Pros and Cons of Recycling at Your Restaurant

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Garbage and Recycling BinsRecycling: we know it’s good for the Earth, and thus by extension for humankind, but is it the right move for your restaurant? The decision isn’t as easy as you might think.

About 3 of 5 American restaurants recycle at least some part of the waste they produce; most of it in the form of plastic and cardboard packaging, or compost. Very rarely are major items such as unusable restaurant equipment, tables and chairs, or other durable goods recycled, even if they could be.

Right now, the most significant predictor of whether or not a given restaurant recycles is the quality of their municipal recycling program. But even in places where the program is excellent, there are several reasons a restaurant may decide against it.

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How to Maximize Your Commercial Restaurant Equipment’s Layout

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Designing a Commercial Kitchen Layout with EquipmentArranging a commercial kitchen can feel like playing Tetris… but instead of directing falling blocks on a screen, you’re moving around giant pieces of restaurant equipment to create the perfect kitchen floorplan. That’s because commercial kitchens have to be laid out correctly, or even a couple of minor inefficiencies can compound to slow down service for every customer. For this reason, focusing on eliminating bottlenecks and creating a high-flow workspace is critical. So turn up that MIDI-generated theme song, take a good look at your kitchen, and maximize your layout with these tips.

“Behind You!”

If you have watched more than one episode of Top Chef, you have almost certainly heard someone crying out “Behind you!” as they pass behind other chefs with a dangerously hot tray of hors d’oeuvres. That’s because a professional kitchen requires people to move hot food, large equipment, sharp utensils, and other dangerous materials very quickly from one station to another; and a jostle at the wrong time can spell injury or disaster. Having a kitchen that allows enough space for that kind of transport is a must.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics, in short, is ‘the science of minimizing the number of steps needed to accomplish your work tasks.’ Designing your kitchen so that each employee needs to change stations as infrequently as possible is one key to keeping things efficient. That means that the arrangement of restaurant equipment should facilitate the order in which a string of tasks occur.

Energy Concerns

In the same way that restaurants need to be concerned about efficiency and ease of motion, they also need to think about keeping costs down. Part of that is keeping the refrigerator and freezer as far away from the ovens and cooking surfaces as possible, so cooling equipment doesn’t have to fight equipment that is giving off intense heat. Additionally, it’s best to keep all of the heat-producing items close together under the minimum number of vent hoods.

Adapt or Die

The last key to kitchen configuration is recognizing that your configuration will need to change as time goes by. Keeping your options open and not permanently locking things in place (for example, by sinking bench legs into the floor) is an important part of being able to adjust to circumstances.

 

Maximizing a kitchen’s layout is half science, half art, and all focused effort. Do it well and your bottom line (and chefs) will thank you.

The FDA Food Code and Your Restaurant: What You Need to Know

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Chef Preparing a SaladThere are a lot of rules in the 2013 Updated Food Code published by the FDA. Most of them are commonsense rules, but there are some very important bits that every restaurateur should know for fostering a safe work environment, safe storage and handling, cleaning restaurant equipment and much more.

The HACCP

The FDA strongly encourages the creation of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. Essentially, this is a document printed out and available to all of your kitchen workers that details what how to correctly respond to any form of common kitchen emergency. The FDA offers a useful document called “Managing Food Safety” that explains precisely how to execute this process. Having an HACCP isn’t mandated nationwide yet, but a good number of municipalities require it within their borders. (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…)

5 Documents You Should Have in Your Restaurant’s Kitchen

Monday, July 7th, 2014

chef-kitchen-clipboardRestaurant kitchens are fast-paced work environments, which means things can get pretty hectic. Having all your restaurant’s essential documents readily available ensures that operations run smoothly and safely. So, which documents are most important to have in your kitchen?

1.    Licenses and Permits

The most important documents to keep accessible in your restaurant are your various licenses and permits. Many state governments mandate that a food service license and sellers permit remain visible in the restaurant. Additionally, most states require that employees have food handler permits, which should be kept on file in the restaurant. If you aren’t sure about what license and permits you need to have, check with your local or state health department.

