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  1. Refrigeration is Key

    Refrigeration is Key

    Kitchen and bar areas can be extremely small in restaurants, so picking the right refrigeration unit can make or break the success of your restaurant. Because there are so many different ways to refrigerate food and drinks, it can be quite hard to know exactly where to begin your search. The most popular refrigeration units include walk-in refrigerators and reach-in refrigerators. If you’re opening a new restaurant or just trying to decide what unit to invest in for more refrigeration space at your restaurant, here are some things to think about:

    Walk-In Refrigerators:

    -      Used more as storage units

    -      Can be customized to fit any space

    -      Open layout for better organization

    -      Require extra equipment in order to use

    -      Higher initial costs

     

    Reach-In Refrigerators:

    -      Can easily become overstuffed, leading to decreased air circulation and inconsistent cooling

    -      More affordable, but on average have shorter lifespans than walk-ins

    -      Take up less space

    -      Limited storage capacity

    -      Limited customization options

     

    While not always at the forefront of a restaurant owner’s mind, picking the right refrigeration unit can be instrumental in a restaurant’s success. Not all restaurant spaces have room to house a walk-in refrigerator, but if you do, it’s something that you should heavily consider, just as multiple reach-in refrigerators might be equally as effective and this is something to weigh before making a decision. 

     

    Good news for you we sell both types of refrigeration units, making it easier to compare in one spot! Here’s the link: https://www.restaurantsupply.com/restaurant-equipment#cat1789

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  2. This Should be Yelp-ful

    This Should be Yelp-ful

    People LOVE Yelp, especially when they’re looking for reviews on where to eat because let’s be honest—people take their food very seriously. Most restaurant owners assume they have no control over their Yelp page, but actually engaging with your customers through Yelp helps a great deal and strengthens your online presence. Here are some tips to dealing with your Yelp page:

    1. Claim your Yelp page—this allows you to respond to reviews, update information, and add photos.
    2. Update your online presence—specifically your website and social media should reflect your current information. 
    3. Double check that your hours of operation, address, reservation information, etc. are up to date on Yelp.
    4. Add pictures that accurately represent your restaurant and your food. Mouth-watering food pictures are a bonus for your customer!

    Yelp has proven to be very important to people and a go-to place to learn more about a restaurant. These tips will ensure that customers looking at your Yelp page will be more informed to make a decision about visiting your restaurant. The more you interact and update your Yelp page, the more accurate you online presence will be and that certainly increases your visibility to the public.

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  3. Water-Cooled vs. Air-Cooled Ice Machines

    Water-Cooled vs. Air-Cooled Ice Machines

    Here at restaurant supply, we definitely know the difference between air-cooled and water-cooled ice machines, but we realize that the difference is not always so obvious for
    everyone.

    Air-cooled ice machines use an electric fan to transfer heat out of the machine, while water-cooled ice machines use water to rid itself of the heat. For air-cooled ice machines,
    air runs through the condenser coils and is expelled out of the vents on the side or back of the machine. On the other hand, in water-cooled ice machines, the condenser coils release
    heat into the water coils and then the water and the internal heat drains out of the machine. Each machine has its pros and cons and we’re here to tell you them:

    Air-Cooled Ice Machines:
    - Cheaper to operate in most location
    - More energy efficient
    - Works best in cool environments
    - Pulls in air bringing in contaminants

    Water-Cooled Ice Machines:
    - Used in difficult to control temperature areas
    - Uses significant amount of water to produce ice
    - Best to use if you have a recirculating water-system

    If you’re looking to buy an ice machine, we’ve got ton---here’s the link: https://www.icemachinesplus.com/tag/ice-machines.

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  4. Summertime is Frozen Cocktail Time

    Summertime is Frozen Cocktail Time

    Cocktails are a year-round staple drink, but once summer amps up people crave a cool, delicious cocktail—frozen cocktails especially. Frozen cocktails, daiquiris in particular,
    are an especially popular drink that you long for during the winter and dream about for your summer beach vacations. However, the majority of us don’t have the time to spend
    the summer relaxing on the beach all day and instead, find ourselves working all day and craving the likes of a vacation. There’s no need to fret though! With the right blender, (or
    any blender at all really) making a frozen cocktail at home is easier than you think. Check out the perfect daiquiri recipe below:

    - 4 oz. light rum
    - ½ cup fresh strawberries
    - ½ cup frozen strawberries
    - Juice from 1 lime
    - Sliced lime to garnish


    Just add all the ingredients together, blend, and pour into a glass to enjoy your frozen cocktail. If you close your eyes and take a sip, you won’t be able to tell the difference
    between being on the beach and your backyard!

