|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
At Mission Restaurant Supply, we're always bringing you new products from all of the most recommended brands. Our new line of Panasonic Commercial Microwaves has us pretty excited though. Panasonic delivers great quality, dependability, and warranties with their products. Mission Restaurant Supply stocks several different varieties of commercial microwaves and we're here to assist you with your purchase should you have any questions. Here are a few steps to figure out which microwave you should purchase for your home or business.
Step 1: Determine the microwave's purpose.
Why are you purchasing a commercial microwave? Is it for a restaurant or other commercial venue, or for home use? Even if you need a microwave for your home, commercial microwaves are the way to go. They usually have a larger capacity and are more high-powered than standard models. Because there are so many different sizes and varieties of microwaves, you need to figure out how much traffic will be in your kitchen. If you purchase one for your home, you may want something that has memory buttons on it. For commercial use, you might want something with a dial so that employees can quickly and easily set the time without having to search for a specific button.
Step 2: Determine the microwave's future location.
Where do you plan on putting your microwave? As mentioned before, commercial microwaves come in a variety of sizes and you have to figure out how much space you will need to make for one. If you plan on mounting the microwave, you'll also need to invest in a specialized shelf for it. For commercial use, you probably need to place it in a high traffic area so that your employees have easy access to it. Placing it right inside the kitchen door or near your beverage station is usually the best option.
Step 3: Decide what features you want the microwave to have.
For high volume usage, commercial models with a dial are usually the most convenient for employees. Microwaves tend to take a beating in restaurants, but fortunately Panasonic has made strong, long-lasting models to withstand the constant usage. For home use, consider purchasing a microwave that has specific buttons and memory capabilities. You may even want one that comes with removable shelves so that you can heat more than one or two items at a time.
Step 4: Research your warranty options.
Most shoppers don't consider manufacturer warranties unless they are buying large appliances. The good news is that Panasonic offers warranties on select commercial microwaves that are good for parts and labor. You can be rest assured that your microwave purchase will be easy and risk-free.
(Bonus) Step 5: Shop at Mission Restaurant Supply for the LOWEST prices on microwaves!
Here's what some of our customers had to say about their Panasonic purchases:
*****That's the way they all should be!
Reviewer: Chuck (Port Hadlock, WA) "You don't need to be a programmer to run this thing. No computer here, just a timer the way they used to make them." (model #NE-1024)
*****Great microwave for our office
Reviewer: John (Scottsdale, Arizona) "I've been very satisfied with this commercial microwave. I thought about buying a regular one, but then realized this was the better option because of the heavy traffic in our office." (model #NE-1054)
*****What a deal!
Reviewer: Jeff (San Diego, CA) "I bought one of these microwaves for my diner and I can't believe how inexpensive it was. I've searched all over the internet and haven't come across a better price. It's extremely easy for my staff to use and I haven't had any trouble with it." (model #NE-1024)
For more information about products or warranties, please feel free to contact us!
1(800)319-0690 - toll free
Mission Restaurant Supply is now offering a $50 instant rebate to all customers who purchase select ENERGY STAR commercial appliances on top of the account credit that customers will receive from CPS Energy. We were very happy to hear that other companies in our area, and across the country, are taking the initiative to become more green in their business practices. Don't worry, if you aren't with CPS Energy we'll still work with you to find a company in your area that is offering a rebate or discount on your energy bills if you buy one of our thousands of Energy Star appliances. PG&E and EcoRebates are just a couple more places to check for great deals and energy bill savings. They work with companies like Mission Restaurant Supply to ensure that you purchase quality equipment that complies with energy saving regulations. Let us help you today! By the way, did you know that $300 million has been allocated to regions across the country so that our citizens will be paid back for making smart appliance purchases? The Cash for Refrigerators program doesn't start in Texas until 2010, but account credits from energy companies and rebates from Mission Restaurant Supply are already available! Additional Information - All applications for the CPS Energy account credit must be completed within 30 days of installation. - Promotion applies to electric appliances ONLY. - Offer only open to CPS Energy customers. Please allow up to 8-10 weeks for account credit to appear on account. For more information about our rebate, energy credits from CPS Energy, and an application contact us today! 1(800)319-0690 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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?
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 CheckDepending 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 InspectorTypically 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 CitationNo 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)
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:
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 EverythingNo 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 FactorThe 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 ProductsThe 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!
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 & RegulationsNo 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 UnderwayThe 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: