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  1. From Poaching and Steaming to Baking and Grilling - Here's What You Can Do with a Combi Oven

    From Poaching and Steaming to Baking and Grilling - Here's What You Can Do with a Combi Oven

    What is a Combination Oven?

    Before we dive into what it does, let's first talk about what a combination oven is and how it works.

    Combination ovens or combi ovens use both steam and convection heat to cook foods. This specialized unit combines the two powerful heating methods to create one of the most precise cooking appliances.

    With a combi oven, you can cook food more precisely by controlling both humidity and temperature in the cavity - creating juicy, high-quality dishes that are consistent with every new day, chef, or operator.

    The heart of any combi is its oven cavity where food is cooked. No matter what combi oven you use, temperature, time, and humidity are the three most important functions to get the cooking results desired.

    Combination Cooking Examples: Convection vs. Steam

    We know that combi ovens use a combination of convection and steam heat to cook foods but let us dive a little deeper.

    Cooking with Convection

    As the name implies, convection cooking does not use any moisture to aid in the cooking process. This method involves the circulation of hot air or direct contact to transfer heat.

    Cooking with Steam Heat

    Conversely, steam heat uses water in a gas state to transfer heat to food up to 6 times faster than at temperature alone. Moisture in the form of steam or humidity comes in contact with the food to deliver delicate heat throughout the cooking process. Moisture content of foods cooked using this method are typically higher than in convection style heat transfer.

    Using Both Convection and Steam is Combi

    Typically, an operator would have to choose between convection or steam cooking, but, with a combi oven, you can have the benefits of both in one piece of equipment.

    For example, if your kitchen needs to cook a batch of bread, a combi oven will circulate both the temperature and humidity to produce a product that is uniform in color and flavor on the outside and inside. Or, if you are looking to create perfectly braised beef for a new stew on the menu, a combi oven will heat the cooking chamber to the right temperature for the beef to cook thoroughly while injecting the right amount of humidity to braise the meat for the perfect melt-in-your-mouth entree.

    No matter the recipe you are looking to master, the combi oven will allow you to create foods that are not only uniform and delicious, but can also help your kitchen create a varied menu, no matter how much space you have.

    Why Combi Ovens are Perfect for Kitchens of All Sizes

    Now that we understand what is going on inside of a combi unit, let's talk about the advantages it can bring to your kitchen.

    Small Commercial Kitchens

    Small commercial kitchens can probably benefit the most from a combi oven. With limited space, combi ovens offer small spaces multiple cooking abilities without taking up precious space in the kitchen. A combi oven can take the place of both a steamer and a convection oven without compromising on the outcome of the food.

    Medium Commercial Kitchens

    For medium sized commercial kitchens, a combi oven can act as another set of hands. A combi oven often comes with many different settings. You can control everything from cooking time down to the percentage of humidity inside the cavity, so all you have to do is add your foods and go. This can help medium-size kitchens have more hands in the kitchen without necessarily having more bodies.

    Large Commercial Kitchens

    Combi ovens are compact, which isn’t necessarily something that a large commercial kitchen needs to look for, but, because of their modular composition, a large kitchen can stack units on top of each other creating a powerful cooking space.

    Give Your Kitchen the Upgrade it Deserves

    If you are ready to upgrade your kitchen with the powerful cooking technology of a combi oven, consider choosing a Vulcan combination oven. Start cooking better with a combi oven today.

    Vulcan is relentless in the pursuit of exceptional commercial appliances. Through quality cooking equipment, steadfast service and more than 150 years of expertise, they employ thoughtful innovation to meet the unique needs of each and every one of their customers. As a leader in food service equipment, their quality products serve to inspire chefs and operators to pursue their passion and meet their unique cooking needs.

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  2. Avoiding Injuries in a Fast Casual Restaurant  

    Avoiding Injuries in a Fast Casual Restaurant   

    No matter what type of restaurant you own, your employees are at risk for some type of injury. Not only are your employees at risk of injury, but you’re at risk of paying higher compensation costs. Anticipating potential problems is the best way to counteract workplace injuries.

