Guides

All Guides for Restaurant Equipment and Supplies

  • Preparing for a Restaurant Grand Opening

    If you are new to the restaurant business you probably have a lot of unanswered questions. No matter how ready you feel for the big day when you finally open your doors to the public you may not realize that you actually have a lot more work to do. You will be competing with huge franchises as well as small family-owned restaurants that have been around for years and have a strong reputation. There is nothing wrong with being too prepared. Here is a simple guide to being ready for your restaurant's grand opening.

    Make Sure That You Have Well-Practiced Chefs and Cooks

    Nothing is worse than having multiple individuals in your kitchen that have their own cooking styles and habits. The minute your chefs and line cooks step into your restaurant they should have a strong understanding that the food will be prepared to your liking and that everyone must prepare it the exact same way. Consistency with your food keeps people coming back because they expect to get the dish they loved the time before. If there are any flaws or changes, the patron will notice and most likely they won't return. Your cooks and chefs should be well-versed in the recipes, serving sizes, cooking styles, and flavors of the dishes on your menu, and should be tested until there is consistency across the board.

    Prep Your Servers, Bartenders, and Hosts

    Your hosts should have a general idea of what food you serve and certain menu items to suggest to guests, especially appetizers. Simply by mentioning that the patron would love a certain dish will most likely result in more sales. Your servers should not only be able to suggest dishes, they should know what their favorite items are, what all of the ingredients are (in case of food allergies), and be able to suggest a drink that would go great with the meal. Your bartenders need to take it one step further. They need to know a lot of information about your specialty drinks and wines. Knowledge of good wines means selling more expensive wines by the glass and bottle, which results in much higher revenue. Sales from the bar can be most lucrative. Lastly, make sure that all of your staff works together and helps each guest individually.

    Marketing is Key

    Not only do you need to know how to market your restaurant, but you also need to know where and who to market to. Most likely there is a magazine or newspaper in your town that features certain restaurants, especially if they are asked to come to your grand opening and be a special guest. Marketing for others will create allies and will greatly help your reputation just by word of mouth. Know what kind of crowd you want to market to and what part of town would be the best to reach out to (at least in the beginning).

    Plan a "Soft Opening"

    Soft openings are a great way to bring attention and new guests to your restaurant. The idea is to have a special event before you open your doors to the public for those individuals that helped your restaurant in some way or will be able to help your restaurant in the future. This includes wine reps, liquor reps, important figures or officials in your city, journalists, and family members of your employees. Family members will be the most likely to bring in more guests with them the next time they come and journalists will be grateful and willing to write you a wonderful review. This event also allows you to work out last minute kinks with your food or presentation (even though there really shouldn't be any at this point) and make your staff feel more comfortable about the big day.

    Plan Future Events

    Other than your soft opening, your grand opening is your first opportunity to market your restaurant even more. Planning events that will be taking place at your restaurant in the near future will prompt guests to make plans to return. Some ideas for this are hosting a wine dinner where your food is paired with some of your delicious wines, having a food tasting where guests can try small samples of certain items (drinks not included so you can make a profit), and offering to cater private events at a discounted rate to guests that plan to book their events before a certain date.

    EXTRA TIPS:

    - Make sure to have a take-home menu for guests, starting with your soft opening. They need to be able to study your menu before returning and it will allow them to work up a craving for something new. - Plan events that will make guests feel like it is free, but where you are making some kind of profit. Offer free food with a cash bar or a few free drinks with the purchase of a meal. - Have a food tasting with your entire staff so that describing the items is a breeze for them. - Introducing your head chef and managers to guests will make them feel important and they will want to become regulars at your establishment.
  • Knife Buying Guide

