1. National Burger Day: make it memorable for your customers!

    National Burger Day: make it memorable for your customers!

    Memorial Day Weekend marks the official start of grilling season, and Tuesday, May 28th, is National Burger Day!  Make the most out of your marketing budget by celebrating this fun holiday with your customers. Here are a couple ideas to get you started:

    Offer a special on burgers for National Burger Day.  Especially if you are known for your burgers, doing a beer/burger pairing or a specialty burger will give your customers a better reason to come in and celebrate with you, and give them a reason to come to you instead of the competition.

    Let people know about your special!  Some great, cheap marketing ideas include social media posts, a newsletter, and working with a local blogger to let them know about National Burger Day and why they should come in to celebrate with you.

    Use hashtag #nationalburgerday on Instagram to get your post trending and make sure that people notice it!

    Have fun!  Videos with your staff on social media, a contest to see who has the best burger picture, and sharing your favorite burger recipe are all great ways to push your special in front of a larger audience and get your customers talking about your special - and about you!

    Make a list!  If National Burger Day is a success for you for marketing, look ahead for the year and pick out a couple other national days to market.  It’s easy, fun, and a great way to get people talking about your restaurant.

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  2. A Summer Cocktail Featuring Crushed Ice

    A Summer Cocktail Featuring Crushed Ice

    Summer drinks tend to be tall, garnished with a tiny cocktail umbrella, and feature lots and lots of ice.  Crushed ice in particular is a fun, trendy, and modern cocktail feature with a couple benefits to you (fills up the glass/looks fancy/keeps your ingredients cost down).  By updating your ice machine - and your cocktail list - you can charge more for a premium cocktails and keep your bar nightlife at the top of the competition.

    We have linked one of our favorite crushed ice machines below, and here is a recipe that is perfect for the patio and features crushed ice:

    Jungle Bird Cocktail:

    1 ½ oz. rum

    ¾ oz. Campari

    ½ oz. fresh lime juice

    ½ oz. simple syrup

    1 ½ oz. pineapple juice

    Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake thoroughly until frothy.  Pour over a glass of crushed ice into a balloon glass. Garnish with fruit, leaves, or a cocktail umbrella and serve immediately!

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  3. Temps are rising - is your refrigerator up to the task?

    Temps are rising - is your refrigerator up to the task?

    Memorial Day Weekend marks the official start of the summer!  As temperatures goes up, so do your cooling costs - and your customers’ demand for a cool beverage!  Now is the perfect time to make an upgrade to your refrigerated beverage case and invest in a brand new Empura.  Today’s featured fridge is the Empura 22.7” with a White Swing Glass Door.

    This little beauty is a real space saver for tight corners, measuring in just under 2 feet for tight spaces.  It is available for sale on our website via the link below. Here are some of its best features:

    • Accurate temperature control

    • Easy to read digital LED display

    • Space saver

    • Sleek, streamlined look

    • Wide glass door for maximum merchandise visibility

    • Modern white baked enamel and steel finish

    If you’re looking to fill up a bigger space and need bigger inventory, you can place two of these fridges next to each other or flank them on opposite sides of another display for maximum aesthetic effect.

    Buy this fridge here:

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  4. How Food Trends Can Affect Your Restaurant

    How Food Trends Can Affect Your Restaurant

         The dining experience has changed in a number of ways over the past few decades. With an influx of new restaurants and a booming restaurant business, consumers have more choices than ever when picking a spot for a night out. While food trends are ever changing, they certainly shouldn’t be ignored by the restaurant industry. Consumers have the power to make more decisions than ever when dining out. This week on the blog, we’re discussing which food trends to look out for and how they can affect your restaurant’s menu.

         Farm to plate is an extremely popular trend this year, especially with the upcoming summer season. The idea behind farm to plate is sourcing local ingredients from meat to grains and vegetables, and serving them at your restaurant. An agreement with a local farmer can potentially ensure that you have the freshest ingredients at your restaurant, which is greatly appreciated by consumers seeking this specific trend.

         Sustainability goes hand in hand with the farm to plate concept. Sustainable items can range from seafood to vegetables, and consumers are interested in this trend because it creates a positive impact on the environment. Sustainable seafood means good fishing practices, not over-fishing, and fishing for animals that are not endangered. You can offer a short explanation on your menu about how the fish were caught and with what method for consumers interested in this trend.