    Cuts

    Cutting, slicing, peeling, etc. is something you can’t avoid in a restaurant. You need to properly train your workers on kitchen safety and what to do in case of emergency. All food preparation areas should be kept free of distraction and clutter.

    Slips and Falls

    With the demand for food to be out quick in a fast casual restaurant, employees are more prone to slips and falls. “Running” around during a shift is nothing out of the ordinary. All spills should be immediately cleaned and picked up whether it be in the kitchen where your employees are, or in the front of the house with customers. Separate mops for the kitchen and the front of the house can make it easier to clean up a spill quickly. All employees should be required to wear non-slip shoes and non-slip mats should be placed in front of sinks, cooking stations, etc.

    Burns

    Workers in a fast casual restaurant have an increased risk of getting a burn because of the tight environment they work in and the pace at which they’re working. All kitchen workers that work with hot equipment should be required to wear protective equipment. All equipment, especially hot equipment, should be serviced regularly to avoid malfunction and potential injury.

    Training employees is essential in any work environment, but especially in a fast casual restaurant. Workers’ compensation can be astronomical, but you also don’t want your employees to get injured or be scared of potential injury when they come into work.

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  3. How to Maintain a Restaurant Blog

    How to Maintain a Restaurant Blog

    If done correctly, a restaurant blog will drive traffic to your restaurant’s website and your restaurant. This traffic can turn into online orders, delivery orders, and motivate people to actually visit your restaurant. You might find that you’re not entirely certain what content you would put out on your blog, but we’ve got some tips for you:

    Frequently Asked Questions

    If there are frequently asked questions that you hear all day long from customers, you can create a blog post that answers them. Put the answers in your blog because chances are if people are discussing them at your restaurant, people are talking about them online.

    New Menu Items

    There are probably fan favorite menu items that always entice your guests, but people love to be aware of your new menu items. Craft a blog posts that highlights your new menu items with their ingredients and the stories and inspirations behind the new menu items.

    Announcements

    Blog posts are the perfect place to post about any events that you’re hosting. Make sure to highlight charitable tie-ins and share the pertinent information that people need to be able to visit your restaurant for the event.

    Feature Stories

    Use your blog to do a feature story on employee or customer of the month. Customers will be happy that you took the time to show you care and want to share it with their friends and family. For employee feature stories, you can ask them a few in demand questions that highlight their character and make sure to ask them their favorite dish on the menu.

    Restaurant blogs are sure to benefit your restaurant and provide people with extra information about your restaurant. You can craft blog posts about anything you deem important to your restaurant including events, important information, your employees, and your customers.

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  4. Social Distancing at Restaurants

    Social Distancing at Restaurants

    If you’re not in a state that has ordered restaurants to transition to takeout and delivery options only during this coronavirus outbreak, we’ve got some social distancing tips for you to keeping your restaurant up and running!

    Space out Tables

    Decrease the number of tables you have inside and spread the remaining tables out to create enough space between them. If you have outdoor space available and it’s relatively warm outside, open up your patio space.  

    Fresh Air

    People feel more comfortable when they don’t feel confined in a space. If able to, open some windows to allow fresh air in and crack the blinds to create the feel and look of an airy space!

    Cleanliness

    Fully sanitize chairs, tables, and everything at each table after every reservation. Other patrons will see you doing this and it will make them more comfortable knowing that you’re taking extra steps to be cautious.

    Other Tips

    • Consider leaving the menus out for guests to take themselves, which eliminates the amount of different hands touching the menus.
    • Servers can leave the drinks at the front of the table and guests can grab them once the server has walked away.
    • Many employees socialize after their shifts and you should discourage this from happening for the time being.

    While this coronavirus outbreak is creating tough times for the restaurant industry, there are steps to take that allow you to stay open – if your state allows of course – and puts your customer’s minds at ease.

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  5. Securing a Restaurant Job

    Securing a Restaurant Job

    Looking for a job at your local restaurant? We’ll discuss some things you shouldn’t be doing during the job seeking process that will immediately dissuade owners from wanting to hire you. Here are some tips for securing that job!

    Phone Calls

    Do not call the restaurant asking for a “hiring manager” or if the restaurant is hiring without filling out an application. That simple question tells managers that you’re lazy and can’t fill out an easy application. Also restaurants don’t typically have a “hiring manager” and managers act as the “hiring manager” and may collaborate with other higher-ups to make the decision.

