Monthly Archives: August 2017

  1. A Guide to Menu Costing: The Real Food Cost Killers

    A Guide to Menu Costing: The Real Food Cost Killers

    How did you go about pricing your restaurant menu?

    • Did you pick pricing out of thin air as to what you think is appropriate?
    • Did you call your friend who runs a restaurant and ask them?
    • Did you look at another restaurant's menu and think to yourself, "That looks fair?"

    If you did, it’s okay. The menu costing police aren't coming for you. But they should be.

    Menu costing is part marketing (positioning) and part mathematics (knowing your numbers). When these two come together, you have basically a one-two punch that will set your menu up to knock out the competition.

    If you only focus on one, you better be willing to get knocked out yourself.

    The Real Food Cost Killers

    The real food cost killers on your menu are not hiding in the kitchen where you can see them. Food waste and inventory variance are the low-hanging fruit in the battle of food costing and can easily be addressed.

    To really call out the killers, you'll have to go to some places you may not have considered before. Here are a few things you need to research when pricing your restaurant's menu. 

    1) Market Comparison

    When you fail to analyze the market, you are one step closer to becoming included in the yearly statistics of restaurants that fail.

    The reason many restaurants don't research competitors is because of what psychologists call illusory superiority. It is a cognitive bias many have that explains why some people overestimate their abilities. Basically, you think you are smarter than other restaurants and know how to price out your menu without data to support your decisions.

    Sorry, you're not that smart. In fact, no one is. 

    Try This Exercise

    Do your homework! It's not that complicated to gather data from local restaurants that directly compete with you. You can record these in Excel and see where you lie in comparison. 

    For example: if you're an Italian restaurant, you probably have a lasagna on your menu. Google "Italian restaurants near me," look at your competition's menu, and start comparing your lasagna prices to theirs. Record these numbers in Excel, then look at your price. Are you the highest price, the lowest, or somewhere in the middle?

    Wherever you are right now, don't jump to conclusions. Price alone is not what you want to make decisions on. You are aiming for the elusive spot in marketing known as successful positioning.

    Not an Excel person? Try out a menu price comparison tool to see how your top dishes compare to average prices in your area. 

    2) Menu Positioning

    Positioning your brand in the market requires a knowledge of your market. Specifically, you must understand if your market is demand-driven or price-driven.

    Demand-Driven Market

    If you are in a smaller market, your restaurant concept might be pretty unique. With a menu that uniquely stands out and few competitors, you should be able to price your menu at a more premium price.

    It's the golden rule of supply and demand. 

    Ergo, if you are the only restaurant nearby selling Chinese food, you're golden when it comes to menu pricing.

    Price-Driven Market

    Conversely, let's say your menu offerings are fairly common.

    Perhaps you sell burgers - so do a lot of other restaurants.

    You do the market research of the competition and see that the most expensive burger in your market is $11. Because there is quite a bit of competition, you'll find it difficult to justify a price of $14 for yours. The question here is: What will your market bear?

    3) Differentiators

    Just because your area's average price for a burger is $11 does not necessarily mean you can't charge $14 for yours - particularly if your burger is specialized (or differentiated) in a way that makes $14 seem reasonable. 

    Let's continue our conundrum about the price of your lasagna in the example earlier. You find lasagna in your market has an average price point of $14. You want to price yours at $16. Should you do it? Answer these questions to find out.

    Do you use better ingredients?

    Papa John's made their brand stand out from all the other pizza places by marketing the famous "better ingredients, better pizza" tagline. If you are using the very best product that you can source, you should be paid a premium price for it. 

    Here is the catch 22: if you want to charge for it, you'll need to market it.

    • Do your guests know you use the most expensive best ingredients? 
    • Are you marketing the fact that you use locally grown tomatoes and grow your own basil in the restaurant's herb garden?
    • Do you market testimonials from guests saying that one bite of your lasagna changed their life? 

    Does your brand fit the bill?

    Restaurant segments (fast casual, fine dining, etc.) all carry a price perception with them. It doesn't matter if your lasagna is the best in your market. If you are a quick serve restaurant at a food court, you will not be able to get the same price as a fine dining restaurant with full service, table cloths, and a classier atmosphere. Defining your restaurant brand is key to success.

