1. How to Keep Your French Restaurant Relevant

    How to Keep Your French Restaurant Relevant

    It’s no secret: the restaurant industry is booming. With new restaurants popping up on every corner, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re staying relevant, especially with a niche cuisine. In a French restaurant, guests have the opportunity to try something new, startle their senses, and sink into an ambience not readily available in an American bar-restaurant.

    If you own a French restaurant, it’s important to capitalize on one thing: French food. While this may seem like an oxymoron, too often do French restaurants start serving American versions of traditional French dishes. Our advice: make sure that your entire staff is knowledgeable in French cuisine. Hire a chef who specializes in French food, and make sure that the rest of the team is on board.

    Second, write down your financial plan, and allocate some of the budget to a marketing agency. With the rise of technology, the internet is more powerful than word of mouth and without good marketing, posting to the internet can actually hurt your business. You should invest in marketing because the return rate is high. About 87% of successful restaurants pay for some sort of advertising. Marketing can be even be done for free in the form of a trade, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start investing in this crucial outlet.

    Lastly, work on the aesthetics of your restaurant. Decide what kind of experience you want to provide (old world, new world) and deliver. A top French guide was recently quoted saying most French restaurants are “lamentable.” This is because French cooking is more demanding and needs better technique. When these standards are not met, the restaurant often misses the mark.

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  2. Instant Pot vs. Air Fryer

    Instant Pot vs. Air Fryer

    With all the new kitchen gadgets that have come around in the last year or two, it’s hard to tell which one you should invest in. One thing is for sure: you don’t need to purchase all of them. While it’s tempting to purchase an Instant Pot, an Air Fryer, and a Crockpot, chances are purchasing one can accomplish most of the work. But which one should you purchase?

    The first question to answer is which foods you can cook with which gadget. Instant pots use steam and pressure to cook foods, which opens the door for cooking a wide variety of different things. In an instant pot, you can cook soups, meats, poultry, yogurt, and rice - to start. The main thing the Instant Pot is known for is cutting down your cooking time. Think: crockpot style meals in 20-30 minutes.

    Air Fryers are known for being a healthy way to cook your favorite fried foods like chicken wings, french fries, and steak. However, they can do much more. In an Air Fryer you can cook quiche, omelettes, roast chicken, and cakes. Air Fryers work via hot air conduction. This convection method allows for little to no oil to be used, which is what makes cooking foods this way a healthier alternative.

    So: Air Fryer or Instant Pot? It depends on your usage. For more versatility, go with the Instant Pot. For a fun way to cook your favorite football foods, go with the Air Fryer. The drawback of the Instant Pot is that it is less unique than the Air Fryer in terms of what it can accomplish. You can cook many of the same foods in an Instant Pot via your stovetop or Crockpot. However, you cannot easily cook most of the same foods in the Air Fryer unless you are using a deep fryer or a lot of oil. Crispy healthy fries or a quick way to make your favorite dinners - we reckon that either choice you make is a win.

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  3. Restaurant Event Ideas to Get More Customers in Your Doors

    Restaurant Event Ideas to Get More Customers in Your Doors

    If your restaurant has felt a little lackluster lately, we encourage you to use this list to generate more interest and get some new faces in the door. While having regulars is great, adding new public events to your restaurant’s facebook page will bring in a new crowd and new opportunities for business.

    Try a wine night with a coupon for a discounted bottle of wine after a tasting - or offer a tasting menu. Think #winewednesday and offer couples a night of wine tastings followed by offers on popular bottles to eat with their dinner. For this event, we recommend you sell tickets so that you can get a specific headcount for the tasting.

    Many restaurants offer a live music night every week on a specific day. Use this event to give back to your local community by featuring neighborhood artists, and make it a win for your restaurant by offering live music during popular hours. If you have a patio in the summertime, better yet. Allow for a steady rotation of different artists and make sure that you feature them all on your social media page in the weeks prior to the event.

    Another option for the weekend crowd is karaoke, open mic, or comedy night. Get interactive with your customers by offering them a chance to be on stage themselves! Not only will it bring your restaurant community together, but it will give a chance for the local open mic community to discover your restaurant and tell their friends you offer this event. Comedy night gets a little tricker, and we recommend ticketing this event as well.   

    These are just a few ideas to get your team brainstorming. Sit down with your leadership team and come up with a list of monthly events that you can start working into rotation - and enjoy seeing your restaurant liven up!

