Blog

  1. Wine, Wine, and More Wine!

    Wine, Wine, and More Wine!

    People love their wine, so running a wine program might be beneficial for you! Wine is food and you should choose the wines you provide to your guests very carefully. People appreciate fine food (and fine wine!), and will have an elevated experience if you pair your wines correctly. Here are some tips for running a wine program at your restaurant:

    Consider the Food

    You need to consider what food is on your menu. Certain wines pair well with certain foods, while others do not. You don’t want to offer wine that doesn’t complement your food!

    Customers

    You want to choose wines on your menu depending on the type of customer you are planning to serve. You want to be able to serve wine to people who are willing to take risks and try something new, but you also need to be able to offer more mainstream options to those who are less experienced diners.

    Level of Service

    The wine you choose to have on hand to serve to customers depends on the type of experience you want to provide you customer. A fine-dining experience means your customers will expect a larger selection with lots of depth, while a more casual dinining experience means less expectation about the type of wine you're serving.

    Even fast, casual restaurants are jumping into the wine game with wine on tap. A wine program can do wonders for your bottom-line and can differentiate your restaurant from its competitors. 

    Read more
  2. Restaurant Origins

    Restaurant Origins

    Restaurants have evolved from purely fine establishments that were considered a treat solely for the wealthy, to something that is for everyone, no matter the pay grade, to enjoy! The trends in the food instrusty are fascinating to trace back through history. Let's take a look at some of the popular trends in dining out over the past couple of centuries!

    Early 19th Century

    Originally, restaurants were designed to feed workers and were born into existence out of that necessity to feed them. Diners would eat what was prepared for them and rarely had a choice (it can sometimes be hard to choose which food items we prefer off of the vast menus provided to us now!). At the end of the 19th century, restaurants introduced fine dining and became a privileged experience including china, wait staff in tuxedos, and white tablecloths.

    Early 20th Century

    At this point in time, you could probably find women working behind the counter, not just men, because most men were off to fight in the war. Italian immigrants surged into the country and brought with them their fabulous cuisine and recipes to share with Americans.

    Mid-20th Century

    In the mid-20th century, restaurants introduced fast food into the life of Americans. This ignited a shift in the way people dined and helped make it easier for restaurant owners to hire staff. During the 1950’s, fast food culture emerged and everyone wanted to be involved in a business where you could make fast, cheap food. Fast food has become especially popular since then and more than one third of Americans dine out on fast food alone. 

    1990’s

    Americans in the workforce were working longer hours and found it easier to go out for a “casual” dinner than to go through the process of making an entire dinner for the family. Chains, including Applebee’s and Olive Garden popped up around this time. Casual restaurants were considered a step above fast food, but not too expensive for a family with two working parents.

    Nowadays, people love the wide variety of restaurant options and the fact that they can choose a restaurant based on the type of food they want. People prefer having options to choose from and like picking a restaurant based on personal preference: type of food, wait time, price, etc. 

    Read more
  3. Fryer Safety Tips

    Fryer Safety Tips

    It’s safe to say that if you own a restaurant, you probably have and are using a fryer in your commercial kitchen. You and your employees should know how to safely use a fryer and how to keep up with proper maintenance. Deep frying oil begins with temperatures around 400 degrees, and it only gets hotter from there. Those employees operating your fryer should be well trained and be provided with knowledge on how to decrease the risk of burns.

    Tips:

    • Oil, as we already know, is highly flammable
    • Certain oils: peanut, sunflower, etc. heat up faster than regular oil
    • Use a digital probe thermometer to test oil temperature before adding food
    • Use long tongs to place and remove food from fryer
    • Use protective gloves when lifting food from fryer
    • Do not overfill fryer with frozen food all at once or it will overflow
    • Place frying baskets gently into fryer so as to prevent splashing
    • Keep floor area surrounding fryer clean and dry

    To keep yourself and your employees safe, you need to make sure that your fryer is being properly cleaned and taken care of. The employees you have operating the fryer should be adequately trained and comfortable using the fryer. It is also imperative that you have a “Class K” fire extinguisher in your kitchen to fight against potential fires. A “Class K” fire extinguisher is the only type of fire extinguisher that is approved and allowed in a commercial kitchen. One other thing to consider: if you have the budget, you should invest in a new fryer! New fryers come with internal filtration systems and exhaust vents that make them safer for you to use.

    Read more
  4. Restaurant Signage

    Restaurant Signage

    Graphics create connections in the mind of your consumers, and can be your restaurant’s main identifier. Picking out a logo or sign can be difficult because you want it to be aesthetically pleasing and also something that differentiates you from your competitors. Not all signage is used as an identifier, but rather to alert your customers of an event or special you’re having.

    Environment

    What kind of environment is your sign in? You don’t want it to be amidst a bunch of other signage because becomes part of the clutter and people will miss your sign completely. Before putting your sign up, scope out its potential location to ensure there aren’t other signs with conflicting messages or outdated signs posted directly next to yours.

