Prepare Your Restaurant for the Holiday Season

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
5 Nyc Bars And Restaurants With Crazy Christmas Decor December 8 - Best Christmas Accessories

5 Nyc Bars And Restaurants With Crazy Christmas Decor December 8 – Best Christmas Accessories

Everyone knows that the holiday season represents a prodigious boon for retailers. All across the country, big-box stores and mom-and-pop shops alike rake in a reported 20 to 30 percent of their total annual sales in the period between Black Friday and Christmas. This is a significant portion of any bottom line.

But retailers aren’t the only ones who benefit from the holidays. Restaurants like yours can also experience a huge increase in customers and sales, either through direct promotion of holiday specials or via residual foot traffic from nearby malls and shopping centers. The catch is, you have to be ready to handle the upcoming surge in a way that is least disruptive to standard operations. Towards that end, here are some tips on how to prepare your restaurant for the holiday season.

  • Get organized: Planning ahead is crucial for meeting the demands of the holiday rush, so getting organized should be your first step. Reviewing your reservation system (or implementing a new one), evaluating your available personnel and planning key shifts, and ordering extra inventory are just a few items that should be on your to-do list.
  • Hire short-term help: Being overstaffed during the holidays is far preferable to the alternative, which is why you should start looking for seasonal help now. Depending on the size of your restaurant and services provided, you may want to consider adding kitchen hands, waitstaff, banquet servers, and delivery drivers to the roster for the next couple of months.
  • Inventory smallwares and check equipment for usability: More customers means you’ll require faster turnover of smallwares (dishes, glasses, cutlery, etc.) and will have your ovens, dishwashers, fryers, ice machines, and food warming stations working overtime. Inventory smallwares now to make sure you have sufficient quantities to serve larger crowds and inspect your commercial restaurant equipment to see if any repairs or replacements are needed.
  • Consider temporarily expanding your services: To really cash in on the season, consider adding services that you don’t normally offer. These may include home and office deliveries, full-service catering for offsite events, onsite parties, and providing to-go sides, pies, and other desserts for customers to enjoy at their own holiday dinners.
  • Sell gift cards or gift certificates: Gift cards and certificates are not only a blessing for people seeking last-minute stocking stuffers, but also a way to continue driving traffic after the holidays. Be sure to have gift cards or gift certificates available, and train your staff to suggest a purchase to every customer.

A strong holiday season can push your restaurant into the black or turn a good year into a great one, but the benefits aren’t automatic. It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare for the influx of customers and provide them with outstanding service, so follow the tips listed here to get started.

3 Ways to Spice Up Your Fall Menu

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Restaurant Fall MenuAs it gets colder, customers’ taste buds start to beg for something warm and comforting. Out with crisp summer salads and barbecued meat, and in with the soups and baked goods. However, standard recipes can become stagnant over time, so it’s important to spice things up every once in awhile. Here are few ideas to help inspire your autumnal menu.

1. More Soup For You

When it’s cold, there’s nothing better than a warm cup of soup. However, it doesn’t take long for a simple soup du jour to become a bit boring. Branch out from traditional favorites like chicken noodle, and introduce some new flavors to your menu. Butternut squash is seasonal and super easy to prepare, a chorizo and white bean stew is a fresh take on a classic recipe, and spicy harvest chipotle chili gives a favorite fall comfort food a little kick. To get your restaurant ready for the season, try these bowls for a warmer color scheme. (more…)

Back To School!

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Boy with lunch tray in school cafeteriaNow that school is back in session, parents around the world get their schedules back. Many have to work on homework at night, sign agendas, fill out school paperwork and get up every morning to make a healthy lunch before sending their kids off to a day at school. Wait… you don’t make a homemade lunch for your kids daily? What kind of parent are you? The answer? The same as many other parents! Schools offer education. Education transcends the classroom and enters the lunch room every school day. The lunchrooms of today are not like it was when I was a kid. There are more choices for students as well as stricter guidelines for schools. How has that changed the kitchen? Let’s look.

If you were to step into today’s K-12 school kitchen, you would notice that it is far more streamlined than in the past. Why? The food being put into that kitchen has changed. Back in the day, most kitchens were working with raw ingredients. Slicers, ovens, choppers, sinks, braising pans, steam jacketed kettles and holding cabinets galore were used to change those raw goods into the lunch we (some not so fondly) remember from our childhoods. (more…)

Can you make GREEN by going green?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Garden on the RoofIn his recent article on FastCasual.com, Ed Zimmerman asks the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind these days: “Is your restaurant green?” According to a recent survey among consumers regarding food trends, environmental sustainability ranked first!
The reasons to “go green” are numerous. It’s responsible, it shows you care about your community, but now you can add customer interest to the list – which means it’s profitable.

How can you go green?

Shop local. Locally sourced food is a growing trend and local farmers are more than happy to work with you. Develop monthly specials based on season. Don’t be afraid of adding it to the “featured menu,” even if there’s not a ton of product. If you run out for the night, it will increase the demand on future nights!

Source green foods. There are so many options! Chefs can now find green options year-round, even fruits and vegetables, pasta, cheese, wine and more. (more…)

Brand Spotlight: Vulcan Restaurant Equipment

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Vulcan Brand Cheese MelterVulcan restaurant equipment started way back in 1890 with the formation of the Vulcan Gas Heating Company. For nearly 125 years, and through a few incarnations, the name Vulcan has been synonymous with quality heating and cooking equipment. Today a part of the ITW Food Equipment Group, Vulcan continues to expand its product line through an ongoing commitment to research and development.

Vulcan is the single largest manufacturer of commercial cooking equipment, distributing gas- and electric-powered ranges, ovens, and dozens of other cooking devices to commercial businesses from Los Angeles to London and Cordoba to Kyoto.

You can count on Vulcan to already know what food service needs are developing, and be in the process of making new products to address the needs of the ever-changing market. Boasting close affiliations with national organizations like Energy Star®, the National Restaurant Association, the School Nutrition Association, and the Foodservice Consultants Society International, Vulcan is right at the beating heart of food service both culturally and industrially. (more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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…)

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