Monthly Archives: January 2016

  1. The Power of Empura and Stainless Steel

    The Power of Empura and Stainless Steel

    The reason that Empura stainless steel equipment rocks is because it’s easy to clean and performs up to the hard-driving standards of the modern commercial restaurant. The equipment is sturdy enough to handle loads which go above and beyond the normal.

    One of the loudest complaints that we hear from restaurants is that they don’t have enough space. Chefs will fumble over each other in the kitchen, trying to find the right place for their items. Where do you put the industrial sized cans?

    Empura’s wall shelving units are easily mounted. They can be put just above the work surface to fit all types of cans and boxes. You can fit so many things on the 72” wall shelf, and since they’re so sleek, you can put two of them together on the kitchen wall.

    The worktables are great, too. It takes just a moment to set one or two of these up near the restaurant shelving, so you can take your kitchen to the next level of work. All of the components in the Empura stainless steel equipment selection are sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.

    We’ve got some of this stainless steel equipment on sale for you over the next couple of weeks. Check it out on the site.

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  2. Keep Food Out of the Sink with Takeout Containers

    Keep Food Out of the Sink with Takeout Containers

    After your patrons have eaten the wonderful food available at your restaurant, how do they get the leftovers home? How do you keep all that extra food out of your commercial sinks and save your staff a little bit of labor? We’ve got just the answer for you: takeout containers.

    As you know, we’ve been interested in getting a little greener with our restaurant supplies. Many of the take-out containers that find their way into restaurants are used for only one shot… and that one shot lands in the compost heap.

    There are amazing amounts of resources spent to create takeout containers, but there are few rewards that come with using them other than the occasional recycling or composting. It still keeps the food out of the commercial sinks, of course. What about the plastic dinnerware?

    An option to using the take-out containers would be to reduce the portion sizes, but that can lead to a giant hill of problems on its own. There are ways to keep the food from landing in the take-out containers.

    Take out containers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they can definitely be reused for other purposes. What types of things have you used your take out containers for?

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  3. The Wonder of Bruschetta

    The Wonder of Bruschetta

    Italian restaurants all over the country rely on the bread that they serve their patrons as a draw to the restaurant. We don’t necessarily know which culture started the ‘free appetizer’ craze, but we do know that we love the free bread which is churned out of many Italian restaurants’ commercial ovens, often as a form of bruschetta.

    Even though there is great creativity in the type of bread that is used, the real creativity and variety can be found in the spices and oils which are used in the dipping oil that comes with the bread. After all, what is bread without something to sop it up with?

    One restaurant in Wisconsin uses sundried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, onions, and garlic. Another uses freshly ground pepper, a bit of crushed rosemary, basil, and delicious extra virgin olive oil in the mixture. Still others use a dash or three of parmesan cheese in the mix, giving it even more of a flash of flavor.

    The point is that when you’re trying to get the perfect recipe for your own restaurant’s dipping oil, you have a huge variety of ingredients at your disposal. Very few things can really beat Italian bread and dipping oil infused with even more flavor, can they?

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  4. Bread Baking Equipment at Restaurant Supply

    Bread Baking Equipment at Restaurant Supply

    The biggest difference, at least some folks claim, between a conventional commercial oven and convection ovens is the ability to cook breads and pastries. Commercial steamer ovens, quite simply, are able to produce a crusty top for your standard Cuban and French breads, where the convection oven gives those breads an all-around cook.

    Bread making is an art. While there are automated processes which can go into the creation of a great loaf of bread, there is still that moment when hands must touch the bread, the right yeast must be coaxed, and the right touch must be had. For some, steam injection makes it really happen.

    When you’re looking at the bread making, the place to really start is with the mixer. While the master breadmaker might think about doing a lot of it by hand, it’s so much easier to use a mixer which can determine the consistency and viscosity of the dough which is being used.

