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  1. Charbrolier Cleaning

    In a restaurant kitchen, charbroilers are an excellent way to sear beautiful brand marks and impart a light smoky flavor onto proteins, fish and vegetables. However, to achieve consistent brand marks and the best release of product off of the cooking grid, routine cleaning and “dressing” of the top surface of the cooking grid with a light coat of oil (typically with vegetable oil but any variety of oil will do) are recommended. Charbroilers typically have cast iron or stainless steel grates. To dress the cooking grate, make a “jelly roll” out of a kitchen towel by folding it in thirds, rolling tightly and tying with butcher’s twine. The final roll should be about 4-5” long and about 2 ½-3”in diameter. Keep this roll in a 1/9th size pan next to the broiler filled with a small amount of vegetable oil. Wipe the cooking grates to remove any debris and then, using tongs, grab the roll and sweep the grates, coating lightly with oil. Repeat as necessary or after each product drop. At close of service when it is time to clean the unit, allow charbroiler to run on max for ten minutes and then turn off all sections. Wipe the cooking grids and allow the unit to cool completely before attempting to clean. Once the unit is cool, remove the cooking grids and set aside. Clean places where fat, grease or food may have accumulated. Deflector trays and crumb trays should be emptied and cleaned regularly. If cooking grids are heavily soiled or show a large amount of carbonization, they can be soaked in a commercial degreasing solution as necessary. If de-greasing is required, carefully remove top grates and submerge in cleaning solution. Rinse completely with clear water and dry before returning to the unit. Do not drop cooking grids, as it may cause damage and may require replacement. 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.
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  2. 4 Delivery Services You Should Register Your Restaurant For

    4 Delivery Services You Should Register Your Restaurant For

    In the past, running a restaurant only required consistent customer service, a clean location, and delicious food. Although these components are still important to consumers, they expect more from the restaurants that they dine at. Notably, they want to have access to delivery services, so that they can eat in the comforts of their own home, at the office, or wherever else they spend their time. Even though many restaurants take delivery orders over the phone or on their website, there are other ways to earn additional delivery sales. In fact, there are numerous mobile apps designed to connect patrons with nearby restaurants. If you want to earn more sales by offering delivery services, read this post to learn how to register for four popular delivery apps.

    How to Register for Four Restaurant Delivery Applications:

    1. Uber Eats


    Chances are, you’ve heard of Uber and use it for your transportation needs. But did you know
    that Uber also has a restaurant delivery app? If you’d like to list your restaurant on Uber Eats,
    simply fill out the company’s Sign Up form. After you provide this information, Uber will contact
    you to let you know if your restaurant is a good fit for their platform. It’s important to note that
    Uber Eats is available in these cities, so you won’t be able to sign up if your restaurant is located
    elsewhere. If they decide to onboard your restaurant, it’s fairly simple to utilize the service. Your restaurant
    will be listed on the app so that nearby patrons can order food from your establishment. Once
    they place an order, you can accept the request, and an Uber delivery partner will pick up and
    deliver the order to the customer. Using the app, your customer can track the progress of their
    order, which will also save you time, as you won’t have to follow up with them on their delivery
    status. Want to learn more about becoming an Uber Eats partnered-restaurant? Click here.

    2. GrubHub


    GrubHub is a restaurant delivery giant. The company merged with Seamless in 2013, which is

    another restaurant app you can register to be listed on. Before you apply, make sure that
    GrubHub operates in your city. If it does, you’ll simply need to fill out their general inquiry form,
    which can be found on this pageOnce accepted, you’ll have access to GrubHub’s technology, which will allow you to track
    orders. Plus, they provide their own drivers, so you’ll save money that you’d otherwise have to
    spend on hiring your own drivers and providing them with a vehicle.


    3. DoorDash

    DoorDash prides themselves on their quick onboarding process; once you complete their
    registration form, they claim that you can start accepting delivery orders within the week! Like
    other delivery apps, DoorDash handles customer service and logistical issues throughout the
    ordering and delivery process, so your restaurant can focus on cooking delicious food. In
    addition, depending on your preference, you can receive order updates via fax, computer, or
    your tablet.


    4. Postmates


    To register for Postmates, you’ll need to ensure that they offer their services in your city. Once
    you determine that they do, you’ll need to complete this form. The company claims that their
    average restaurant partner sees a 4X increase in orders once listed on the Postmates app, so if
    you’re looking for growth, this could be a promising opportunity! With numerous restaurant delivery app options, it’s important to conduct research and determine which app is right for your establishment. Determining which apps are available in your geographic area, finding out which apps your competitors are listed on, and finding out about their fees and onboarding costs are all factors to consider. We encourage you to pursue all your options so that you can find the right home for your restaurant’s delivery services!

     

    Katie Alteri

    is the content marketing coordinator at Fora Financial, a company that provides
    small business loans to companies across the U.S.

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  3. Becoming a Grill Master

    Becoming a Grill Master

    Check out these simple but practical tips and techniques.You can go above and beyond with your grill. Take advantage of your Crown Verity with these tips and techniques for grilling.

    Before you begin, consider your final product. This will depend on the type of food you are making and how it will be grilled. One size does not fit all when it comes to grilling. Cooking fish is very different than cooking chicken. Know your food but have fun with it.

    Here are some simple techniques:

    · Make sure your grill is hot enough before you start cooking allowing even more efficient and effective cooking.

    · Oil your grill up! This allows for leaner meat (and vegetables too) not to stick. Fun Fact: Some people use some paper towels to rub oil over the grates with a pair of tongs.

    · Experiment. Everyone loves marinated foods, don’t be afraid to experiment with it!

    · CAN’T TOUCH THIS! If you’re grilling your meat, do not play with it. In most cases, it is only necessary to move one time. (Better yet, consider buying good digital.)

    · Remember that meat is still cooking when you remove it from the grill. To avoid your rare steak becoming a medium, allow a grace period between when it is cooking and when it is served.

    · Do not forget the kebab (sometimes labeled as a meal on a stick). This quick and easy option has endless potential. Don’t knock it till you try it!