    Have you costed out the portion on the plate?

    Here again is where those silent killers come into play. On day one, you sat in the office and created a recipe card for the lasagna. It looks like the food cost is fitting. Then you or your cooks see it on the plate and start making tweaks to the presentation.

    After adding a couple extras to the plate, the incremental cost per serving goes up, which leads to inaccurate menu pricing and inventory reporting

    When the theoretical food cost becomes weighed down with costs that you never put into the recipe, your price becomes a killer of profits.

    Winning the Menu Costing Game

    If you can show why your menu is different, menu costing becomes much easier. 

    The real food cost killers are not hiding in plain sight. They are lurking in the shadows of bad marketing, pricing by gut (not data), poor positioning of your brand, and not noticing all those "extras" that get put on the plate.

    Of course, you know that if you don't even have the fundamentals done (like costing out your menu completely) that you should not even begin to attempt to price out your menu and expect to make money. If you do, then congratulations, you have a hobby and not a business.

    Just remember that most restaurants exist to turn a profit.

    Yours should too. 

    To start, try out the Food Cost Calculator to cost out and compare your top five dishes, download our Menu Engineering Bootcamp to learn how to pinpoint the profit-driving recipes on your menu, or request a demo to learn more about Toast's inventory management software

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • 4 Easy Ways to Find Great Candidates For Your Restaurant Jobs

    4 Easy Ways to Find Great Candidates For Your Restaurant Jobs

    Hiring for restaurant jobs is not an easy process. The days of simply hanging a Help Wanted sign in the window are long gone - but that doesn’t mean there aren’t effective strategies for attracting talent.

    By leveraging your and your staffs’ personal networks, using social media, and posting on job sites, you can find the best candidates for your restaurant jobs. 

    Before we jump into the details, let’s go over the lay of the labor landscape.

    As of May 2017, the national unemployment rate for the United States is 4.3% and dropping. In major metropolitan areas, the numbers are even lower.

    • New York City is 3.9%.
    • Seattle is 2.6%.
    • Nashville, Tennessee is at 2.7%.

    For context, in 2009, at the height of the Great Recession, the national unemployment rate stood at over 10%. With more people working, the labor market is tight and many industries are seeing severe labor shortages.

    Agriculture, construction, light manufacturing, and especially restaurants are having a harder time than ever attracting workers.

    Here are four simple ways to find the best candidates for your restaurant.

    1) Use Your Personal Connections

    You are - at most - six degrees of separation from someone who is looking for a job. If you’re a restaurant owner, you should ask your non-industry friends, especially parents of teenagers and college students, if they know anyone looking for a job. 

    Nationally, the youth unemployment rate is 9%. Don’t get too excited, as that number is also a historic low, but there are opportunities to find talent in younger workers - especially those motivated by social connections.

    Another use of your personal network is to ask other restaurant owners for referrals. It’s more common than you think for restaurants to share intelligence on available employees. Often, a restaurant will make a hire, but also like a candidate enough to refer them to another restaurant for consideration.

    2) Use Your Current Staffs’ Personal Networks

    Word of mouth is the best advertising; it’s also the best restaurant recruiting tool. Many restaurants have started programs that give workers bonuses for referring their potential candidates. Generally, programs will award bonuses once a recruit has finished 90 days of work.

    The programs work since they encourage current employees to act as recruiters. Your staff is motivated to find workers who will not only stay on the job, but are fun to work with. By using the social networks of your employees, your business can quickly become a community of its own, making additional hires even easier.

    3) Use Social Media

    Social media is more than just a marketing channel to attract new customers - it can also bring in new employees. By posting open positions to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a restaurant can find potential candidates that are already familiar with the brand.

    On LinkedIn and Facebook, there are even some groups dedicated to finding restaurant jobs, like this one for Kansas City and this one for St. Louis. These restaurant groups exist for cities all over the world. Do a search for your area and see what you find!

    Another advantage is people tend to share social posts with their friends, expanding a restaurant’s reach. Since social media is so… well… social, it’s a good idea to highlight your restaurant’s culture when promoting open positions. Find images of your employees having fun together and describe the kind of workplace you have created, like Layla has on their Facebook. 

    4) Post a Job on a Restaurant-Specific Website

    Ultimately, the most effective way to find the best candidate for your restaurant job is to use a restaurant-specific job site. 

