Stop, Watch and Learn

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Line Cooks In Restaurant KitchenSince I’m in the biz, I can’t stop watching and analyzing operations in restaurants… often times to my wife’s dismay! I look for missed opportunities and often suggest to the managers a slight change that might make a big difference. Recently, I was at a diner where my family and I enjoy dining on a regular basis. The place is always packed on the weekends and the speed of service is… fair. The food offsets the wait for a seat and the time it takes to get served. The diner is an open-kitchen operation. You can sit at the counter and watch the sausage being made. A couple visits ago, the place was a madhouse. Customers were waiting, the kitchen staff was arguing and the food was moving slowly and with little accuracy. Remakes were clogging the already bogged down line.

In the hour or so I waited for my food, I drank coffee and watched the craziness, I noticed something. The font on the tickets was too small! The confusion in the back was being greatly increased because the tickets were hard to read. The staff had to actually pull the tickets off the rack and hold them up to their eyes to see what they said. On top of that, everyone had reading glasses on their heads. They needed two hands to read each ticket! (more…)

Maybe You Should Sweat the Small Stuff

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

KolpakP7-054-CTWalk-in coolers can be the most overlooked piece of equipment in your facility, even though it’s one of the most used. Most restaurants carry a high dollar amount of product in their walk-in cooler and freezer. In many operations, the top of the walk-in becomes a convenient place to store dry goods and consumables like plastic cups or to-go boxes. While I understand that sometimes you “do what you gotta do,” it’s import to remember a couple things.

Storing items on top of  the walk-in can decrease the airflow to self contained refrigeration units. This reduction in air-flow can increase the heat bubble around your unit’s cooling system. Over time it will have to work harder, decreasing the life of the unit. In many cases, it can cause the unit to fail entirely. As good as foam to-go cups are at keeping beverages warm or cold, they do an even better job of holding heat around the compressor.

Another issue with storing items on top of the walk-in is cleanliness. Even though items are stored in boxes that won’t come in contact with food, it increases the chance that contaminants will come in contact with food. As much as I hate to admit it, more than once I’ve seen workers pulling to go cups from the top of the walk-in, just as someone pushes a cart of back-ups to the front line. You can see the debris fall from the top of the walk-in and contact the food that is about to be served to your customer! Be honest, how often do you clean the top of your walk-in? You can use degreasers and general cleaners to help with this task, but how often will you do it? Sadly, it’s more likely that the floor of your facility is cleaner than the top of your walk-in. Consider adding a walking check of the top of the walk-in to your daily routine. Make sure that dry goods, consumables and other things are not stored on top. (more…)

Weekly Food Inventory Counts Can Save Time And Money

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Short-Order_Food-InventoryDid you know that according to industry averages, chain restaurants are two to three times as profitable as independent restaurants? How do they do it?! One way to cut costs is to do a weekly food inventory count and food cost calculation. While most independent restaurants do a monthly food inventory count, most chains calculate their food inventory weekly.

Though it seems like a daunting task to tackle weekly, don’t fear! We found some tips from to help you streamline the process.

Get organized! Accurate inventory counts can go out the window when your stock room and refrigerated storage are unorganized. Products should be easy to see and count. (more…)

What Kind of Refrigeration is Best for Your Restaurant?

Thursday, February 19th, 2015


Short Order RefrigerationRefrigeration units play an essential role to any food-related business. Refrigerators help keep food and drinks fresh and ready for customers whether they’re sitting down for a steak dinner or grabbing a sandwich from a display. Just like our restaurant clients own a diverse range of businesses, we here at ShortOrder pride ourselves on offering a diverse catalogue of professional-grade refrigerators. To help you decide which unit works best for your needs and space, we’ve compiled a list of the basic types of refrigerators and quality examples of each.