    · I’d like you to “meat” vegetables! Vegetables are a great option to be grilled.. You can also throw in some fruit!

    · Breathing room? Leave some grilling room that does not have direct heat. Keep the burner off in one corner of the grill. This gives you a place to keep foor warm without cooking it.

    Now with these tips and techniques you can now become a grill master!

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  4. How to Start a Restaurant

    There are many restaurants today. If you are the average American who has never owned a restaurant before, then it can be quite daunting to know where to begin. So we decided to do all the research and compile it into one easy-to-read article. Let’s begin!

    via GIPHY


    Here are the things you need to know! What is the statistics? According to a recent study done by Alleywatch.com results show that 60% of businesses fail in their first year. Of course, none of us want to be part of that statistic. We do not want to discourage you from opening up that dream restaurant; however, this is to serve as an eye-opener to see the practicality of the advice we are giving you. The biggest thing that contributes to failure is lack of planning. In other words, when you lack solid planning you can plan to fail solidly. As you will see in this article, planning is the most important part, even before worrying about the money. Planning involves preparing for possible roadblocks, minute details and preparing yourself to take responsibility.

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    Have the right motives. Now we all like money. Money is both a necessity and a luxury. In addition, we as humans love time. Do you often hear yourself saying “I wish I had more time?” We know we do! Some may reason that opening up their own business will offer them more money and time. Is this true? The answer, not necessarily! The truth is money and time doesn’t come automatically. In fact, owning your own restaurant would require even more work. So if money, time, or some other force is motivating you to start a restaurant maybe you should reconsider. Ask yourself, will I love what I will be doing? Am I willing to put forth the necessary effort and time to see my restaurant succeed? Will I be motivated to wake up in the morning and put in a hard day of work? If the answer to any of these is no then you should reconsider.

    via GIPHY


    Your target market. Who are you looking to appeal to? There are different generations, different preferences and different views. Remember in the restaurant business one size does not fit all. You have to choose your target market before you even think about your restaurant name much less your restaurant itself. Is it a family style or is it more for adults, children, or teens? You may think about what a teenager would like, and how it is different from a child, or how a child would differ from an adult. Things you can consider is who would you see being at your restaurant? Who would they recommend to come?


    Begin your business plan. This is where the brainstorming begins. This is where all your ideas can come together in an array of excellence. What are somethings you should think about? What is the atmosphere you are planning to create? What is the theme? What are the hook’s that drive customers in? How does your restaurant differ from other similar restaurants? Why will customers like my restaurant? Where is the restaurant’s location, and how will that adds to the experience of the restaurant? Here are some of the fundamental parts of a business plan you’ll need to think about. These are followed by:
    • Executive Summary
    • Company Description
    • Products and Services
    • Market analysis
    • Strategy and Implementation
    • Organization and Management Team
    • Financial plan and projections
    You are well on your way to starting your new restaurant business and restaurant supply is here to help! We have the right supplies for anyone even you! Let us know what you need!

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  5. Is Sous-Vide For You?

    Is Sous-Vide For You?
    One of the major trends to hit the food world in the past few years has been the mainstream acceptance of sous-vide cooking techniques. Restaurant supply stores have been carrying sous vide equipment for some time--but from its popularization in molecular gastronomy circles, it’s become well-known enough now to be accessible even to home cooks, enough so that people from all circles of the cooking and foodie world have begun wondering whether it is worth it for them to pick up the sometimes-pricey tools of the trade. To answer that question, we’ll take a look at what sous-vide cooking is, how it works, and what the benefits are. Sous-vide (French for ‘under vacuum’) cooking at its most basic is simply a technique of placing an item to be cooked in a vacuum-sealed plastic or glass pouch or container, and cooking it in a water bath of a specific temperature. The technique was once reserved for professionals only, but as it has become more popular in the mainstream food media, products for home cooks have emerged and gradually become more affordable. Both aspects of sous-vide cooking are important: vacuum-sealing the food item into its container is just as vital as the water bath for achieving the desired result. It is not quite the same as poaching or pressure-cooking items, but it has some of the benefits of both. The first major benefit of sous-vide cooking is that it brings and keeps the item being cooked at a specific temperature and doneness. Exposure to direct heat sources means that whatever is cooked can much more easily end up overdone, resulting in waste, and the vacuum sealing means that the food remains fresher for a longer period of time. In addition to this basic benefit, sous-vide cooking allows foods to maintain the height of flavor and texture: the juices and aromatic ingredients that are sealed into the bag with the food have nowhere to go but into the food itself. The lack of overcooking risk also means that the texture of the finished item will remain consistent--no hardened areas or dried-out parts. By cooking an item to exactly the degree of doneness that it is best at--or cooking it slightly below that doneness and finishing the item over direct heat--chefs and home cooks alike can get the best possible result without having to fuss and worry about the items. In addition, sous-vide cooking allows for more flavorful finished dishes from sometimes bland ingredients, because the packet can be stuffed not just with--for example--chicken breast but also aromatic ingredients to infuse into the breast. Rosemary, lemon, thyme, tomatoes, garlic--whatever the chef desires--can be added into the bag or jar with the rest of the ingredients to be cooked, and the pressure from the vacuum seal means that there is more contact between the flavorings and the food, ensuring thorough penetration. There is nowhere for the aromatic compounds to go except for the target food itself. With those benefits in mind, it’s worth looking into sous-vide equipment from a restaurant supply store. While there are individual companies marketing both to home chefs and to professional settings, a well-stocked supply company will have a range of products available for any-size need. At the most basic, sous-vide cooking requires the pouches, bottles, or jars for the target food to be cooked in, a vacuum sealer, a temperature-safe container for the water, and some source of precision heat. While it’s possible, certainly, to maintain consistent heat on a cooktop, it’s much easier to use one of the many sous vide products that allow for circulation of water at precise temperatures. Once you’ve made the decision to incorporate sous-vide cooking into your repertoire, there are as many options available as there are ideas in your mind for how to use the equipment. All kinds of foods, from eggs to vegetables to proteins, can benefit from the sous-vide treatment; while grains are trickier to produce in this method, it is far from impossible--and the ability to infuse intense flavors into the finished dish is, of course, a major perk. Find a reputable restaurant supply store and take a look at what they have available, and discover the benefits that sous-vide cooking can give you.
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  6. Mother's Day is May 13th, Are You Ready?

