Time to Buy a New Ice Machine? What to Look for

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Two Different Ice MachinesIce machines are one of the ‘grunts’ of the kitchen, constantly in use and long-suffering. It is easy to just keeping using yours until it breaks down and you have to buy a new one. But how do you deal with the sudden lack of ice? Is there a better way to handle the switch?

Signs You Need a New Ice Machine

Ice machines seem simple enough on the surface – their main function after all is to make ice. But there are a surprising number of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to upgrade:

  • Energy efficiency gets better the newer your machine. In some cases, the cost of upgrading might be made up within a couple of years of energy savings, which makes it nearly a no-brainer.
  • Sheer volume might inspire you to upgrade if your old machine just can’t keep up with your customers’ needs.
  • Cubic footage is always at a premium in a commercial kitchen, and finding out that there’s a machine that makes the same amount of ice in half the space is huge.
  • Types of ice vary a surprising amount, and if you find that a new twist to your menu or prep process means suddenly you need more crushed than cubes or flake than blocks, a new machine can be the only answer.
  • Maintenance schedules are the final and most common reason why an ice machine gets replaced; when you reach a point where predicted maintenance costs outstrip new machine costs, the choice is obvious.

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How to Create a Zero-Waste Commercial Restaurant Kitchen

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Short-Order_Compost-RecyclingRestaurant kitchens are notoriously wasteful. Not only does almost every piece of food come with some form of organic waste that you don’t actually want to cook with, but most of it also comes wrapped in plastic, which is wrapped in plastic again, and then in a cardboard box (which is itself sometimes wrapped in plastic!). All that plastic and cardboard can be recycled, but the organic waste has to be composted. So what do you do with everything else? Follow these steps to cut down on waste in your restaurant’s kitchen.

Step 1: Proper Prior Planning

The first step to a zero-waste kitchen is to consider what your kitchen does that produces waste in the first place. Trash and food waste are the two greatest culprits, and you should have a plan to deal with both on-site. Composting non-meat food waste is a no-brainer. Recycling what can be recycled is as well. However, what few people realize is that, in most metropolitan areas, there are recycling facilities that can handle 90% of post-consumer waste between them. Sit down and think about what you have that cannot be composted or recycled, and make a list. (more…)

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…)

Another Ice-O-Matic Ice Machine Joins the Energy Star Family

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Iceomatc_ICEU220HAThe folks at Ice-O-Matic, makers of marvelous ice machines and dispensers, have outdone themselves yet again on the energy efficiency front. The Ice-O-Matic brand already has plenty of ice machines that are Energy Star-approved, and has recently added another to the lineup: the ICEU226A. This space-saving, ice-making beauty saves as much or more energy than its counterpart ice machines of the same capacity. In addition to its superior energy-saving capabilities, the ICEU226A has a production rate of up to 251 pounds of ice per day, interior anti-microbial protection, and an anti-corrosion stainless steel exterior. No wonder Energy Star gave it the seal of approval. (more…)

A Lunch Break with the Hobart Corporation

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Hobart Equipment | Short OrderAt Short Order when we work hard, we have to treat ourselves to a lunch break now and then. Today, join What’s Cooking as we learn about the Hobart Corporation.

Before the Kitchen Appliances

With a hundred years of experience combined with an innovative track record, the Hobart Corporation has a story that is compelling and deserving of recognition. It all began in 1897, when the Hobart Electric Manufacturing Company was formed. A strategic and pivotal backbone for the company, it allowed the company to pursue and invest in various product lines such as the electric meat choppers in 1905 or the Model A-80 Mixer, which dominated the commercial mixer market. The company would reorganize itself in 1913 as the Hobart Manufacturing Company and sales would go beyond an impressive $1 million mark that same year. But the Hobart Corporation has never stopped innovating. It would go on to create a whole list of unique products like the first potato slicer, the world’s largest commercial mixer, the first electric slicer, and the classic SaniQuick Cold Water Glasswasher.

Longevity Is Spelled “H-O-B-A-R-T”

The best part about all of these great products is their longevity. Take for example the Hobart Mixer. Back in 1990, the Hobart Corporation recognized the durability of the product with a contest: “Oldest Running Hobart Mixer.” The contest drew 6,000 entries and the winning mixer was a Hobart mixer that was built in 1919 that was originally built and sold to Von Hatten’s Bakery in Fort Smith, AR. And this is just one of the many products that Hobart Corporation prides itself on.

