Drink Trends in 2014: What’s New at the Bar So Far?

Monday, May 5th, 2014

drinks-trendsAlright, What’s Cooking readers. Let’s take a break from the blender tongue-twisters and bad range jokes and get businesslike about what’s being served at the bar. Last time we checked in, 2014 drink trend forecasts were predicting that premium alcohols, spices, infusions, cider, on-tap drinks, and mixed drinks featuring different types of alcohol would be popular this year, all with a heavy emphasis on the millennial demographic. How are the predictions measuring up so far? New drink trend results are in, so fire up your blenders and have your cocktail shakers at the ready. Here’s what’s going on right now behind the bar.

Savor(y) the Flavor

Restaurant research giant Technomic is reporting that savory drinks are stronger than ever—and we mean that both figuratively and literally. Micheladas are cropping up on menus nationwide and Bloody Marys are showing an 8.7% increase in menu incidences. Plus, the 3 fastest-growing flavors year-over-year in specialty drinks are chipotle, bacon, and Cajun. Likewise, an interesting savory trend in drinks is popping up due to a lime shortage. Vinegar is the “it” ingredient in cocktails according to David Flaherty for Nation’s Restaurant News. Vinegar is being used as an acid component in place of lime or lemon, an (more…)

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…)

How to Be a Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Monday, January 20th, 2014

How to Be a Kid-Friendly RestaurantWith the trend of “healthy eating” on the rise, restaurants are being forced to reconsider their kids’ menus. According to a study by the NPD Group, parents are taking their kids out to eat less and less – meaning restaurants need to revise their game plans and become even more kid-friendly in order to retain customers with families. As picky and fussy as kids may be, they (and their parents) are a very important portion of restaurant patrons and can be a great source of revenue for restaurants seeking to be family-friendly. Luckily, developing a kid-friendly restaurant environment doesn’t require an overhaul of your restaurant equipment. All you need is a little preparation and proactivity:

1. Be Prepared

Before you examine your kids’ menu recipes, make sure that your restaurant facility is well-equipped to feed and entertain multiple families with children. High chairs and booster seats will come in handy for all ages of children who have a tough time sitting still. Be sure to clean and sanitize the high chairs and booster seats every evening, as we all know too well the ensuing disasters when dealing with children and finger foods.

(more…)

4 Skinny Menu Tips to Cater to New Year’s Resolutions

Friday, January 17th, 2014

4 Skinny Menu Tips Cater to New Year’s ResolutionsEvery year when January 1st rolls around, everyone starts planning out what their new year’s resolutions will be. Invariably, at least one resolution will be shedding a few extra pounds. This is why we at ShortOrder recommend developing a health-focused menu that will encourage customers to keep their resolutions while eating your delicious food. So, below are a few delightfully delicious, but health-conscious suggestions to add to your new menu:

1. Skinny Pizzas

Pizza is most definitely a restaurant staple, which is why it is a great idea to make a lower-calorie pizza. You can do this by using low fat cheeses, a plethora of fresh vegetables, grilled meats, and an ultra thin crust. You can’t go wrong with adding this to your menu.

(more…)

Top 5 Desserts for the Holiday Season

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Top 5 Desserts for the Holiday SeasonAs we move into the holiday season, we’ve started to notice a shift in dessert menu offerings. They’re starting to reflect the holiday cheer that we love so much. Therefore, we at ShortOrder have put together a list of the top 5 desserts that are a must for your winter holiday menu.

1. Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Icing

These cupcakes are a sure-fire way to brighten your customers’ day, and bring them back for more. By offering this unique dessert, you’ll be catering to classic holiday tastes (plus, the cupcake fad is still going strong). (Recipe by BakersRoyale.com)

2. Peppermint Fudge

What’s better than a delicious combination of peppermint and chocolate fudge? This is a great addition to any holiday menu because you can prepare it in the morning and serve it throughout the day. You can’t beat a simple, quick and easy dessert like this. (Recipe by ShugarySweets.com)

3. Peppermint Mocha

Everyone knows that the second winter rolls around, it’s Peppermint Mocha time. All you need is a great commercial espresso machine, a few key ingredients, and you’ll have everyone coming by your restaurant for their daily dose of caffeine. (Recipe by momadvice.com)

4. Pumpkin Pie Fudge with Salted Dark Chocolate Ganache

Anything that is pumpkin-flavored is sure to be a hit during the holidays. So why not add a little pumpkin to the holiday menu? This recipe is simple, yet delicious, featuring an unlikely combination of ingredients that will satiate customers’ holiday tastes. As long as you have one of our commercial ovens and a refrigerator, you’ll be set to make this delicious winter holiday treat. (Recipe by rookno17.com)

5. Pumpkin Pie

There is no better classic holiday dessert than pumpkin. This classic holiday dessert is a great item to have because you have a lot of room to play with the recipe. Customize it however you see fit so that your dessert stands out from the rest. (Recipe by leitesculinaria.com)

Finally, don’t forget to update your appliances this holiday season! You wouldn’t want one of your commercial kitchen appliances breaking down in the middle of this busy season. For equipment from some of the top brands that delivers dependable performance, check out ShortOrder’s selection of commercial restaurant equipment.

