Monthly Archives: February 2020

  1. Deep Dive: Convection Ovens

    Deep Dive: Convection Ovens

    We’ve discussed types of ovens for your restaurant’s kitchen in the past, but in this post we’re going to focus solely on convection ovens.

    In a convection oven, heat is transmitted in three ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. By using radiation heating, heat is absorbed by objects in the oven, and by using conduction heating, you apply heat directly to the bottom of the item to warm it up. Convection ovens combine regular heating elements with fans to create currents of air inside the oven.

    Benefits

    Convection ovens significantly reduce the formation of hot and cold spots that occur inside the oven. Food items in convection ovens are always evenly heated.

    • Food is cooked quicker than in a traditional oven
    • Food can be cooked at a lower temperature for the same amount of time
    • Can lower energy costs (depending on efficiency)
    • No need to rotate pans in oven
    • Allows more food to be cooked

    Tips

    • Avoid ovens that contain a rear fan with no third heating element (most countertop convection ovens do not have a third heating element)
    • Look for convection ovens with a 2 inch air gap around the edges of the item you’re cooking to allow for even current flow

    Potential Issues

    • If switching to a convection oven from a traditional oven, you will need to alter cooking times and temperatures for all of your menu items
    • Be aware that in convection ovens, air blows hard enough to move parchment paper and disturb batters 
    • When the oven door is open, convection ovens lose heat quicker than traditional ovens

    Convection ovens might be a great fit for your restaurant kitchen. If you’re looking fo some, check out these on our website: https://www.restaurantsupply.com/convection-ovens!

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  2. Reducing Utility Bills and Energy

    Reducing Utility Bills and Energy

    Electricity, gas, and water are among the biggest factors in running a successful restaurant, but they are also the biggest users of energy. Utility costs can add up quickly, but, good news – there a few simple changes you can make to reduce your costs! We have some budget-conscious tips below.

    Lighting

    Properly illuminated restaurants are attractive to customers. If your restaurant is too bright, or too dark, that makes a difference to customers. However, you can use LED or incandescent light bulbs, which reduce the amount of energy you’re using to light your restaurant and are also budget-friendly. Consider investing in automatic dimmers if you get lots of natural light in your restaurant. Dimmers will adjust to the amount of light you actually need at any given time.

    Refrigerators

    Refrigerators can use up most of your energy, but there are some ways to ensure that refrigerators are being as energy efficient as possible.

    • Make sure fans are running properly
    • Review temperature settings
    • Ensure doors keep cold air in and keep warm air out
    • Clean condenser coils as often as possible

    Water Leaks

    Water leaks can cost restaurants a ton of money each year. Fixing water leaks can significantly reduce your energy output.

    For a restaurant owner, saving energy equals saving money, and that’s important! You need to save money where you can in order to invest it in something that is needed to make your restaurant better for your customers.

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  3. Replacing Kitchen Equipment

    Replacing Kitchen Equipment

    Commercial kitchen equipment is a huge investment, but worth it if you purchase the right equipment for your needs. The equipment should be efficient and have a considerable life span. However, there will always come a time when you need to replace your existing equipment because using equipment past the end of its lifespan makes it less efficient and creates unnecessary problems for you. Below are some instances where you’ll need to replace your equipment:

    High Repair Cost

    Maintenance and repair costs can become costly very quickly. The cost of purchasing new equipment might be less than constantly having to repair your existing equipment.

    Safety

    While using kitchen equipment, safety is a priority. If you’re using equipment that isn’t completely safe, you need to replace it immediately. There is no reason to risk the safety of yourself or your employees.

    Menu

    Changing up your menu might call for a change in equipment! Your needs will change and impact what you need from an appliance.

    When considering replacing commercial appliances, you should be certain to take note of durability and regulations. You want to invest in an appliance that can serve you for a long duration. As you have to follow government regulations and building codes, make certain that the equipment you purchase is compliant with those regulations.

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  4. Commercial Food Steamer

    Commercial Food Steamer

    Cooking with steam is a healthy, quick, and efficient way to cook foods without drying them out. Steamers are often used to cook vegetables because it allows the vegetables to keep their natural colors, texture, and it doesn’t strip them of natural vitamins and minerals as other cooking methods might. You do not have to use oil or cooking spray with a steamer making it a healthy way to prepare foods.

    Choosing the Right Steamer

    Your menu and its needs will guide you in deciding what type of steamer to purchase. For example, deciding on a steamer size depends on how many servings you need to produce when making any single menu item.  Steamers range in size from small countertop sizes (perfect in your home kitchen) to floor steamers with multiple compartments.

    Convection Steamer

    Convection steamers cook foods at 212 degrees Fahrenheit without pressure. The steam transfers the heat and cooks the food. These steamers are generally less expensive and more popular than other types. Convection steamers are more versatile because they can reheat food, thaw food, steam food, and more.

    Pressure Steamer

    Because pressure builds steadily during the steaming process, food can be cooked up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Pressure steamers are larger than most other steamers and can cook faster than most because of their size.