    While Craigslist and other generalist sites are often more well-known, they don’t attract candidates with much restaurant experience. A restaurant-specific job site, on the other hand, promotes your job listings to dedicated restaurant professionals.  

    Big names like Momofuko, Union Square Hospitality, and The Standard Hotel all post restaurant jobs on sites like these – ranging from dishwashers to general managers – and are happy with the results from restaurant job sites.

    Speaking on restaurant job site PoachedNate Weber of the Schulson Collective in Philadelphia said, “I have been impressed with the candidates we’ve received, the audience that the site reaches, the ease of using the service and perhaps most importantly…the price point.”

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • Cheese and Bread Pairings for your Table from Hartford Baking Company

    Cheese and Bread Pairings for your Table from Hartford Baking Company
    Cheese and wine pairings? That’s basic. We are more interested in providing the perfect artisanal bread for your cheese plate. Even though most of our breads involve only four ingredients - flour, water, salt, and yeast - that doesn’t mean you won’t have incredible varieties in textures and flavors - it’s all in the proof. So bring the noise to your next dinner party with simple, yet flawless execution which takes mere minutes for prep. Below are three of our favorite cheese board breads, with suggestions on how to use them. Tag us in your pictures and recipes on Instagram and Facebook and let us know what you think.

    Miche + Caprese Salad

    Our miche is a dense, nutty, sourdough with a hard crust and a soft, creamy texture. This bread is both large and heavy, so we sell it whole, by the half, or by the quarter, in order to accommodate any size dinner party. A simple summer Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes, sea salt, fresh basil, and olive and balsamic vinaigrette to finish will stand up to this bread’s heavy texture, with the acidic vinegar and tomato providing a pleasant counterbalance to the bread’s distinct and tangy flavor.

    Baguette + Brie + Cherries

    Packing a picnic? Why not keep it classic - a French baguette, a soft, ripe brie cheese, and some fresh cherries are all you need for a light, yet sophisticated, outdoor meal. Brie and baguette are old friends, and a touch of fruit balances out the flavors nicely. This is actually a riff on one of our most popular sandwiches - the brie and jam. So take the party outdoors this summer. All you need is a picnic basket, the bread, cheese and fruit, a bottle of wine, and some friends for a perfect evening.

    Raisin Walnut + Soft Goat Cheese + Marcona Almonds + Honey

    Entertaining is fun, but it can be tricky to time your food’s preparation for the arrival of your guests, especially with large parties and guests showing up at different times. The obvious solution is to put out some simple appetizers in order to create a fun and casual ambiance while still satisfying your guests. But instead of the usual offerings, consider our raisin and walnut bread with the perfect pairings of soft goat cheese, Marcona almonds, and honey. The combination of tangy cheese with sweet fruit and nuts works equally well as a post-dinner dessert cheese plate, and it’s a cinch to create, yet visually enticing and oh so satisfying. Make sure you leave the cheese out to ripen and come to room temperature when doing your prep, so the full flavor is apparent.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • 4 Refreshing Beer Trends for Brewery, Bar, and Restaurant Owners

    4 Refreshing Beer Trends for Brewery, Bar, and Restaurant Owners

    While the summer season is quickly coming to a close, the heat hasn’t exactly died down yet.

    Did you know that beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States? With that many people drinking beer, it’s important for your restaurant to keep up with the latest industry trends. And even if you don't offer beers or alcoholic beverages now, you may want to in the future - bar and restaurant beer markup can range from 350% - 600%.

    Here are 4 beer trends to keep your customers refreshed all year long.

    1. Food and Beer Pairings

    We’ve all heard about food and wine pairings. Heck, there’s even a magazine called Food and Wine

    But what about pairing food and beer?

    Lately we’ve seen a trend with more restaurants giving recommendations on what kind of beers pair well with food.

    Looking to launch some of your own restaurant beer pairings, but not exactly the "craft beer snob" your 22-year-old nephew is? Fear not - check out this list compiled by The Hangout in Orange County below, or check out this blog post.

    2. Sours

    Personally, I'm feeling the Boston heat roll in. On days like this, the last thing I want is a heavier beer weighing me down.

