A New Year Means a Clean Slate

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

restaurant in kitchen

Chipotle has been in the news a lot lately, and not for the reasons any restaurant would want! They’ve shut down and promised a “deep clean” of all locations and hope to recover from the PR beating they’ve had lately. What can you do to help prevent an outbreak of sick guests at your location? Start with a deep clean, clean often, establish a routine and train your employees.

The obvious place to start is with your equipment and prep areas. Clean those well, and keep them clean. Food code requires establishments to clean and sanitize food contact surfaces after each use. But we all know that! What about the other places that are often touched by customers and employees alike, and are often missed during daily cleaning?

  • Door Handles: They are used by every person entering your restaurant. It’s important to clean the front door handles, but don’t forget the other ones too. Door handles like those to offices, storage areas, refrigerators, restrooms and the back door are equally as important to wipe down daily.
  • Community Areas: Community tables, chairs and benches all need cleaning and sanitizing. They are all touched often and can harbor bacteria. Don’t forget the arm rests and bottoms too.
  • Light Switches: Though the switches in the main dining area may only be used in the morning and evening, those that are in storage closets, restrooms and offices might be used much more frequently.
  • Railings: You might have them next to steps and stairs, you might have a banister on your second floor that overlooks the lower level. They are used frequently and should be cleaned frequently.
  • Tables for your customers: Establish a cleaning routine that is done between each customer. You can use a disinfecting spray in a marked bottle and disposable towels or pre-treated cleaning and sanitizing towels, whichever works best for your restaurant. Make sure it’s clear which roles in the staff are responsible for cleaning duties.

As important as the initial training is, it’s also important to revisit the steps and expectations often. Make sure your employees, both new and old, are familiar with their cleaning and sanitizing responsibilities.

As a manager, remember illnesses like Norovirus are highly contagious and can spread fast, especially in a restaurant setting. If one of your employees is having intestinal issues, play it safe and send them home. Then, make sure the surfaces on this list get a thorough going-over that day.

It just takes a few minutes to clean and sanitize around your restaurant and it can do wonders to prevent the spread of illness.

2016 Food Trends – Should You be Trendy?

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Last month, the National Restaurant Association came out with the top food trends of 2016. Many of the trends involved local sourcing and environmental sustainability, which was similar to the trends in 2015, and the year before that, but they note that trends tend to evolve slowly over time. Trends that are more lifestyle changes, like environmental sustainability, are even more slow to evolve.

In case you didn’t see the list, we posted it here for you:

Top food trends 2016

Now that you know what’s “trendy”, do you choose to jump on this bandwagon or stick with what you’re already doing? Some of this decision will be based upon what your restaurant is like. Are you focused on home-cooked comfort food? Some people say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” That might be true, but you might benefit from sourcing your meat and vegetables locally. You might already be doing this. (Aren’t you trendy?!) If not, and you decide to start sourcing locally, there are considerations. If you’re sourcing locally, you’ll have the freshest food – and you’ll want to keep it that way! You might need to add additional refrigerated storage. Ideally you’ll only order what you need in a short time-frame, so maybe an undercounter refrigerator is all you need to add to the mix. If you’re going to be busy, you might add a bigger two door reach in refrigerator. Keep in mind, many vegetables do not need to be stored in the refrigerator. So, maybe you just need to add a few more shelves. Easy! Your food will taste fresh and you’ll be helping your local community – it’s a win-win!

What about healthful kids meals? Should you say out with the chicken tenders and in with whole grain pasta? I’m pretty sure chicken tenders aren’t your only dish that requires a deep fryer! If so, I say make the change and save the space in your kitchen! Parents love the option of having healthier items to choose from on the kids menu, so even if you keep the fried chicken, consider adding more healthy choices. Adding a new menu item that uses stuff you currently have on hand should be a quick change that could increase your business!

The tenth trend is house-made/artisan ice cream. While delicious, do you have what you need to keep your ice cream frozen? While you probably don’t need an 8 flavor ice cream dipping cabinet, you might need additional freezer space. You’re not going to be able to feed a lot of guests on 1 quart of ice cream. Better free up some space before you’re forced to serve artisan cream.

Number sixteen, ethnic-inspired breakfast items – we’re hoping that’s a fancy way of saying “breakfast tacos!” Here in Texas, we have tacos for breakfast. lunch and dinner. We feel like the rest of the country is seriously missing out. If there ever was a trend to latch onto, this is the one! What’s it doing way down at number 16 anyway? This one should be number one!

