Meatless Mondays May Be Good for Restaurant Equipment Business

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Just a heads up to those in the foodservice industry: it might be time to prepare your restaurant equipment for Meatless Mondays.

“Really?” we hear you ask. “Didn’t Meatless Mondays go out with World War I?” Well, yes and no. During WWI, the U.S. Food Administration encouraged rationing of staple foods by promoting “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays.” Today, Meatless Monday plays something of a different role. The modern Meatless Monday was actually established in 2003 by Sid Lerner, an advertising agency executive, and is an international health campaign intent on improving the world’s eating habits one week at a time. The idea is that by cutting out meat from our diets once weekly, we can reduce our cholesterol levels, improve our heart health, and generally improve our physical well-being. It turns out that thousands of restaurants, schools, and companies have jumped on board this movement.

In many foodservice establishments, this has translated into an altered menu on Mondays, and it turns out the move may actually be good for business. Participation in Meatless Mondays allows restaurants to attract new customers, especially since, as Meatless Monday’s campaign director Peggy Neu says, it “plays into the vegetarian and ‘flexitarian’ trends.” It also allows restaurants to turn their attention to utilizing fresh, seasonal produce and local resources. But don’t worry: you don’t have to take all of your omnivorous entrées off of your restaurant equipment to participate in Meatless Monday. Add vegetarian dishes to your Monday specials and advertise your existing vegetarian dishes more prominently as well.

So go ahead, get your restaurant equipment and char broilers and cook up your favorite vegetarian recipes for your customers. You might find that it’s both good for you heart and good for business!

More Tips and Restaurant Equipment from ShortOrder

Do you participate in Meatless Mondays? Has it been a profitable a practice for your restaurant? Find ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and tell us about your experiences with Meatless Mondays and restaurant equipment!

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.

2010 Food Trends and Your Restaurant

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

The Food Channel recently released their list of predictions about the Top 10 Food Trends for 2010. At the top of the list? Basic ingredients — “keeping it real,” they call it, adding that there will be a shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking thanks to people having more time than money because of the economy. Another prediction on the list is for growth in grocery stores. There’s no “glory” in using name-brand products anymore — generic products have actually become their own brands.

That covers what’ll be on the table at home, but what about at restaurants? The Food Channel calls it “Experimental Nation:” People are redefining what it means to go out to eat, so restaurant concepts are in flux. They predict that restaurants with concepts having to do with DIY and “fresh” will “do well.” Since it’s all about experimentation, they note that many concepts will come and go as consumers decide what they like.

Number four on the list is “all about flavor delivery.” They say we’re defining a “new Global Flavor Curve” in America because of the new flavors immigrants have brought to the table. Think of your grandparents or great-grandparents: Chances are they immigrated to America from overseas — and they probably brought with them their own ways of making food. Mixing our heritage into American food can result in some creative dishes and unique flavors. As the Food Network says, the “presentation of food, the flavor, and the experimentation is coming into its own in 2010.” They call it “American, the New Ethnic.”

  • More highlights from the list of 2010 food trends:
  • Food vetting. People want to know where their food came from.
  • People and companies will become sustainable because they genuinely want to make a difference.
  • Food with added nutrients to increase nutritional value.

Is  your restaurant going to incorporate some of the trends included in this list? If you need restaurant equipment to make new dishes on  your menu, don’t miss our impressive selection of Vulcan ranges, Hobart slicers, Manitowoc ice machines and more.

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