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  5. Serving Up a Better Special for your Customers

    Serving Up a Better Special for your Customers

    Menu rotation can be a tricky thing for a chef to manage effectively in any restaurant.  While some restaurants have large menus, chefs that want to create the freshest dishes for their customers know that a smaller menu is more manageable and, almost always, a higher quality dining experience.

    While some customers are happy to order the same dish over and over again, variety leads to more interest and gives people a reason to come back and sample something different, which leads to more booked tables.  Some chefs choose to change their menu seasonally, but for those with the same small, core base menu of classics, a strong line up of specials gives patrons a reason to come back over and over again to find out what’s new.

    How to create a compelling specials list?  Here are some things to consider: seasonality is key.  In spring, asparagus is in season in the Northeast and likely to be available locally.  For Florida based chefs, fresh citrus can innovate a seafood dish with acid and relish. Finding local fruits and vegetables to feature shows a dedication to sourcing fresh ingredients, and leads to a better dining experience without having to invest in expensive proteins.  In the same line of thinking, fresh availability makes a big difference. A seafood restaurant may make decisions based on their providers the day of. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to recycle old ingredients to keep your costs down. An Italian restaurant with a rotating ravioli special is cleverly using up leftover ingredients from other dishes while providing diners with a fun and delicious, ever changing entree option.  Keeping things fresh, innovative, and cost effective will lead to a better managed kitchen and better dining experience for your customers!

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  6. Deep Fried Seafood: Tips and Tricks

    Deep Fried Seafood: Tips and Tricks

    Summer is a wonderful time of the year for seafood of all varieties, and chances are good your customers love a good fish fry.  Versatile and using cheap ingredients, fast to execute and not requiring a high skill set, a deep fried seafood platter featuring fish, shrimp, scallops, or clams will give your customers something fun and crunchy to sink their teeth into. Bonus points for this method: cheaper white fish and frozen shrimp can be used as the coating of salt, fat, and a little lemon acid or tartar sauce create a ton of flavor, and cheaper fish tends to have a better, more sustainable frying texture to boot.

    Here are some simple tips to make sure your frying station is safe, consistent, and producing amazing dishes for your customers:

    1. Temperature makes a BIG difference.  A frying thermometer is essential to keep your oil between 350-375 degrees before frying.  High temps lead to an unattractive brown finish, and low temps will yield a greasy product.
    2. Small batches work best.  Overloading the fryer will mess up your base oil temperature, leading to a greasy finish.
    3. Choose a good base oil!  Peanut and canola oil are both recommended as they can handle the temperature ranges recommended above.
    4. Drain your seafood thoroughly.  Oil will leave a large grease stain on the plate if not drained.  Draining in addition to blotting with a paper towel are both recommended to remove excess oils and have the best results.

     

    Do you have good fryer baskets?  Shop our extensive selection here: https://www.restaurantsupply.com/best-selling-fryer-baskets

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  7. A New Ice Machine Is an Investment!

    A New Ice Machine Is an Investment!

    It’s hard to know where to put your budget when it comes to kitchen equipment.  Between food costs, labor costs, cleaning supplies, linens, etc. your Operations Manager (or you if you are the Ops Manager or doing it yourself) is constantly managing product lines and budgets to try and improve profitability.  Therefore, investing in new equipment that’s not actually broken can seem like a waste - but consider the benefits of a newer, more energy efficient ice machine!

    Energy is a daily, recurring expense, and energy costs can spike over time!  The base price of utilities is rising across the board, and as it continues to do so, your electric bill will increase.  Depending on the company you use, you may also experience higher electricity bills in the summer, which is also most likely the time that your kitchen will need to increase its ice consumption.

    We recommend a new Manitowoc ice machine to decrease your energy bills by 10% and your water bills by 25%.  Over time, this efficiency means that the machine pays for itself. A new machine will also be faster, cleaner, and quicker to refill than an old, barely in service one.  The ease for your staff combined with the savings in recurring monthly utility costs makes this a good investment to consider now, going into the warmest months of the year.