Undercounter Refrigerators and Freezers:

Undercounter units are ideal for businesses with smaller or nontraditional spaces. For those of you cooking in a cramped area like a small kitchen or a food truck, an undercounter refrigerator capitalizes on typically unused and underappreciated space. A prime example of an undercounter refrigeration unit is the True Undercounter TUC-60-32F. This deep undercounter freezer offers stainless steel tops and sides as well as four coated-wire shelves and two stainless steel doors. If you need to maximize your space while still providing plenty of deep-space storage, then a True undercounter refrigerator could be for you. (more…)

Dude, Chill! How Choose Refrigeration For Your Food

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Randell Standard Top Sandwich Prep RefrigerationHaving a refrigerator or freezer in your facility might not be enough. Commercial foodservice regulations are so strict that those units must maintain very tight temperature tolerances to safely store food. Food storage temperatures can affect many aspects of the product being stored. Nutrient content, appearance, taste and safety can all be compromised if the product is not stored at the correct temperature.

So what is the right temperature? For refrigerated goods, the holding temperature should be maintained between 35F to 38F. At this temperature, bacterial growth is greatly slowed allowing for prolonged freshness and safety. The lower the temperature, the longer the bacterial growth will be hindered. Since every unit can vary slightly, make sure to know the cold zones in your refrigeration unit to reduce the chance of accidentally freezing products like produce and dairy. (more…)

Choosing Walk-In Refrigerators and Freezers: A Buying Guide

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Choosing Walk-In Refrigerators and Freezers - A Buying GuideToday on the What’s Cookin’ blog, we invite you to put on your jackets and join us for a rundown of the most frequently asked questions about walk-in refrigerators and freezers.

Beloved by businesses of all kinds from ice creameries to flower shops, walk-ins are a necessary part of daily life, keeping perishables fresh, chilly, and accessible on the premises. They come in many sizes and configurations, so it can be tough to choose the right one for your business. So without further ado, here is everything you ever wanted to know about commercial walk-in refrigerators and freezers but were afraid to ask.

What are the different kinds of walk-in refrigerators and freezers?

There are 3 kinds: refrigerators, freezers, and hybrids. You can put a walk-in and its condenser pretty much anywhere, so whether you need it inside or outside of your facility, you’re covered. Walk-ins work with existing flooring as well as pre-fabricated flooring. Note that if you do purchase a walk-in for outdoor use, you’ll need a compressor cover, crank case heater, fan cycle control, and roof-sealing kit.

What kind of refrigeration system do I need?

A walk-in’s refrigeration system is made up of a condenser (on the outside of the walk-in) and an evaporator (on the inside of the walk-in). Both your condenser and your evaporator should have high-efficiency EISA-compliant motors. There are 3 types of refrigeration systems:


Beverage-Air Refrigeration Keeps Restaurants Cool

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Beverage-Air Refrigeration

Beverage-Air refrigeration includes not only commercial refrigerators, but spot freezers, kegerators, reach-in freezers, milk coolers, sandwich prep and more. With the popularity of Beverage-Air refrigeration thanks to their great reputation, these products can be found in restaurant kitchens all over the globe, keeping food cool so chefs, managers and staff don’t have to sweat.

Beverage-Air Kegerators

Beverage-Air is all about designing restaurant equipment for success, and their kegerators, also called draft beer coolers, are no exception. An essential for bars and restaurants that serve beer, Beverage-Air kegerators keep beer at the correct temperature. Plus, they make serving beer simple thanks to a handy faucet. These units are durable and reliable, and their sleek design, interior lighting and self-closing doors make them very desirable. Though these were made for commercial use, many people are using Beverage-Air kegerators in their home — they’re certainly a great addition to a social gathering.

Beverage-Air Refrigerators

Perhaps best known for their refrigerators, Beverage-Air offers many different units, and there’s bound to be one that’s just right for your restaurant’s needs. The Beverage-Air Display Refrigerator CRG24-1 has one door and white exterior, and it’s perfect for displaying drinks so that customers can see what’s chilled and ready.  This unit is rated five stars and also has an Editor’s Choice rating from In terms of undercounter refrigerators, we have plenty of those: Don’t miss the Beverage-Air Undercounter Refrigerator UCR60A, a two-door unit with stainless exterior and top.

Beverage-Air Refrigeration at the Lowest Prices

As the leading online restaurant equipment retailer, is proud to have a Low Price Guarantee on restaurant equipment. That’s right: When you buy Beverage-Air refrigeration equipment — whether it’s kegerators, refrigerators, spot freezers or something else — you get the assurance that you’re getting your order for the lowest price out there. Start shopping for Beverage-Air refrigeration today!