    We have plenty of baker’s toys at Restaurant Supply, toys which yield great results for those who are able to use them. At its heart, bread is a mixture of flour, water, and yeast, but there is often so much more.

    What types of bread are you baking in your commercial ovens? Are you working on cakes, or do you prefer to bake some baguettes?

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  5. How Food Critics Hide

    How Food Critics Hide

    Take the time to wipe down your commercial refrigerators, guys, we’re going to talk a little bit about restaurant critics and the crazy practices that they use to make sure that they are treated just like everyone else. It’s important, because restaurant reviewers sometimes have the power to make or break a restaurant.

    To be a critic, you must have not only a love of food, but you have to have an honest streak and turn of phrase. There have been hilarious blasts to restaurants, but what do you do when it’s a mediocre place that you can’t summon any vitriol?

    If you want to go from being a restaurant manager into restaurant critic, here are some pointers.

    • Don’t make reservations under your own name.
    • Make sure that your picture isn’t included with the review. Restaurant owners will be able to identify you.

    To listen to restaurant critics, you would believe that it’s a dying breed. After all, there are sites like Yelp and others to fill in the gap of getting an honest opinion about the state of the restaurant – from the commercial refrigerators to the servers.

    “It would be a lie to say the service isn’t sometimes better when he is spotted, but without much warning, there isn’t much that can be changed about the food that is being served.”

    We’d love to get paid to go around and sample dishes, dishing out honest opinions. If you’re a restaurant critic, we’d love to hear from you.

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  6. Choosing Between Online and Offline Suppliers

    Choosing Between Online and Offline Suppliers

    When choosing a restaurant supply store, do you go with a single vendor to get all of your items, or do you take the time to pick and choose which one is right for you for the particular item that you need? The first, you might not get the best pricing for specific goods, and the second adds hours to your sourcing efforts.

    Every restaurant supply store, whether online or brick and mortar, has its strengths and weaknesses. They’re much like the local grocery stores that you might have in your area – one might be fantastic with the meat deals, another might be very good with produce, and still another might have those hard to find items available. Restaurant supply stores work in the same way.

    In this situation, you want to go with the one that has the strengths that cater to your needs. If you’re consistently making lots of salads, you might want to find a restaurant supplier who has more emphasis on the True Worktop refrigerators or one who has the best produce. The name of the game is to get the restaurant supplier to play to your strengths.

    We’ve found that online restaurant stores offer several advantages over the offline ones. We’ve written about them over here, but it truly comes down to your commitment on price and ingredients.

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  7. Getting the Cleanest Silverware

    Getting the Cleanest Silverware

    Your restaurant silverware might not be getting the cleaning that it needs to get the gasteroenteritis-causing germs off of it. Running your dishes and restaurant silverware through the dishwasher might not yield the optimal results, either. Who wants to eat with a "clean" fork with spots? What can you do to ensure that your patrons are getting the cleanest silverware?

    Prewash

    Prewashing your silverware before running it through your dishwasher may be just the trick to getting it ultimately clean. You see, when food sticks to the forks, knives, and spoons, it makes it a bit harder to get off the stainless steel surface. Food nurtures bacteria. If you're finding food stuck on your silverware even after running it through the wash, it's time to prewash, and maybe get your dishwasher serviced too.

    Insist on clean towels

    This one seems to be a no brainer, but there are occasionally servers running around with dirty towels which they then use to spread germs and bacteria to all of the surfaces which they touch. If you’re spotting that your servers aren’t being clean, talk with them, as cleanliness affects not only your diner’s health, but the health of the restaurant. All polishing should be done with super-clean towels!

    It’s always good to keep your eye out for unclean practices which can be corrected. We realize that as restaurant managers, you’re having to make sure that everything is in ship-shape for your patrons.

    It’s good practice to do a deep cleaning of the restaurant, but daily cleaning makes for less work when you’re breaking down everything.

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  8. Restaurant Closed with 110 Violations?!

    Restaurant Closed with 110 Violations?!

