Common questions before and after you purchase your restaurant equipment and supplies.
It's common knowledge that the economy hurt businesses of all kinds, particularly the restaurant industry. Going out to eat or out for drinks is a luxury that most of us had taken for granted until we became short on money. Some restaurants however, managed to stay afloat during tough economical times. Their key strategy? Stay in touch with the clientele. The easiest way to keep guests coming back (even when money is tight) is by making them happy and letting them know that your management or corporate team is listening. How do you do that? Easy - comment cards. There are a number of things you should be asking your guests when they visit you and once they leave. Guests that have a great time in your restaurant love giving reviews, but guests that had a terrible time love it even more. The goal is to make everyone happy and to get guests to come back. Here are a few things you should be keeping track of on a regular basis.
Hosting events at your home is a great deal of fun, but it can also be much more stressful than you imagined. As long as you're prepared with the right kitchen and catering equipment (and perhaps some assistance) you will be able to effortlessly entertain your guests. Make Sure You Have the BasicsMost of us already have the basic supplies needed to host a party, but there's always something that we seem to forget. It's likely that you already have serving spoons, forks, and platters, but have you ever thought about getting tongs and nicer trays for presentation? Purchasing dressier serving utensils and platters is an inexpensive way to take your party up a notch. Also make sure that you have a blender for frozen drinks (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and a crock pot or roaster for preparing slow-cooked, easy meals. Sitting Down for a MealNothing is worse than not having matching dinnerware, flatware or glassware at a dinner party. Purchasing dinnerware for a large gathering can get pricey, but the good thing is that you can reuse your plates and silverware for years to come and you can even sell some of it if you feel like you don't need it anymore. At Mission Restaurant Supply, we have more than ten different color options for our dinnerware and numerous sizes, shapes, and prices. Don't forget to make sure that your glassware is fitted for the occasion as well. Look into purchasing numerous beverage glasses and wine glasses, and maybe consider stocking champagne glasses for special occasions. If you want to save a little money, you can even purchase plastic glasses and plates. Keeping It Hot & FreshGuests will usually want another helping of your food, especially if you're a great cook, and they should be welcome to it! Making sure that the food stays hot and fresh can be tricky if you don't have numerous crock pots or oven space. An easy solution to this problem is to provide chafing dishes so that the quality of your food is just as impressive as when it was first prepared. Chafing dishes are extremely easy to use and clean. All you have to do is fill it with the bottom of the dish with warm water, light a chafer candle (or fuel cell) below it, and place your pans of food into the chafing dish. If You Insist...If you want the best entertainment for your guests, then you definitely need to check out some of these cool items:
- Margarita machine: one of the hottest commodities at blow-out bashes. They come in a number of different sizes and they are super easy to clean.
- Popcorn machine: these are great for kids or themed parties. Providing a popcorn machine is a simple way to add a little flair to any event.
- Chocolate fountain: an incredible addition to special events that adds another little touch of class.
Did You Know That at Mission Restaurant Supply...?
- Serving spoons can either be perforated or non-perforated, plastic or stainless steel.
- Platters come in more than 10 different colors and numerous different sizes.
- Tongs come in more than 10 different colors and styles.
For new business owners, specifically restaurant owners, purchasing the right equipment can be pretty overwhelming. Even those with excessive funds seem to have a hard time knowing where to begin if they don't consult with a professional first. The common misconception is that all restaurants have the same equipment, but prepare different foods. This couldn't be more wrong. Here's a simple guide to purchasing commercial restaurant equipment and supplies for your new business.
Figure Out Your BudgetThere's no point in coming up with a list of supplies before knowing what your budget for supplies is. New business owners often look at their total budget and don't break it up for different purposes: land/property, licenses, equipment, smallwares, décor, contractors, employees, furniture, landscaping, taxes, utilities, and the list goes on. Make very specific budgets and figure out where you can spend your money. This way you know whether you should buy a $4,000 commercial range or a $1,300 range.
