Guides

All Guides for Restaurant Equipment and Supplies

  • Restaurant Health Codes

    If you are new to the restaurant business or have decided to open a venue, you are probably aware of most of the health codes that apply to the service industry. However, there are most likely some regulations that you weren't aware of and that you might have forgotten to abide by. Here is a simple guide to following health code regulations and what you should know before getting a visit from the inspector.

    Typical Things Inspectors Check

    Depending on your state or county, the health codes could differ slightly. Most states however, check for pretty basic things. You just need to take preemptive measures. One of the first things that anyone who enters your kitchen will notice is the cleanliness (or vice versa). Bacteria can be found anywhere and kitchen equipment that isn't cleaned properly will be covered in it from top to bottom. Make sure that all equipment is cleaned properly with the right chemicals. Food preparation and storage is another huge factor that comes into play. There are very specific guidelines about where food should be stored and what it should be stored with. - All food must be covered or wrapped and stored at the appropriate temperatures, no exceptions. - All produce must be washed thoroughly and must be kept away from raw poultry during preparation. Frozen foods must be thawed according to certain health standards. Heating and re-heating methods must follow set guidelines. - There should be minimal, if any, hand contact with prepared food. All employees must wash their hands thoroughly before handling food, must have hair pulled back, and may not eat or drink near restaurant food. - All equipment should be cleaned and sanitized throughout a shift, not just before and after. - All food and beverages must be labeled according to shelf life and may not be served after specified date. - All ingredients and food must be purchased and delivered from approved sources. They may only be used if they arrive in good condition. Good inspections are not just due to the cleanliness and presentation of your kitchen and staff. Your establishment will also be checked for rodents, other pests, foul odors, mold, overstuffed trash receptacles and the area around them, and the appearance of your restrooms.

    What to Expect from an Inspector

    Typically inspectors will arrive without warning, but they do generally come just once a year so you will have a pretty good idea of when they might stop in. When the inspector does show up, make sure to ask for their credentials and let them know that you want to follow them around the venue. Inspectors will notice your willingness to correct things if you follow them and take immediate notes about violations, and may allow you to make some changes on the spot. Once the inspection is done, ask the individual to inform your entire staff about his or her findings. This shows the inspector and your staff that the proper measures will be taken to make improvements if necessary. Make sure to sign the report, which only indicates that you received a copy, but you don't necessarily need to agree with the findings. Never offer food or other things to an inspector as a way of bribery. Never refuse an inspection because the health department is still capable of getting an inspection warrant.

    Action to Take in Case of a Citation

    No matter how careful you are there is always a possibly of missing some small detail that an inspector will surely notice. Their job is to notice those small details. You have to learn to have a very keen eye for things that are out of place or not properly taken care of. Most likely you can correct the small things that you are cited for while the inspector is still present. If the problem is taken care of immediately and appropriately, it is likely that the inspector will remove the citation. If for some reason you don't understand why you received a citation then ask. Inspectors are trained to answer any and all questions about restaurant health codes and they will be more than happy to help you understand. If you don't agree with the citation, do not say anything to the inspector because this can only stir up trouble. Sign the report and appeal the decision later.

    MORE RESOURCES:

    FDA Model Food Code (National Restaurant Association) How to Prepare for a Health Inspection (National Restaurant Association)
  • Time to Purchase Your Floral Cases

    Floral Cases are a great way to showcase the fresh, colorful flowers and arrangements that you have ready for sale at your business. Designed to prolong the freshness and the lifespan of your blooms, these flower cases will deliver quality service to your operation while boosting sales and your bottom line! True Refrigeration is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to commercial refrigerators, freezers, and flower cases. Depending on the size of your business and what kind of business you run, there are many options available. Here is a quick guide to purchasing your commercial floral case.

    Timing is Everything

    No matter what you are shopping for you should consider a timeline for your business. If the product seriously affects your sales, the sooner you buy it the better. Marketing for holidays well in advance will also greatly improve your sales and alert customers that they can place orders long before the holidays roll around. You also might want to consider birthdays, anniversaries, and graduation announcements along with specific discounts for each one so that customers that have purchased products from you before will return and give great referrals.

    Case Size is a Factor

    The larger your floral case is, the more flowers you can stock and sell. No matter how big your business is or how much you rely on flower sales you need to consider the fact that when holidays come up you will need the space provided by a larger case. For gaps between holidays, you can spread out your products and allow more space for your displays. If your business is pretty small or you don't rely heavily on these sales, then buying even a small case would still be a great investment in the long run.

