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…)

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…)

Summer 2014 Restaurant Prep Checklist

Monday, June 9th, 2014

summer-restaurant-prepMemorial Day weekend has kicked off summer festivities, and restaurants all over the nation should be looking forward to busier summer days. Be prepared for the hectic hotter months and make the most of the season with this short summer restaurant preparation checklist from Short Order:

1. Finish Any Last Minute Spring Cleaning

If you still haven’t gotten around to scheduling a cleaning day for your restaurant, do so before the busy summer season hits. Take a few days to freshen up your interiors and do the heavy cleaning that doesn’t get accomplished during daily sidework. For example, wait stations often accrue a lot of dirt and grime and could use a thorough cleaning, and any carpeting that gets a lot of foot traffic should be shampooed. Take the time to properly deep clean frequently-used restaurant equipment like fryers and stoves.

2. Service Your Commercial Restaurant Equipment

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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 solve problems innovatively.

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!

 

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…)

2014 Summer Hiring Survey: Results Are In

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Employees-in-Kitchen_Waverbreakmedia-Ltd-Copyright_ThinkstockEarlier this month, Snagajob announced the results of its 2014 Summer Hiring Survey that examines hourly employees in the hospitality, retail and foodservice industries. Of the 250 employers surveyed, 36% of the respondents were from businesses with fewer than 50 employees, while 39% of respondents represented companies that were substantially larger with more than 500 employees. Below you’ll find the most pertinent information from the survey.

  • According to this report, the number of youth that are employed between the ages of 16-24 years old will increase between April and May by more than 2 million (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • President Obama’s proposed federal minimum wage for 2014 increased from $7.25 to $10.10, but based on this survey, the average wage for the upcoming summer months will be $10.39 (a 29-cent difference).
  • (more…)

The Art of Getting Positive Restaurant Reviews

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

reading-restaurant-reviewsThe food and beverage industry is fraught with competitors and in today’s digitally connected culture, every restaurant patron with a smartphone may as well be considered a journalist or food critic. It’s no secret that the importance of word-of-mouth marketing is on the rise, and positive restaurant reviews can have a direct impact on a restaurant’s yearly revenue. People now trust the opinions of others online – not opinions of professional critics, but rather those of friends and peers. Top-of-the-line restaurant equipment and experienced chefs in the back of house do not always guarantee positive reviews from patrons.

Before we delve into the good ways that a restaurant can garner positive reviews, we’ll start with the absolute no-nos. For reasons that should be apparent, do not take it upon yourself to write your own reviews. No matter how much you consider yourself a literary master, consumers can usually tell when reviews are faked by someone who obviously works there. There are also negative repercussions to paying someone to write positive reviews for you. For example, Yelp has created a consumer alert that lets searchers know when they’ve caught a business paying for fake reviews. Authenticity and transparency are key when dealing with reviews and customer communication.

So, how do you get real, positive reviews? ShortOrder has some actionable tips for restaurants looking to increase their number of positive reviews:

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Go ‘Beyond the Cube’ with Ice-O-Matic Portal for a New Experience

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

ice cubesAre you usually indifferent to which commercial ice machines you use at your restaurant? We understand that when shopping for new commercial kitchen appliances, your purchase is usually highly influenced by price and product quality; so what if there was a commercial ice machine company that went the extra mile to show you that it cares about the lives that its products touch? Would that determination to connect to you and your business change the way you felt about that brand and its machines?

Ice-O-Matic, an ice machine and ice dispenser manufacturer, wanted to provide restaurant management and owners something tangible that clearly showed its dedication to the restaurant industry. The result is the Beyond the Cube portal. When entering this portal, you can instantly see that the main purpose of it is to serve others, not itself.

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How to Make Customers Love your Restaurant

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

How to Make Customers Love your RestaurantWhen you’re busy running your restaurant, it can be easy to forget about the little things that keep customers coming back. From everyday operations to long-term adjustments, there are lots of small changes you can implement that can make your restaurant more successful. Here is a list of best practices for restaurants that can help keep your customers happy.

1. Make a good first impression.

For a customer who has never been to your establishment before, it’s vital that you make a positive first impression. When customers walk into your restaurant, they should be greeted by a friendly smile and a “hello.” Your staff should also be dressed appropriately in attire that reflects positively on your restaurant.

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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.

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