Figure Out Your MenuVenues that prepare fried foods and those that prepare sushi are going to have completely different equipment. The venue that serves fried foods will need multiple freezers and fryers, but the sushi restaurant will needs refrigerated sushi display cases and undercounter fridges. The first business will need to purchase food baskets and ramekins, and the latter will need chopsticks, soy sauce bottles, and very specific dinnerware.
Ask Your ChefThe most knowledgeable people in the foodservice industry are chefs. They know everything about food, equipment, brands, staffing, schedules, and the like. Your best bet would be to consult with your executive chef before making any big purchases for your business. They can help you decide the layout of your kitchen based on efficiency, outlet localities, and sanitary purposes. If your restaurant or your supplies don't meet local standards, they will let you know.
Must-Have Kitchen Equipment
- Ice Makers
- Food Mixers
- Electric Food Prep
- Food Warmers
Prove That Your Business is Worthwhile Customers want to know that they can rely on you to keep them happy and that going out to eat won't require any effort on their part other than the obvious ordering of the food and paying of the check. You have to show them that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make your restaurant successful and that their opinions do matter. One reason why chain restaurants do so much better than independent restaurants is because they are willing to experiment. They change their menus according to the season, upgrade décor, run amazing specials that are usually pretty different from their menu (but trendy), and ask for feedback. Once something works great, they run with it. What have you done for your customers recently? Where to Spend Your Money Most restaurant owners and managers are under the same common misunderstanding that marketing needs to be grossly amplified during certain times of the year, or day, when business is particularly slow. There couldn't be a bigger waste of marketing dollars. There's always a reason why business is slow at certain times and it's most likely because it's slow everywhere. According to Aaron Allen of RestaurantReport.com, "Marketing can't change behavior; it can only influence existing behaviors." Your marketing campaigns should be proportional to the kind of business you already get during that time. If July is usually busy for you, then make sure to continue to market July. Same goes for your happy hour or brunch. Remember the idea of keeping current clientele and bringing them back over and over again. Even if it is a slow time of year, your clientele will return if they have the money to spend. To amplify sales during slow times, make sure that your guests are getting just as good of service as when your restaurant is moving at a steady pace. Also make sure that you are spending more money on training than marketing during these times. Extremely successful companies, such as Starbucks, spend millions of dollars on training and because of this their staff is known for their consistency and perfection when it comes to service and making their products. Well trained employees will up-sell, know every detail of your product, and be able to sell it to anyone. Social Media & It's Impact on the Foodservice Industry It's no secret that restaurant and quick service venues have begun to strongly rely on social media and all of the free advertising on the web. Websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter have exploded due to their massive popularity with foodservice industry marketing reps. The good thing about SEO and social media is that it's free, but it is also a great deal of work that requires a lot of time and consistency. The major problem that a lot of restaurants have is that whoever is managing their social media outlets doesn't have much marketing experience and is bombarding their current clientele with obnoxiously repetitive messages. The keys to being successful when utilizing different social media tactics are to be creative, consistent/up-to-date, personable, and make your posts worthwhile. Respond to comments and complaints in a timely manner. Make the customer feel directly connected to you and vice-versa. More Tips on Marketing: - Focus on current clientele. When you focus on gaining only new customers, you are spending 7-10 times more than you would if you focused on increasing your current sales through repeat customers, up-selling, and increasing party sizes. Earn more money from money that has already walked in the door. - Try different tactics like bounce-backs, loyalty programs, email marketing, partnerships, event marketing, and internal merchandising. - Your marketing IS NOT working if you can't see a direct connection between your marketing and sales. - 3-6% of your sales should be dedicated to marketing. - Make sure that your menu is fluid, concise, and interesting. - Have one central message. Make sure your staff believes it and abides by it. - Test new items based on what is doing well in other places. - Encourage guests to bring more people with them the next time they visit. - Know where you stand compared to your competition and offer something that you know they can't. - Make alliances with businesses that are not direct competition. - Be consistent. Are there any topics that you would like to hear more about? Don't forget that we love feedback! Either leave a comment or email us! email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
