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Archive | January, 2012

Simplify Your Life: Reduce Your Restaurant Menu Items

Best End Of English Spring Lamb with Rosemary Roasted New PotatoIn these times of economic uncertainty, it is easy to get lost in trying to do many things all at once. A good example is restaurateurs trying to manage their inventories, their staff, their operations, their books, their sales, their marketing… do you know anybody like that? I thought so.  You need to simplify your life and focus on just a few basic core competences to make your restaurant the best it can be to stand out from your competitors.

So let’s start with your menu: do you have many menu items? If so, perhaps you should think about reducing the number of dishes that you offer.

Frequently restaurateurs think that having many choices is better for their customers, when the opposite is often true. The best restaurants in the world have limited selections with all around excellent offerings.

With large menu choices, the quality is often uneven since it is almost impossible to equally master all the dishes. It also becomes a nightmare to manage the inventory, probably your servers struggle to remember all the dishes (and components), and your customers get often confused with so many choices.

Perhaps you should take a hard look at your menu and reduce the items to just your basic signature dishes. Not only you will avoid that your clients order menu items that are less than exceptional, but fewer dishes mean that they will be easier to remember (making them; thus, memorable) the next time that your clients come over for lunch or dinner.

Having a short and exquisite menu allows your kitchen to focus on providing exceptional quality, reduces your inventory (and perhaps you can even get a volume discount since you will be ordering more of the same items), and makes it easier for your servers and your clients to remember.

There are other secondary advantages such as less programming in your computer or point of sale, better track of what items are selling the best, easier to create the paper menus (with larger font), etc., but the essential point is that your restaurant will be associated in your customer’s mind to a few exceptional dishes. And this is what you want.

If you agree with me, I would suggest that you meet with your Chef (or cook) and go over your menu, eliminating dishes that are less than great until you focus on a few appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts. Cut down everything else.

Believe me when I tell you that people, your customers, will love to go to your restaurant to eat just a few great dishes. The best restaurants in the wold are famous for one or two dishes that they cook to perfection. No need to reinvent the wheel and try to please everybody.

It is better to have faithful clients that come to your place continually looking for your signature dishes, than trying to please everybody by increasing the number of dishes that you offer, just to have everybody leaving your place with just an OK experience. The world is full of mediocre restaurants; you don’t want to belong to this category. You want to make yours exceptional.

This is the only way to stand out from your competitors.

Jose L. Riesco is a restaurant marketing and consulting expert who has just published a book: Restaurant Marketing Strategies (available at and Barnes &  His site, contains lots of free restaurant marketing information and ideas to help you improve your restaurant marketing.

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The Quick Guide to Commercial Refrigeration Problems

Commercial refrigeration is key to the success of any restaurant and keeping your units properly running can save you both time and money. Whether your commercial refrigerator won’t stop running when you want it to or simply won’t run at all, this quick guide will help you to troubleshoot all of your refrigeration problems and find the right solution.

If your commercial refrigerator won’t run at all or won’t stop running, you’re probably looking at a defective thermostat.  You can test this easily. First, unplug the unit and open the evaporator housing. Locate the wires attached to the thermostat, remove and connect together with electrical tape. If the unit runs properly when turned back on, simply replace the thermostat.

Encountering difficulty with rising temperatures? The first step towards a solution is identifying what type of refrigeration thermostat your refrigeration unit uses.  If you’re dealing with either an air-sensing thermostat or evaporator-sensing thermostat, you can replace the part yourself. But be aware that the two are not interchangeable, so be sure to correctly identify which you’re working with first. If your commercial refrigerator uses a low pressure control, you’re going to have to call a service technician to get the part repaired.

Commercial Refrigeration

Problems with a broken or malfunctioning fan motor need to be dealt with immediately, because without proper refrigeration your food is at risk of going bad quickly.  First off, you need to identify whether your unit uses a condenser fan motor or evaporator fan motor. A condenser fan motor will be found outside the refrigeration interior while an evaporator fan motor is found within the interior. Replace the motor fan by identifying the specific model of motor and blade (both are usually stamped into the back of the product and are easily accessible) and ordering a new one. Installation is usually brand-specific and can be found in your unit’s accompanying guidebook.

If the door to your commercial refrigeration unit is improperly closing, you could potentially be throwing away energy and money. The quick fix to this problem is simple: you need to update your gaskets. This do-it-yourself fix merely requires you to ascertain the dimension, brand and style of the existing gasket and order a new one. Replacing old gaskets is as easy as popping them off and snapping the new ones on.

Commercial RefrigerationIf you need to replace faulty hinges or latches in your commercial refrigerator, start with simple identification. With both hinges and latches, you must determine whether you’re working with flush or offset parts, which is determined simply by running your hand over the part, looking to see if it is smooth, or flush, or not. If you’re working with offset hinges and the offset size is not available on the back of the part, you’ll need to measure the distance from the wall surface to the door surface to find the correct size. In terms of latches, there are two different types: magnetic  and those with a strike-and-latch lock. These latches will have an easy to identify number on them. With both latches and hinges, the easiest method is always to look for their ID number to order the right part the first time around.

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