Happy holiday cooking from all of us at ShortOrder!

Now Serving – November 2013 – The Changing Face of the Children’s Menu

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

 

NOVEMBER 2013 A monthly newsletter showcasing the taste of cookware ISSUE 59
Now Serving

Thanksgiving is almost here. Is all of your equipment in tip-top shape, ready for the busiest time of the year? If you do need to order a new piece of equipment, be sure to click here and check out the Gen2 closeout specials we are currently offering. With several different types to choose from, you should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, did you know the average weight of a turkey purchased for Thanksgiving dinner is 15 pounds? With that big of a turkey, there are sure to be lots of leftover. What’s your favorite way to serve up leftover turkey? Let us know on our Facebook page! While you’re there, make sure you take a look at our one-day only deals! And if you review a product online, you will be automatically entered into ShortOrder’s monthly giveaway. Please join us in congratulating this month’s winner: Nathan Robinson!

Don’t forget to check out our clearance section. We have a wide variety of discontinued, and scratched and dented products that are all covered by the full manufacturer warranty.

In this month’s issue: The Changing Face of the Children’s Menu, Pineapple Shrimp in Endive Leaves as a light and refreshing no-cook appetizer, and our featured products: a Gen2 Fryer, a Stoelting Soft Serve Machine, and a Luxor Utility Cart.

Do you have any suggestions for us? We are always ready to hear from you. Please drop us a line anytime!

Ann Marie Hillier

The Changing Face of the Children’s Menu

Bring in More Business with an Updated Kid’s Menu

 

Nicole Granese discusses the strong influence today’s children have on where parents choose to dine out in her article, “Want Fries With That? Kids Say ‘No Thanks’ To Boring Kid’s Menus.” She also lists four things restaurants need to focus on on in order to create a kid- and parent-approved experience:

1. Better-for-You OptionsMore attention is being paid to the childhood obesity epidemic than ever before. Consequently, kids are being taught the importance of making healthy eating choices in schools across the country. 80% of 5-11 year olds surveyed by KidSay agreed that healthy eating is considered to be cool. Why not attract more customers with healthier options that both the kids and parents will approve of?

2. Larger SelectionAlthough the traditional fare of chicken fingers, mac and cheese, and grilled cheese still dominate most kid’s menus, it has been proven that at least 41% of parents prefer a larger variety of both entrees and beverages for their children to choose from. And if the extra options are nutritious, even better.

3. More Sophisticated FlavorsToday’s kids are seeking more sophisticated and exotic flavors than before. Chef’s throughout the country have an increased focus on developing recipes for kids that expand their palettes. Another common trend is to take traditionally “adult” dishes and transform them into kid-friendly options as well.

4. More Entertaining Dining ExperienceIn the past, children have wanted to order off of the kid’s menu for the toy. In recent years, both parents and kids have started to recognize that the majority of those toys are junk, and would instead prefer to receive some type of free activity. This can be achieved by providing free online content, game apps, or even expanding the kid’s menu to contain more activities.

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Featured Recipe
Pineapple Shrimp in Endive Leaves
Check out this no-cook appetizer from wholefoodsmarket.com.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Lb Cooked, Peeled Shrimp
  • 1 Large Cucumber, Peeled, Seeded and Diced
  • 2 1/2 Cups Diced Pineapple
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 3 Heads Belgian Endive

Directions:

  1. Chop shrimp and place into a large bowl.
  2. Add cucumber, pineapple, cilantro, and lime juice and stir to combine.
  3. Separate endives into individual leaves and arrange on a serving platter.
  4. Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of shrimp mixture into each endive leaf and serve.
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How to Update Your Drinks Menu Using Ice Machines and More

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Here at What’s Cooking, we’ve been focusing lately on the benefits of our fantastic ice machines. This week, however, we would like to talk about how you can put them to good use. We are talking, of course, about updating your drinks menu. Why is it important to update your drinks menu? It helps keep your restaurant on the map and distinguishes it from the rest. Whether you choose to add a few signature drinks or mix up the entire menu altogether, changing your drinks menu can be very good for business. Read on for ShortOrder’s tips on how best to use ice machines and more to make the most of your beverages.