    Visiting After Submitting Application

    You should NOT visit the restaurant to “check in” on the status of your application if you haven’t heard back yet. The manager may not have even looked at your application yet, they might not be hiring, or they might not want to hire you. Don’t show up and make it awkward. If you haven’t heard back, send a friendly email inquiring about the role.

    Attire

    Similar to any other job interview, you should be well dressed if you get chosen to go in for an interview. Putting no effort into your appearance for an interview communicates to managers that you’ll put no effort into the job.

    Timeliness

    Again, being on time is imperative for any interview regardless of the position. You don’t want to show up late because managers will assume you won’t be able to show up on time for your shift.

    If you want to work in the restaurant industry, submit an application the old-fashioned way and wait to hear back. You can send a few, friendly emails prodding about the position if you haven’t heard back, but don’t become a nuisance and overbearing. Abide by the same rules you would follow for other types of job interviews.

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  6. Quarantine Cocktails

    Quarantine Cocktails

    If you’re finding yourself stuck in your house and boredom is beginning to set in, start playing around with the alcohol you have at hand and make some tasty drinks. But remember, vodka does not serve as a viable substitute for hand sanitizer! We’ve got some ideas below for some delicious drinks to keep you healthy – and sane – during these tough times.

    Tom Collins

    Originally made with gin, the Tom Collins is now most commonly made with vodka. However, some of you probably stockpiled for this quarantine, so you can make the drink with whatever you stockpiled: gin, vodka, brandy, tequila, etc.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. vodka
    • 1 oz. lemon juice
    • ½ oz. simple syrup
    • Lemon garnish

    Moscow Mule

    This drink is a classic and you probably have the ingredients lying around your house somewhere!

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. vodka
    • Lime wedge (squeezed)
    • Topped with ginger beer
    • Lime garnish

    Bloody Mary

    One of the most classic drinks around, and perfect to cure that hangover you’re sure to give yourself! Let’s face it, it’s easy to have a few too many glasses and lose track of how much you’ve had to drink while lounging around your house.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. vodka
    • Add own ingredients (celery, shrimp, etc.)
    • Fill remainder of glass with tomato juice
    • Garnish with olive, lime, lemon, etc.

    Bullshot

    The Bullshot drink is similar to a Bloody Mary and includes steak, alcohol, and ice. You might want to save this drink for when you’re feeling adventurous. 

    Ingredients:

    • 5 oz. vodka
    • 3 oz. Campbell’s beef broth
    • 1 dash Worcestershire steak sauce
    • Dash of Tabasco sauce
    • Lemon (squeezed)
    • Dash of celery salt

    If you haven’t already stocked up on alcohol in preparation to stay at home for a couple weeks, you should buy some. Think of this time spent at home as a time to experiment with your cooking – and drinking!

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  7. Coronavirus Restaurant Tips

    Coronavirus Restaurant Tips

    Has coronavirus impacted your restaurant? Unfortunately, it probably has and you now have to reduce your hours, close out dine-in to customers, and rely on takeout and delivery. Here are some tips to let your customers know you’re still open and the steps you’re taking to keep everyone healthy.

    Social Media Statement

    It’s important to let your customers know your exact hours and the options they have to be able to get your food. Ensure that your statement is clear and include your phone number, any online food ordering/delivery options, if your whole menu is available, and restaurant hours. It doesn’t hurt to highlight your plans for keeping your employees and your customers safe.

    Optional Press Release

    If you’re a chain restaurant, you should put out a press release detailing what your company is doing to counteract coronavirus. This press release should echo something similar to your social media statement and be used to expand upon what you said.

    Social Media Engagement

    If you’re a bakery or coffee shop, you should showcase your menu and pastry selection on your social media. Use Instagram stories to let people know your exact pastry selection and special beverages so customers feel they can confidently call you with their exact order. Make sure to monitor your social channels for questions and comments from customers and respond if you deem necessary.

    It’s no secret that coronavirus will probably have some type of negative impact on your restaurant, but there are ways to precisely and positively communicate your restaurant’s position and relevant information to your customers.