    With the arrival of the month of May comes an important holiday for foodies: Mother’s Day. For restaurants and home cooks alike, Mother’s Day is a big deal--one of the ways that we all seem to agree is best for showing we care about our mothers is to take some of the burden of cooking off of them. Whether the decision is to take Mom out to brunch or a fancy dinner, or to cook up something at home and take care of the clean-up afterwards, restaurant supply stores have great options for making a special Mother’s Day event happen.

    For restaurants, Mother’s Day can represent a big bump in business, since so many people opt to take their Moms out for a good meal to celebrate the day. Brunches are particularly popular, since it’s a way to start the celebration early in the day, and still incorporate a fancy cocktail to make things feel special. On the other end of the business day, dinner is also popular--since it’s sometimes easier for people to gather in the evening, and since Mother’s Day is on a Sunday. Of course, this means that restaurants and catering companies alike should be prepared for the spike in business; a prix fixe menu would be an excellent thing to plan for the day, to make an option available for those looking to celebrate on a budget as well as to cut down on kitchen chaos. Good options for a Mother’s Day prix fixe menu include seasonal fruits and veggies in an appetizer, something luxurious for the main, and a decadent dessert: so think of salads and seasonal soups to start patrons off, and a special pasta dish or cream-sauced main course. Of course, there aren’t a whole lot of women who don’t appreciate a delicious chocolate dessert, but just in case of allergies, consider an option with fresh spring berries as well.

    For the stay-at-home celebrants, it’s easy to plan a beautiful Mother’s Day celebration with a little bit of advance thought and--in some cases--a few smart restaurant supply store purchases. Breakfast in bed is always a popular option; an easy way to accomplish a low-stress breakfast would be to settle on a somewhat elegant casserole, like a French toast bake, or hashbrown casserole. Of course, if you really want to shoot for the stars, there’s nothing like a well-made eggs benedict, orange juice, coffee, and fruit. With the right equipment, it’s easy to make something like this not only happen but come across with a level of ease and beauty that will make it a true success.

    The important things to keep in mind, no matter what kind of celebration you’re working on planning for Mother’s Day, are to keep things relatively simple: stick with tried-and-true recipes and concepts that don’t require a huge amount of fussing, and plan to prepare in advance, even for surprises. For restaurants, making sure to place a slightly larger order than usual is a good move: while it’s hard to predict the extent to which traffic will increase on the day itself, there’s almost certainly going to be a boost to numbers, and it would not reflect well on the restaurant to run out. Incorporating a fixed-price menu into the lineup for the event would be a good idea because it’s easier to plan for a ballpark estimate of specific dishes that will be made, and keep cost-per-plate at a set budget; it also means that there’s less risk of a bump in traffic to the restaurant resulting in running out of staples. For those celebrants staying at home to pay tribute to Mom, it’s a good idea to do a dry run at least a few days before you plan the big meal, to make sure you can keep things clean and get things done in the time frame you’re planning on.

    Mother’s Day comes every year, but it’s an important day for all of us to recognize the women in our lives that help to keep us fed--body and soul. Whatever form of celebration you are working on for the mothers in your life or clientele, put a little bit of thought into the planning, and make sure you have the right supplies and tools, and you can make something really special.


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  7. Spring is Nearly Here-- Take Advantage!

    Spring is Nearly Here-- Take Advantage!

    Tuesday, March 20 marks the first official day of spring in the northern hemisphere; while
    some areas aren’t necessarily seeing the light at the end of the tunnel just yet, it’s still
    possible to plan to welcome back Spring, and in the process reap some rewards. A little
    planning, the right restaurant equipment, and imagination is all it takes to create an event,
    concoct some recipes, and create an atmosphere of renewal.


    Think about a Spring-themed event

    It doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to come up with an appropriate, themed event to
    welcome in Spring; one of the major advantages of the season is that really exciting
    ingredients are starting to become available, which on their own can inspire dozens of
    dishes. Some examples to get the ball rolling include asparagus, morel mushrooms,
    rhubarb, and spinach, but there are dozens of produce items you can choose from.
    If you already have the desire to create a Spring-themed event, putting things together is
    simple enough: you can offer a prix fixe menu of dishes that highlight the best things of the
    new season, and decoration can be as simple as early flowers or pastel accents, according
    to existing decor. Of course, depending on how quickly you can plan and get it together, it
    may not be possible for you to put the event together for the exact start of Spring, but
    within a few weeks of the official first day will probably work out well-- especially if you’re
    located somewhere that hasn’t quite fully warmed up yet.
    Within this category, you can consider too whether you want to hold a private event,
    perhaps for some of the best customers you have and by invitation only; advance booking
    ensures that you will know what the budget and profit for the event can be. Not only will
    patrons at your restaurant be flattered to participate in something so exclusive, but they’ll
    also almost certainly talk your event up around all their social circles-- generating even
    more interest in your restaurant.

    Consider a Spring special menu


    Even if you don’t decide to have a separate event, you can benefit from the bounty of the
    season by building up a special menu of a few items geared especially towards Spring
    produce and other foods. After this year’s particularly long winter, creating a few dishes
    with fresh flavors, and a different palette of ingredients, can not only invigorate the kitchen

    but also the customers! Of course the best way to plan this would be to create a handful of

    special items, available on a more limited basis, in addition to the usual menu-- there’s no
    need to go overboard and overhaul everything.
    The wonderful thing about Spring ingredients is that many of them don’t require a lot of
    additional effort to transform into something delicious: a little prep work can turn Spring
    greens like spinach, radicchio, endive, watercress, or a mixture of young greens into a
    delicious salad to freshen up the palate, or transform peas and asparagus into the base of a
    “primavera” dish to signal the end of winter. With strawberries and rhubarb just coming in,
    you can make simple desserts that will liven up the palates of everyone who eats them.
    Best of all, since Spring ingredients and components are just in season, they tend to be less
    expensive than out-of- season produce and meats, which means that the cost to produce a
    Spring menu or event for your grateful customers won’t break the bank. While it may take a
    little extra effort both in the front and back ends of the restaurant, a Spring special menu
    can bring in new business and build more customer relationships.

