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…)

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…)

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…)

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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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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How to Deal with Bad Restaurant Reviews

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Unhappy dinersThe disgruntled customer: it’s an eventuality every restaurant will have to face. For one reason or another, every establishment encounters a patron who has a bad experience and who takes their complaints to the Internet review site of their choice. Whether it’s Yelp or TripAdvisor, these reviews carry real weight in a world where 81% of smartphone users said they used their smartphones to compare restaurants before choosing a place to eat (according to an NRN survey). That’s why it is truly to a restaurant’s advantage to learn how best to handle bad online reviews. In fact, if done correctly, restaurants can even turn negative press into positive marketing. Here are 5 steps to dealing with bad online reviews of your restaurant.

1. Keep Tabs on Your Reviews

The first step in handling negative reviews is to know what people are saying about you. While, yes, it is easier to stick your head in the sand and believe everything is peachy keen, it’s better to accept that people are probably talking about your restaurant. And the fact is, it’s better to know what they’re saying. Search Yelp, Urbanppoon, LocalEats, TripAdvisor, Zagat, Dine.com, and other review sites and mobile apps to find your restaurant and read comments and stories from reviewers. You may also receive reviews on Twitter or Facebook if your restaurant is active on social media.

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7 Tips for Range Safety in Your Kitchen

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Commercial Range Burner SafetyAre you being safe enough in your kitchen? Ranges are a smart addition to any restaurant’s kitchen, but only if you take the right precautions when cooking with, cleaning, and maintaining them. Don’t let kitchen safety fall by the wayside when the dinner rush hits. Follow these 7 range safety tips to keep your kitchen hazard-free and staff-friendly.

1. Always keep your ranges clean. A clean range is a safe range. It’s also the most efficient, which is handy when the clock is ticking during high volume hours. Grease and leftover food pieces can catch fire if they are not cleared away from the range’s cooking area regularly.

2. Clean your kitchen floors. Liquids around a commercial range are a safety hazard, so keep your kitchen’s floors clean throughout the day.

3. Don’t store items on top of a range. This is what’s commonly referred to in the restaurant industry as “an accident waiting to happen.” Anything stored on top of a range, even if the range is off, is a fire hazard. Likewise, be careful what your store around the range. Flammable items should be kept in a different area of the kitchen.

4. Pay attention to temperature. Monitor the range, and never leave a hot range unattended. Always keep oven mitts and potholders nearby to prevent accidents and burns.

5. Watch for leaking gas. If your range has open gas burners, keep an eye on the flame to make sure it is a quiet, steady blue. If your flame is a sputtering yellow one, turn it off and inspect your range immediately.

6. Keep equipment safely upright. The traffic flow in your kitchen should be suited to the setup of your equipment, and vice-versa. Make sure your range is safely positioned so no one is in danger of rushing into it and knocking it over. This is especially important for light-gauge steel ranges, which weigh less and are easier to tip over.

7. Keep up with range maintenance. You should regularly inspect your range to make sure all connections are properly hooked up and all parts are in good working order. Also clean your range regularly to prevent buildup of grease or other solids.

If you have questions about how to buy a range for your commercial kitchen, check out 6 FAQs about Commercial Ranges or the ShortOrder buyer’s guide to ranges. Not sure which range to buy? Contact us on Twitter or Facebook, or call ShortOrder for free at 800-211-0282.

 

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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How to Be a Wine Connoisseur

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

How to Be a Wine ConnoisseurSo, it’s wine o’ clock at your restaurant, and you have no idea what wine to serve your customers. Don’t worry; ShortOrder is here to help. We’ve put together a short four-step plan that will turn you into a wine guru.

1. Develop Your Own Wine Palate
If you have never been one for the taste of wine, we suggest starting out with a modest wine. For example, many white wine-only drinkers who want to try the world of red wine start out with a nice Malbec, because its flavor isn’t as bold as, say, a Merlot or Cabernet. Also, to help you truly experience all of the flavors, we suggest that you make sure to swish each sip around your mouth instead of just throwing it back.

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