    Microwave Steamers

    Microwaves can double as steamers if you purchase a microwave with the capability. Microwave steamers can hold several pans of food at once and get the job done without the time-consuming task of draining water out of the equipment afterwards.

    Use of a steamer in your commercial kitchen can make the flavors in your food pop and make your customers’ experiences better. Because steamers range in size, you can easily find one that fits in your kitchen and efficiently cooks food.

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  5. Staying Relevant and Trendy

    Staying Relevant and Trendy

    Millennials look for brands and places that are relevant – unfortunate, but true! You want your restaurant to keep up with consumer expectations and trends, otherwise it will become a hangout spot and place of the past. It may be difficult, but as a restaurant owner, you should look to forecast and predict upcoming trends. You know your business and what foods and drinks are working, and which are not. Here are some ways to keep your restaurant relevant in an everchanging environment:

    New Foods and Drinks

    It’s important to stick with the foods and drinks that you’re known for and that are most popular at your restaurant, but every so often, you need to sample new food items/drinks in order to keep up with people’s demands.

    Internet

    Google is your best friend! There are food sites dedicated to what’s popular in the food industry and new trends. Take those into account when deciding new menu items and flavors to experiment with.

    Host Events

    There are a range of events you can host at your restaurant! Whether it’s a sampling party, game day party, etc., people will come to think of your venue as a place to try new things and maybe even approach you with ideas for other events.

    New restaurants are popping up left and right, and you want to stay relevant and rival your competition. Find out what you’re doing right and what might need improvement and go from there. Substitute new menu items in for current items that may not be doing as well as you thought they would. It never hurts to try to keep up with the trends and try new things!

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  6. Cleaning Your Commercial Oven

    Cleaning Your Commercial Oven

    Your restaurant kitchen’s oven is more than likely overused and if you neglect to clean your oven regularly, that can lead to the buildup of debris. Debris buildup can cause a decline in the quality of the food you're serving to guests and can cause kitchen fires. Below are some steps to help you properly clean your commercial oven.

    Daily Cleanings

    Make sure that you clean your oven at the end of every day. This helps you manage the buildup of debris and allows you to keep the oven doors open overnight to air out. For daily cleanings, you shouldn't have to use oven cleaner.

    Remove Racks

    Debris buildup also accumulates on the oven racks (especially if you put meats directly on the racks). To keep the racks clean, remove them and clean them separately in the sink using a mix of hot water and soap. 

    Walls

    Once the racks are removed from the oven, wipe down the interior and the doors of the oven with a damp towel. Make sure to pay attention to the areas around the fan because debris will cause the fan to run less efficiently.

    Monthly Cleanings

    Along with daily cleanings, monthly cleanings are a necessity. Deep cleaning the interior and exterior once a month is the best way to ensure that your oven will work at peak performance. Your oven’s owner’s manual will provide you with the best practices and tips for cleaning your oven. 

    Manage Spills

    Manage spills as they occur, but make sure that the oven is cooled down before you take on the spills!

    Cleaning an oven is not at the top of the list of favorite chores to do, but when you’re running a restaurant, it’s essential. If you're reading this article and find that your kitchen oven is dirty beyond repair, check out some of the ovens we have at https://www.restaurantsupply.com/commercial-ovens.

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  7. How to Clean Your Griddle

    How to Clean Your Griddle

    Adding a griddle to your kitchen will make it more appealing and give you the opportunity to make your menu more diverse. Regardless of how often you use the griddle, cleaning it the right way is important. Here are some steps to clean your griddle the correct way:

    Non-Chromium Surface

    1. Use a Grill Scraper

    Remove excess food and grease with your grill scraper and scrape it into the waste drawer. 

    1. Griddle Brick

    If a grill scraper isn't getting those all of the debris off your griddle, use a griddle brick while the surface is still warm to wipe away debris. Make sure to rub in the direction of the grain so you don’t ruin the stainless steel surface.

    1. Empty Waste Drawer

    At the end of every day you should be emptying, washing, and sanitizing your waste drawer.

    1. Clean Surface

    Once a week you should unplug the griddle and clean it after it cools completely. Use non-abrasive griddle cleaner and then thoroughly rinse with water.

    1. Re-season Surface

    After its weekly cleaning, you should apply a thin layer of cooking oil, which aids in preventing rusting.

    Chromium Surface

    1. Scraper

    After every use, use a scraper to remove the excess grease and food debris.

    1. Clean Surface

    At the end of the day, clean the surface with a mixture of mild soap and water. Then wipe down the surface with a wet cloth.

    On chrome surfaces, never use pumice or griddle stones, sharp spatulas, steel wool, or liquid grill cleaner to clean your griddle. 

    Adding a griddle to your restaurant can help you diversify your menu and help you offer some variety to your customers. Taking proper care of your griddle is essential in keeping it running properly.