    So take advantage of the coming of Spring!

    With a little bit of creativity and some thought, you can create an event, or a menu, that will keep people coming back into your restaurant
    again and again. It may require a little bit of an increased budget on restaurant supplies,
    but the kinds of products you would need are ones that will fit into your kitchen
    seamlessly, with plenty of use throughout the year. Enjoy the coming of warmer weather
    and the availability of fresh, exciting ingredients, and celebrate the new season; don’t be
    surprised if the excitement that starts in the kitchens extends well out through the front of
    house and into your customers, creating a helpful buzz that will bring more people into
    your business for months-- maybe even years-- to come.

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  8. National Food Holidays in 2018: Marketing Calendar for Restaurants

    2018 food holidays

    With 2018 comes a new year and a new opportunity to impress your guests every single day.

    We all know about Mother's DayChristmas, and Valentine's Day - but in your restaurant, do you observe the popular national food holidays?

    I'm talking about everyone's real favorite days of the year - National Taco Day, National Shrimp Day, National Cheeseburger Day, and all the other national food days.

    Arguably, national food holidays are more important to your restaurant than the more "traditionally observed" holidays because, in a way, these days were made for restaurants. It's up to you to come up with creative restaurant promotions and marketing ideas to bring more customers into your restaurants on these days. 

    These national food days are also a fantastic opportunity to leverage your restaurant's loyalty program and sell more gift cards throughout the year.

    Here are 16 popular food days and national food holidays you can start planning for in your restaurant. Be sure to take note of them in your 2018 Restaurant Marketing Calendar.

    Download the 2018 Restaurant Marketing Calendar

    National Chocolate Cake Day – January 27

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    National Chocolate Cake Day (January 27) celebrates a staple of the restaurant industry – from bakeries and cafés, to Happy Birthday sing-a-longs at casual dining chains, to exquisite Bavarian delight in fine dining restaurants. Since desserts are among the most highly marked-up sections of the menu, don't dismiss this dessert's day.

    Try out a couple ideas for your National Chocolate Cake Day promotion:

    1. Bake a limited-edition National Chocolate Cake Day cake.
    2. Offer a free chocolate cake slice per table.
    3. Give a coupon for a free slice of cake for a guest's next visit. 

    National Pizza Day – February 9

    national pizza day

    National Pizza Day (February 9) is just around the corner! Pizzerias rejoice - this is one of America's most beloved foods, with 3 billion pizzas being sold each year in this country alone. If you create a promotion to celebrate the true joy that pizzas bring, your customers will definitely embrace it.

    If your restaurant sells pizza, try one of these promotions for National Pizza Day:

    1. Half-price pizzas with two or more toppings.
    2. A free small cheese pizza with the purchase of a $25 gift card.
    3. A complimentary slice of pizza to everyone who stops by and is a member of your loyalty program.

    To raise awareness of whatever promotion you decide on, share the special on your restaurant social media pages and send out an alert to your customer database and loyalty program members. 

    National Margarita Day – February 22

    national margarita day

    National Margarita Day (February 22) is clearly here for the 21+ crowd. Have some fun with this one for your bar or full service restaurant!

    Consider one of these promotions:

    1. Offer an extended happy hour to celebrate the day.
    2. Host an event for unlimited or discounted margaritas. Sell tickets in advance and serve light apps or chips and salsa. 
    3. Keep it simple and offer half-off margaritas.

    National Shrimp Day – May 10

    national shrimp day

    National Shrimp Day (May 10) lands just as the weather starts to get warmer and people get excited for summer months. Bars offering shrimp cocktail and classier seafood restaurants could see a surge in business. Acknowledge the day with one of these promotions. 

    1. Host a "Cocktails and Shrimp Cocktail" event in your bar. 
    2. Make your specials menu entirely shrimp-centric. 
    3. Offer a free fried shrimp appetizer with the purchase of any other appetizer. 

    National Wine Day – May 25

    national wine day

    National Wine Day (May 25) promotions will be most successful in bars, full service, and fine dining restaurants. Whether you have a limited selection or a wide array of fine wines, bring attention to your vino menu with one of these ideas.

    1. Offer a complimentary sampler of wines during dinner when guests order a meal over $40.
    2. Highlight a few featured wines that are new to your menu and aren't getting the attention they deserve. Add them to a special National Wine Day menu and sell them for a lower price to see if your guests enjoy the drink or determine if you should remove them from your menu.
    3. Offer a prix-fixe menu and include some of your finest wines as the selected beverages.

    Whatever you decide to do, it might be beneficial to turn Wine Day into Wine Week, especially if it falls on a weekday. Make the announcement on your restaurant's website and social media pages.

    National Egg Day – June 3

    national egg day

    National Egg Day (June 3) opens up a ton of possibilities for diners and for restaurants that offer breakfast. Whether you scramble 'em, fry 'em, or hard boil 'em, people love eggs, with the average American eating 250 eggs each year. Here are some ways restaurants can capitalize on this.

    1. Discounted omelets all day long. After all, who says no to breakfast for dinner?
    2. Bonus loyalty points for members of your loyalty program who stop in to visit and order a dish with eggs.
    3. Free toppings in omelets today only.

    For National Egg Day, share your promotion idea on any signs or boards you have in your restaurant so your regulars know it's coming up.

    National Onion Ring Day – June 22

    national onion ring day

    National Onion Ring Day (June 22) may just be the predecessor to the next major national food holiday (more on that later), but it's still a chance to bring some attention to an otherwise underrated appetizer. Try a couple of these ideas to get some sales rolling. 