A Variety of Product Lines

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Houston, We Have Contact: How to Clean Food Contact Surfaces

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Short-Order_Chef-CleaningIf there ever was a spotless way to cook and prep food, it would be something along the lines of ‘cooking in outer space.’ You wouldn’t have to worry about any cutting boards to clean or messy paper towels, and all your food would be floating across the cabin of your spacecraft. After all, you never hear astronauts say, “Houston, did you forget to pack the detergent and bleach?” If only we could cook and eat our food like astronauts in space.

Alas, our gravity-bound environment forces us to deal with the food contact surfaces that we use every single day. Bacteria and diseases are more prevalent than ever and proper sanitization and cleaning are vital to keeping a healthy lifestyle. Here are some down-to-Earth steps for keeping your kitchen countertops clean and sanitized.

Step 1:

The first step is to clean and give your surface a good scrub down. This is the hard work such as scraping and wiping down the food- contact surfaces. If any type of raw meat touched the surface in question, grab a pair of rubber gloves to prevent the spread of salmonella or other bacteria and scrub away.  (more…)

Guide to Buying Restaurant Utility Carts

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Luxor 100S3 Utility CartsWhat can you use a utility cart for? Use your imagination. Towering cakes? You bet. Floral arrangements? For certain. Laundry loads? Yes indeed. There are utility carts of all shapes and sizes, made for all kinds of businesses. So where to start when buying a utility cart? Consider the 3 C’s: capacity, casters, and construction.

Capacity

What will your cart be holding? Will it primarily support pastries, or bear the weight of bussing buckets and dishes? All that poundage can add up pretty quickly, so make sure you account for the weight capacity of your cart. Depending on size and construction, utility carts can hold and evenly distribute between 200 and 1,000 pounds.

Casters

What’s a cart without its casters? Yep. Just a bunch of shelves. Utility carts are available both with and without locking brakes, as well as with ball-bearing casters and swivel casters.

Construction

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Top Tips for Rebranding Your Restaurant

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Let’s say you have all the right restaurant equipment, a great wait staff, and a decent customer base, but maybe your business isn’t seeing as much traffic as you need. It might be time to consider rebranding your restaurant. Rebranding consists of changing your marketing concept in order to promote awareness and increase revenue. For example, Domino’s Pizza garnered a lot of attention in 2009 by rebranding via its “Oh Yes We Did” campaign, which was focused on redesigned products and a need for transparency and quality. While you don’t have to undergo a Domino’s-style overhaul, the goal of any rebranding endeavor is the same: update your restaurant and increase awareness of your brand to gain customers and reform your image.

This week, What’s Cooking examines some things you need to know before you embark on a rebranding campaign.

Before You Start

First, decide whether or not rebranding will be worth the cost. Are you going to change the color scheme of your promotional materials, or are you going to renovate the interior of your restaurant entirely? Check how much you can afford to change, and stick to that budget. Next, determine your target audience to figure out what angle you want to approach your campaign from. Then decide if you’ll be primarily doing the work yourself or hiring a design and marketing professional. While you don’t have to drop thousands of dollars on a rebranding campaign (you might be able to do some construction yourself, for example), investing in a good designer, even if he or she is a local operation, can pay off in a more professional look.

Redesign Your Look

Make your new aesthetic consistent across all marketing areas. From your menus to your website, every aspect of your brand should agree when it comes to visual design, target audience, wording, and overall message. This kind of consistency will lend your restaurant more credibility.

Reinvent Your Cuisine

It takes more than high-quality restaurant equipment to bring in business. Even if your menu is made up of delicious, dependable items, changing with the times and trends is an important part of keeping your restaurant relevant, drawing in new customers, and keeping regular customers interested. Whether that means updating your drinks menu or trying out the locavore concept, there are many ways to rethink your food to make it more current. Likewise, make sure your specials are season-appropriate (cold gazpacho instead of hot tomato soup in the summer, for example).

Advertise Your New Image

In order for your rebranding to take effect, you need to create a buzz around your restaurant. Equipment you already have can help with this. How? Start by taking advantage of your existing communication avenues; put the word out about your redesign on Twitter and Facebook, send out promos using your email list, and update your website during the rebranding process.