    This summer, sour beers are the new beer of choice. One extremely popular type of sour is the gose. What’s a gose you ask? According to BeerAdvocate, gose is an unfiltered wheat beer flavored with coriander, salt, and often citrus flavors. Its tart and fruity flavor puts it under the category of sour beers. Compared to a more traditional beer, a sour is definitely an acquired taste - but it's one that plenty of people have been acquiring in 2017.

    Gose-Beer-Gear-Patrol-Lead-1440.jpg

    Flanders red ale, lambic, and gueuze are also popular types of sours. What makes these beers unique is their Belgian history and use of different yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. Although mysterious yeasts and bacteria may not sound very appealing, these beers are the perfect refreshment for a hot summer day.

    3. New Brands

    According to the Brewers Association, there was more than a 16% increase of craft breweries in the United States between 2015 and 2016. That equates to over a thousand new types of new beers to try!

    It’s now common for people to break out of their usual habits and try a new beer when they go out (adios Bud Light, make way for Trillium, Tree House, and The Alchemist).

    Having a large selection of beers to choose can help differentiate your restaurant and keep customers coming back. Try having different rotating beers on draft so customers can try something new and be excited to return and try the latest offering the 21st century masterminds of craft beer have to offer.

    4. Colorful Cans

    Yes, beer bottles are and always will be a classic way to consumer your beverages. But this year, cans are gaining more popularity.

    Using cans over bottles has multiple advantages like light protection, tighter seals, and easier transportation. We aren’t completely sure why consumers are crazed over cans all of a sudden, but it most likely has to do with the recent hipster craze of PBR.

    Regardless of the reason for this trend, consumers have become more gravitated to the bright colors and designs. As mentioned earlier, the market has been flooded with new brands of beer, so unique artwork helps companies stand out among the masses. It’s also common to see breweries make special small batches with can artwork to go along with the releases.
     

     
    So next time someone tells you “not to judge a book by it’s cover,” ditch the book.  Grab the most colorful can of beer you can find and display it prettily on your bar for customers to gaze at, give into temptation, and buy.

    If you want to check out some awesome designs, go to Oh Beautiful Beer to see their top artwork picks. 

    Conclusion: Beer Continues to Crush it in Restaurants

    Now that you know the most important trends, you can expand your beer offerings and become the go-to spot for after work drinks.

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • What All Restaurants Can Learn From the Popularity of Tapas

    What All Restaurants Can Learn From the Popularity of Tapas
    If you’ve been out to eat, flipped to the Food Network, or stumbled onto Eater anytime over the past few years, chances are you’ve encountered the terms “tapas,” or “small plates,” on more than one occasion. I’d even argue that you’re a little sick of the never-ending influx of buzzwords and trends muddling an activity as simple and fundamental as running a restaurant. Tapas, however, should not fall into this fleeting category of food trends.

    Tapas enjoys a unique and rich history. Their rise in popularity across the American restaurant scene is something we can continue to expect for years to come.

    To fully appreciate and adapt to the resurgence of tapas, we'll answers the following questions below:

    Where did tapas come from? Why are tapas so popular now? What does this mean for all restaurants? Let's dive in.

    The History of Tapas While there are numerous accounts of how the custom of eating tapas actually emerged, tapas are thought to have originated in southern Spain.

    Some of the more outlandish tales involve kings and historical figures, but the most believable version is one in which bartenders placed tiny dishes of cheese or olives over glasses of sherry to keep the flies and dust out of the drink.

    As the etymology of the word “tapa” means “cover” or “lid,” I think we find our backstory in the latter.

    There is also a likely connection between tapas and similar Middle Eastern delectables called mezze. The Moors occupied southern Spain for more than 700 years - until 1492 - and their influence on the region’s food and culture has certainly lingered.

    Why are Tapas Popular Right Now? Walk into a restaurant and who will you most likely see: Grandma? No. Mom? Warmer. Millennials? Bingo!

    Twenty-somethings are flocking to restaurants at higher rates than any generation prior.

    According to a 2014 study published by the Food Institute, 44% of millennials spend their food dollars - or $2,921 annually - on eating out. And the older they get, the more frequently Millennials opt to dine at restaurants rather than at home.