    1. Charge a fee for upgrading to onion rings? Nix that for the day. 
    2. Give all tables a free onion ring tower if they purchase drinks. 
    3. The week before June 22, give all patrons a coupon for a free side of onion rings if they come in on the 22nd. 

    National French Fries Day – July 13

    national french fries day

    National French Fries Day (July 13) honors the staple side dish of almost every American meal. Some restaurants show their french fry appreciation in many forms: curly, sweet potato, parmesan truffle, you name it. Try some of these strategies to boost sales on National French Fries Day.

    1. Pizzerias can throw in an order of fries to all orders of $15 or more - even those that don't ask for it! This is called surprise and delight, and your customers will be gleefully taken aback.
    2. Fancier restaurants can offer a complimentary side of house fries (like parmesan truffle or sweet potato) at all tables.
    3. Post that it's National French Fries Day on your social media channels and say that all members of your loyalty program who come in and say "Happy National French Fry Day!" get a free side of fries. (Also mention that if they're not a member of your loyalty program they can easily join!)

    For promotion, it's best to stick to social media for this one. You can even try posting the announcement to your Story on Snapchat!

    National Vanilla Ice Cream Day – July 23

    national ice cream day

    "Anyone care for dessert?" 

    To get more of your guests to answer "yes" to that question, try these strategies on National Ice Cream Day (June 23).

    1. Any dessert with ice cream is buy one, get one free.
    2. Make any dessert a la mode at no extra cost. 
    3. Gift card special for the week: free ice cream cone/dish when a guest purchases a gift card $20 or more.

    National Oyster Day – August 5

    national oyster day

    National Oyster Day (August 5) finally brings us around to seafood restaurants, which have been waiting for their turn on the National Food Day calendar all year. Now that it's here, try these promotion ideas.

    1. All-you-can-eat oyster bar for a discounted price.
    2. Host an oyster eating contest at your restaurant. 
    3. Give a complimentary coupon for a free side order of oysters on the next visit when guests buy a $50 gift card.

    National Cheeseburger Day - September 18

    national cheeseburger day

    That picture is making me very hungry and I now wish that National Cheeseburger Day (September 18) were tomorrow. When it finally does arrive, these ideas may be worth a try.

    1. No charge for cheese or extra cheese on a burger. (It's National Cheeseburger Day, after all!).
    2. Double loyalty points when someone buys a cheeseburger today (and double points when someone signs up today).
    3. Free drink and fries with the purchase of any cheeseburger.

    Start promoting a week or two in advance. Social media is best, and reaching out to your customer base via email marketing will also work well. 

    National Coffee Day - September 29

    national coffee day

    Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee every day - it's almost like every day is National Coffee Day. Regardless, here are some ideas to help you celebrate.

    1. Free coffee for your loyalty program members. If money is tight at your restaurant or cafe, try offering a free coffee with the purchase of a pastry or food item (or vice versa).
    2. BOGO coffee when you come in with a friend.
    3. Complimentary coffee after a meal for fine dining restaurants.

    National Taco Day - October 4

    national taco day

    Forget Cinco de Mayo; October 4th is the real National Taco Day. Here are some ways you can embrace tacos in your restaurant.

    • $2 tacos all night long with the purchase of a drink.
    • Experiment with a limited-time taco menu - taco pizza, fish tacos, etc.
    • Taco eating contest. Enough said.

    National Nacho Day – November 6

    national nacho day

    National Nacho Day (November 6) embraces the classic bar snack. Add guacamole, chicken, salsa, corn, you name it. Everything seems to go with nachos. Promoting your National Nacho Day specials on your restaurant Instagram account with enticing images of chips smothered in melted cheese will have millennials flocking to your restaurant. 

    Here are a few options for specials:

    1. Offer free add-ons to any basic nachos.
    2. Promote a special of bottomless nachos with the purchase of any drink.
    3. Host bar trivia. The winning team wins a gift card redeemable for ten free nacho appetizers over the year.

    National Cookie Day – December 4

    national cookie day

    National Cookie Day can be a big seller for your cafe or bakery. Use social media to help promote one of these strategies.

    1. Complimentary dozen of cookies with the purchase of a $25 gift card and/or half off a dozen of cookies for everyone.
    2. One free cookie to everyone in your loyalty program and/or one free cookie with the purchase of another item for everyone else.
    3. Sell a limited-time cookie variety box with limited time varieties. Listen to the feedback you get and consider adding one of the types to your menu!

    Aside from social media, leveraging your customer database here is another smart idea.

    National Lager Day – December 10

    national lager day

    Cheers to you, National Lager Day! December 10 is the time to grab a glass and be thankful for the beers in your life. These days, Americans are obsessed with hoppy craft IPAs. If you have any German or Euro-inspired lagers, showcase them on your draft line this day. 

    Here are a few ideas you can give a whirl:

    1. Replace all of your ale kegs with lagers.
    2. If you can't swap out your kegs cost-effectively, offer half-off lagers. 
    3. Have a "two bears for the price of one" special to fill more seats at the bar.

    Preparing for National Food Days in Your Restaurant

    These are just ten of the hundreds of National Food Days and National Food Holidays your restaurant may want to prepare for. But how can you plan for the rest, not to mention every other holiday, like Mother's Day, Christmas, and Easter?

    We know how challenging it can be for restaurants to balance their marketing over the course of the year. 

    That's why we've whipped up a 2018 Restaurant Marketing Calendar. It's an interactive template you can use to plan out your marketing budget, activities, and promotions alongside 2018's national food days.

    We also connect you with the resources you'll need to formulate a restaurant marketing budget best fit for your restaurant.

    We've already made a dent in 2018 - it's time to start planning for the rest of the year in your restaurant.

    This article is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.

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  9. The 50 Best Restaurant Experts and Chefs to Follow in 2018

    restaurant experts 2018

    It's that time of year again. 

    Each year, we strive to equip restaurant owners with the resources they need for a successful new year. 

    What better way to stay on top of things than to follow this list of restaurant experts – the owners, chefs, and writers who are shaping the industry?