Last, but not least is food trucks. I know here in Austin we’ve been eating out of food trucks for years! It’s a great, affordable way for aspiring chefs to get their start. Wanna jump on this trend? (warning: shameless plug ahead!) ShortOrder.com has all the equipment you need to get started, and has outfitted quite a few of these restaurants on wheels. This trend is another one that needs to stick around. It’s an exciting change to the restaurant industry and a way around the financial roadblocks that are often found when trying to achieve your dreams of restaurant ownership.

What other trends are you seeing that didn’t make the list? Join the conversation on our Facebook page!

A Happy Staff Leads to a Great Customer Experience

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Employees-in-Kitchen_Waverbreakmedia-Ltd-Copyright_ThinkstockThe holiday season is here! Let the hustle and bustle begin! Rushed customers at lunch, and worn out customers at dinner leads to a staff that has to be at the top of their game. How do you make sure your customers have a great experience every time? According to Matt Hood, Habit Burger’s chief marketing officer, it starts with nurturing the staff. He shared five ways to nurture the staff and improve the customer experience with the National Restaurant Association in this article. We’ve hit the highlights below:

2010 Food Trends and Your Restaurant

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

The Food Channel recently released their list of predictions about the Top 10 Food Trends for 2010. At the top of the list? Basic ingredients — “keeping it real,” they call it, adding that there will be a shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking thanks to people having more time than money because of the economy. Another prediction on the list is for growth in grocery stores. There’s no “glory” in using name-brand products anymore — generic products have actually become their own brands.

That covers what’ll be on the table at home, but what about at restaurants? The Food Channel calls it “Experimental Nation:” People are redefining what it means to go out to eat, so restaurant concepts are in flux. They predict that restaurants with concepts having to do with DIY and “fresh” will “do well.” Since it’s all about experimentation, they note that many concepts will come and go as consumers decide what they like.

Number four on the list is “all about flavor delivery.” They say we’re defining a “new Global Flavor Curve” in America because of the new flavors immigrants have brought to the table. Think of your grandparents or great-grandparents: Chances are they immigrated to America from overseas — and they probably brought with them their own ways of making food. Mixing our heritage into American food can result in some creative dishes and unique flavors. As the Food Network says, the “presentation of food, the flavor, and the experimentation is coming into its own in 2010.” They call it “American, the New Ethnic.”

  • More highlights from the list of 2010 food trends:
  • Food vetting. People want to know where their food came from.
  • People and companies will become sustainable because they genuinely want to make a difference.
  • Food with added nutrients to increase nutritional value.

Is  your restaurant going to incorporate some of the trends included in this list? If you need restaurant equipment to make new dishes on  your menu, don’t miss our impressive selection of Vulcan ranges, Hobart slicers, Manitowoc ice machines and more.

Preparing Your Restaurant for a Health Inspection

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Restaurant health inspections are just a simple way to prevent your kitchen from being attacked by illnesses. It’s a way to keep your customers happy and healthy. If you have one coming up, here are some helpful tips on what to do before the restaurant inspector even arrives.

What to Do Before an Inspector Visits

Without a health inspection, your restaurant could fall victim to a food borne-illness outbreak that could ruin your establishment’s reputation and even force you to close your doors.

The proper strategy for a successful health inspection is to be ready for an examination at any time. This means that you and your managers should become inspectors and conduct weekly, in-house examinations before health inspectors arrive.

When conducting a self-assessment, you should use the same form — or a similar form — that your health department uses and put yourself in the health inspector’s place.

Your self-inspection should include walking into your establishment from the outside to get an outsider’s impression.

After you inspect your operation, hold a 10-minute briefing with kitchen staff to review any problems. This step will help convey the importance of food safety to staff members.

If your staff includes employees for whom English is a second language, ask a bilingual employee to translate the findings to them so they also understand how important cleanliness is to the success of your restaurant.

Your self-inspection priorities for kitchen employees should include: food temperature, awareness of food types and hand washing.

Temperature guidelines include checking the temperature of products when they arrive, when they are stored and when they are served. Doing this will reduce food borne-illness outbreaks by 70 percent.

