Common questions before and after you purchase your restaurant equipment and supplies.
Each week, we want to bring you the most interesting (and bizarre) news that we can find pertaining to foodservice, health, and the community. Here are this week's finds from a number of different news sources, blogs, forums, and quirky websites. Twinkie Diet Helps Nutrition Professor Lose 27 Pounds "Say what?" That's exactly what we were thinking when we came across this little gem. How can you possibly eat Twinkies and other junk food everyday for ten weeks and lose weight? Well, one professor from Kansas State University proved that it can be done and listed his entire diet for the world to see. Even he is in shock and the answers aren't clear as to why it worked, but we found it interesting anyway. Disney Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Murals Made From Apples Real talent is hard to define, but anyone that can sit for hours and create beautiful pieces of work out of food is talented in our book. The time and energy that went into these amazing masterpieces shows that creativity can be sparked by anything - even apples. The Secret Fast-Food Diet We find all kinds of interesting little tidbits on Yahoo!, especially from the author of Eat This, Not That. David Zinczenko always has helpful tips for avoiding those precious (and harmful) foods that we just can't stay away from. This article was especially appealing to us because we all LOVE fast-food...and I mean LOVE. The tips that David shared in this article were some of his most helpful tips yet. Foodservice Community: What is the craziest call off excuse you have ever received as a kitchen manager/chef? We want to know, too! We follow the Foodservice Community on a pretty regular basis because of the great content that they provide on their site. Members of the community can post questions, funny stories, and advice to the website and make great connections with other foodservice professionals. This post in particular really grabbed our attention. After reading through a couple of responses, it is CLEAR that foodservice professionals hear some of the craziest stories around. Check the link above to see what we're talking about. Submit your own story if you have one.
Have you ever wondered what to do with all of your leftover bags of candy after Halloween is over? Don't you wish you had someone to give it to that would find a good use for it? Finally someone has come up with a great solution to this problem. The Halloween Candy Buy Back program allows you to find a dentist in your area that will buy back unopened bags of Halloween candy. These dentists send the candy to an organization called Operation Gratitude, which then sends the candy to U.S. Military troops deployed overseas. Want to find a dentist in your area that is registered with the program? Check here. For dentists that want to register their practice, the link can be found here. For more information on this program, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Halloween is right around the corner and we want to make sure that you are prepared for a spooky, fun-filled weekend! At Mission Restaurant Supply, not only do we provide you with all of the best decorations and supplies for your holiday events, we make sure that we keep you up-to-date on the latest recipes, events, and ideas. We have composed a list of some of our staff favorites so that you and your family can prepare for a hassle-free Halloween. Check out some of the links below for easy, last minute ideas for the coming weekend. Halloween Recipes from AllRecipes.com All Recipes is known for having some of the easiest recipes that are also the most fun to make. They have a recipe for every occasion and they tell you exactly what you'll need to make the perfect treats. Do It Yourself Halloween Lanterns Don't have any Halloween decorations yet? Want to save money and make some yourself? This easy step-by-step guide shows you how to make your very own Halloween decoupage lanterns. All you'll need are small jars, tissue paper, decoupage glue, and ribbon. Make Your Own Trick-or-Treat Bags - Martha Stewart Martha Stewart craft projects are known for being simple and fun for everyone in the family. This easy guide to making a trick-or-treat bags will save you tons of money and allow you to get creative with the little members of your family. Have a question or comment? Feel free to email us at email@example.com or call us toll free at 1(800)319-0690. At Mission, we're dedicated to helping our customers find exactly what they need for any occasion. Shop online now!
Must-Have Items for Every Business: At Mission Restaurant Supply we want to provide our customers with all of the essential supplies needed to successfully run a foodservice business. For more than twenty years, we have shipped commercial equipment and restaurant supplies all over the country. We have more than 10,000 products and we add more products to our online store each and every day. Although we've sold disposables for a number of years, we thought it was time to add dozens more disposable products to our site that were not only very reasonably priced, but also eco-friendly and recyclable. Mission Restaurant Supply now stocks disposables for any business with a wide variety of to-go items, such as clam shells, to-go plates with separate plastic lids, and to-go bags. We have paper plates, bowls, napkins, cups, straws, and plastic flatware for restaurants, hospitals, events, offices, or even home use. Need toilet paper and paper towels to stock up your restroom at work? We have that, too. All of our items are in stock and ready to ship to your business or home from top manufacturers like Bioplanet and Prime Source. Don't see what you need? Tell us. At Mission we're dedicated to meeting our customers' needs and stocking the items that you need most. Check out our inventory of disposable supplies now! Disposable Plates Disposable Cutlery Disposable To-Go Containers Disposable Cups Disposable Bowls Paper Products Disposable Trays Miscellaneous Have a comment or question? Contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org or 1(800)319-0690
Over the years, Mission Restaurant Supply has provided quality restaurant supplies and equipment to businesses all over the country. We have become the premier source for smallwares and kitchen equipment for bars, cafes, hotels, schools and many more venues. What we didn't realize was how many artists and young engineers were purchasing supplies to make something totally new and innovative. We were extremely happy to see that our products could be so useful to individuals that weren't even involved with the foodservice industry. Check out some of the ways that these truly fantastic artists and engineers utilized different kitchen products.
Todd Owyoung, Music Photographer
Todd is an extremely talented music photographer and has gained a ton of recognition for his work. His photos can be seen everywhere and his creativity is unsurpassed. We were pleased to find that he had actually used a few of our products in his DIY Tutorial on how to make a beauty dish. His simple step-by-step tutorial proved to photographers everywhere that they too could be more innovative when constructing photography equipment. To see his DIY Beauty Dish tutorial video, please click here.
