Prepare Your Restaurant for Fall & Everything it Brings

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Chefs in a Restaurant KitchenFall is here, and it’s time to get ready for the changes the autumn season brings. No, not the changes in the leaves; the ones that are relevant to the restaurant industry. That means:

  • Football season
  • Back-to-school
  • Colder weather
  • Holidays approaching

 

Football season means piles of guys coming in asking for beer, finger foods (usually fried), and a clear view of The Game on one (or several) flat screen TVs. At the minimum, you’re going to want to change the filters on your deep fryers and your ice machines in order to keep them producing the freshest food and drinks they can. Also, if you haven’t already switched to craft beer on tap, this is the best time to do it. (more…)

National Food Safety Month: Tips for a Safe Commercial Kitchen

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Restaurant Kitchen Chef Slicing VegetablesSeptember is National Food Safety Month, and we at Short Order want to honor that by putting up a short summary of the most basic food safety tips that we hope all of our clients and customers are following this month — and every month.

The Biggest Dangers in a Commercial Kitchen

There are two food-related dangers in a commercial kitchen that outweigh all others. The first is cross-contamination; getting one food into another in a way that leads to unsafe circumstances. The second is improper temperature control, which gives maleficent bacteria and viruses a chance to multiply and become quite dangerous.

What Foods Can Cross-Contaminate

There are two basic groups of foods that can cause problems with cross-contamination. The first group is the food that nasty viruses and bacteria grow on (or in). That means raw meat, raw fish, eggs, and pasteurized dairy products among others. The second group is the major allergens; milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and wheat. Any time you handle any of these foods, you need to follow strict protocols to keep them separated.

Keep Them Separated, Seriously.

This means cleaning surfaces and tools between each food — and possibly even having entirely different stations for processing ready-to-eat vs. cooked foods and allergenic vs. non-allergenic foods. It means storing your food in containers that seal without leaking, and putting the food most likely to contaminate in the event of a spill on the bottom shelves. It means packing contaminating foods in separate containers from others when transporting them.

Temperature Control

The most obvious element of temperature control in cooking is making certain that all of those aforementioned raw foods get cooked to a safe internal temperature before they’re consumed, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Temperature control also means keeping food out of the ‘danger zone’ between 40 degrees and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. That in and of itself is a complex task involving a myriad of protocols for transporting, storing, thawing, preparing, cooling, storing the leftovers, and reheating the leftovers (make sure everything reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds before serving).

Food safety is a critically important element of every restaurant’s function. All it takes is some people getting sick from eating at your restaurant to have catastrophic effects on your business. Follow the rules, and keep you customers and your employees safe this September and all year long.

What’s New in the Restaurant Adult Beverage Industry?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Different Kinds of Alcoholic Beverages on White BackgroundWe like to keep an eye on what foodservice industry research giant Technomic is talking about, and right now, it’s all about adult beverages. Let’s take a look at what Technomic predicted earlier this year and how their predictions panned out so far.

2014′s Predictions

At the beginning of the year, here’s what Technomic had to say about the direction of the adult beverage industry:

  • Savory flavors like tomato, vinegar, and spices were going to rise in popularity.
  • Premade cocktails were making a splash.
  • Tropical fruits including mango, along with pears, were becoming norms.
  • Craft beer and cider continues to grow in popularity as it has steadily for years.
  • Palate-cleansing spices like ginger, mint, and lemongrass were starting to explode.
  • Crossover drinks that combine elements of cocktail, beer, soda, and even exotic elements like milkshakes are appealing to the younger audience.

(more…)

5 Tips for Restaurant Catering Success: Supplies, Ideas, and More

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Buffet Food by Catering ServiceIf you run a restaurant, it can be a very profitable (but very scary) notion to try to get into the catering business. On the one hand, you are already making a bunch of food every day and catering basically just increases your audience. On the other hand, catering offers its own unique set of challenges and potential pitfalls.

Want to up your foodservice game? Here are some tips for success moving from restaurateur to caterer.

1. Decide On Your Service

There are lots of different kinds of catering, and each comes with a unique set of operations. For example, catering a business luncheon, a wedding, and a kindergarten class field trip are three very different kinds of catering. Before you make any other decisions, decide what kinds of events you intend to cater, making sure they match the kinds of food you can produce. (more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

NRA-Study_Tablet_Graphic_print

 

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

(more…)

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