    Message

    You need to evaluate what kind of message you want your sign to accomplish. Is there a certain message you’re trying to get across to your customers? You want your sign to convey your message in a clear and concise way, while also being memorable to your customers.

    Audience

    Your signs don’t always need to reach everyone! You might need to target different demographics for different events and offerings. You’ll need to adjust your signage to fit your target audience!

    Photography

    If you’re using pictures of your delicious—we hope!—food on your signage, you need to make sure you don’t skimp on the quality of the pictures. You want the pictures to reflect how good your food really tastes.

    Whether your sign is your main logo or for promotional purposes, signage is an important part of your restaurant! You want your sign to convey the message you want to the right audience.

    Read more
  5. Reducing Food Waste

    Reducing Food Waste

    The past couple of years have showcased the trend in making more of an effort to create a positive environmental impact. If you’re not trying to be environmentally conscious, you’ll lose the respect of your market, especially millennials. Reducing your food waste not only helps the environment and puts your food to good use, but it can help your bottom line! Here are some ways that you can use to help reduce your restaurant’s food waste:

    Big Data and Analytics

    Technology is revolutionizing the food industry! Food analytics software allows you to monitor your food and its freshness. This software will alert you when the food is about to go bad so you in turn can either use it right away, or you can find another way to put it to good use instead of throwing it away.

    Packaging

    Temperature-controlled packing is extremely important! When food goes bad, most times it’s because of the packaging it’s in. With new smart packaging technology, all reusable crates and temperature-sensitive items will come with a thermostat that can communicate the temperature in real time. With this, you can now keep track of the temperature of your food items making sure they don’t go to waste.

    Donations

    This seems like a fairly obvious way to reduce your food waste, but with the analytics software mentioned above, you have the ability to spot food that’s going to be wasted before it spoils. If you don’t have a chance to sell it to your customers, you can always donate to a local charity that accepts food donations (as long as you make them aware of the expiration date!).

    Reducing your food waste should be one of your top priorities as a restaurant. It not only helps the environment, but also makes your customers happy, which in turn positively impacts your bottom line!

    Read more
  6. Equipment Guide

    Equipment Guide

    As we’ve discussed in past blog posts, commercial equipment is the essential backbone to your restaurant, but it’s also a huge investment. With large investments, comes risk, but we’re here to give you some tips and tricks for when you're in need of new equipment!

    Blue NSF Logo

    If you’re looking for a standard of equipment, you should always make sure the product has an NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) logo printed on the product itself or on the packaging. NSF equipment promises food-safe equipment that is easy to keep clean and can be used in a commercial kitchen. All NSF products are vetted by third-parties in a rigorous process.

    Warranties

    Before you actually purchase anything, you should check to see what the manufacturer offers to back up their products. Malfunctions and service calls can add up quickly, so you want to ensure that the manufacturer offers some type of deal.

    Codes

    Know all your local fire, building, and health codes before you start the buying process. Local codes can vary widely across the country, so something that is admissible in the next town over might be banned at your location. Think about partnering with your local government to assure all the equipment you plan on buying is acceptable.

    Inspect Equipment

    When your equipment first arrives, you should inspect it to make sure all the pieces are accounted for and there is no damage to the equipment. Despite one’s best efforts, products can always be damaged during the shipping process.

    Kitchen equipment will allow you to put your restaurant dreams into motion, but purchasing the wrong equipment can and will slow you down and cause you to lose money (no one wants that!).

    Read more
  7. Spice Up Your Snow Day!

    Spice Up Your Snow Day!

    Whether you're at home enjoying your snow day, or you own a local restaurant looking to attract people in the midst of a snowstorm (people always straggle in when you least expect it!), having a boozy cocktail in your back pocket for a snow day is essential. Here are some cocktails perfect for a winter day:

    Winter Margarita

    Basically a traditional margarita, but with an egg white!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 oz. reposado tequila
    • 1 oz. mezcal
    • 1 oz. lime juice
    • .75 oz. simple syrup
    • 1 egg white

    Shake ingredients without ice, and then shake again with ice. Strain into a glass and serve with a salted rim.

    Good Tidings

    Includes traditional winter scents and flavors!

    Ingredients:

    • 5 oz. vodka
    • 1 oz. cointreau
    • 1 oz. lemon juice
    • 1 oz. cranberry juice
    • 1 bar spoon with allspice dram

    Shake the ingredients with ice, then strain into a glass over ice, and top with soda. Garnish with lemon wheel.

    Applejack Sazerac

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. apple brandy
    • .25 oz. maple syrup
    • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

    Stir ingredients with ice and then strain into a glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

    These drinks are delicious ways to warm yourself up on a cold day and to make your snow day a little more fun than originally planned!

    Read more
  8. Boozy Thanksgiving

    Boozy Thanksgiving

    Holidays aren’t complete without some alcohol consumption (or a lot!), and what better way to celebrate than to add some turkey day inspired drinks! Ditch the boring old drinks you’re used to and give people more of a reason to enjoy the holidays! Here are some drinks to complement your Thanksgiving dinner (or your restaurant menu):

    Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

    Ingredients:

    • 1 ounce sweetened cranberry juice
    • 1 wedge lime
    • Champagne
    • Frozen cranberries

    In a champagne flute add cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. Top off the glass with champagne and garnish with 3 or 4 cranberries. Check out the recipe here for more details: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/cranberry-champagne-cocktail-recipe-1957530!