Uni-Directional WIFI Range Extender
This is probably one of the most brilliant (and cost efficient) ways we have ever seen someone extend their WIFI usage. This simple design is something that any individual with enough time on their hands could duplicate.
This is what you'll need:
The Creative Child: Sensory Exploration with Beans
We're all for fun projects for kids and this food storage container that was made into a plan bin is perfect. Simply by taking some small objects, lots of beans, a large bin, and a plastic scoop you can transform basic kitchen supplies into something fun for your child. Try it at home today.
Don't forget to buy:
Funnel for Speakers
By far the best idea anyone has had yet for utilizing their extra kitchen supplies - and it's so simple, too! This person had the brilliant idea of simply hooking up their plastic funnels to the earpieces of their MP3 players. Voila! New speakers.
You need this:
Solar Funnel Cooker
Ever been stuck in the wilderness somewhere with a piece of cardboard, a measuring cup, a metal bowl, and a plastic bag and wondered what to do with them? Probably not, but this guy must have found himself in that very situation. Actually he just wanted to demonstrate that you could make your very solar funnel cooker from products that you have around the house. Check out his tutorial on how to make one in your very own home.
Must buy items:
DIY Fork iPhone Stand
We all love to keep our precious smart phones safe, but holding them all day can be pretty tiresome. This cool little contraption made only from forks and spoons is the perfect solution. It's easy and cheap to make, super cute, and can be placed anywhere. Who knew silverware could be so entertaining?
The necessary materials:
I'm not going to lie - this idea is a little far-fetched. However, for those of us who understand what a nuisance (and joy) pets can be at times this project is perfect. You just take a blender of any size, hook it up to a strobe light, a network camera, and a 10x appliance module and you're good to go. Don't worry; your furry little friend will be okay.
The essential item:
For more information on these projects, the individuals who created them, or detailed instructions please visit the following sites:
Alternative Uses for a Colander http://www.instructables.com/id/Uni-Directional-WIFI-Range-Extender/
DIY Beauty Dish http://ishootshows.com/2010/02/23/diy-beauty-dish-video-tutorial/
Bowls for Kids http://www.isismaternity.com/blog/index.php/2010/01/26/the-creative-child-sensory-exploration-with-beans/
Funnels for Speakers http://www.pcworld.com/article/188289/diy_two_funnels_earbuds_old_tech_rock_on.html
Solar Funnel Cooker http://solarcooking.org/plans/funnel.htm
DIY Fork iPhone Stand http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20100305/diy-fork-head-iphone-stand/
Blender Defender http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20081019/the-blender-defender-keeps-cats-off-the-counters/ http://www.plasma2002.com/blenderdefender/
Special thanks to Instructables.com, Todd Owyoung of ishootshows.com, Isis Parenting, PC World, CoolestGadgets.com, and Steven E Jones (Professor of Physics at Brigham Young University). All images shown are from noted sources above.
For more information on Mission Restaurant Supply or our products, please check out our main site at www.MissionRS.com or email us at email@example.com - thank you!
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.
Wait TimeThis is absolutely crucial to how well your venue does. Wait time in the valet loop, on the phone for to-go orders, at the host stand, in the bar, and at the table should be minimal. Nothing annoys a hungry guest more than waiting longer than necessary, especially when it's very obvious that it could be prevented. - Questions to ask: Would you like the first available table (smoking or non)? Would you like to sit in the bar area (if seating is first come, first serve)? Would you like your soup/salad out first or with the meal? Are you going to want another glass of ____ with your entrée?
GreetingsIt's not uncommon that some of your staff won't want to work on a Friday or Saturday night, but their expression and tone shouldn't advertise that. Making sure that your staff understands that guests can read even the smallest gestures will likely make them more aware of their interactions with guests, and they will ultimately make more money for themselves and your venue. - Questions to ask: Is there anything I can get you while you're waiting? Would you like a chair while you wait? Would you like a menu to look at until your table is ready?
Bar ServiceIf you're fortunate enough to have a busy venue, then you're already doing something right. However, making sure that your bar staff works quickly and efficiently will help to guarantee continued business. Guests are easily annoyed if they don't get a drink fast enough or if their bill isn't presented to them before their table is ready. - Questions to ask: Are you going to be having any more beverages at the bar? Were you satisfied with your drink selection? Can I suggest a beverage to go with your meal?
CleanlinessGuests want to dine in a fashion where they feel like they are being taken care, and that doesn't mean they just want quick service. Making sure their dining area is clear of clutter, spot-free, and organized can make their experience more memorable. Just make sure not to neglect other parts of your restaurant, such as the waiting area and restroom. These are the first and last two places that most people see in your venue and you would be surprised at what an impact the cleanliness of these two areas can have on your guests' experience. - Questions to ask: How would you rate the organization and cleanliness of the restaurant? How was the presentation of our venue?
Manager PresenceOther than fixing mistakes as soon as they happen, a manager should make an appearance at the table almost immediately and preferably with a great solution. However, managers shouldn't only make themselves available when there's a problem. The more often a good manager communicates with his or her guests, the more likely those guests are to return and give a good review. - Questions to ask: Would you like to let the manager know about your great experience? How often do you dine with us? Would you like for me to have my manager come over with a customer appreciation coupon?
More questions to consider:- How would you rate your...appetizer? Beverage/alcoholic beverage? Salad or soup? Entrée? Dessert? Overall meal? Assistance in selecting menu items? - What was your favorite food item? - How was the overall presentation of the food? - What was your favorite part of your experience? - Would you recommend us to others? - How can we improve our business/service? - Do you plan to return? For more information about restaurant management, foodservice industry tips, or questions about our products please feel free to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
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 want the best entertainment for your guests, then you definitely need to check out some of these cool items:
If You Insist...
- 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! firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
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?