Deliver Your Promise

Follow through with your new brand image. Delivering quality food and service is just as important as creating a new look. Restaurant equipment from top manufacturers can help you achieve this. ShortOrder’s restaurant equipment is the best, ensuring that your restaurant functions optimally day and night. Dependable restaurant equipment helps you provide great food and great service every time, encouraging customers to come back.

More About Restaurant Equipment

For more tips and tricks to help those in the restaurant business, follow ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and get the latest updates on restaurant equipment and more.

 

Comparing Commercial Microwave Ovens and Conventional Ovens

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Microwave ovens have been making life in the kitchen easier since 1947.  The invention of commercial microwave ovens takes this efficiency to the next level.  They operate as high-volume heaters, and they are designed to withstand long hours and extended use in a restaurant kitchen (unlike home microwave ovens).  Both home microwaves and commercial microwave ovens use electromagnetic energy to make the water molecules in food vibrate, thereby warming them.  Foods high in water, like fruits and vegetables, will cook more quickly, as will those high in sugars and fats, like bacon.  A conventional oven, on the other hand, uses heat to cook foods, rather than the electromagnetic waves that commercial microwave ovens use.

So when are commercial microwave ovens best for cooking, and when should you use a conventional oven instead?  Read on for answers and ideas from ShortOrder.

Commercial Microwave Ovens

Commercial microwave ovens are great for quick work in the kitchen when a long cooking time in the oven won’t do.  A commercial microwave oven has a much higher wattage than home microwave ovens, and must meet NSF sanitation standards.  They are often more energy-efficient than other cooking methods, as well.

Conventional Ovens

Conventional ovens have the advantage of being able to bake, roast, and broil, the drawback being that cook time may be significantly lengthened, contrasting the quick convenience of commercial microwave ovens.  Note also that there are two kinds of ovens: gas and electric.  A gas oven often produces a moist heat but very little ambient heat in the kitchen, while an electric oven produces a dry heat, which is more optimal for roasting.

How to Choose

If you are still unsure of which type of commercial appliance would be right for your kitchen, or you have chosen but don’t know which brand to pick, read the reviews ShortOrder customers have written about the products we carry.  Reviews of Panasonic microwaves, Amana microwaves, Bakers Pride Ovens, and more can all be found on ShortOrder.com.

SoundOff – Hot Food Tables

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Hot Food Tables
 December 2012

As we wrap up this holiday season, we are reminded of all of the big meals that are served this time of year. There are a lot of brunches and buffets occurring during the holidays. Therefore, this month we are highlighting hot food tables. We carry a wide range of styles. Some things to look for when purchasing your Hot food tablenext hot food table are: usage, top layout, and temperature needs.

You need to be aware of what you will be warming with your hot food table. There are many different types, ranging from water bath, dry, and infrared heat. They can have two wells, up to five wells, or the pizza hot food table, which doesn’t have any food wells. One thing that varies between each manufacturer is the undershelf; they can be stationary or adjustable. Some of our hot food tables come with a work-board or a cutting board, so you also need to be aware of those options when making your selection. Lastly, something that varies from model to model is the temperature controls. A hot food table will either have an infinite control, or a thermostat control, which would allow you to choose the temperature that you would like to have your table set at.

You can shop for Hot Food Tables at ShortOrder.com here.

Featured: Hot Food Tables
Model
Rating
Performance
Features & Specifications
3513-120

Randell

5 Star

- 18.75 Amps
– 120 Volt
– 750-Watt per well
- 48″ Length
– 3 Open wells
– 6″ Legs
– Stationary undershelf
– Warranty: 1 yr. parts / 3 mo. labor
DP67

 

Eagle
DHT4-208

4 Star

- 14.4 Amps
– 208 Volt
– 750-Watt per well
- 63.5″ Length
– 4 Dry wells
– Legs
– Adjustable undershelf
– Warranty: 1 yr parts only
PIH48-120

Eagle

PIH48-120

4 Star

- 5.62 Amps
– 115 Volt
– 675 Watt
- 48″ Length
– Pizza holding table
– Legs
– Adjustable undershelf
– Warranty: 1 yr parts only
EHEI36L

Delfield

EHEI36L

3 Star

- 17.0 Amps
– 120 Volt
– 1000-Watt per well
- 36″ Length
– 2 Open wells
– 3″ Legs
– Stationary undershelf w/riser
– Warranty: 1 yr parts/labor

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