Food-type guidelines are divided into three categories: beef and beef blood; chicken; and all other types of food. These three categories can never touch each other during preparation.

The importance of hand washing should be re-enforced by posting signs at all kitchen sinks and in employee restrooms.

Train your managers to ensure that they are up-to-date on the latest food-safety techniques. Restaurant employees can use the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ServSafe food-safety training program.

Review your local health code for any special, local requirements.

Another way to influence the outcome of your restaurant health inspection is to get involved politically. Join your state’s health-code-revision committee to give a restaurateur’s perspective. Involve senior staff on such committees as well.

These helpful tips were put together by the National Restaurant Association.

Thanks to all who contribute!

Restaurants May Be Required to Disclose Nutrition Info

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Some restaurants may soon be required to disclose nutrition information on their menu. It’s all a part of a campaign recently launched by The Coalition for Responsible Nutrition Information. They are hoping to pass national legislation that would result in chain restaurants and other restaurants using a uniform standard to present nutrition information to patrons.

Since healthy eating habits and weight loss are quickly becoming a concern for many consumers, restaurants that provide consistent nutrition information will be giving people more control over what they’re eating. Basically, the thought is that the more consumers know about what they’re eating at restaurants, the better able they’ll be to make healthy choices at restaurants.

This proposal is known as the LEAN Act, and if passed, it’d give restaurant patrons a great amount of information that they can use to make better choices when they dine out. Some information that would be included: trans fats, cholesterol, carbohydrates, protein, calories and sodium.

So of course comes the question of where this information will be located in restaurants. It must be given in writing in a convenient way that fits in with the restaurant. For example, sit-down restaurants may put the nutrition information on their menu, while fast-food restaurants may display nutrition information on a poster or electronic kiosk.

Restaurant Equipment and Healthy Eating

Restaurant equipment and healthy eating go hand-in-hand. If you’re a restaurant owner who is selling healthy food options, you’ll need quality restaurant equipment to get the job done. Whether you’re a salad restaurant in need of Hobart food cutters or walk-in refrigerators, or a sandwich and smoothie shop in need of a commercial work table or commercial blender, ShortOrder.com has you covered. Start shopping now to get everything you need for your restaurant.

Restaurants Redefine the Salad

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Restaurants around the country are redifining the salad in order to give customers what they want. And they don’t just want a plate of iceberg lettuce — customers want a salad that’s filling, healthy and on par with an entree.

Not too long ago, salads were merely ordered as a side, or when someone didn’t see anything on a restaurant menu that they liked. A last resort, a way to appear healthy, ordering a salad is now neither of those things because consumers really, truly are paying attention to eating healthier meals.

A recent article in QSR Magazine talks about this new, growing trend in restaurants. The article noted that Technomic Information Services’ “Salad Category Report” showed 55 percent of consumers said they ordered a salad most of the time or every time when they dine away from home. This report also showed that if a salad is unique, new and sounds appealing, 43 percent of consumers are likely to purchase it.

Hobart food cutterFast food restaurants are even working to meet the demands of consumers by offering affordable salads. It’s a good move for fast food restaurants, since the National Restaurant Association’s 2008 Restaurant Industry Forecast found that entree salads are growing in popularity, according to 59 percent of quick-service operators. What’s more is that they found 76 percent of consumers are trying to eat more healthfully now than they did two years ago.

Restaurant Equipment to Make Salads

Restaurant equipment to make salads is a necessity — just having fresh, delicious ingredients isn’t enough to get the job done. If you’re serving up tasty salads at your restaurant, you’ll need a way to keep the carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, sprouts, dressings and anything else you’ll have on hand at a safe temperature. Kolpak walk-in refrigerators can get that job done. And to give chefs and restaurant staff members a place to chop and dice ingredients, you’ll want a quality commercial work table. Hobart food cutters are also worth considering, as they could help get food prep work done more quickly and efficiently. Get the lowest prices on restaurant equipment at ShortOrder.

Bon Jovi Restaurant May Open Next Year

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Jon Bon Jovi is getting into the restaurant business. Rumor has it the rocker is set to open a restaurant in East Hampton, New York called Blue Parrot.

An actor and musician, Bon Jovi is also known for his charitable work. Bon Jovi has helped such organizations as the Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross. By opening a restaurant, Bon Jovi will join the list of other celebrities-turned-restaurateurs like Michael Jordan, Robert de Niro, Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lopez.