    2017 saw a paradigm shift for many restaurants. Diners are still eating out, but their preferences have changed in many ways. Everything from the menu items they are demanding, to the ways they want to place orders, are new to many restaurant professionals. 

    Restaurateurs, in order to stay on top, have been forced to respond – sometimes reactively. 

    Following this list of restaurant experts will help you stay on top of the industry, and enable you to make proactive, positive decisions for your business.  

    Making the List of 2018's Leading Food & Restaurant Experts

    For the past two years, we've made lists for the Top 30 Experts and Top 35 Experts to follow, respectively. This year, we're upping the ante to include the 50 Best Restaurant and Food Experts to Follow in 2018.

    While you'll definitely see some familiar faces, read through the list and see if you can spot who's new this year. I believe their presence on your timeline will be most welcome.

    To be included on this list, one must be:

    • A chef or restaurant owner.
    • A restaurant chain professional.
    • A restaurant consultant.
    • A trailblazing food or restaurant celeb.
    • A dedicated food blogger.
    • A reporter or thought leader in the food and/or restaurant industry.

    Additionally, these restaurant leaders must have been active on Twitter within the past month and have more than 1,000 followers. Their social reach must be great, and they must post excellent restaurant content about kitchen management, industry news, food, and/or restaurant marketing. 

    The following is an alphabetical list, by first name, of the most knowledgeable professionals in the restaurant industry.

    Open up your Twitter account and be sure to follow these industry professionals for some great day-to-day restaurant insights! 

    The Top 50 Restaurant Influencers 

    aaron.pngAarón Sánchez

    Award-Winning Chef, TV Personality, Cookbook Author, and Philanthropist
    FOX's MasterChef / Author / Dad / mexiCAN
    @AaronSanchez - Website
     


     

    adam.pngAdam Goldberg

    Editor-in-Chief, Drift and Ambrosia
    @alifewortheating on Instagram/Facebook and @lifewortheating on Snapchat.
    @LifeWorthEating - Website


     

    Alan Liddle alan.png

    Data & Event Content Director, Nation's Restaurant News
    Data and event content director. At Nation's Restaurant News since 1984. Also, researcher for Supermarket News Top 75. Formerly: daily/weekly news; restaurants.
    @AJ_NRN - Website


     

    Allie Tetreaultallie2.png

    Food and Restaurant Blogger, Toast
    Content Marketing Manager at Toast, Journalist, Blogger, Acapella alto, Wheaton College Grad. Entertainment Buff. 
    @aktetreault - Website


     

    allison-1.pngAllison Aubrey

    Food Writer, James Beard Award Winner
    NPR Correspondent, PBS NewsHour contributor, mom, aspiring yogi, lavender lover.
    @AubreyNPRFood - Website


     

    carlson.pngAndrew Carlson 

    CEO of Carson Hospitality
    On a mission to bring back the customer experience to restaurants in America. Restaurant Speaker. Author. CEO of Carlson Hospitality.
    @andrew1110 - Website


     

    bourdain.pngAnthony Bourdain 

    Chef, Author, and Television Personality
    Enthusiast
    @Bourdain - Website


     

    april.pngApril Bloomfield

    Chef
    Holds a Michelin star at two restaurants.
    @AprilBloomfield - Website


     

    cast.pngBarbara Castiglia

    Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management
    Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management. [email protected]
    @bcastiglia44 - Website


     

    brad.pngBradley Toft 

    The Restaurant Specialist
    The Restaurant Guy. Husband, Dad, and a work in progress. Risk Specialist at Newman & Tucker Insurance.
    @BradleyToft - Website


     

    Bret ThornBret Thorn 

    Food Writer, Nation's Restaurant News
    Follow the adventures of a New York City food writer. Senior F&B editor, NRN & Restaurant Hospitality.
    @FoodWriterDiary - Website
     


     

    bruce.pngBruce Irving

    Chef and Restaurateur
    Founder SPM Marketing: The #1 Digital marketing platform for pizzerias  | Speaker | Podcaster | Host of the top rated SPM Podcast : Family First 
    @Irvingmedia - Website


     

    cheryl2.pngCheryl Bachelder

    Former CEO, Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.
    Former Popeyes CEO focused on developing purpose-driven leaders who evidence competence and character in all aspects of their lives. Author of Dare To Serve.
    @CABachelder - Website


     

    chill.pngChris Hill 

    Chef, Bach Kitchen 
    Leadership and Branding Restaurant Guy - Entrepreneur - Author + 2X TEDx Speaker. (Chris was also a guest on Toast's podcast, The Garnish! Listen here.)
    @bachkitchen Website


     

    christina.pngChristina Tosi

    Chef, Author, Television Personality, and Owner of Momofoku Milk Bar
    Hardbody for life.
    @ChristinaTosi - Website


     

    dan.pngDan Pashman

    Host and Creator, The Sporkful Podcast
    Creator/host of The Sporkful podcast at Stitcher and the Cooking Channel web series You're Eating It Wrong and The Snackdown. An eater, not a foodie.
    @TheSporkful - www.danielboulud.com


     

    danny meyerDanny Meyer

    CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group
    CEO Union Square Hospitality Group. Founder Shake Shack. Always Setting the Table.
    @dhmeyer - Website


     

    dg.pngDave Gonynor 

    CEO/CO-Founder, That's Biz
    Helping restaurants, bars, and chains attract new customers and drive repeat visits.
    @thatsbiz - Website


     

    henkes.pngDavid Henkes

    Advisory Group Senior Principal, ‎Technomic Inc.
    Global food/beverage industry trendwatcher, consultant, & connoisseur. Senior Principal at . Named 1 of top  experts to follow in 2017.
    @davidhenkes - Website


     

    dsp.pngDavid Scott Peters

    The Restaurant Expert
    I own a coaching company teaching independent restaurant owners how to use systems to be successful and profitable. We offer coaching, workshops and software.
    @RestaurantXpert - Website


     

    dev.pngDevra First

    Food Writer, Boston Globe
    Boston Globe food writer and restaurant critic. Come for the rabbis, stay for the food.
    @devrafirst - Website