More and more venues are switching over to greener practices and equipment, but it seems as though some restaurant and quick-service owners aren't sure where to start or if they can even afford it. The reality is that going green is going to cost you some money initially, but any change you make to your business will. However, changing your habits to help the environment actually saves far more money in the first year alone than you will spend altogether. Whether you plan on make a few small changes or going all-out on new equipment, you can still make a huge difference. According to PG&E's FTSC, restaurants use 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, 20,000 therms of natural gas, and 800,000 gallons of water, which comes out to more than 490 tons of carbon dioxide per restaurant each year. Just making one or two changes can cut back costs both monetarily and environmentally. Where Do You Start? Before looking into big expense tactics to conserving energy, take a look around your venue to see where you are being most wasteful. Most likely you are using more electricity than you really need because your appliances and lights stay on much longer than they need to be. Creating shutdown schedules and using timers on appliances or outside lights can save you huge sums of money each year. One restaurant owner in Boston even put motion sensors on the lights and fans in the restrooms so that they were only in use when someone was present, which ended up saving him $2,000 by the end of the first year. Another way to make an impact is to change to non-toxic products, such as cleaning solutions and paints. Also try using chlorine-free paper products and reusing grease for other purposes if you're not sure how to dispose of it properly. You can also try: cutting back on preheat times and cooking space, making good use of a timer, preparing food in bulk when you can, using lids to keep in heat, temporarily turning off door heaters on refrigerators and freezers, and maintaining and cleaning all of your equipment. Making Small Changes When people think of "going green" they think of recycling projects and basic conservation efforts. There are a number of ways to do both and it just takes a little creative thinking. The core idea of conservation is to use less, so do it! This means using less paper, packaging, water, electricity, Styrofoam, and harmful chemicals. Change out your current Styrofoam or plastic to-go containers, straws, and cups with paper ones and have your new menus made out of recycled products. Swap your toilets out with low-flow ones and swap your urinals with waterless models. To cut back on the emission of harmful gases, opt for locally grown produce that won't have to travel hundreds of miles to get to you. You might even want to consider having a bicycle delivery service if your business relies on a lot of outside sales. Making a Bigger Investment If you plan to make even bigger changes to your restaurant or foodservice business, there are a number of different ways that you can do so. Purchasing ENERGY STAR® appliances can be costly initially, but the savings add up very quickly. You can also get rebates from energy companies. Other things to look for are self-contained or "connectionless" appliances that use far less water, walk-in cooler curtains, and bigger hoods for ranges and fryers that collect more waste (5-6' instead of 4'). If you don't want to purchase more hoods for you kitchen, then try grouping heavy appliances together. Not only will this cut back on how much waste escapes, but it will also cut back on cooling expenses for your kitchen. Creative Ideas from Restaurant Owners & ENERGY STAR® - Use night curtains on display cases to keep in cold air and to save energy. - If you have fans, utilize them more than your AC. Researchers have found that energy use increases 4-5% every time you lower your thermostat by 1 degree. You can cut your costs by 12-15% just by raising the thermostat 3 degrees. - Offer a discount to customers on to-go orders if they bring their own Tupperware. - Compost trash to cut back on trash pick-ups costs by up to 45%. - Switching just 8 of your regular light bulbs that are used for 16 hours a day to incandescent bulbs can save you $342 annually. - Changing the defrost cycle on freezers from 70 minutes to 15 minutes saved one restaurant owner $800 annually. - Putting a special film on your windows can cut back on energy costs and make your guests more comfortable. - Installing solar panels can earn you an energy rebate depending on where you live. - A bakery owner in Battery Park City planted herbs on the roof to insulate the store and to improve air quality. - A store owner in New England wrapped the first three feet of his hot water-out pipes with insulation to conserve heat. For more tips on how to "go green" check out these sites: ENERGY STAR® NPR: Restaurants Set Sights on Going Green USA Today: Can Restaurants Go Green, Earn Green?