How to Update Your Drinks Menu

Get creative with your menu change.  Make some signature drinks, see what is popular at other restaurants, incorporate new beverages on the market into your menu… the possibilities are endless. If you don’t want to commit to long-term change, consider have a special drink of the week. You won’t have to invest in new ingredients permanently, but you will be able to keep your menu fresh and interesting, ensuring that newcomers are drawn in and regulars keep coming back.

Advertise Your Drinks Menu

It is not only important that you update your menu; you need to advertise it. The idea is simple: make it easy for customers to see and select a new drink. Advertise your new menu on your restaurant’s website and social media outlets, include special inserts in your full menus, or add stand-up drink menus to each table. Also add your business to websites like BeerMenus and Taplister, which allow customers to search for craft beer near their location. Advertising on these sites also allows customers to find your restaurant while on the go. Customers search most often on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday between 1 and 9 PM, so be sure that your beer lists are up-to-date at those times.

Alcohol Menu

Consider stocking local beers, wines, and spirits on your new drinks menu. In the “What’s Hot in 2013 Alcohol Survey” by the National Restaurant Association, nearly half of the top 20 trends involved a demand for locally-produced alcohol. Onsite barrel-aged drinks was the #1 predicted trend, while micro-distilled/artisan liquor, locally-produced spirits, regional signature cocktails, locally-produced beer, craft beer, and signature cocktails all made the list as well. Additionally, going local can be a great way to support local businesses and create a niche for your own business. Put those ice machines to good use and come up with some signature cocktails. Obviously the more unique the cocktail the better, but a signature cocktail can also be as simple as putting a twist on a familiar drink and giving it a name that is specific to your restaurant.

Coffee and Tea Menu

You can also mix up your coffee and tea menu! In another survey of 2013 trends by the National Restaurant Association, specialty iced tea and organic coffee ranked among the top 5 beverage trends. Try a coffee combined with a special syrup, flavored milk, or even spiced tea. Offer it hot or use your ice machines to serve it up over ice. We recommend dice-sized cubes from your ice machines for cold coffee and tea drinks.

Ice Machines and More

For more information about ice machines that can help your business thrive, check out ShortOrder’s lines of Manitowoc ice machines and Scotsman ice machines. You can also explore more of our blog and learn about the favorite drinks of famous authors, how to choose ice machines for your business, how to save energy with your ice machines, and much more.

Change Your Ranges with the Locavore Movement

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Many restaurants are looking for ways to set their business apart from the rest.  This week we can help you change what goes on your ranges for cooking by investigating the popularity of the locavore movement.  A unique approach to buying, preparing, and serving food, the locavore philosophy can be a way to improve your relationship with both the surrounding community and with your customers.

About the Locavore Philosophy
The term “locavore” refers to a person who is committed to eating local foods.  What constitutes “local” can vary depending on who you ask to define “locavore”; it can mean keeping to foods within a 100-mile radius of your home to keep within an entire city or region of your state.  The type of food available to locavores ranges from eggs from local farms and vegetables from farmers’ markets to local honey sold at a grocery store.

Why Go Locavore?
Choosing to stick to the locavore philosophy may have some drawbacks for businesses, but the benefits are great as well.  The most obvious benefit of eating locally is that you and your customers know where your food comes from and what is in it.  The resulting menu for your ranges, then, consists of fresher foods, opportunities for seasonal dishes, and a greater variety of foods to cook on your ranges.  Patronizing local growers and vendors also puts money directly back into the local economy, avoiding the need to exact a chunk of profit for a middleman in the production or shipping process.

How to Buy and Eat Locally
Raw fruits and vegetables are main contenders in a locavore’s starting menu, but it is equally possible to find local poultry, eggs, dairy, and meats.  And this philosophy doesn’t just apply to raw ingredients!  The type of food you can get from local vendors ranges from the simple to the fully-finished.  Locally-made jams, coffee, baked goods, paper products, and even beer can be incorporated into your restaurant’s repertoire.

How to Alter Your Menu
You may not be able to turn your whole menu into a locavore’s feast—and that’s fine!  Instead, try swapping out 5 major ingredients for foods that you can easily obtain locally and use on your ranges and in your ovens.  Alternately, you could choose to make 2 or 3 dishes for your ranges that you can tout as completely locavore-friendly.  You should also advertise your vendors on your menu, even if only by way of a small list on its back.  This lets your patrons know exactly where their food is coming from—and isn’t that the point of going local?  Plus, it will help you strengthen your relationship with your vendors, who will appreciate the publicity.

 

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