    We’re no longer living in an isolated world where a dirty restaurant doesn’t go unnoticed. People talk with each other on Yelp and various social sites, sharing pictures of dirty restaurants while offering eating advisories. This isn’t the only reason to keep your restaurant clean as a whistle. While a bad review can limit the number of people coming through the doors of your restaurant, the health inspector can shut it down.

    As we talked about in the previous article, restaurant silverware can carry germs and disease just as well as restaurant dinnerware and other items within the restaurant. It’s simply good practice to prewash your dishes and silverware before running them through the dish machine.

    There’s one restaurant which was shut down because they didn’t care… let this be a cautionary tale. The inspector counted 110 violations!

    A few spots aren’t enough to shut down a restaurant, but when you’re talking about ‘accumulation of black/green mold-like substance inside the ice bin’ and ‘accumulation of encrusted food debris on/around mixer head,’ then alarms get raised.

    The most pointed complaint that the health department mentioned about this particular restaurant was, ‘food-contact surface not smooth and easily cleanable. Construction drill used as a mixer.” While it’s been said that you should make sure to use your food items for foodservice purposes only, the opposite must be mentioned as well – don’t use tools meant for other purposes in the foodmaking process.

    It doesn’t take long to clean your restaurant if everyone chips in a little bit of time. It also helps in keeping you away from the health inspector’s red pen.

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  9. Slow Business Means Training Time

    Slow Business Means Training Time

    There are a few industries which thrive in the winter months, but the restaurant industry isn’t one of them. The awesome soup pots and the convection ovens just don’t get used as much because people would rather stay inside than venture out into the (in most states) freezing weather. While it’s slow, what can you do to prepare for spring?

    Clean It From Top to Bottom

    There is cleaning, and then there’s CLEANING. We’re talking about giving your microwave oven a deep clean and making sure that those restaurant shelves are getting the attention that they deserve. Go through every inch of your restaurant and discard what you’re not using.

    Examine the Menu

    Restaurant managers are running crazy most of the year, but they get the chance to slow down in the winter. What dishes are bringing in the most profit? Are there items which can be moved or rearranged on the menu to get the best deal? Is everything perfect with your menu design, or are there some places where you know you can do better?

    Cross Training

    If people have worked in both the front of house and the back of the house, they are more sympathetic to what’s going on. The winter months offer opportunities for the servers to empathize more with the chefs, or vice versa. This type of teambuilding effort tends to enhance the profits of the restaurant.

    Long ago, one of my managers mentioned that if you have time to lean, you have time to clean. Rather than having contests to see who is the best karaoke singer, why not do something productive in January during your down time?

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  10. How do you Make your Marinara?

    How do you Make your Marinara?

    Many of the Italian restaurants around here are hit or miss. Most of the time, they’re using their pasta baskets and pasta rethermalizers to make very bland pasta. It seems that pasta al dente is a very difficult standard to meet. Fortunately, that’s why great sauces were invented.

    The best sauces are generally simple with very few ingredients. We’re fond of the tomato-based sauces because a hint of spice can easily be hidden on the back end. Every family has a pasta sauce that they love to make. Here are a few that we’ve sourced from some of the recipe sites.

    This one from Allrecipes uses bell pepper, an onion, and some dried seasonings. The biggest differentiator is the brown sugar which gets dropped into the mix. You can find the recipe here.

    This one from Food Network (contributed by Ina Garten) has crushed tomatoes and an onion, but this one has a bit of fresh parsley and a reasonable chianti in the mix. The chianti tastes wonderful and makes the sauce taste a bit aged.

    Rachael Ray offers up at least 15 pasta sauce recipes on her own site, with the flavors varying. There are recipes with fresh garlic, broccoli, and red peppers in there. You can also find some meat recipes to spice up the mix.

    There have been a number of times where we’ve wanted to have a pasta rethermalizer at home to cook our pasta. The magic is still in the sauce.

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