2.    Employee Handbook

Employee handbooks shouldn’t just be distributed when you hire new employees. Having an employee handbook nearby can aid your employees with any questions they might have about standard operating procedures, job descriptions, or dress codes. This establishes clear expectations for both kitchen managers and employees.

3.    Daily Operations Checklists (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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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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Guide to Buying Certified Restaurant Equipment

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

certified-equipmentBecause not all restaurant equipment is created equal, it’s important for your equipment to have the right certifications. But which one does your operation need? And what do all those acronyms stand for, anyway? Just FYI, here’s the DL on the NSF, FCE, CE, and more.

California Low Lead Qualified

Products bearing the California Low Lead Qualified certification are compliant with the California low lead law. To be compliant with this law, plumbing materials that convey or dispense water for human consumption are allowed no more than 0.2% lead in solder and flux and 0.25% in wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures, as determined by a weighted average.

CE (Certified European)

Equipment with the Certified European label complies with the requirements the European commission has for the import and sale of products.

Energy Star® Certification

An Energy Star® certified appliance is backed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and has been proven to perform as well as or better than a product of its kind that consumes a higher amount of energy. The certification was created in 1992 to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Today all kinds of appliances bear an Energy Star® label, from washing machines to ice makers.

EnerLogic™

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New Technologies Debuting at 2014 National Restaurant Association Show

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Are you attending the National Restaurant Association Show this year? The NRA Show plays host to some of the industry’s top chefs, suppliers, and experts. The 2014 National Restaurant Association Show will be held May 17-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, and will feature educational sessions led by foodservice industry experts, plus more than 2,000 exhibitors. There are expected to be a lot of interesting, innovative products showcased this year. At Short Order, we’re big on having the right tools and restaurant equipment for the job, whether you’re in the kitchen, at the bar, or front-of-house. Here are the places you’ll find kitchen and restaurant technology showcased at the 2014 NRA Show.

The Kitchen Innovations Pavilion – Featuring recipients of the Kitchen Innovations Award, booth #2440 in the South Hall will showcase supplies that are in the business of creating forward-thinking technologies that focus on solving problems in innovative ways.

The Technology Pavilion – Located in the North Hall, the Tech Pavilion will feature demonstrations and presentations by operators and suppliers. Topics range from restaurant operations efficiency to customer satisfaction.

Keurig’s New BOLT Carafe Brewing System – The coffee brewer manufacturer is set to unveil a new brewing system that makes a 64-oz. carafe of coffee. It was created specifically to cater to QSRs.

Booth #5575: Exploring Technology Industry Trends with Hudson Riehle – Riehle, an NRA executive, will talk about how QSRs can integrate technology to differentiate their businesses and improve customer satisfaction. Visit booth #5575 on Saturday at 2 PM.

Booth #5575: The In-Store Experience – This presentation will outline how technology is changing QSRs and fast casuals. With a look at innovative additions like touch screens, on-table ordering, apps, and revamped POS systems, there are lots of new ways restaurateurs can take advantage of growing technology trends. Visit booth #5575 on Sunday at 2 PM.

Booth #6229: NCR Corporation – This tech company is planning to discuss the ways any restaurant can leverage new technology to its advantage. NCR will be showcasing some of its solutions including software, hardware, and services geared toward the areas of quick service & fast casual, table service, mobility, back-office, and innovation.

Are you at the NRA Show? What are you looking forward to the most? Let us know by finding Short Order on Twitter or Facebook!

 

4 Things to Know Before Buying a Restaurant Work Table

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Eagle-Work-Table-T2424B-BSWhat, oh what, is a work table good for? Restaurant work tables quite literally support the kitchen’s operations, serving as surfaces for food preparation as well as storage for equipment and cookware. If you’re in the market for a new work table, don’t just buy any old stainless steel standard. Know these 4 things before you choose a restaurant work table for your kitchen.

1. What types of restaurant work tables are there?

Commercial work tables are available with risers or backsplash, or without. You should get a table with a backsplash if your worktable will be up against a wall. The backsplash acts as a barrier that prevents food or liquids from spilling between the wall and the table. Most work tables have undershelving, often adjustable in height, which is ideal for restaurant equipment storage.

2. What size work table should I get?

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