    So what does this have to do with eating food on tiny plates?

    small plate eating For better or worse, the persona of the average millennial looks a lot different than that of their parents and grandparents. Among those differences are their dining preferences, which tend to align with the practice of small plate eating. The more that Millennials decide to flex their purchasing power at restaurants - which has been steadily on the rise since 2010 - the more commonplace small plate concepts will become across the nation.

    Here are the major tapas-inducing dining preferences held dear by millennials that are influencing the direction of the restaurant industry toward small plate eating.

    Preference #1: Taste the Globe Millennials have grown up in a technologically-advanced age where traveling and communication are easier than ever. Exposure to other cultures has fostered an adventurous spirit that is undoubtedly reflected in their dining choices.

    RELATED POST - A Taste of the World: The Global Importance of Food and Dining No longer do youths settle for burgers and fries... They want to taste the world on a tiny plate, and as much of it as possible!

    Preference #2: Chill Out Millennials love to chill, preferably at posh, prohibition-like establishments with velvet sofas and mahogany coffee tables.

    Tapas suit the casual style of new lounge restaurants, where pretty little plates can be passed with ease and, more importantly, style.

    Preference #3: Food is Fun For millennials, food is so much more than sustenance. It is entertainment and self-expression. What could be more satisfying than ordering a curated assortment of dishes to heighten the excitement of a social outing?

    How Does This Trend Impact Restaurants? As the popularity of tapas continues to spread across the American food scene, it is likely that restaurants will have to adapt.

    Will restaurants have to undergo a complete overhaul of their operation or else be faced with some sort of bizarre Darwinian, foodie extinction? Not quite.

    Luckily, there are many little tweaks that restaurants can easily apply to their existing concepts to make them more appealing to tapas-lovers (without having to do the full 180). Here are some areas restaurants can implement tapas-friendly changes.

    1) The Experience When was the last time you went to a boring tapas restaurant? I'm gonna guess never. I’m really not so sure they exist.

    Tapas restaurants excel at creating an invigorating environment where people come to eat well, talk rapidly, and feed off the energy of everyone around them. The shareability of the food allows for maximum levels of human interaction that rarely leaves patrons dissatisfied with their experience.

    If your restaurant doesn’t offer small plates, and you don’t plan on introducing them anytime soon, there are still some experiential elements to be borrowed from tapas restaurants.

    Make it Rustic Tapas restaurants are appealing because they feel authentic and encourage a level of comfort that is often missing from finer dining establishments. Swap white linen tablecloths for butcher paper sheets - or just go sans table cover - and dim those lights for the perfect restaurant ambiance. There are endless amounts of stylistic changes that can be made in the spirit of tapas restaurants.

    If we can’t be walking into a candle-lit tavern in Andalucia, we should at least be entering a restaurant where an intentionally crafted experience makes us feel at home and among friends.

    Add a Twist Many tapas restaurants take it above and beyond food by adding entertainment-like elements to their overall experience. During my first trip to a tapas restaurant, I was astounded to see a server - stacked on the shoulders of a bartender - wobble over to my stool to serve me the (evidently very special) drink that I had ordered. It captured the attention of everyone in the restaurant and soon we were all participating in this shared, communal experience. It was a lot of fun and draws many diners - including myself - back to the bar time and time again.

    If that example occupies a side of the spectrum that is too extreme for your concept, then a table-side served dish certainly suffices at the other.

    2) The Menu While restaurants do not have to pivot to serving exclusively Spanish fare, some may find it in their best interest to experiment with a more tapas-inspired menu structure. Adding new sections to your menu like “bites/snacks” or “small plates” to sit alongside the traditional categories of apps, mains, and desserts can breathe life into fading menus and attract new customers.

    Yvonne’s in Boston, a super chic, speakeasy-inspired supper club, is a great example of a non-Spanish restaurant leveraging a tapas-like menu structure. Officially (and by official, I mean according to Zagat), Yvonne’s is classified as a “New American” restaurant, yet their menu boasts layer upon layer of shareable sub categories reminiscent of your classic tapas joint. “Snacks,” “Social Plates,” and “Toasts” dominate their menu and adorn their tables while main course options are limited and occupy the bottom of the menu.

    Also, incorporating a tapas-inspired menu structure can serve as an opportunity for restaurants to highlight fresh, locally-sourced ingredients whose spotlight might otherwise be dimmed by the complexity of main course recipes.