     

    db2017.pngDonald Burns

    The Restaurant Coach™
    The Restaurant Coach™, industry expert at  and Toast. Former USAF Pararescue. My motto: All business problems are really people problems in disguise.
    @donaldburns - Website


     

    eric.pngEric Cacciatore

    Host, RestaurantUnstoppable Podcast
    Host, RestaurantUnstoppable Podcast. Successful hospitality professionals telling their stories of success and sharing their mentorship.
    @EricCacciatore - Website


     

    gerry.pngGerry Ludwig

    Chef, Gordon Food Service
    Representing Gordon Food Service through culinary research and development, restaurant trend tracking, food writing and public speaking.
    @GFSChefGerry - Website


     

    gordon.pngGordon Ramsay

    Celebrity Chef, Restaurateur, and Television Personality 
    Check out an awfully British experience in the heart of London York and Albany this festive season.
    @GordonRamsay - Website


     

    graha.pngGraham Elliot

    Chef
    Chef, Restaurateur, Cookbook Author, TV Personality
    @grahamelliot - Website


     

    heather.pngHeather Lalley

    Editor, Restaurant Business Magazine
    Editor at Restaurant Business Magazine, new restaurant concepts. Medill + Washburne Culinary grad. Previously at Spokesman Review. 
    @flourgrrrl Website


     

    hudson riehleHudson Riehle 

    Senior Vice President, National Restaurant Association
    National Restaurant Association - SVP, Research & Knowledge Group
    @HudsonRiehle - Website


     

    kenji.pngJ. Kenji Lopez-Alt

    Author and Chief Culinary Advisor, Serious Eats
    Stay-at-Home Dad. Author of The Food Lab. Serious Eats (NYC), Wursthall, and Backhaus (both San Mateo). Husband to Adriana. Feminist. 
    @kenjilopezalt Website


     

    oikle.pngJaime Oikle

    Owner, RunningRestaurants.com 
    Owner, Restaurant Report and  - Helping Restaurants Succeed and Profit
    @JaimeOikle Website


     

    oliver.pngJamie Oliver

    Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur 
    The latest from Jamie Oliver HQ.
    @jamieoliver Website


     

    jean.pngJean Lee

    Restaurant Social Media & Events Consultant
    Restaurant PR + Social Media + Events | Food + Drink + Travel | NYC Native
    @jeaniusNYC - Website


     

    broughton.pngJenna Broughton

    Freelance Food and Restaurant Writer
    Made in Florida. Former American Idol auditionee. Onetime sweepstakes winner. Freelance writer covering impact of tech & policy on food & agriculture.
    @JennaBroughton - Website


     

    telesca.pngJenna Telesca

    Editor-in-Chief, Nation's Restaurant News
    Editor-in-Chief of Nation's Restaurant News. News tips? [email protected]
    @JennaTelesca - Website


     

    jim-1.pngJim Sullivan

    CEO and Founder, Sullivision.com
    All about restaurant & retail Leadership Strategy at  Author: Multiunit Leadership & The Fundamentals. Speaker, Writer, Omnivore, Dad, Lad, Grad.
    @Sullivision - Website


     

    jonathan mazeJonathan Maze

    Executive Editor, Restaurant Business Magazine
    Executive Editor with Restaurant Business Magazine. Egghead. Married up to Haila Maze. Opinions pre-approved by a blue ribbon panel of experts.
    @jonathanmaze Website


     

    waxman.pngJonathan Waxman

    Restaurateur and Chef
    Chef and owner of Barbuto & Jams NYC, Adele's Nashville and Brezza Cucina Atlanta
    @chefjwaxman Website


     

    jose.pngJosé Andrés

    Author and James Beard Award–Winning Chef
    When they go low, we go high...
    @chefjoseandres - Website


     

    julie.pngJulie Jargon

    Restaurant Reporter, Wall Street Journal
    Wall Street Journal restaurant reporter, mom of three. LA via Chicago via Denver. Hiking, running, West Coast rap.
    @juliejargon - Website


     

    ken burginKen Burgin

    Founder, Profitable Hospitality 
    Helping restaurants, cafes, clubs & hotels to be more profitable - marketing, management, cost-control, training, staff. Plus the Profitable Hospitality podcast.
    @KenBurgin - Website


     

    keith.pngKeith Nunes

    Executive Editor, Food Business News
    Food, like most things, is best when left to its own simple beauty.
    @FoodBizNews - Website


     

    liz.pngLiz Grossman

    Managing Editor, Plate Magazine
    Managing Editor of PlateMagazine, co-founder of Between Bites and Instagram curator of nail and food art.
    @elizabites - Website


     

    marcus.pngMarcus Guiliano

    Chef and Restaurateur 
    Food Activist, Professional Speaker, Eco-Lectic Restaurateur, Restaurant Consultant, Health Nut, Ultra-Marathoner, Raw Food Lover, Craft Beer & Wine Snob.
    @1ChefonaMission - Website


     

    michelle.pngMichelle Williams

    New York Food Blogger
    The voice of Coffee And Champagne. I explore and create food and share my faves so you know what to eat next 
    @coffeeandchamps - Website


     

    ming.pngMing Tsai

    James Beard Award Winning Chef and Restaurateur, Television Personality
    Chef/Owner-Blue Dragon, Exec Producer/Host-Simply Ming and President-National Advisory Board Family Reach. Food is simple, make it tasty! (Ming was also a guest on Toast's Podcast, The Garnish! Listen here.)
    @mingtsai - Website


     

    paul.pngPaul Barron

    CEO, Foodable
    CEO, editor in chief, Exec Producer of Foodable, the largest digital network in food. Founder FastCasual, Author of The Chipotle Effect
    @paulbarron - www.rickbayless.com


     

    pete.pngPeter Romeo

    Editor, Restaurant Business Online
    Editor at Large for  and . Covering the restaurant industry since 1984 
    @PeterRomeo - Website


      

    ron rugglessRon Ruggless

    Senior Editor, Nation's Restaurant News 
    Senior editor at Nation's Restaurant News | Roughly 60% water (results may vary)
    @RonRuggless - Website


     

    sarah.pngSarah Whitten

    Food & Restaurant Journalist, CNBC 
    Journalist at CNBC covering food, restaurants, consumer products, toys and entertainment | cat lady, gif linguist & nerd.
    @sarahwhit10 - Website


     

    tiffany.pngTiffany Lopinsky

    Boston Food Blogger
    A Bostonian documenting my eats in the city!
    @Boston_Foodies - Website


    Please note that with so many knowledgeable professionals in the restaurant industry, there's no way we could have fit everyone on this list. So let us know who we’re missing!