        Gluten-free and Paleo foods are all over the media. Offering these items on your menu means catering to a niche crowd, so if your restaurant does not serve this population it might not be necessary. Gluten-free is much more common than strict paleo, but the two go hand in hand. Both gluten-free and Paleo refer to foods without grains. Gluten-free specifically refers to food without gluten. Some people have allergic reactions to gluten and cannot tolerate it at all, so it’s helpful to keep a few gluten-free options on the menu for those populations.

        While food trends have an expiration date, it’s important to still keep them in mind. Your restaurant does not need to exhaust every food trend and change the menu constantly, and your guests wouldn’t appreciate that either. However, finding a food trend that works for your restaurant’s culture and implementing it into the menu will show that your restaurant keeps up to date with the current climate and is ready and willing to adapt to change.

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  5. Basic Commercial Kitchen Plumbing

    Basic Commercial Kitchen Plumbing

    Hopefully you will not be in charge of installing your commercial kitchen’s plumbing system, but you don’t want to be completely in the dark about it either. Commercial kitchen plumbing is one of the most complicated types of plumbing that one can encounter. From exhaust hoods to backflow prevention and hot water regulation, there is a multitude of different parts and pieces that make sure a commercial kitchen’s plumbing is running smoothly. So while you may not be in charge of installing each cog and screw, this week on the blog we’re going over some basic commercial kitchen plumbing to educate yourself when shopping for replacement parts and finding the best item for your needs.

    The first and most critical piece of information when considering restaurant plumbing needs is that all needs are different. There is no one size fits all plumbing model because each kitchen has a unique set of needs in order to best serve their customers. Things you may need to consider for your kitchen are venting requirements for sanitary drainage, indirect waste requirements from food preparation and dishwashing sinks, the location of employee restroom facilities, water temperature requirements, and more.

    So now you’ve met with a consultant and determined your needs, you’ll want to consider what piece of equipment is right for the job. One piece of equipment you might need to install more of or replace is the faucet. There are many different types of faucet in the average commercial kitchen, each with a unique function. First, wall mount faucets. These faucets are used if your water line is connected directly to the backsplash of your sink. These faucets are available in single or double faucets, in a variety of faucet sizes, and with or without a nozzle. You can shop all of our wall mount faucets here.

    If you have a lot of deep pots, woks, or paella pans, you will need a specialized faucet to adequately clean the dish. These faucets are versatile because their attachments allow them to bend and twist while still attached to the sink so that you can clean virtually any shape of dish. These faucets have extra stability and come with double jointed nozzles. You can shop all of our pot and wok filler faucets here.

    Restroom faucets have a little more flexibility and are chosen based on function and design. Choosing a restroom faucet will depend on the type of plumbing that the faucet can function with but also the design of the restroom itself. You can also choose between hands free or single lever faucets depending on your restaurant’s aesthetic. You can shop all of our restroom faucets here. One size certainly does not fit all when it comes to restaurant plumbing, and one faucet cannot do the job for the entire restaurant. Make sure that you have planned out how many and which type of faucets your restaurant will require, and then we encourage you to head to our website to view our extensive collection of restaurant faucets.

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  6. The Best Ice Machines for an Athletic Center

    The Best Ice Machines for an Athletic Center

    Ice is the best thing to use when someone takes a fall, has swelling, or is recovering from a sports-related injury. However, one size of ice does not fit all. There are specific types of ice that work best for different recovery centers and types of injury, and this week on the blog we’re diving in to which type is best for your setting.

    If you’re not familiar, cube ice is a type of ice that is produced in either diced, crescent, or square shapes. This type of ice is hard and does not melt easily. Cubed ice is excellent for ice baths, which athletes will appreciate after a competition or a long day of training. A cube ice machine may be an excellent choice for your facility if you house a lot of athletes or run many training sessions there. Ice baths require a lot of ice to fill, in fact you need a 3:1 ratio of water to ice which can end up being around 40 pounds of ice depending on the size of the tub. For this type of use, you’ll need a cubed ice machine that can produce large amounts of ice throughout the day. We recommend the Manitowoc Air Cooled systems for this type of production. You can shop one of our favorites here.

