Monthly Archives: May 2016

  1. Patriotic Cocktails for Memorial Day Weekend!

    TGIF! Welcome back to our three day cocktail series.

    It's a three day weekend! Celebrate in style with your family, friends and customers with the following patriotic cocktails!

    red white and blue margarita

     

    Red, White and Blue Margaritas

    1 cup ice 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries 3 ounces tequila 2 ounces lime juice 1 ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau 1/2 ounce simple syrup

    Blend strawberries and freeze for several minutes. Combine and blend remaining ingredients and pour the strawberry back into the blender. Top with limes and blueberries for color.

    captain america slushie

    Captain America Slushie (courtesy of Giraffes Can Bake)

    Captain America Slushy Cocktail
    Sprite
    Ice Tray
    Food Coloring
    2 oz Irish Whiskey and 1 cup frozen sprite cubes (for white layer)
    2 oz Blue Blue Curacao and 1 cup frozen sprite ice cubes (for blue layer)
    1/3 cup frozen strasberries and 1 cup sprite (for red layer)
    Put sugar and blue food dye in a zip lock bag and shake to make the garnish. Wet rims of glasses and dip in sugar. Combine each layer in the blender and spoon into glass. Serve with a patriotic straw.
    red white and blue jello shots
    Red White and Blue Jello Shots

    1 6-oz package strawberry Jell-O Blueberry vodka 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin 1 6-oz package berry blue Jell-O Whipped cream Sprinkles

    Combine strawberry jello and 2 1/2 cups hot water. Add 1/2 cups blueberry vodka and stir to combine. Fill shot glasses 1/3 of the way and set in the fridge for one hour. Repeat with unflavored (clear) jello and add sweetened condensed milk. Repeat one more time with blue jello. Set in the fridge for one hour between each color. When complete and ready to serve, garnish with whipped cream and sprinkles.

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  2. Throw Back Thursday - the Origin of Some Classic Foods!

    It's Throw Back Thursday, and we are taking a look at some of the most beloved menu items - and their origins! Disclaimer: some of these items are heavily disputed, with multiple people claiming to have invented them around the same time frame. We don't claim to be experts OR forensic scientists - so feel free to dispute in the comments if you think there's another 'claim to fame' we should know about!

    potato chips

    Potato Chips: an American staple of every picnic and many a boxed or plated sandwich meal, the crispy, salty potato chip is nearly universally loved. But how did it begin? Legend has it that a chef in Saratoga Springs, NY was frustrated with a customers incessant demands for super thin french fries, so he sliced them smaller and smaller until the crispy potato chip was born! Not unsurprisingly, the original customer loved the new dish, and potato chips quickly spread throughout the land.

    pizza

    Pizza: a classic that has its roots deep in Italian tradition, Pizza has been popping up in cultural references for - literally - millennia! The first mention of the word "pizza" took place in 997 AD. Beginning as a simple peasant dish, the addition of tomatoes to the flatbread and olive oil took place in the 1800s. The traditional pies which we know and love today started to take shape with the invention of the "pizza margherita" in 1889: created in honor of the Queen Consort: Margherita of Savoy.

    hamburger

    Hamburger: a true classic and staple of almost every bar menu in America, the hamburger can be a fast food slider in a paper bag or an elaborate creation involving kobe beef, caviar, and other outrageous luxury ingredients - or almost anything in between! The hamburger meat is largely traced back to Germany in origin, but the sandwich we know and love today is largely credited to Louis Lunch in New Haven, CT. Still standing to this day and with a largely unchanged recipe, Louis Lunch placed a patty between two slices of simple white bread and the sandwich was born! Add a piece of cheese to create a cheeseburger, and don't ask the restaurant staff for ketchup - they simply don't carry it. Sometimes the simple classics are best!