    Shop our full line of Manitowoc Undercounter Ice Machines here: https://www.icemachinesplus.com/tag/manitowoc-undercounter-ice-makers

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  8. Plan your Prix Fixe Right

    Plan your Prix Fixe Right

    Prix fixe menus have been popular across Europe for decades, but it’s only been fairly recently that they’ve gained a presence in the US--thanks in no small part to the recession in 2009. It’s a great way to get new customers in the door, and it’s also good for generating some creativity in the kitchen--as well as a chance to test out some new restaurant supplies. But as with everything, there is a right way and a wrong way to do prix fixe menus, and going about it the wrong way can be just as bad as not doing it at all. With that in mind, here are the things you need to know to successfully launch a prix fixe menu option.

    Know your options

    There are a few different ways to incorporate prix fixe into your restaurant’s rotation, and there are advantages and disadvantages to consider with them all. But first, you should consider whether or not the option is even worth it, or doable, for your operation. In essence, a prix fixe menu is a combo meal option: generally there’s a starter, a main, and possibly a dessert all for a standardized price. One benefit to this is that with a prix fixe menu, it’s much easier to have a per-head cost in your calculations. On the other hand, the menu may scare away some less adventurous diners who don’t want to make the initial commitment.

    With that in mind, there are a few ways to incorporate the concept into your restaurant business: you can exclusively have a fixed price meal for either lunch or dinner, offer it in tandem with the regular menu, or do it only for special events. Obviously the easiest to implement would be to have a fixed-price meal available for specific occasions, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Such meals are a good way of putting your toe in the water, and getting a chance to see how those events go over. Another way to look at the idea is to find out which service period is slower--lunch or dinner--and either replace regular service with the set menu, or add the set menu in addition to the regular service.

    Plan your rollout

    Once you’ve made the decision to incorporate a prix fixe menu into your restaurant’s rotation, plan how to make it happen. This includes making menu decisions, as well as deciding how to price your fixed price menu. On the menu-planning side, an important decision to make is whether you want to stick with dishes that your restaurant already makes, or introduce something new. Both approaches have their merits: by using items your business already offers, you can stick with the usual orders for components, but offering new items for a fixed price can be a way to attract existing customers and new ones alike with the prospect of something new. Whichever way you choose to go, it’s important to stay on-brand; don’t go too far afield with new dishes, or else it won’t make any sense with the rest of your restaurant’s offerings.

    From the pricing standpoint, a lot will depend on which choice you made in regards to the menu offering. The goal is to make sure that the prix fixe menu offers a value to customers--less than they would pay for individual items, if you’re using existing menu options, for example--while also making sure that costs are covered. This consideration can also play into menu choice if you decide to offer items that are not already on your menu; it’s important to find out how much the cost per head for a dish will be, and conservatively estimate early interest in the item for the sake of ordering things. If you succeed in that end of things, you’re likely to be able to find a price point that will more than justify the added menu and some additional work, while still offering a value to customers.

    The great thing about prix fixe menus is that they are easy to promote, they allow chefs some creativity in the kitchen, and they are a way to control costs in a straightforward manner. By promoting your restaurant’s new menu and the great value that it offers--through social media, and possibly a few simply-designed notices in the restaurant itself--you can draw in new customers as well as bringing in existing customers more often. With a little bit of advance planning and thought, your restaurant can incorporate this clever trick that has been so popular across Europe and in other countries for so long; and in doing so, increase revenues, which you can then invest at least some of back into the business--getting new restaurant supplies to continue developing and growing.

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  9. Is your Menu Designed Properly?

    Is your Menu Designed Properly?

    Anyone that’s been out to eat can testify that a crowded menu discourages ordering, but a menu that’s too small makes customers feel like their choices are limited. The answer is somewhere in the middle, and the design definitely matters. Check out our tips below to improve your menu and your sales!

    1. Utilize the Golden Triangle

    People generally read a menu in the same way. Starting in the middle, and moving up to the right corner, before settling on the upper left hand corner. This layout has been dubbed the “golden triangle,” and you should focus on putting the items that you’re most interested in selling in this area.

    2. Invest in Digital Design

     Basically, don’t try to create your own menu unless you’re a professional graphic designer. The investment will pay for itself, and you’ll have a beautiful menu for months to come. In the age of Instagram, photo-worthy menus are a must have.