    Flaked ice is not a great choice for ice baths, but works well when placed into a ziploc bag for swelling or injury recovery. You can typically find flaked ice at the grocery store in the vegetable display or seafood section. Flaked ice is comprised of small, thin pieces that mold and compress to the surface they’re pressed upon. This makes flaked ice a great choice for a setting like a physical activity center that works with children, where you will see a lot of falls but not a lot of ice baths. One machine that we love for flaked ice is the Manitowoc Air-Cooled Flake Ice Machine. Great for a high volume setting, this machine can produce up to 191 pounds of ice in 24 hours.  You can shop this product here.

    If you’re looking for a type of ice that melts a little more slowly but can still be used for swelling and ice packs, consider nugget ice. Nugget ice is great because it compresses to the site of a wound similarly to flake ice, but it melts slower resulting in less leakage and longer wear time. Nugget ice is not ideal for ice baths, but can certainly be used in a physical education center or rec center where bumps and bruises are common. Nugget ice is ideal because it can also be used for beverages. One machine that we love is the Scotsman Air-Cooled Nugget Style Ice Machine. You can shop this product here.

    If you’re shopping for an ice machine for your athletic center, consider the needs of your clientele. If you work with high-level athletes or in a large training center, you might need a cubed ice machines for ice baths. If the primary use of ice will be for cuts and bruises, you might want to consider a flaked ice or nugget ice machine. Whichever machine you decide on, we’re here to help! Visit our website to shop our products and speak with a customer service agent.

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  7. What Food and Beverage Cart Suits Your Needs

    What Food and Beverage Cart Suits Your Needs

         When you need to provide service at locations that change regularly, or if you have limited space and need to store various serving stations out of view, consider a food or beverage serving cart. Our website offers coffee and dessert carts, meat carts, condiment stations, and mobile cash register stands to fit your restaurant’s ever changing needs.

        Cash register stands are great to use as a centerpiece while hiding POS materials from customers’ view. These stands offer front and back storage to optimize space and are easily transportable, allowing for your restaurant to have fluidity if necessary while maintaining a professional atmosphere. You can find all of our cash register stands here.

        Serving carts have many different uses, and can even be used for the home. If you don’t own a restaurant, you can still benefit from adding a beautiful serving cart to your collection. Serving carts can function as bookshelves, attractive towel holders for the bathrooms, ways to display seasonal fruit and vegetables, exposed pantries, and for office supply storage. To view all of our serving carts, click here.

        Condiment carts are essential items for your concession stand, cafeteria, dining hall, food kiosk, or other quick-serve establishment. Condiment carts can relieve congestion in high traffic areas, and are a great way to spread out the functionality of your concession stand by adding a serve-your-self area. Condiment cart pumps are convenient and easy to clean, and all of our condiment carts are extremely durable so you can rely on them for high volume usage. View all of our condiment carts here.

        Food and beverage carts are a great addition to any restaurant, concession stand, or home. It’s important when shopping for a food and beverage stand that you understand the unique needs of your restaurant. Our food and beverage carts come in a range of sizes and functionalities, so that you can find the perfect fit for your needs. Visit our website or speak to a customer service agent to get you started.

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  8. How to Clean an Ice Maker

    How to Clean an Ice Maker

         Have you done your spring cleaning yet? One of the things we tend to let fall to the backburner with spring cleaning is our kitchen equipment. To be fair, deep cleaning an oven or ice machine is a labor intensive task, and not a very enjoyable one for most people. However, cleaning out your ice machine is not something that you should procrastinate. One of the most important things about ice is its quality. Clean, filtered ice is important especially when you are serving it to strangers. In this week’s blog, we’ll feature how to clean a general ice maker and restore it to its original working order (if you’ve let it slide for a while).

        One of the things that you should consider when keeping your ice machine parts clean is mold and slime. Mold and slime in an ice machine isn’t as easily removed as the slime that can accumulate in your shower. Simply put, you can’t just wipe it off the surface. If mold and slime infiltrates your ice machine it will tamper the water quality and make your ice undrinkable. These contaminants aren’t generally dangerous to the average person, but can be risky for those with autoimmune diseases. If you are serving a large population, healthcare setting, or just want to be diligent about your ice production, you should definitely keep mold and slime in mind.

         Mold and slime typically accumulate in visible places. Think, your ice bin. If you’re serving to consumers, this could end in a bad Yelp review or a call to the local health department. The presence of mold or slime in your ice machine could result in a violation from the health department, because ice is categorized in the same arena as food. One of the best ways to make sure that you don’t accumulate mold and slime is prevention.