    Congratulations to everyone featured here, and good luck to the contenders next year! Who did you think were the most influential restaurant experts? Who would you add to the list? Leave a comment below!

    This article is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.

    Read more
  10. What is a Soft Opening for Restaurants & Why Should You Have One?

    what is a soft opening

    The tables are set, covered with spotless poly-twill covers. The freezer is well-stocked with a fresh inventory of delectable foods waiting to be pan-fried, roasted, and broiled.

    It appears as though your restaurant is ready to open for a curious – and especially hungry – public.

    But... you’re still missing something.

    That something is the soft opening: A limited, invite-only unveiling of your restaurant for friends, family, colleagues, and other close acquaintances. These are smaller, free events with a hand-picked guestlist where you have the option of making the full menu available, or merely serving certain appetizers, drinks, and meals you think will be fundamental to the menu.

    Why You Should Do a Restaurant Soft Opening

    Restaurants of all concepts can benefit from hosting a soft opening before their traditional grand opening. Below are four reasons why you should host a soft opening at your restaurant. 

    1) Build Hype

    When the restaurant organizes a soft opening as a preview, the guests can help generate free publicity and awareness for the proper opening set to occur later. 

    Allowing guests to tell their friends and social media followers about their exclusive look at 'the hottest new restaurant in town' can certainly drum up interest for when you’re ready to officially open.

    Reality TV star Kathy Wakile went the extra mile with her Italian restaurant’s soft opening – allowing dine in, takeout, anddelivery; if you have the staff capacity for it, going all out on these methods would certainly spread awareness as well.


    2) Create Future Revenue

    Soft openings are a great way to set yourself up for a temporary revenue stream down the line. Hand out coupons for certain discount percentages, BOGO deals, or other offers that are good for a specific date or block of dates in the future. 

    If your guests enjoy their free experience, they’ll certainly be willing to return with money in hand, and might even become a regular. They’ll also have something tangible to give to friends when talking about the restaurant, an incentive for them to take a risk on a new place and check it out.

    restaurant soft opening

    It even works for the big chains: People were looking forward to returning to this Jackson, Michigan Buffalo Wild Wings location after their successful soft opening.

    3) Preseason Practice

    The restaurant soft opening is also a fantastic way to train employees and prepare them for business without sabotaging their tip potential. They’ll learn the ins and outs of your restaurant’s specific procedures and best practices, without actual payingcustomers to worry about. 

    Additionally, if any of the processes aren’t working to their full potential, like order input and output, POS systems, or inventory management, this is a perfect time to retool before customers get their official first taste. It’s also an opportunity for you as a manager to see what’s working efficiently and what isn’t. Maybe the cooking time is too long, or methods too complicated for certain dishes ; perhaps there can be furniture re-arrangements to maximize space and exit lanes for both servers and customers.

    Georgette Frakas of Rotisserie Georgette knows the value of soft opening practices. "With all the people involved," she says, "I made sure to constantly reassert that message: This is about training."

    How to Do a Restaurant Soft Opening

    Now that you're sold on why to run a soft opening for your restaurant, let's go about how to do one. 

    1) Offer a Limited Menu

    Your soft opening might be more manageable if you consider only offering select entrees, appetizers, drinks, and desserts from the menu. After all, there’s less mental preparation to worry about when only a few items are being prepped, cooked, and poured.

    There are certainly benefits to having the full menu available, though. Patrons might develop an immediate favorite you didn’t expect to be received so well, and plan to come back soon to have it again. 

    2) Focus on Feedback

    Guests can provide valuable feedback for all aspects of the business, from the food to the service to even the environment.

    “[Soft openings] can endear people to feel more alignment with the restaurant because they feel they’re in the know,” says restaurant consultant Aaron Allen. Soft openings can be used not only to practice, but also to help people connect with the restaurant.”

    At the end of the night, kindly ask guests to fill out a questionnaire in exchange for their free meal. It’s a great way to get outside perspective after working strictly with employees, managers, and independent contractors to get things up and running. Since your guests will predominantly be colleagues and friends, they likely want to see you succeed, and should be willing to provide actual constructive feedback for the restaurant moving forward.

    3) Find the Red Flags

    What are the downsides of a soft opening? The benefits certainly outweigh the drawbacks, but there are things to consider. 

    You want to ensure your guests have a good time and share their experiences online to spread awareness, but you do run the risk of competing restaurants stealing your creative property – whether that be menu items, ideas for decor pieces, or even table-and-chair arrangements. A competitor might already be open and able to fast-track it to public availability, beating you to the punch on opening day.

    Don’t forget that real customers can be far more brutal than friends. There’s the chance your soft opening guests will be hesitant to criticize, so when real customers come through the door for the grand opening, there may be some reality checks in order. Ensure that after the feedback process, there isn’t anything that hasn’t been overlooked by either your own staff or the soft opening’s guests.

    There’s also the aspect that your restaurant is operating to some degree without actually generating revenue. The soft opening is essentially optional overhead, a marketing expense that offers little in the short-term. While that may be true, you should view the soft opening as a long-term investment, where you're building awareness and possiblly future business, making it fiscally low-risk, but medium-to-high-reward.

    Launching Your Restaurant Soft Opening

    There’s considerable upside to doing a soft opening, as illustrated above. The benefits can act as a confidence boost for when the grand opening comes and the proper public makes their way in. You’ll have an advantage that will set things up for success right out of the gate.

    This article is compliments of Toast.

    As always, check out Restaurantsupply.com for all your restaurant needs.

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