    Variety in Your Products

    The most obvious use of a floral case would be for the purpose of keeping your flowers fresh and beautiful. However, you might want to look into providing other products for your customers, such as pretty plants for around the house or small accessories that would go with the plants. A floral case is not just a case -- it is also a display case for other gifts. Customers love variety and they love to know that you have products that go well together. Pairing products is just another way to increase sales. At Mission Restaurant Supply, we stand by our products and bring you only the best equipment and supplies no matter the occasion. Feel free to call us at 800-319-0690 with your questions or comments!
  • People Involved in Opening a Restaurant

    So you have made the decision to open a restaurant, whether it be a privately owned or franchise restaurant, and you are ready to get the ball rolling in the construction process. Obviously the first step in any business plan is to figure out what kind of budget you have and how much of your money is going to go to each step of the construction. Knowing who to talk to in the beginning and who to keep in contact with throughout the years of your business will most certainly help to determine your future success.

    Know the Rules & Regulations

    No matter where you decide to build your restaurant, there will be zoning laws that affect the type of businesses that pop up around you and that affect your taxes. Not only do you want to choose a lot that is in a commercial zone, you also want to build your establishment near businesses that will bring more traffic to your area, such as movie theaters and malls. City officials and the zoning department will let you know if you chose an appropriate location, but you will also need to be checked out by the Environmental Protection Agency before starting construction. - Ask your city utilities department when you need to set up an account. Before the construction of your restaurant is finished you will need to start paying for gas, water, electricity, cable, trash, etc.

    Construction is Underway

    The first step you need to take is to meet with a consultant and a commercial kitchen designer. Depending on the kind of food you plan to serve and how big your operation will be, these two people can help you to figure how large your kitchen needs to be and what equipment is absolutely necessary. Next you need to find an architect and an engineer. Your architect will draw up the plans for your restaurant and the engineer will let you know if the building is according to code and ready to be put up. Your architect, interior designer and general contractor will work closely to make sure that your ideas come to life as accurately as possible. Your interior designer should have an extensive portfolio and if they know your general contractor or architect from a previous job you know you're in good hands.

    What comes next?

    It's time to start pouring the foundation and putting up the walls. You will have two different carpenters - framers and finish carpenters. The framers are responsible for putting up the body of your restaurant, while the finish carpenters work on all the final details. The only thing these two types of carpenters won't take care of are the insulation of the building and the roofing. Your electricians and technicians will make sure that all of your wires, electrical outlets, and lighting are done correctly. The interior of your restaurant will slowly come together as your painters, carpet layers, and interior designer add finishing touches. The last thing to take care of before final inspections are done is to have a landscaper take care of the outside décor and to hire a graphic artist to design all of your menus, business cards, gift cards, posters, to-go menus, gift certificates, and flyers. Once your final inspections are done, you are ready for business!

    EXTRA TIPS:

    - You must run your plans by the Department of Building and Safety, your County Health Department, and the Fire Marshall. - Did you know that Mission Restaurant Supply offers commercial kitchen design services? - Make sure that your interior designer has an extensive portfolio. Most of them have a contract that requires half of the money up front, so if you become unhappy with the job they are doing you could be out a lot of money. - Research, research, research. - Selecting glossy paints saves time when cleaning or repainting, and provides a nice glow in your dining room. - For cleaning purposes, try rugs instead of carpet. - Try zero scaping outside of your restaurant to cut back on allergens, bugs, and cost of upkeep. - ALWAYS ask for references.

    QUESTIONS TO ASK:

    - Interior designer & architect: Have you worked on restaurants before? What is your proposal on how to save money? Do you have a portfolio? - Food service consultant: What is the absolute necessary equipment? What equipment will make my kitchen run most efficiently? What equipment can I go without or buy later? - Equipment dealers: Do I have to pay shipping on large orders? What kind of warranties do you offer? What are the most trusted brands and why? - General contractor: Are all of your licenses up-to-date? Do you have your certificates of insurance? Have you worked on restaurants of this scale before? - Graphic artist: Do you have a portfolio? Do you have your own software? Do you do web design as well?

    MORE RESOURCES:

    - A restaurant construction checklist by Mosser Design: - Pre-opening checklist for foodservice operations by Food Service Resource: - Business licenses according to state and industry:
  • 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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