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  8. Venture into the Restaurant Business

    Venture into the Restaurant Business

    We’ve discussed how to keep a business up and running, but never exactly how to start one. More than ever before, people want to dine out or take home prepared food. Below are some steps to starting the sometimes daunting task of creating and opening your own restaurant.

    Audience

    You should decide on a few target audiences and then narrow those down to one. Look at location, age, income, etc. of those that live in the area where you plan on opening your restaurant. You need to know whom you’re catering to! It’s easier to please a specific group rather than trying to please everyone because that never works.

    Concept

    What kind of food are you going to serve? A concept lets customers know in advance what type of food to expect and you surprising your guests is not always a good thing!

    Niche

    Identify your competitors! Differentiating yourself from your competitors is key and finding that one thing that makes you different from your competitors might be the reason for your success. You also need to identify your own skills. For example, if you’re a people person and you like interacting with others, you want to design a restaurant that allows you to connect and engage with your customers. However, if you prefer to stay more behind the scenes, you should design a restaurant that allows you to stay behind in the kitchen and deal less with customers and more with operations.

    Business Plan

    It’s essential to make sure you don’t rush into opening a restaurant. A lack of planning definitely lends a hand in the failure of a restaurant. You want to map out all your plans on paper including pricing, your menu, financial information, long-term expenses, etc.

    These are just some of the tips and tricks to you prepare for opening a restaurant. Don’t forget to focus on and plan your menu design, employee hiring process, and funding before you jump into the restaurant business.

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  9. Classic Restaurant Cocktails

    Classic Restaurant Cocktails

    There are always new drinks floating around that have the potential to become greats, but there are some cocktails that are an important staple in your restaurant. Although the creativity of the industry is what keeps it fun and people love finding and trying new drinks they can call their favorites– and they usually end up being tasty - there are some essential drinks that you need to offer at your restaurant.

    Manhattan

    Ingredients:

    • Brandied cherry (garnish)
    • Ice
    • 2 dashes Angostura or orange bitters
    • 2 ounces rye or bourbon whiskey
    • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

    Add the brandied cherry garnish to a cocktail glass and fill a mixing glass with ice, bitters, whiskey, and vermouth. Stir for 20 seconds and then strain into the cocktail glass.

    Negroni

    Acquiring a taste for Negroni can be difficult, but once you do, you're addicted!

    Ingredients:

    • Ice
    • 1 ounce Campari
    • 1 ounce dry gin
    • Twist of orange peel (garnish)

    Fill a mixing glass with ice, Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin. Stir for 20 seconds and strain into the glass. Twist the orange peel over the drink and drop it in.

    Gin and Tonic

    A simple drink with only 2 ingredients!

    Ingredients:

    • Ice
    • Lime wheels
    • 2 ounces dry gin
    • 3 or 4 ounces tonic water

    Fill a glass with ice and layer with lime wheels. Add the gin and tonic and stir. Easy!

    Margarita

    A classic drink from the sours family!

    Ingredients:

    • Salt (for rim)
    • Lime half
    • Ice
    • 1 ¾ ounces tequila
    • ½ ounce Cointreau
    • ¼ ounce agave nectar

    Rim the glass with lime and salt. Add ice to the glass and fill a cocktail shaker with ice, lime juice, tequila, Cointreau, and agave nectar. Shake for 15 seconds and pour into glass.

    All these drinks are classics! When walking into a bar, you expect to see at least a couple of these drinks around. Classics are necessary, but also don’t forget to spice up your drink menu with a few creative, new drinks.

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  10. Home Made vs. Packaged Ice

    Home Made vs. Packaged Ice

    A refreshing, cool drink is essential whether you’re relaxing, or throwing a sophisticated party. Different ice cubes do have specific tastes and ice cubes can have an impact on whether or not you keep and enjoy a drink or throw it away. So, where do you go for your ice needs? Do you get your ice straight out of your refrigerator? There are plenty of options at your disposal!

    Home Made

    Ice made in your refrigerator is a convenient source of ice, but it’s not always the best! Water quality, taste, and speed are all factors that are affected by where your ice comes from. If your neighborhood has water with a funny taste or other impurities, you’re going to taste that in your ice. Also, new refrigerators can emit a plastic odor, which will get into your ice, and unforunately, refrigerators aren’t efficient when making ice for a large group of people as it takes time to generate a large amount of ice.

    Portable Ice Makers

    Have no fear - you don’t just have to rely on your refrigerator to provide ice. However, there are some limitations to portable ice machines. Portable ice machines don’t have unlimited access to water, so you have to pay attention and refill it. Portable ice machines also can’t hold the ice once it’s generated and the ice will begin to melt if you don’t move it.

    Packaged Ice

    You can buy packaged ice at grocery stores, but you don’t always know where the ice is coming from. You run a higher risk of ingesting ice with bacteria, and there's no way for you to know how long the ice has been sitting around. The longer ice sits around, the higher the risk it has of becoming contaminated.

    Making and purchasing ice may not be high on your list of things to worry about, but you should take into account where your ice is coming from and the quality. You don’t want to consume contaminated ice, or ice with a bad taste!

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