Not Sure If You Should Invest in a Floral Case?Why not? Any way that you can boost sales and help your business is well worth it in the end. The initial investment is easily taken care of within no time, especially if your business is a hot spot for family time and dates. If you don't think you have enough room to buy another piece of equipment, then you should definitely consider checking out a smaller floral case. No matter the size of the case, a great display for your products is better than no display at all. The advantage to the True Floral Cases is that they have mirrored interior backs to give off the impression of more space.
They Aren't Just for FlowersThe common misconception about floral cases is that they can only be used for flowers. The true is the lights are a little softer so flowers won't get burned and the fan blows more gently. However, the case temperature settings are exactly the same as other refrigerator units that are commonly used in all kinds of businesses. What this means is that you can store other products that your business sells rather than flowers during the times that there are a big gap in holidays. Not sure what else to store in your floral cases? If you work in or own a restaurant, you probably have things that you sell and that you might want to display. Wine, cakes, pies and chocolate are just a few examples on what you could display year round. By showing off these items, your sales could sky rocket. When the holidays roll around you'll be prepared to store flowers that guests can purchase for a special someone or a special occasion.
Be a Step Ahead of the CompetitionHow many restaurants or cafes have you been to that display and sell their products rather than just on a menu? They are probably pretty few and far between. You can have an edge on the competition by providing merchandise to your customers and putting the idea in guests' heads that they should buy that extra bottle of wine or piece of cake to take home.
EXTRA TIPS:- True Refrigeration offers a one year parts warranty and labor and a five year warranty on the compressor and condensing units. - Mission Restaurant Supply stocks GDM-23FC 1 Door Floral Cases, GDM-49FC 2 Door Floral Cases, and GDM-72FC 3 Door Floral Cases. What does that mean for you? FAST shipping! - Mission Restaurant Supply offers FREE shipping, lift-gate, and notification before delivery on select True products. - Features/Benefits:
- Energy efficient, thermal glass.
- Option of chocolate, red wine or white wine thermostat.
QUESTIONS TO ASK:- Can I purchase a floral case for my home business or privately owned business?
- Yes. Just make sure that you have enough space for the floral case before making the purchase.
- True Refrigeration would be happy to send someone out to your business or home to help you out.
- Yes. Mission Restaurant Supply offers the bottom dollar price on all True Refrigeration products.
MORE RESOURCES:- Information about our floral cases:
Although most restaurants have become more conscious of adding healthy menu items or offering fewer dishes perceived as unhealthy, you'll still find deep fried entrees on the carte du jour. It's hard to resist a heaping mound of crispy, golden french fries or beer-battered southern fried chicken! If you have a hamburger on the menu more often than not it's accompanied by some form of deep fried goodness. It doesn't take a lot to make fried fish or onion rings taste delicious but it also doesn't take much for them to taste inedible either. The number one priority of restaurant owners and operators is to make sure the customer is satisfied with their meal when they leave. Their second priority is keeping food and operating costs low. The oil used in deep fryers is not only responsible for making fried food mouthwatering, it's also a HUGE operating expense. To ensure the flavor of fried food is never compromised and the cost of shortening remains low, it's absolutely necessary to filter your oil! We've already established the importance of filtering your fryer oil: assuring food quality and reducing operating costs. But what choices are there for filtering? grease filter cone rack. These are perfect for restaurants and bars that only have a few fried items on their menu. All that's needed is a grease filter cone rack, grease filter cones, and a large stock pot. To filter the oil, insert a grease filter cone into the rack and then place the rack on top of the stock pot. Fryers have a drain valve in front of the unit. Attach a separate hose or over-flow pipe to the drain valve and gradually let the oil run through the filter cone into the stock pot. The paper filter cone will collect crumbs and food particles that can cause unwanted taste transfers. By reducing the number of contaminants in your