    Don't worry - you need not fear smaller ticket sizes. Plates ranges from $6 - $18 on average, and since diners are encouraged to select a variety of dishes to share (with drink), orders typically add up an average check of $55.

    3) The Floor Plan At the center of most tapas restaurants sit communal tables.

    Whether these be for large parties or a conglomerate of newly made acquaintances, from here emanates a bustling energy that permeates every corner of the restaurant.

    RELATED POST - 9 Restaurant Floor Plan Examples & Ideas for Your Restaurant Layout As the appeal of eating out has shifted from the value of an intimate dining experience to the quality and uniqueness of the food, it is not surprising that a return to communal dining has slowly started to take place as well.

    Communal tables have long been the exclusive fixtures of international cuisines, like tapas and dim sum, but they can be a well worth investment for restaurants of all kinds.

    But before you go replacing all your two-tops with long, sprawling tables, it would be wise to consider mastering the atmospheric and shareable food components discussed above which provide the social lubricant necessary to make a communal table concept bearable.

    Big Future For Small Plates People have been eating food on tiny plates for the greater part of history, so it was simply a matter of time before it made its debut in the American restaurant scene.

    As mindset and values of the average American diner continue to evolve, we can expect its popularity to surge to even greater heights in the years to come.

    Lucky for restaurants, tapas-style changes are just a small step away!

    This blog entry is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • Small on Space, Big on Return: The Vulcan MiniJet Combi Oven

    Small on Space, Big on Return: The Vulcan MiniJet Combi Oven
    This blog entry is compliments of Vulcan Equipment.

    In a perfect world, you’d have all the room you could possibly need in your commercial kitchen. In the real world, however, you’re likely facing the same critical challenge as many other industrial food service operations: a shortage of space. The good news? Lack of square footage doesn’t have to mean lowering your expectations -- especially if you make smart equipment buying decisions. Enter the Vulcan Minijet TM Combi Oven. Offering everything you want -- and then some -- from a combi oven, this powerful piece of professional kitchen equipment is mini but mighty.

    Do More with Less with the MinijetTM

    Why pay for multiple pieces of commercial kitchen equipment when you can pay for one instead? All combi ovens save space in restaurant kitchens thanks to their multi functionality (convection oven/steamer/combi). Measuring in at a width of just 21 inches, this consummate combi has an extremely narrow footprint designed to fit into even the tightest spaces.

    But a small stature is not the only thing the Minijet TM. has going for it when it comes to making the most of your space. The embodiment of the customer-backed innovation for which Vulcan is well known, the Minijet TM boasts a unique rear design with recessed utilities allowing flush placement against the wall. And the interior of the Vulcan Minijet TM Combi Oven is as mindful of space constraints as its exterior. Not only do pans slide directly onto its guide racks, but its clever design accommodates four 12"x20"x2.5" or six 12"x20"x1" pans. The result? Optimal capacity despite its small size.

    Low Profile, High Performance

    It may keep a low profile, but the Vulcan Minijet TM Combi Oven’s unique Twin Control (touch and knob functions) gives capability in the hands of any operator -- regardless of skill level.

    Busy kitchen professionals looking to prepare terrific tasting food without fussing with complicated equipment will love the simplicity of the ABC display. With just temperature, time and humidity, it is the heart of all cooking. Using patent pending technology, the ABC settings automatically control humidity based on selected cooking temperature. Operators get the performance of a combi with simply reducing cook times. Chefs looking for complete control, meanwhile, will enjoy bringing their dishes to life with the JET display, which allows them to manually change settings on the spot and to cook with a food probe for the ultimate in precision cooking. Ideal for entry-level users, the Minijet’s TM third setting, AUTO, is all about cooking with ease and peace of mind. If pictures are more your style, create and save custom recipes and simply touch a picture of the item you want to cook. We've already established that this hard-working combi oven can conserve both money and space, but it's also a time-saver across everything from staff training to turnover.

    The old expression insists that “good things come in small packages.” We can think of no better embodiment of this sentiment than the Vulcan Minijet TM Combi Oven, which uniquely empowers a diverse range of operators to consistently and comfortably produce extraordinary food. Want to learn even more? Visit Vulcan’s Minijet™ Combi Oven Guide, to find out how experienced kitchen professionals and chefs are taking advantage of this amazing piece of kitchen equipment on a daily basis.