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  4. Reorganize Your Fridge the Marie Kondo Way

    Reorganize Your Fridge the Marie Kondo Way
    If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you’ve likely seen Marie Kondo’s recent appearance on the popular streaming platform. Kondo is a bestselling author, expert on tidying up, and founder of KonMari, Inc. Her most recent book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has helped thousands of people reorganize their lives using her simple, effective method. So why not the fridge? If you think about it, the fridge is one of the most frequently used appliances in your household. Many of us are guilty of having a fridge cluttered with tupperwares full of old food, condiments that have expired, and a few too many containers of Baking Soda. To start implementing her technique in your own fridge you must first: commit yourself to tidying up. Kondo’s first rule requires a little bit of thought and commitment on your end. It’s one thing to clean out the fridge - but what’s preventing the same problem the next time you hit Costco? Next, imagine your ideal lifestyle. Ah, yes. A life in which your fridge was that of an influencer and everything was perfectly organized in matching containers. This step is important because it follows up on committing yourself to tidying up. You can’t move forward with a plan without an end goal. Finish discarding first. This one speaks for itself in the fridge. Get rid of all that old unwanted clutter in order to replace it with something fresh. Next, tidy by category and not by location. Create areas in the fridge for specific foods and stay consistent with those categories in the future. Her next step follows the same train of thought - follow the right order. Aka, don’t quit organizing once the initial excitement has passed. And of course, her last rule is quite fitting for the fridge: ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does not, get rid of it. Sorry, vegetables do not count.
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  5. How to Keep Food in the Pantry Fresh

    How to Keep Food in the Pantry Fresh
    If your pantry is somewhat of a nightmare, don’t stress. The majority of us would agree that our pantries do not resemble the inside of an IKEA. The pantry can be a daunting area of the house, especially when things are out of order, out of date, and out of use. Keeping food in the pantry fresh is critical not only for the health of your family, but for your own mental health. Some foods that you might store in the pantry can live there for years. These non-perishables don’t have a shelf life, and include canned beans, pasta, grains, and tuna. However, if grains are not properly stored, they can still perish - even with their long shelf life. One important step in keeping food in the pantry safe is airtight containers. Make sure that you store even non-perishable items in airtight containers to avoid bugs, rotting, and mold. Sugar and flour can get clumpy when exposed to moisture. Another thing to consider is that foods that aren’t classified as non-perishable have a shelf life. Although the large container of oil you purchased might be useful, if you have kept it for 6 months or longer, it’s time to replace it. Spices can last longer, but should be stored in a cool dark place, like the back of the pantry. You can even purchase seal-able containers that block out light to keep all of your pantry goods fresh. The next time you open your pantry - don’t stress! Start out with checking the expiration dates on your most commonly used products, and make sure to check our blog weekly for more helpful tips.
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  6. Proper Maintenance Can Extend Your Appliances’ Lifespan

    Proper Maintenance Can Extend Your Appliances’ Lifespan
    With our cars, we make sure to get oil changes every few months, washes every few weeks, and general servicing every year. However, many of us do not take care of our appliances in the same way. While good appliances are fairly sturdy, it’s important to still maintain them - before something goes wrong. Repairs can often cost much more than the cost of maintenance, but most homeowners do not think of their appliances often. The most basic form of maintenance for an appliance is cleaning. This goes beyond wiping down with a Clorox pad, and instead includes changing out filters, replacing pumps, and checking electrical wires. Another factor you should consider when trying to increase the lifespan of your appliances is efficiency. Not only do appliances that are not energy efficient rack up your electric bill, but because they do not perform as well, something is more likely to go wrong. An appliance that is inefficient and overworked is at a higher risk of needing repair than an energy efficient appliance of the same group. Have a dishwasher that takes a couple runs to get your dishes cleaned? It’s worth having a mechanic take a look at it. The more you have to run the dishwasher to get one clean load, the more energy you use, and the higher the likelihood that a problem is on the horizon. In our opinion, it’s best to get your appliances checked regularly rather than replace them every five years. Whether you’re shopping for a new appliance or keeping your stove on for another ten years, we hope you keep these tips in mind the next time you’re in the kitchen.
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  7. How to Manage your Restaurant’s Yelp Account

    How to Manage your Restaurant’s Yelp Account

    Getting a negative review on your restaurant’s Yelp page is not the end of the world. As stressful as a negative comment or review can be, what you do to handle that comment is what matters. As much as we want the negative comment to disappear on its own, it definitely won’t, so managing it well is extremely critical.

    First, make sure that you address the comment and respond. Nothing looks worse than a restaurant with a negative review on its page that has not been responded to by the restaurant owner. Owning a successful restaurant means that your customers perceive you as honest, reputable, and reliable. Making sure you are consistent in your actions across the board is step one. Reviews have been shown to directly affect a restaurant’s success. An increase in positive Yelp reviews has even been shown to correlate to an increase in a restaurant’s revenue.

    That being said, a mix of positive and negative reviews is better than no reviews at all. People tend to be pretty understanding if they can tell someone who wrote a bad review was not being fair to the restaurant, so as long as you are doing your job to please your customers, negative reviews should be largely out of your control.

    Lastly, make sure that you stay up to date with your Yelp page. If your restaurant sees a lot of traffic, make sure that you check your reviews daily. You can also offer special deals or discounts to your customers for checking in on Yelp or for leaving a review. Remember, the more reviews the better - and there is no such thing as bad press.

