Save Water – Save Money – Save the Environment

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

 

Running FaucetMany parts of the country are experiencing droughts like they haven’t seen in years (I’m talking to you Texas and California!). Businesses and residents are being asked to conserve water and make lifestyle changes to preserve the water supply. Even if you don’t live in one of the hardest hit areas of the country, you can still benefit from conserving water. Yes, it’s better for the environment, but it’s also great for the bottom line.

Don’t let the thought of conserving water intimidate you. There are 3 areas of any restaurant where taking steps to saving water will make a large impact, with minimal effort on your part.

Ice Machines

Ice machines are a large source of water usage in all restaurants. Some things you might consider help conserve: (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 RestaruantOwner.com 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…)

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…)

Top 7 Catering Tips Before You Start Serving

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Catered Buffet FoodConsidering catering? We have put together some catering tips to help you make the most of your operation. Since the catering season is now upon us, if you have some of the things on this list checked off, you are probably ready to get started. If not, consider these tips for next year.

Tip #7 Develop a marketing plan:

Step 1 – Know your potential catering clients. Step 2 – Figure out the best way to reach them. When they’re having lunch in your restaurant, start asking how they handle meals for their company and which experiences they have enjoyed, and which ones they haven’t! Step 3- Get the message out there that you can help make their company meals simple and delicious.

Tip #6 Marketing:

Keep track of your daily customers and where they work. Always focus on those companies first. They know you. They know your food. They want you to succeed. (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…)

Fall Beer and Food Pairings to Offer Diners

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Assortment of Beers and AlesThere is something completely natural about the desire to pair beer with autumn food. Maybe it’s because the beverage shares a color with the leaves, or maybe it’s because the earthy flavors evoke the smell of the rain-soaked land…or maybe they just taste great together. If you’re running with that last theory, here’s our take on maximizing the flavor profile of your fall pairings:

Strong Beers for Strong Spices

Traditional autumn flavors are warm and spicy; nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. To pair with these strong flavors, you want a strong beer. Pair these classic fall flavors with hoppy harvest brews or caramel-tinted American amber ales for the best effect. The significant exception; if you’re going to eat a traditional Mexican mole sauce, you’re better off pairing it with a pumpkin brew. The spice profile fits neatly in with the sweetness of that particular beer.

Hoppy harvests and American ambers pair well with soft, ripened cheeses such as Brie and Camembert. Similarly, intensely sweet fruit such as poached pears or bananas foster are perfectly balanced by the intensity of the harvest brews and amber ales. (more…)

National Food Safety Month: Tips for a Safe Commercial Kitchen

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Restaurant Kitchen Chef Slicing VegetablesSeptember is National Food Safety Month, and we at Short Order want to honor that by putting up a short summary of the most basic food safety tips that we hope all of our clients and customers are following this month — and every month.

The Biggest Dangers in a Commercial Kitchen

There are two food-related dangers in a commercial kitchen that outweigh all others. The first is cross-contamination; getting one food into another in a way that leads to unsafe circumstances. The second is improper temperature control, which gives maleficent bacteria and viruses a chance to multiply and become quite dangerous.

What Foods Can Cross-Contaminate

There are two basic groups of foods that can cause problems with cross-contamination. The first group is the food that nasty viruses and bacteria grow on (or in). That means raw meat, raw fish, eggs, and pasteurized dairy products among others. The second group is the major allergens; milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and wheat. Any time you handle any of these foods, you need to follow strict protocols to keep them separated.

Keep Them Separated, Seriously.

This means cleaning surfaces and tools between each food — and possibly even having entirely different stations for processing ready-to-eat vs. cooked foods and allergenic vs. non-allergenic foods. It means storing your food in containers that seal without leaking, and putting the food most likely to contaminate in the event of a spill on the bottom shelves. It means packing contaminating foods in separate containers from others when transporting them.

Temperature Control

The most obvious element of temperature control in cooking is making certain that all of those aforementioned raw foods get cooked to a safe internal temperature before they’re consumed, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Temperature control also means keeping food out of the ‘danger zone’ between 40 degrees and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. That in and of itself is a complex task involving a myriad of protocols for transporting, storing, thawing, preparing, cooling, storing the leftovers, and reheating the leftovers (make sure everything reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds before serving).

Food safety is a critically important element of every restaurant’s function. All it takes is some people getting sick from eating at your restaurant to have catastrophic effects on your business. Follow the rules, and keep you customers and your employees safe this September and all year long.

5 Tips for Restaurant Catering Success: Supplies, Ideas, and More

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Buffet Food by Catering ServiceIf you run a restaurant, it can be a very profitable (but very scary) notion to try to get into the catering business. On the one hand, you are already making a bunch of food every day and catering basically just increases your audience. On the other hand, catering offers its own unique set of challenges and potential pitfalls.

Want to up your foodservice game? Here are some tips for success moving from restaurateur to caterer.

1. Decide On Your Service

There are lots of different kinds of catering, and each comes with a unique set of operations. For example, catering a business luncheon, a wedding, and a kindergarten class field trip are three very different kinds of catering. Before you make any other decisions, decide what kinds of events you intend to cater, making sure they match the kinds of food you can produce. (more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

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