Katharine Kluger

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Valentine's Day Cocktails

    Valentine's Day Cocktails

    Love is in the air – or at least it is at your restaurant! Specialized Valentine’s Day themed cocktails can be a great complement to some specialty meals you’re serving, and people on dates will appreciate all your effort. Below are some Valentine’s Day themed cocktails that are a perfect way to impress your customers and help them share the love:

    Figgy Sparkler

    This drink can be great for New Year’s celebrations, but also for Valentine’s Day with its aphrodisiac qualities.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 fig (dried)
    • 2 slices orange
    • 6 cranberries
    • 1 ½ ounces vodka
    • 4 ounces Prosecco
    • Orange twist (garnish)
    • 3 cranberries (garnish)

    In a cocktail shaker, stir the fig, orange, and cranberries in with the vodka. Add ice and shake, then strain into a cup and top with the Prosecco and garnish.

    Red Lotus

    This simple, refreshing cocktail uses the distinct flavor of the lychee fruit and is a great way to taste the “love.”

    Ingredients:

    • 1 ½ ounces vodka
    • 1 ½ ounces lychee liqueur
    • 1 ounce cranberry juice

    Pour all the ingredients in to a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.

    Cloud Nine

    This cocktail with whipped vodka and strawberries will have you floating on cloud nine!

    Ingredients:

    • 2 ounces Pinnacle whipped cream vodka
    • 1 ounce strawberry liqueur
    • 2 ounces half and half
    • 1 cup ice
    • Strawberry candy (garnish)

    Use the strawberry liqueur to wet the rim of the cocktail glass and place crushed strawberry candy around the rim. Pour the vodka, strawberry liqueur, and half and half in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

    Get creative and have fun thinking up drinks to entertain your customers for Valentine’s Day! Holiday promotions are a great way to get your guests involved.

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  6. User-Generated Content

    User-Generated Content

    A cheap and easy way to promote your restaurant is to use user-generated content! Involving your customers in promoting your business is a great opportunity. User-generated content includes testimonials, reviews, blog posts, images, etc. – really anything that has come from the customer. And because your customer voluntarily posted it, it’s fair game in terms of usage!

    Benefits 

    1. Draw People in with Stories

    We all know that we’ve stopped scrolling through our social media feeds as soon as we spot a heartwarming story involving a brand and customer. We enjoy seeing what other people are doing and their experiences. We’re more likely to visit your restaurant if we see someone else has had a great experience there.

    1. Engagement and Credibility

    User-generated posts and content are more likely to be perceived and viewed as authentic by customers than content created by a brand.

    1. Community

    Word-of-mouth marketing is instrumental in building a relationship with your community. People bond over positive experiences, especially online, and this will send them to your restaurant.

    How to Find and Use User-Generated Content

    • Keep an eye on your customers’ Instagram Stories
    • Feature testimonials on your menu
    • Place user-generated content on your website
    • Offer free food/drinks in exchange for a social media follow and mention

    If customers tag you in their Instagram stories, repost it in your own story for your customers to see. People love incentives and will take you up on the offer for a freebie in exchange for a follow and mention. This way you’re getting user-generated content without spending a bunch of money.

    User-generated content is an airtight way to make sure your restaurant is getting some great press without spending money!

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  7. Franchising Your Restaurant

    Franchising Your Restaurant

    Restaurant business is great and people are starting to ask if you’re gong to expand to any more locations. You think that it might be a great idea, but you’re worried that your customer base might not extend to the few towns that you’ve thought about expanding to. Then someone asks you if they can outright buy the right to open your restaurant in a different location. Franchising is a business in itself, so you should do your research and prepare before you make any decisions. Here are some tips below:

    Protect Yourself and Your Brand

    Register your brand as a trademark in order to protect yourself from someone copyrighting your images. Potential franchisees don’t want to work for someone who doesn’t have the rights to their logo and other images that represent their brand.

    Operations Manual

    You need to prepare an operations manual for your franchisee. You have the expertise and know exactly how to run your restaurant so that it’s successful. Teach your franchisee how to do the same.

    Growth Plan

    A growth plan will help guide you to future decisions and keep you focused on your goals. Develop short-term and long-term goals that can easily be measured in terms of success. For best practices, it’s best to build new locations close to your original location and stay within a certain radius.

    Franchising is a Business

    Franchising is a business in itself. You have to decide what level of support you’re going to provide to your franchisees and what your role will now be. Your role is not just a restaurant owner anymore, but that of someone overseeing multiple locations.

    Franchising your restaurant can be great for your business, your bottom line, and for garnering recognition across a wider stretch of people and locations. Make sure you’re prepared before you jump into franchising and get all your ducks in a row to make sure that the transition from restaurant owner to the new role of now overseeing franchisees and multiple locations is flawless.

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  8. 3 Ways to Increase Restaurant Value

    3 Ways to Increase Restaurant Value

    While there are multiple ways to evaluate the value of a business, two of the main ways are the assets in place method and the gross sales valuation method.

    Assets in Place Valuation Method: Also known as asset valuation, this method of valuation is calculated by using the present value of all assets in the business. This method of valuation allows an investor to get a good idea of the present value of a restaurant if all equipment and assets were sold off and the business closed.

    Improving your assets in place valuation requires you to improve your assets. Outside of purchasing all new equipment, you can improve this by properly maintaining all of your current equipment.

    Gross Sales Valuation Method: The gross sales valuation method is calculated by totaling all of the sales invoices and related revenue transactions. This method of evaluation works because it tells a potential investor what kind of income is expected from the business.

    To improve your gross sales valuation you need to increase sales. You can accomplish this by widening your customer base and improving your customer loyalty.