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  3. Technology for Your Restaurant - What You Should Know!

    restaurant tech - 1 How is your restaurant tech? Chances are, you might need an update. The National Restaurant Association reports that up to 30% of restaurants are in serious need of a tech upgrade, but have held off doing so. The main reason? Cost of course. But consider the benefits of keeping updated tech. When your tech is updated, your labor costs go down. With labor being the largest - by far - cost for most restaurants, anything you can do to improve efficiency will also improve your bottom line - long term at least. With that in mind, here are the areas that can certainly be helped by top of the line technology:

    Supply Chain - this is especially important if you have multiple locations. The Darden Restaurant Family is currently rolling out updated Supply Chain Software across all of their locations. How can this help your bottom line? By standardizing the experience at all of your restaurants, making smarter decisions when ordering product, and increasing efficiency for your Operations Manager. Overall, investing in good Supply Chain software will improve the flow of your restaurant in vital, physical areas.

    Point of Sale - your front of the house will thank you - over and over again - for an updated, customized POS System. Not only will they benefit from something which is easy to use and intuitive, but your customers will appreciate the faster service and higher attentiveness they receive when your servers aren't wrestling with outdated equipment vs. taking their dinner orders. Your cooks and line chefs will also benefit from clear, easy to read tickets which will cut down on errors and ensure, overall, happier customers!

    Email Marketing - a strong email system will go far towards retaining existing customers as well as increasing your marketing reach with them! Your own email marketing will allow you to capture addresses from your core customer base and market to them directly with specials, particularly for the holidays and special occasions. Choosing the right hosting software is very crucial - you'll want something which allows you to upload customer's email addresses easily and also design attractive email templates. Shop around and choose one that you know will be efficient so that you don't waste time working maintenance of it when you could be doing - well - everything else that needs to be done every day in a busy restaurant!

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  4. The Importance of Dessert Presentation

    It is hard to believe that some restaurant owners and managers forget how important the dessert and coffee course of a meal is to a guests experience. The presentation, the pace and even the visual appearance of each dessert and coffee being served to your guests plays a vital part of the meal and can make or break a guests perception of a restaurant.

    Everyone knows, you eat wit your eyes first and the way a dessert looks is just as- if not more- important as the way it taste. This being said, hiring an experienced pastry chef will play a large role int he importance of delegating the creative/ planning of advanced and creative desserts. Even the simplest try of rustic cookies can holds the potential to be beautiful and leave a lasting impression on your guests.

    Chocolate Souffle

    We can not stress enough the importance of having a trained pastry chef to set your business apart from the competition. One who is able to work with more advanced techniques, making molding chocolate, wrapping it around cake in fondant and forming it into ribbons to adorn the top. Chefs who are willing to experiment with extra-fancy gold leaf and dust and those who will pay attention to every single creme brule, chocolate soufflé, and cheesecake that leaves the kitchen doors.

    As we gain a steady clientele base we sometimes become compliant and forget that we still have to impress even our most loyal customers. If we forget, even just once, to properly garnish their favorite desserts or the lemon twist for their double shot of espresso, those guest will look down on the establishment and will may choose to dine else where the next time they eat out. It is crucial to remember the importance of appearance and the importance of the last course served to your guest, it is after all the last impression given.

    If your establishment has been found guilty of looking the other way on dessert presentation fear not! There are a few tricks we would like to share to ensure your staff serves only the best to your guests!

    1- Take photos of all desserts and coffees - post the imagines near the expo line so all items can be checked prior to service

    2- Train your staff on each dessert item - if they don’t know what it is suppose to look like they won’t be able to find a mistake

    3- Test your product every shift- taste your dessert and thoroughly look at them to make sure they are up to par with what your guest expect

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  5. Five Fun Cocktails to Enjoy this Summer - TGIF!

    Welcome to TGIF! Every Friday, we will post something fun from the wonderful world of cocktails It's finally hot outside. Celebrate with the type of drinks which are perfect for patio season. We are talking frozen drinks of course. Although they were out of style for a while, 'ironic' frozen tiki style drinks are making a come back. The more elaborate and quirky, the better. Here are five of our favorites to wow your customers with during the hot summer months ahead:

    frozen white russian

    Simple and yummy! And for the Big Lebowski generation - definitely ironic. Combine Milk, Kailua and Vodka with ice. And you're done!