    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.

    This blog entry is compliments of Vulcan Equipment.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.
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  • Shaken Not Stirred

    The infamous lines by the legend him self, Mr. James Bond. A phrase that has been repeated in bars and restaurants sense its debut in 1958 and a cocktail that has become as famous as Mr. Bond himself. Even today, 50 years later, restauranteurs name and serve 007’s martinis in honor of the man who made the drinks famous, classy and above all dangerous.

    But, what makes a dirty martini? What entices clients to purchase the drink repeatedly night after night? Does the name of the drink draw guests attention in? Or is it the perfectly balanced favor of vodka, vermouth and olive brine that make it perfectly delectable?

    Martini

    One thing is for sure, if you enjoy vodka this classic cocktail has a certain something about it which gives its consumers a sophisticated yet ahead-of-the-times vibe. Many times in todays bars and restaurants, when you see a group of young professionals walk through the bar and one of the friends orders a dirty martini, you better get ready to make many more. A trickle effect will more than likely occur and half will end up ordering the beverage. Its almost as though consumers believe they are seen in a brighter light when drinking a dirty martini with a group, and may slightly feel more mystical when one in hand.

    Finding a bartender who can make this libation is with the correct proportions of ingredients, is not as easy as one would think. In fact it seems as though every consumer prefer their dirty martini, just slightly different, one “extra dirty”, one “extra dry” and one may simple want that perfectly balanced cocktail they have come to love. Bartenders are able to play around with the cocktail, adding more or less of the brine, as every consumers has a different palate and distinguish what the standard amount for their cocktail should be.

    Our consumers personal favorite seems to be the martini is the “Extra Dirty”. To make sure you are able to serve the classic cocktail, at its best we want to share our recipe with you!

    EXTRA DIRTY MARTINI
    Ingredients

    • 2 1/2 ounces vodka
    • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
    • 5 teaspoons olive brine

    Special Equipment

    • Cocktail Shaker
    • Chilled Martini Glass

    Directions

    1 In cocktail shaker, mix ingredients together over a generous amount of ice. Shake, and then shake some more..
    2 Pour mixture into chilled martini glass, garnish with a few olives and sip away!

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  • Tips to a healthy work/ life balance

    Being in the hospitality industry we know the curse of a long hours, spending more time at work than at home. Typically small business owners spend 65 hours or more a week keeping their business running properly and to standards. Most owners/managers feel as though they are perpetually racing against the clock to do all they need to accomplish and most have a looming feeling that there are not enough hours in the week. This underlying stress causes most owners/managers to feel as though they do not have a work-life balance and a balanced life is an illusion.

    This illusion can translate into a hatred towards the work place and typically causes break down and the need to take exuberant amounts of time off away from the business. Because most hospitality professionals tend to be extreme protectionist it becomes increasingly difficult for owners/ managers to spend time away from the business and learn simple time management skills that offer a balances between work and life.

    There are however tips that we have found to be extremely helpful in creating a lifestyle that is conducive happiness! Keep these tips in mind if ever you find yourself stressed and spending too much time at work.

    1- Scheduling - Scheduling properly is a huge proponent in running a successful operation. We tend to say scheduling two weeks in advance is an adequate amount of time to schedule properly and make any changes if needed. If you do not use a scheduling tool already, we recommend trying HotSchedules, the programing is easy, comprehensive and a wonderful tool to use.

    2- Manage social media better- If your restaurant has a strong social media presence and you have a strong marketing team you will find your stress levels diminish. If customers view your establishment in a positive light you will have steady stream of customers continuously coming to your restaurant.

    3- Ask for help- Many owners/ managers forget to ask for help, to ask for help with small tasks that can be done by an administrative assistant. Most forget that they did not go into business to do the books, do the marketing and miscellaneous paper work. Don’t be afraid to hire outside help and do not be ashamed to outsource tasks that you simply do not have time for.

    There are of course many other ways to better your work/life balance, but know that you should always look to do the work that is only most important. Focus on building strong relationships with your customers and staff members and know that you are always able to manage your time that is best for you.

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