    Maintain Your Equipment

    To improve your valuation based on assets add preventive maintenance to your restaurant’s processes. Preventive maintenance allows you to service equipment so that they operate at peak efficiency, retaining their value better. You can accomplish this process by adding routine maintenance to your kitchen and wait staff’s side work. You can allow kitchen staff to do things like clean walk-in refrigerator condenser coils to help improve the efficiency and life span of your equipment. Most manufacturers of walk-in coolers estimate the average lifespan of a walk-in as seven to 10 years; however, with appropriate maintenance that can be extended to 15 to 20 years.

    Preventive maintenance works for increasing value because rather than allowing your equipment to fall into various states of disrepair, you keep equipment in like-new condition as long as possible. If you, for example, perform all of the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance and daily clean your griddle, it will not only last twice as long but it will also allow you to avoid unnecessary and expensive repairs over the long run. Benefits of a comprehensive preventive maintenance plan are:

    • Increased lifespan of equipment
    • Lowered repair costs
    • Improved productivity
    • Increased efficiency
    • Reduced energy costs
    • Improved restaurant profitability

    Widen Your Customer Base

    One easy way to improve the value of your restaurant is to broaden your customer base. There are a number of ways this can be accomplished; however, the simplest ways to do this are to build a website and social media presence.

    This works because it allows you to reward current and future clientele with promotional items like a free appetizer or discount for continued patronage. Having specials that are advertised to customers via this method is also a way of increasing sales, as customers will likely choose you over another if they know that they will be closer to receiving a discount or freebie. This action will make it more likely that new customers will choose you over a competitor. Benefits of a customer loyalty program are:

    • Increased brand recognition
    • Improved promotion of events, promotions, services, and products
    • Enlarged online visibility
    • Expanded menu recognition
    • Intensified customer appeal

     

    Improve Your Customer Loyalty

    Another way to improve gross sales is to enhance customer loyalty to your restaurant. A National Restaurant Association report stated that 50 percent of all customers say a customer loyalty or reward program would make them choose one restaurant over another. This is a relatively simple action item to implement as many modern POS systems have built-in functionality for customer tracking.

     This works because it allows you to reward current and future clientele with promotional items like a free appetizer or discount for continued patronage. Having specials that are advertised to customers via this method is also a way of increasing sales, as customers will likely choose you over another if they know that they will be closer to receiving a discount or freebie. This action will make it more likely that new customers will choose you over a competitor. Benefits of a customer loyalty program are:

    • Increased revenue
    • Improved customer loyalty
    • Multiplied customer referrals
    • Boosted customer relations

     While you may not currently be in the market for a buyer or investor, increasing the value of your restaurant can also help with raising debt. Raising debt can be helpful for building improvements, expanding your business, or starting a second location. Additionally, by making these simple changes, you will not only increase your restaurant’s value but you will increase sales, reduce expenses, and increase the overall profitability of your restaurant; which is something that every owner is seeking.

    Empowering maintenance teams to revolutionize their businesses.
    Written by: www.onupkeep.com - visit our website to learn more

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  9. Cleaning Your Commercial Dishwasher

    Cleaning Your Commercial Dishwasher

    We’re still on that cleaning kick! You absolutely have to clean your restaurant’s dishwasher because it doesn’t clean itself – just your dishes! All the debris and dirt that comes off your dishes gets stuck in your dishwasher and will sit there forever if you don’t clean it. Below are some tips for cleaning your commercial dishwasher:

    Clean the Nozzles

    The nozzles in dishwashers get clogged very easily, but good news, they’re easy to remove! Clogged nozzles will cause the water pressure to drop and make your dishwasher less efficient. Remove the nozzles after each cycle, unclog, and run under hot water.

    Interior

    You need to clean your dishwasher's walls, corners, and the doors. Food left behind isn’t always visible, so be sure to clean everything! Use a cloth or brush and rinse after you scrub everything down.

    Tank Water

    Commercial dishwashers get their water pumped in from a water tank, and that water will get dirtier every time you put dirty dishes in and run the dishwasher for a cycle. A best practice for your water tank involves changing the water in your tank after every cycle.

    Descale

    Don’t forget to clean the exterior of your dishwasher! You can run a putty knife along the sides of the dishwasher to get rid of any scum that has accumulated.

    Leave Dishwasher Door Open

    You should leave your dishwasher’s door open when it’s not in use – let it air dry! Leaving the door open allows for less humidity and lessens the buildup of scum because of the constant airflow.

    Although dishwashers keep our dishware clean and keep our restaurant running efficiently, they don’t wash themselves. Make it a priority to clean your dishwasher and make it a weekly, if not daily, habit!

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  10. 2020 Wine Trends

    2020 Wine Trends

    Almost a month into the New Year, we want to look at the who’s who for wine and what wines people are gravitating towards in the new decade.

    Prosecco Rosé

    This combination of Prosecco and Rosé is becoming more and more popular as it just became approved to sell on the market in Italy.

    Vegan

    Not surprising here – vegan trends are spilling over (no pun intended!) into alcohol and drinks, not just food! The number of wines with vegan labels on the market in 2019 skyrocketed and are becoming a more popular alternative option.

    Natural Wines

    Technically, natural wine doesn't have a definition, but natural wine is considered a wine that is fermented without yeast and additives. Natural wine tastes similar to a sour beer, moreso than regular wine. Natural wine is still part of a small niche, but is becoming more popular.

    Trade Deals

    Will you have trouble accessing your wine with the newly propose tariffs and trade deals that keep popping up? As of now, the answer is no, but seeing a wine tariff in the near future is something you might want to keep in the back of your mind!

    The 2020 wine trend predictions above may or may not come to fruition, but it doesn’t hurt to try them. People are always looking for different wines to try and we all know we like to participate in a good wine tasting from time to time…or as often as we possibly can – no judgment!

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