    Thanksgiving Seabreeze

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 1 cup cranberry juice
    • 1 cup vodka
    • Mint sprigs

    Mix all liquids into a pitcher filled with ice and pour into glasses and garnish with mint. If you’re feeling extra inspired, you can add a small amount of your Thanksgiving cranberry sauce to the bottom of each glass before filling with mixture! Here is the recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/thanksgivings-a-breeze-seabreezes-recipe-1943360!

    Pumpkin Pie Martini

    Ingredients:

    • ½ ounce Stoli Vanilla
    • 1 ounce Pumpkin Spice liqueur
    • ½ ounce Kahlua
    • ½ ounce Butterscotch Schnapps
    • ½ ounce half-and-half
    • Crushed graham crackers
    • Cinnamon stick

    Add all the liquids into a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a glass with crushed graham crackers, and garnish with a cinnamon stick! Here's the recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pumpkin-pie-martini-recipe-1958974! We love us some pumpkin pie—this is a great opportunity to have it in the form of a martini and in the form of a pie in the same day!

    Use the holidays as an excuse to experiment with and create some tasty drinks!

    Read more
  9. Ice Sculpting

    Ice Sculpting

    We’re always talking about the type of ice that should be used in drinks, but what about some other interesting ice uses? Ice sculptures are a great way to use ice in an expressive and creative way to create beautiful works of art (even if they melt within a few hours). Ice sculptures can take nearly any form, especially if you’ve hired an artist with lots of experience to create the sculpture.

    These sculptures usually cost $300 and up and are becoming more and more popular as decorations for events. Ice sculptures are more often than not used as centerpieces for chilled appetizers and drinks, but companies also use them as an extravagant way to display the company logo. At the right temperature, these sculptures can last for months and for a party at room temperature, you’ll probably have a window of 2-3 hours before it begins to melt.

    Depending on the size and difficulty of what is being created, ice sculptures may be made from multiple blocks of ice used together or from one block of ice. They can become extremely heavy very quickly, which is something else the artist needs to be aware of when making and transporting the sculpture to the venue.

    Ice sculpting began more than 4,000 years ago with the Inuits of North America building igloos meant for shelter and survival. Several years later, the Chinese built lanterns out of ice. Building with ice has evolved from a survival tactic to a decorative purpose and now, there are many competitions and events held in the colder parts of the world to display these ice sculptures.

    Ice isn’t just used to chill your drink, but also as an art form! 

    Read more
  10. Tasty Thanksgiving Treats

    Tasty Thanksgiving Treats

    Holiday season is upon us! The holiday season is a busy time of year (and you want it to be for your restaurant too!). First up is Thanksgiving: you want to think about offering Thanksgiving inspired dishes to your menu in the hopes of getting some positive buzz surrounding your restaurant. You do all this with the hopes of increasing foot traffic. Here are some Thanksgiving inspired dishes for your menu (or if you want them for your dinner table on Thanksgiving Day):

    Sausage Fennel Stuffing

    An Italian-inspired Thanksgiving stuffing dish, this dish adds chunks of Italian sweet sausage to fennel and onions for a great stuffing twist!

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
    • 2 small fennel bulbs
    • 2 medium sized red onions
    • 4 thyme sprigs
    • ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 pound sourdough
    • 2 ½ cups unsalted chicken stock

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking pan with butter. Place the sausage, fennel, thyme, and onions into a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with pepper, and bake in preheated oven until brown (20-25 minutes). Place the sourdough bread (separated into smaller chunks) on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees until lightly toasted and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk together the eggs and chicken stock in a bowl, and then add the bread and sausage mixture. Then add the remaining pepper and salt and scrape into prepared baking dish that was greased with butter earlier. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and let sit for 45 minutes at room temperature. Then bake at 375 degrees until heated through (about 45 minutes). Let stand and then serve.

    Chile Infused Mashed Potatoes

    Add Chile to this familiar Thanksgiving side dish for a spicy flair!

    Ingredients:

    • 3 guajillo chiles
    • 3 dried chiles de árbol
    • 2 ½ cups of half-and-half
    • 5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
    • 7 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    Place chiles in a saucepan over medium and cook, stirring until lightly toasted (5 minutes). Stir in the half-and-half, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to very low and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Then pour the chile infused half-and-half through a strainer over a bowl. Next, place the potatoes in a saucepan and add cold water to cover by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, reduce heat to medium, and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Then drain the potatoes over a colander. Stir together butter and the chile mix over medium until butter is melted and remove from the heat. Put the potatoes through a potato ricer into the saucepan and stir until combined. Season with the remaining salt and serve!

    Think about adding twists that fit the theme of your restaurant to classic Thanksgiving dishes, and your customers will be impressed!

    Read more
Page