        You can prevent mold and slime a few different ways. First, check the quality of your air filter. Air filters work by trapping the particles that they filter. If air filters have not been changed recently, they cannot perform their job well. Replacing your air filters frequently will ensure that you are allowing them to operate to their fullest potential and preventing mold buildup. Another way that you can prevent mold and slime is by installing an ozone generator. Ozone is a sanitizer that prevents mold and slime growth, and can also hinder other contaminants.

       If you already have mold and slime buildup, a Clorox wipe will not do the trick. To effectively remove mold and slime, you will need a mix of 20% chlorine and 80% water. Mix into a spray bottle, and use a clean wipe to remove. You can do this in multiple steps if necessary, or if there is a large amount of buildup. After removing the slime, you’ll want to check your filtration system and potentially install an ozone sanitizer. While mold is dangerous, it certainly is preventable! With the right cleaning system and supplies, maintenance of your ice machine is a breeze.

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  9. Add Flair to Your Restaurant with Entertainment

    Add Flair to Your Restaurant with Entertainment

        If you’re having trouble driving new customers to your restaurant, you may want to consider adding some flair to the menu via entertainment specials. In the age of Groupon and entertainment deals, adding a little something to weeknights at your restaurant can draw in a new crowd. This week on the blog, we’ll dive into a few ways that you can add some spice to a night out.

        If your restaurant features a large bar, consider hiring a flair bartender. Hiring a flair bartender will add some spice and give your customers a night to remember. This type of bartending is usually only seen at private parties and promotional events, so adding it to the roster at your restaurant will create some publicity and bring in a crowd. Entertain your guests with fire breathing, juggling, or bartending tricks for a night they won’t forget.

        Another way that you can add flair to your restaurant is by showcasing a local artist. Promoting a local artist will not only add some artwork to the restaurant but you will also be supporting your local community. You can set up commission sales with the artist, and feature a new artist every month to gain traction.

        If the area that you live in has a big craft beer scene, consider hosting a craft beer night. There are craft beer aficionados in most cities who will appreciate a night out with some great local beer. You can offer a special price on tasting flights and create an appetizer menu to pair with each beer. We recommend choosing a slower night of the week to host these nights to increase your overall revenue and capitalize on empty space.

        There are many different creative and unique ways that you can add something special to your restaurant. The most important piece in the decision of what you should add is making sure that whatever event you add fits with your restaurant’s overall theme. In order to maintain cohesiveness, make sure that you are taking into account your clientele and the ambience that your restaurant provides.

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  10. The Benefits of Online Ordering

    The Benefits of Online Ordering

         We’ve touched on this topic before on the blog - adapting to the needs of the current market is crucial to your success in the restaurant industry. Consider this scenario: you’re at home and craving italian food. You don’t feel like leaving the house, so you use a delivery search engine to see what’s around. Likely, if the reviews are good and the price is decent, you’ll place an order. Now imagine if your restaurant isn’t featured on that page, and how many potential orders you could be losing.

        Ordering takeout is on the rise. This makes sense, as there has also been an increase in app creation for online ordering platforms, more users getting online, and more of a desire for a seamless way to get dinner to the doorstep. During this age of technology, it’s critical that your restaurant hops online too. Not only will you be entering a fast growing trend, but there are benefits for your business as well.

        Did you know that most online ordering platforms can integrate with your point of sale? These integrated solutions eliminate the headaches that third party apps can bring. This is beneficial to your team because it creates a single platform for all transactions and brings in outside revenue to your restaurant at the same time. There are a few different integrated ordering platforms available, and we advise you to do your own research to determine the best fit for your restaurant.

        Using an online ordering platform will also give you more data about your customers’ wants. Over half of consumers are now ordering online. These orders placed throughout the week will give you tangible data about popular menu items that your restaurant has to offer. Not only will you increase revenue online, but you can potentially increase revenue at your restaurant during the week by discovering which of your menu items customers are ordering the most, and increasing your efficiency for these orders.

        One of the most important aspects in transitioning over to an online ordering platform is making your customers aware that they can now place orders online. Use printable marketing materials to advertise that you have partnered with an online ordering site and offer special deals for customers when they place their first order. By offering online ordering, you can increase your revenue and online presence without a huge financial investment. Happy ordering!

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