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  8. How Spring Cleaning Applies to Restaurants

    How Spring Cleaning Applies to Restaurants

    Amazingly, we’re already in the month of February. While January felt like the longest month ever, Spring is just around the corner - sortof. The time of year after Christmas and between Valentine’s Day can feel like a real drag. The weather hasn’t warmed up yet, and there are no holidays to celebrate. This time of year is a great time to start looking forward, because while Spring may not be here yet, Spring cleaning can be.

    As a restaurant owner, keeping your restaurant clean is necessary not only for sanitation codes, but for the customer’s happiness as well. The beginning of the year is a great time to review cleaning procedures, become more efficient as a staff, and maybe to even invest in a new piece of cleaning equipment. Some areas that you can review to make sure that your restaurant is up to par for the new year are the bathrooms, the tables, and the entryway area.

    In your restaurant’s bathroom, first look at the tile. Is it old and needing to be replaced? Most customers judge the cleanliness of a restaurant based on the cleanliness of the bathroom. If it’s in your restaurant’s budget, consider sprucing up the bathroom and making sure that it looks spic and span at all times. When reviewing the tables, consider the set up. Is there enough space between the tables? Could they be laid out in a more efficient manner? Are the tablecloths too old? If you make a few small changes, your customers will surely notice and be appreciative - especially if they have frequented your restaurant for years.

    Change can be difficult, especially if your establishment has been around for a while. However, sprucing up a few small things here and there can really tie the restaurant together and give it a fresh face. Consider adding new decorations to the entryway, or removing some if it looks too crowded. If it’s not in your restaurant’s budget to purchase new items, take some items away or move some around to give your restaurant a different look. No matter your budget, a little effort goes a long way and is something that your customers surely deserve.

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  9. Why Your Restaurant Should Use an Online Reservation Platform

    Why Your Restaurant Should Use an Online Reservation Platform

    With the rise of technology, every business has to adapt. For restaurant owners, that may mean the use of apps and online booking systems for their customers. Whether or not your restaurant has it’s own app, chances are you still need a bigger online presence.

    One way to increase your online presence is through the use of an online booking system. Online booking, or reservation, systems are a way for your customers to reserve their table for the night from the ease of their smartphone. This newer technology is so useful because it saves time for both parties. The customer does not have to wait for the restaurant to pick up the phone, and the restaurant workers don’t have to rush to answer as many calls during a busy time.

    The way that the online booking system works is through an external platform. By registering and signing a contract with one of these platforms, your restaurant will be added to a host of systems for customers so search through. This may also increase the likelihood that a customer who has never been to your restaurant will try out your restaurant. From there, all the customer has to do is click a “Reserve” button, which can be linked to your restaurant’s Instagram account, or book through the app. They simply pick an open reservation spot and voila - reservation made.For the restaurant owner, the name pops up and the reservation is taken. All both parties have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the meal. Well, the restaurant may have to do a bit more work than that.

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  10. Charbrolier Cleaning

    In a restaurant kitchen, charbroilers are an excellent way to sear beautiful brand marks and impart a light smoky flavor onto proteins, fish and vegetables. However, to achieve consistent brand marks and the best release of product off of the cooking grid, routine cleaning and “dressing” of the top surface of the cooking grid with a light coat of oil (typically with vegetable oil but any variety of oil will do) are recommended. Charbroilers typically have cast iron or stainless steel grates. To dress the cooking grate, make a “jelly roll” out of a kitchen towel by folding it in thirds, rolling tightly and tying with butcher’s twine. The final roll should be about 4-5” long and about 2 ½-3”in diameter. Keep this roll in a 1/9th size pan next to the broiler filled with a small amount of vegetable oil. Wipe the cooking grates to remove any debris and then, using tongs, grab the roll and sweep the grates, coating lightly with oil. Repeat as necessary or after each product drop. At close of service when it is time to clean the unit, allow charbroiler to run on max for ten minutes and then turn off all sections. Wipe the cooking grids and allow the unit to cool completely before attempting to clean. Once the unit is cool, remove the cooking grids and set aside. Clean places where fat, grease or food may have accumulated. Deflector trays and crumb trays should be emptied and cleaned regularly. If cooking grids are heavily soiled or show a large amount of carbonization, they can be soaked in a commercial degreasing solution as necessary. If de-greasing is required, carefully remove top grates and submerge in cleaning solution. Rinse completely with clear water and dry before returning to the unit. Do not drop cooking grids, as it may cause damage and may require replacement. About Vulcan Equipment Vulcan, a division of ITW Food Equipment Group LLC, is a leading manufacturer of cooking equipment in the U.S. with a broad line of products including ranges, convection and combi ovens, fryers, griddles, charbroilers, steamers, braising pans, kettles and heated holding cabinets. Vulcan sells both to the foodservice and food retail end-user segments, including chain and independent restaurants, hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges/universities, hotels, casinos, recreation, corrections, and grocery stores.
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