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  8. Commercial Shelving

    Commercial Shelving

    Having the appropriate shelving in your restaurant’s kitchen is one of the keys to owning and running a successful and efficient restaurant. There are a variety of different shelves made of various metals and materials you can choose from to store your ingredients, tools, dishes, cutlery, and more!

    Types of Shelving

    Solid Shelves

    Solid shelves don’t have slats, which means nothing will fall through as they might with vented shelves. Solid shelves are easier to clean, but do not offer the same type of ventilation that slatted shelves do.

    Vented (aka Slatted) Shelves

    Vented shelves are great for cold storage because the ventilation allows for long product life. These shelves can be harder to clean, but there are options to purchase shelving with removable parts for easier cleaning.

    Material Types

    Stainless Steel

    Stainless steel is extremely durable and corrosion resistant. Regardless of temperature, stainless steel is durable in any environment.

    Chrome Wire

    Shelving made with chrome wire works well in warm or heated environments and for dry storage.

    Polymer

    Polymer shelving is extremely resistant to corrosion and it’s dishwasher safe!

    There are plenty of options when it comes to shelving making it difficult to decide which is best for your restaurant. Remember to make sure your shelving is practical, but also follows health codes and guidelines. Check out some the shelves on our website: https://www.restaurantsupply.com/restaurant-shelving!

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  9. Cookware Metals

    Cookware Metals

    When you need to invest in new cookware for your restaurant, do you know which metal you should be choosing? There are a variety of metals to choose from: stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum, and more! We’ll give you some tips for investing in new cookware:

    Stainless Steel

    Stainless steel can be great for cooking highly acidic foods and ingredients. Stainless steel pans won’t discolor sauces or show signs of pitting, which is great for restaurants that pride themselves on food presentation.

    Pros:

    • Doesn’t trap food or bacteria
    • Durable, long-lasting, non-corrosive
    • Variety of metal coatings available

    Cons:

    • Long heat-up time
    • Inconsistent heat distribution
    • Need to buy non-stick version

    Cast Iron

    Cast Iron cookware is known for its ability to cook a variety of food items! However, there is some effort that goes into setup, you need to season the pan beforehand.

    Pros:

    • Induction-ready
    • Great for cooking food with oils
    • Consistent heating

    Cons:

    • Need to spend time seasoning pan before cooking
    • Not recommended for acidic foods

    Aluminum

    Aluminum cookware is great for fast-paced environments because aluminum heats up and cools down quicker than other types of cookware.

    Pros:

    • Budget-friendly
    • Light weight
    • Even heating

    Cons:

    • Cookware can become discolored
    • Potential taste impacts
    • Acidic foods can damage cookware

    Copper

    Copper heats up quickly and cools down quickly allowing for easy and accurate temperature control.

    Pros:

    • Even heat distribution
    • Temperature control
    • Great heat conductivity

    Cons:

    • High cost
    • Demands frequent maintenance

    The cookware mentioned above is just some of the most popular types of cookware available for your restaurant. Before investing in new cookware, be sure to keep in mind exactly how you plan on preparing and cooking the food.

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  10. Braising Pans

    Braising Pans

    Commercial braising pans are great for cooking large batches of food in less time. Braising pans are key in saving time without sacrificing the quality of the food. Braising pans, also known as tilt skillets, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including floor sizes, and can hold up to 40 gallons of food. They are most frequently used for browning or braising food, but can also be used for sautéing, boiling, simmering, frying, and more!

    Braising pans come with a variety of accessories:

    • Pan racks
    • Hot and cold water spray hoses
    • Drain valve and hose
    • Food strainers
    • Steamer racks, pasta baskets, and poaching pans

    Braising pans are great when cooking for crowds because they reduce the time it takes to cook food items. Braising pans are great for commercial kitchens with limited space because a single menu item can be prepared to entirety in this one pan.

    Advantages

    • Prepare large amounts of food
    • Similar to having 3 pieces of equipment in 1
    • Tilts to drain fat away from food as it cooks

    Commercial braising pants can increase efficiency and allow you the ability to prepare tons of delicious food without sacrificing flavor or kitchen space.

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