    frozen chili mango margarita

    Margaritas are pretty standard - but spicy margaritas offer a fun twist and are perfect for the summer months! Fresh mango puree, a little bit of chili paste (adjusted to your heat preference), agave syrup, tequila, and ice is all you need for this - plus a nice chili/salt garnish of course.

    frozen sangria

    Frozen sangria? Yes please. Combining two summer classics is a sure crowd pleaser. Use fruit sorbet, your choice of red wine, and garnish with berries. Simple and fun!

    frozen jack daniels

    Frozen Jack Daniels slashes are a fun way to riff off a popular bar drink. Jack Daniels, coke, and ice is all you need. Add a lime garnish if you're feeling fancy. <br> <br>

    frozen orange julio

    Frozen Orange Julio with a twist. Make a more sophisticated version of this classic when you combine Gin, Aperol, Orange Juice, and ice. A little less sweet and a little more complex than your standard daiquiri!

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  6. Throw Back Thursday - Vintage 60s Recipes

    The 60s were an... interesting... time for American cuisine. The rise of modern technology, including the refrigerator, gave way to a plethora of 'scientific' foods created in labs - and brightly colored jello was considered both ultra modern, elegant, and appropriate for virtually any dish. Thankfully, we have learned from our mistakes and now jello is consigned to the dessert table (and often the kids table) but take a look at some of these monstrous main courses from back in the day:

    ham and bananas

    Ham and bananas! Ham. And. Bananas. Truly horrifying even before a creamy sauce is slathered on top.

    festive chicken salad log

    If it has four different sections, it has to be good right? ...wrong. Along with jello, the humble brick of cream cheese was put to some horrific uses in the '60s

    hot orange cider

    "I want a glass of hot orange cider," said no one, ever.

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  7. BBQ for the Summer

    brisket

    Brisket from Bear's Smokehouse BBQ

    Thinking about expanding your menu offerings? BBQ can be a fun hot weather crowd pleaser. We have a vast array of BBQ equipment for you to shop from, including industrial grade smokers from Town Food Equipment like this one here which can easily accommodate a large restaurant crowd:

    industrial grade smoker

    So, once you have the equipment, what do you want to cook? Brisket, wings, meatballs, pork - there are multiple foods which lend themselves well to BBQ. There are classic cooking styles - Memphis style (more vinegar based), dry rub (from Texas) or Kansas City style (sweeter, tangier). If you decide to go classic and traditional, make sure you're following ALL the techniques associated with your chosen style so that you can give your guests something that is really indicative of the style. Authentic BBQ lovers will notice the difference!

    If you decide to be playful and quirky with your BBQ, you can experiment with fruit and alcohol flavors for unexpected twists on the classics. Bourbon is wildly popular, fitting its smokey profiled nicely with smokey meats. Fruit flavors can include everything from peaches to grape jelly. Fusion is possible as well, using Asian style flavor profiles, curries, or Samoan type flavors also. BBQ is versatile, fun, and carries a high profit margin. Use high quality meats, take your time with the smoking process, and come up with some killer signature sauces for excellent results your customers will love.

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  8. Thinking about starting a food truck? Here's what you should know

    yardbird

    So, you have a great restaurant concept, but you want to start a bit smaller than a brick and mortar store. Food trucks have been growing in popularity as more social media savvy consumers utilize Twitter and Facebook to follow their mobile food stations and find gourmet meals at great price points. However, there is still a lot that goes into a food truck operations. Here's what you should know:

    1/ Commissary, commissary, commissary. Even though you may be a mobile operation, you still have to practice strict food safety guidelines when working with the general public. You will need a commercial grade kitchen with current grade health inspections in order to operate your truck. Instead of opening your own, find a local one willing to rent out space. Most commissaries are in large warehouses and will welcome the additional business!

    2/ Equipment, equipment, equipment. Although you can find a decent food truck second hand, make sure your equipment is top of the line. Especially in the summer months - and heat - you'll want an AC system and ice machines that can stand up to a large lunch rush. Your customers - and staff! will thank you for thinking in advance, and by planning early on, you can avoid gaining a bad reputation when faulty equipment breaks in the middle of a busy lunch rush. Equally important: a small heating device, open flame, and dishwasher. Everything must be scaleable and custom, so shop with us and secure the best possible equipment at the best price.