    3. Use a Decoy

     Put your most expensive dishes at the forefront, instead of trying to hide the pricetag. This will make everything else seem cheap in comparison.

    4. Lose the Pricetag

     If your restaurant is on the higher-end, eliminate the dollar sign completely. Not only does this look better, but it takes away the harshness of paying. Think about the last time you went to a restaurant that used this system, and recall if you felt a little calmer about ordering. Chances are, you did.

    There you have it! Use these little tricks to help improve the quality of your menu, and improve the success of your restaurant. Don’t forget to make sure you’re keeping your customers updated on menu changes, specials, and 86’ed items via social media.

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  10. What will be your Signature Summer Cocktail?

    What will be your Signature Summer Cocktail?

    As the warm weather deepens and the threat of late-season icy blasts goes away, more and more people are enjoying the outdoors, and hand-in-hand with enjoying the sunny weather comes the craving for interesting cold drinks to enjoy it with. Restaurant supply stores carry all the hardware needed to craft beautiful, intriguing cocktails, but just as important as the tools to make drinks are the ingredients you make them with. With that in mind, there are some great sources of inspiration not only in curated lists but also in just the fruits and vegetables available in the season. By taking a new look at a few different alcohols and the way they can combine with the best flavors of the season, you can create cocktails that will encourage people to keep sipping.

    The first thing to look at when considering summer cocktails is the base liquors best suited to the season. Consider focusing on those liquors that were developed in warmer climates, like Southern Italian limoncello or India-inspired gin. Bright, crisp flavors pair well with summery fruits like citrus--take for example this recipe for a modified Tom Collins, which pairs limoncello with lemon and gin to create a sweet, sharp drink that will cool even the most heated heads.

    Frozen drinks are also a traditional summer favorite, but there is something to be said for incorporating unusual ingredients into them. While cucumbers have long been a favorite for drinks like the Pimm’s Cup, they also can make for a satisfying texture and not-too-sweet flavor for daiquiris, as in this recipe for a cucumber daiquiri. Another option to consider is an avocado margarita; the avocado adds a creaminess to the sour lime, sharp tequila, and salt of the mainstay beverage, and of course there are few things that play better with avocado than lime. You can also go in the direction of using unusual liquor combinations to craft frozen drinks--gin and tonic comes together beautifully in a blender to create a beverage that’s even more cooling than the original, and the classic negroni becomes something even more interesting when it’s frozen as opposed to on the rocks.

    Of course, another mainstay of summer drinking is wine--particularly white or blush wine. But it doesn’t have to be boring. In addition to sangria, made with summer fruits like peaches or strawberries, you can look into wine cocktails like this white wine paloma, which uses sauvignon blanc in place of tequila to make a refreshing drink that isn’t quite as potent as the original--but which is every bit as flavorful. For something a little harder, think about combining the best of the margarita with the best of sangria, as in this recipe for the “sangrita”.

    Another trick for sprucing up summer cocktails is to incorporate different flavors through flavored syrups or other accessory ingredients; thyme-infused simple syrup can elevate a classic Collins to the next level, while pepper-infused simple syrup can add a sharp, spicy counterpoint to a rocks margarita. The flavor combinations are almost endless--especially if you make your own syrups for flavoring your drinks.


    Of course, not everyone will want something alcoholic to drink; non-alcoholic beverages can also be exciting in the summer. Mexican agua fresca offers a wealth of possibilities to play with simply by changing up the fruit you use to make the simplified punch: while watermelon is a traditional flavor, cantaloupe is delightful too, and strawberry is a long-time favorite. You can also use your flavored syrups to add interest to lemonade--lavender syrup makes for a particularly delicious and relaxing drink. Non-alcoholic punches don’t have to be boring and overly sweet; you can switch out traditional ginger ale for sharper, less-sweet ginger beer to change up the syrupy taste, or use fresh cherries instead of jarred ones to make a beverage that won’t give you a toothache. Consider also incorporating aromatic bitters--just a dash--into your punches; while they do contain alcohol in most cases, the amount you add is minimal, on par with what you’d add of vanilla extract to cooked items.

    Whatever your tastes, there are ways to bring the summer into any cocktail hour that you want--and with a few good recipes, along with some solid restaurant supplies, you can make delicious and intriguing drinks all summer long.

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