy greens and vibrant vegetables to make their appearance on restaurant menus nationwide. Spring begins during National Nutrition Month, providing a great opportunity for restaurants to tweak their menus in accordance with the trend. The long list of vegetables that flourish in abundance during spring ranges from artichokes to zucchini, meaning restaurants have the utmost flexibility and a great arsenal of ingredients when firing up the restaurant equipment and concocting new spring recipes. Here, we seek to highlight some of the trendiest spring vegetables of the season:

1. Kale
This leafy green has seen a tremendous rise in popularity over the past few years, and it doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. Besides being nutrient-rich and full of delectable flavor, kale has the added benefit of being an extremely versatile (more…)

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