    Executive chefs, sous chefs, line cooks, culinary students, housewives, and just about anyone that's ever prepared a meal all have something in common: the tools they use in the kitchen. Most novices, at-home cooks, and even respected chefs don't need the expensive specialty tools sold at high end outlets to whip-up a meal. If every executive chef in the US were asked to pick the three tools they use most often during the course of their work day I'd be willing to bet one tool would find itself on every single list: a knife. Obviously, the shape and size of the knives would vary, but the fact is kitchen knives are one of the most essential culinary tools. That being said, it's important to pick the right knife for the job. FORGED KNIVES VS STAMPED KNIVES: Forging is a method that involves heating steel or steel alloy at extremely high temperatures then setting and hammering the steel into a desired blade shape. Once the steel is forged into a blade it's heat-treated, ground, polished and sharpened. The end result is generally a thicker and heavier blade that's able to retain its sharpness longer while remaining properly balanced. Stamped knives are "stamped" or cut out of sheets of rolled steel. Although stamped knives are lighter and more affordable, they lack the quality and balance of forged blades and usually need to be sharpened more frequently. DIFFERENT STYLES:
    Mundial Chef's Knives CHEF'S AND COOK'S KNIVES:
    • All-purpose knife
    • Vary in size (6-12 inches in length), 8 inch being the most popular
    • Wide, curved edge ideal for chopping, dicing, mincing, and slicing
    Mundial Paring Knives PARING KNIVES:
    • All-purpose knife
    • Vary in size (usually 2-4 inches in length) and style (sheep's foot, spear point, chef's style, clip point, tourné)
    • Smaller size ideal for garnishing and peeling
    Mundial Utility Knives UTILITY KNIVES:
    • All-purpose knife
    • Between paring and chef's knives in size (6-7 inches generally most popular)
    • Useful when cutting non-solid fruits and vegetables, like oranges and tomatoes
    Mundial Santokus SANTOKUS:
    • Commonly referred to as the "Asian Chef's Knife"
    • All-purpose knife generally lighter, shorter (5-7 inches in length), and thinner than chef's knives
    • Straighter, more blunted edge ideal for chopping, dicing, mincing, and slicing
    Mundial Slicers SLICERS:
    • Primarily used for cutting and slicing meats
    • Long and narrow knife (usually 8-14 inches in length), often has a rounded tip
    • Long, flexible blade makes it easy to cut meat into thin slices
    Mundial Boning Knives BONING KNIVES:
    • Used to separate bones from meat
    • Narrow blade (4 to 8 inches in length), either flexible or stiff
    • Flexible boning knives are great for fish and poultry, while stiff boning knives are better suited for beef and pork
    Mundial Bread Knives BREAD KNIVES:
    • Serrated knife used to slice loafed bread or food with a hard outer surface and a soft center
    • Shorter and heavier than a slicer (6 to 12 inches in length)
    Mundial Butcher Knives BUTCHER KNIVES AND CIMETERS:
    • Suitable for chopping, dicing, mincing, and slicing meats, as well as trimming and cutting joints
    • Long, wide knife with a breaking blade (8 to 12 inches in length)
    Mundial Oyster Knives OYSTER KNIVES:
    • Used to pry open oysters
    • Short knife (3 to 4 inches) with blunted edge and tip
    Mundial Cleavers CLEAVERS:
    • Used to cut through and split bones
    • Thick, heavy blade is rectangular in shape and very stiff
    • Light-duty "Chinese Cleavers" are similar in shape but aren't intended for the same use

    Choosing the correct knife for different culinary duties usually isn't difficult. Obviously, it makes more sense to use a large chef's knife to slice a watermelon than it does to use a small paring knife! There are other things to consider when choosing the right knife, though. The blade of a knife is extremely important, but the handle can't be overlooked when deciding which knife to purchase.

    Food-borne illness is a genuine scare in the food service industry so cleanliness keeps the doors of restaurants, bars, hotels, and other eateries open for business. An easy way to avoid contamination and keep the health department happy is to use knives with anti-microbial handles. These handles act as a safeguard against the growth and spread of microorganisms. Although there are a number of materials used for knife handles, in the food service industry it's absolutely necessary to use a handle that's going to reduce the risk of food related infection.

    For more information on knives for your food service establishment, visit Mission Restaurant Supply!

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