Shopping for a New Reach-In Refrigerator

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Picking a new reach-in refrigerator is a big decision. It’s a hefty expense and you want to be sure you have the right one for your business. Here are some things to consider before making your purchase: First of all, what kind of refrigeration system do you need? There are two main types: top-mounted and bottom-mounted reach-in refrigerators.

reach-in refrigeratorReach-in Refrigerators: Top Mounted

Top-mounted refrigeration systems have the compressor on the top of the unit and are the industry standard. These reach-in refrigerators are more energy efficient because the hot air discharge does not enter the refrigerated area and the work zone stays cooler as well. The increased air circulation around the compressor increases the compressor life. Top-mounted units also don’t take up refrigerated storage area. The only down sides of the top mounted refrigeration is that you lose additional storage space on top of the unit and if you have a very low ceiling, the hot air might be hazardous.

Reach-in Refrigerators: Bottom Mounted

Bottom-mounted refrigeration usually is on economy units. These reach-in refrigerators run cooler and consume less energy, but the increased efficiency is reduced due to hot air entering the refrigerated area and work zone. It does take up some of the refrigerated storage area as well, leaving the bottom shelf higher. You do have the advantage of added storage space on top of the refrigerator.

Reach-in Refrigerators: Expansion Valve vs. Cap-Tube

This is the way your reach-in refrigerator controls how much cooling power is needed. Reach-in refrigerators on or near cook lines, where the door is opened and closed often, have higher temperature demands. The best bet in that case would be a refrigerator with expansion valve-type refrigeration. Less expensive, cap-tube refrigeration is designed for reach-in refrigerators that are mostly closed for storage and holding.

reach-in refrigerators

Reach-in Refrigerators: Size

Remember: reach-in refrigerators are big! Measure your doors, hallways and installation space to ensure that your new reach-in refrigerator will be able to make it into your business.

Reach-in Refrigerators: Casters

For easier cleaning and sanitizing, casters are highly recommended. Not only do they allow for mobility, more health departments are strongly recommending them. Some reach-in refrigerators come with them standard, but they are considered options on others.

Reach-in Refrigerators: Doors

The biggest benefit to having doors that open 180 degrees on a reach-in refrigerator is that large trays and pans are able to slide in and out easier. Look for swing doors that have a 90 or 120 degree stay-open feature. Slide doors can be useful in tight spaces, but only one door can be open at a time.

Full-height doors will allow for more storage space, but they are also less energy efficient. Half-height doors will have less storage space, and therefore will be more energy efficient. For the lowest prices on reach-in refrigerators, visit

Food Safety Should be at Top of List

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Food Safety Matters

Food Safety … It isn’t something most people think about on a daily basis, except for the restaurant industry that is.  We think about it everyday because the last thing any of us want is for someone to get sick from the food that we work hard to prepare.  We also don’t want to think about our restaurant being shut down because we didn’t meet food safety standards.

Food Safety Guidelines

With the right equipment and the right knowledge, food safety is a pretty easy thing to handle.

Some great guidelines to remember are:

–  All restaurant employee employees should follow hygiene guidelines; such as washing hands after using the restroom and before preparing food.

–  Cross-contamination of foods should be avoided at all times.  Wash, rinse and sanitize all food contact surfaces, such as work tables, slicers, and other preparation equipment.

–  Foods must be cooked to recommended internal temperatures.

holding cabinets–  Hot foods should be held hot at temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or greater.  Holding cabinets provide a constant source of proper heat.

–  Cold foods should be kept cold at temperatures of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.  Keep a thermometer in your refrigerator to make sure the temperature is at the proper setting.

–  Abusing standard time and temperature standards for food should be avoided at all costs when handling prepared foods.

–  Leftovers should only be reheated in the oven once; after that they should be tossed out.

Food Safety Means Better Health

As stated earlier in the post, food safety matters to everyone … restaurateur, chef, employees, and patrons can all be harmed by foodborne pathogens.  There are more than 250 known foodborne diseases that cause anywhere from minor illness to death.  By following the simple guidelines listed above and by making sure all of your equipment is functioning properly, you can help prevent disease and illness caused by unhealthy foods.

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