Bon Jovi’s restaurant will open in summer 2009 according to the New York Post, though not many other details are known about the endeavor since Bon Jovi’s spokespeople are keeping things hush-hush.  What is known is that Bon Jovi is teaming up with investor Ron Perelman to open the Blue Parrot restaurant. Blue Parrot is a Tex-Mex restaurant that’s been closed for about two years, but when it was open, it was known for its karaoke nights. No word on whether Bon Jovi will reinstate karaoke nights and sing for patrons at Blue Parrot, but it’s safe to say fans are hoping they’ll be treated to a rockin’ rendition of “Blaze of Glory” as they eat fajitas and enchiladas.

Restaurant Kitchens See More Women Chefs

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Being a chef has long been a boys’ club, but not as of late. As more and more women are going to culinary school and catering college to pursue a career as a chef, restaurant kitchens are starting to see a growing number of women chefs.

Restaurant Kitchens: More Women Chefs Running the Show

Restaurant kitchens can be aggressive, intense environments, but women chefs aren’t intimidated. A recent article in the UK’s Times Online talks about how female chefs are taking the restaurant world by storm. In fact, female enrollment is up at culinary schools and catering schools. One of the largest catering colleges in the UK, Bournemouth and Poole College, is seeing a 50:50 enrollment of men and women. Last year, the enrollment was 75 percent male.

The article profiles a few notable women chefs who have opened their own restaurants or made impressive accomplishments while working in restaurant kitchens. Clare Smyth, for example, was made head chef of Gordon Ramsay’s three Michelin-starred restaurant in Chelsea when she was just 29 years old. And there’s Anne-Sophie Pic, the recipient of a three-star award for her restaurant in southeastern France. Pic was actually the first French female chef to receive this award in 50 years.

Restaurant Kitchens: Women Chefs Bringing Skills to the Table

So are women chefs bringing more to the table? Chef Thomasina Miers, owner of London restaurant Wahaca, feels that women are more meticulous in the kitchen than men. Miers further explains that women chefs stress the look of a dish being as good as the taste of the food. In the restaurant kitchen, this is a valuable asset that diners surely appreciate.

Commercial Kitchen Equipment For Chefs

No doubt, women chefs — and men chefs — prefer to work with reliable, quality commercial kitchen equipment. ShortOrder.com has so many excellent products for restaurant owners and chefs. Commercial kitchen equipment — like Vulcan ranges, Frymaster fryers and Manitowoc ice machines, will be able to stand up to the demands of restaurant kitchens. And the commercial kitchen equipment will meet the standards of professional chefs.

American Craft Beer Fest Hits Boston

Monday, July 7th, 2008

American Craft Beer Fest Means Summer

American Craft Beer Fest, which is this weekend at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, Massachusetts, marks the official arrival of summer. The largest and most diverse celebration of American Craft Beer on the East Coast; the festival brings over 75 breweries and over 300 craft beers to the city of Boston for all to taste and enjoy.

American Craft Beer This Weekend

The American Craft Beer festivities begin on Friday, June 20th at 6:00 pm and draft beers by brewers from all over the country will be flowing. Attendees will be able to enjoy beers from brewers such as Boston Beer Company, Clipper City Brewing, Flying Dog Brewery, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Michelob Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and Terrapin Beer Company.

American Craft Beers Are Wonderful Additions

Restaurants that attend the American Craft Beer Fest will be able to learn all about proper beer and food pairings from Chef Dave Lieberman. Lieberman hosts the Food Network series “Good Deal with Dave Lieberman, Eat This and Dave Does.” Lieberman also will focus his talk on the important political and social issues related to food.Beverage Air Draft Beer Cooler

Many other knowledgeable people in the world of American craft beer will also be on hand and speaking about how America is becoming the best place in the world to drink beer, as well as how to team up beer with the proper cheeses to make an unforgettable drinking and dining experience.

Share the Taste of American Craft Beer

Once you attend the American Craft Beer Fest, you are probably going to want to share the wonderful tastes of these brewed creations with your customers. We recommend serving them cold from you Beverage-Air Draft Beer Cooler and in a nice frosty mug. Oh and in case you don’t have one, Beverage-Air makes a great glass froster, too.

Just one little reminder from ShortOrder.com before you head out to enjoy all 300 of those American craft beers … please drink responsibly.

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