    3/ Location, location, location. Where to go? Where the crowds are is an obvious answer, but there is more to a good location then simple volume. Make sure you have the proper permits and also that you are in an area known for its foodie scene. Food trucks thrive together - but if there's another grilled cheese truck in the park, consider going elsewhere. Fairs, festivals, and even food truck specific events are also great spaces for high traffic and exposure. If your town or city has an arts scene, or a sports stadium, consider looking into permitting to park outside before or after a big event. A large venue will draw in a big crowd!

    4/ Marketing, marketing, marketing. Letting people know WHO you are is important for any restaurant, but letting them know WHERE you are is equally important as a mobile food truck! Keep your customers up to date via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Make sure your social media info is updated regularly and displayed prominently on your truck and marketing paperwork. It can be a fun to be elusive, but it's better to keep folks in the know, and if you develop a fan base, they will find you given the proper tools!

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  9. To Tip or Not to Tip? The Debate Rages On

    dollars and cents

    In theory, tipping is a great method for everyone involved. Servers can make a higher salary - much higher in high end establishment or in bartenders cases - then your typical food service salary. Customers can expect better service and if it's not received, they can express their disappointment via the compensation at the end of the meal. And for restaurants, costs are kept down as a huge portion of labor costs is passed on to the restaurant patrons.

    So why are some people calling for the abolishment of the tipping system? There are many reasons why critics call tipping an outdated system. High up on the list - many servers live at the poverty line due to low wages and inconsistent tips. A busy Friday night is liable to yield a big pocket of cash, but a slow Monday may mean the server is working practically for free. This is especially a problem in seasonal establishments, where the winter months are slow no matter what (and of course, this is a problem for the restaurant owners as well as the servers). Critics will also point out that tipping culture is very much an American phenomenon - as European restaurants rarely tip and pay employees a flat hourly wage.

    However, early adopters of abolishing the tipping system have reported problems also. High up on the list - customers just don't like it. Reports have shown that customers feel less confident about their quality of service when the tip is eliminated. In addition, some customers are less than confident that servers are being compensated fairly. At the end of the day, customers can choose not to come into the restaurant, so fi they dislike a system, it's a big problem for the restaurant overall. And the higher costs to the establishment are still an issue, as many restaurants do not have a huge margin to operate on.

    This is a complex issue. If you'd like to weigh in, please leave your comments below.

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  10. Brunch Tips - How to Create the Perfect Spread

    brunch picture avert

    Pictured: brunch at Avert Brasserie

    It's Mother's Day - the perfect day for brunch. Fun, relaxed, and usually involving an adult beverage (or two!) brunch is a Sunday favorite. Here are some tips on creating the perfect spread:

    For a buffet style brunch: fresh and simple is best! A raw bar, like the one pictured above, is a really lovely touch, but make sure you have the proper ice and refresh the spread often to keep things fresh and cold. Including an assortment of jams, jellies, and spreads to go with your pastries is also a nice touch. Another buffet tip - a Bloody Mary bar is a fun and interactive talking point to anchor your brunch spread!

    For a full menu brunch: a variety of choices is best to please your guests. Choose some sweet, some savory, and some traditional lunch items (sandwiches, cheeseburgers, etc) to make sure everyone can get what they want! Eggs benedict is an easy favorite and can be dressed up with a variety of proteins from ham to duck breast. Don't forget to keep some items vegetarian/gluten free as brunch can be heavy on the carbs and bacon for those with dietary restrictions. And finally, add sides! Fun to share (and an easy upset for the servers) some small, shareable plates such as a grapefruit brûlée or fried brussels sprouts will elevate your brunch game.

    For the drinks: Mimosas are classic, but why stop there? Classic champagne cocktails can be fun and innovative. Bloody marys can be extreme when they are loaded with different ingredients. Particularly for Italian restaurants, don't forget a selection of classic, seasonal bellinis utilizing different fruit purees. Finally, offer some non-alcoholic beverage options: classic cappucinos and fresh pressed juices are easy, classic crowd pleasers.

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