shortening you'll also maximize the life of your oil. Not only will your fried food taste better, you'll also get more use out of your expensive oil! For high volume restaurants that primarily offer fried menu items it's probably necessary to buy a portable fryer filter machine. When using a fryer filter machine you simply roll the low-profile, portable unit under the fryer's drain valve and slowly drain the oil from the fryer into the filter. Once the oil has been filtered, a return hose pumps the oil from the filter back into the fryer's vat. There are also fryers that have built-in filtration systems installed by the manufacturer but they are often expensive and unnecessary for Mom and Pop restaurants. Of course, oil has to be replaced regularly; but to enhance the taste of your fried food and reduce operating expenses it's important to filter your oil weekly if not daily. For more information about fryers, portable fryer filter machines, and grease filter cone racks visit Mission Restaurant Supply!The least expensive way to filter oil is to use a
If you live in North America you've undoubtedly become accustom to having ice in most, if not all, of your beverages. Nobody wants to drink hot tea, or any other hot beverage for that matter, when it's reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside! A cold glass of just about anything on a blistering summer day is what patrons expect when they enter a bar or restaurant. That being said, it's important to know how much ice your foodservice establishment should have on hand. Below is an Ice Usage Guide from Hoshizaki America's website that will give you a better idea of your ice needs: Restaurant: 2 lbs. per person Cocktails: 3 lbs. per seat Water Glass: 4 oz. per 10 oz. glass Salad Bar: 30 lbs. per cubic foot Quick Service: 5 oz. per 7-12 oz. cup 8 oz. per 12-16 oz. cup 12 oz. per 16-24 oz. cup Buying the right ice maker for your bar or restaurant doesn't have to be frustrating. Of course, you don't want to choose an ice maker that's too small; but most places won't require 1000 pounds of ice each day either. Hoshizaki America's Ice Usage Guide makes it easy to select the right commercial ice machine for your application. For information about Hoshizaki commercial ice machines visit Mission Restaurant Supply!
Buying restaurant equipment is no different than buying a new car. Once you drive off the lot there are certain things that need to be done regularly to keep your car from breaking down. Every 3,000 miles the oil needs to be changed. Tire pressure should be checked frequently. The air filter needs to be cleaned or replaced after a while. Although commercial refrigerators don't have radiators to flush or windshield wiper blades to replace, there is a certain amount of preventative maintenance that needs to be done to ensure they don't fail. Service companies are more than happy to stop by your restaurant and "fix" the problem. They're also more than happy to give you the bill for their service. To avoid product loss, lost sales, and staggering service bills the condenser must be cleaned regularly! • Unplug your commercial refrigerator so there isn't any electrical power. • Depending on whether the condenser is mounted on the bottom or top of the refrigerator, remove any protective housing or louvered grills. You'll need a screw driver for this step. • You'll probably see dirt and dust on the condenser coil. Using a brush or a vacuum, remove any visible debris. Compressed air can also be used to blow out debris. • Once all of the debris has been removed replace the protective housing or louvered grill and plug the unit back in. No matter how clean your commercial kitchen is your condenser will inevitably accumulate dirt and dust particles. If too much debris from the air is pulled through the condenser it can lead to a failed compressor. By cleaning the condenser monthly you'll be able to avoid those expensive service bills and even lower your electric bill! For more information about True Manufacturing commercial refrigeration visit Mission Restaurant Supply!
Proper food handling and preparation play a major role in preventing the spread of foodborne illness. Bacteria and microbes are often introduced to food by human contact and cross contamination. In order to avoid the dangers of food infection, the following food safety steps should be implemented and practiced in every commercial kitchen:
With the help of San Jamar's original Kolor-Cut® system, food preparation of different types of food can be monitored safely. And when each cutting board is coupled with a matching knife the possibility of cross-contamination is significantly reduced! Below is an informative video from San Jamar explaining the benefits of their Cut-N-Carry® Cutting Board Systems: