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Archive | 2012

FOH vs. BOH: 12 Tips to Ease Tension

FOH vs. BOH: 12 Tips to Ease TensionOh the woes of being a server: the fast paced rush, the kitchen yelling at you for what  your customers have ordered, the table of people that are mean to you and make you want to cry and the co-worker who is always telling you how to do things better!  It seems the woes never end!  One of the biggest influences on a shift can be how you and the BOH interact with each other.  Thankfully, this is an area that you have more control over then you may realize.

I asked 100 chefs to offer their advice to servers to create a more pleasant and respectful relationship between the two houses.  Here is what they said.

  1. Use your expediter to communicate.  Your Expediter is the liaison between you and everyone in the kitchen.  Don’t attempt to talk to chef’s on the line for any reason. Problems or modifications should be discussed with the Expediter. They will take it from there.
  2. Run food!  Everyone in the kitchen has taken great pains in preparation and the creation of dishes that sit on the line waiting for anyone with time to deliver them.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your table, your section or not, it is a paying guest’s food; plated and ready.  Any call for “food runner” should be met with a sense of urgency.
  3. Don’t take things to heart.  Thick skin is the order of the day.  Don’t take any immature, stupid or sharp comments personally.  Sometimes it’s not that easy but what is said during a busy rush is best not taken as a genuine insult.
  4. Hush on your tips.  Don’t boast, bitch or talk about the gratuities you have received or not received. While it’s fine to talk to your FOH peers about the money you make that conversation should be a private one and does not extend to the kitchen.
  5. Don’t use your cell phone.  While you are at work you should be focusing on things that need to be done or attended to: cleaning, guest’s needs or running food, not planning your time after work.
  6. Don’t use perfume or cologne at work.  People come out to eat to smell food, look at food and eat food.  The smell of perfume, while pleasant, has no business competing with the natural smells of the food.
  7. Make sure your order is correct.  It begins with what the guest says they want and ends with them receiving what they said they wanted.  The tricky part is everything in between.  Make sure you write down what the guest says, correctly and legibly, and put effort into putting that correct information into the computer system.
  8. Have a solution, know what is needed.  If you bring a dish back to expo from a guest, make sure you know what needs to be done to fix the problem right now.  Don’t explain the whole situation to expo…they don’t care, not at that moment.  What they care about is fixing the problem as fast as possible.  Clear and direct dialogue is key. “Table 1, seat 1: cook this steak up to mid-well, please” or “Table 6, seat 3: Please re-heat this risotto, it’s too cold.” are great ways of communicating.  The chef doesn’t need any back story, not right now.
  9. Say Please.  Please!  These are basic manners.
  10. Say Thank You. Thank you!  You were taught this since you were a kid.
  11. Buy a round.  Not all the time but if you have had an exceptional night thanks to a great kitchen team, it never hurts relations to buy them a drink.  They’ll remember and they’ll be grateful.
  12. Greet and bid adieu.  Saying hello to everyone when you come into work is a friendly and a nice introduction to a shift. There are often many servers that come in at a certain time and yet it is rare that any of them will actually go out of their way to say hello to the kitchen team. Often times they (the kitchen team) have been at the restaurant all day working; a friendly greeting is always welcome.  A genuine good night is always thoughtful as well!

Alright, here is where I ask you to check out my website: http://iamwaitress.com. The 427,826,211 person to visit it will win a billion dollars, maybe it will be you!

Jennifer Anderson is a server, certified Sommelier and FOH trainer/re-organizer.

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The Truth About Cut Resistant Gloves

OSHA requires Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help protect employees in the workplace, but it is up to the employer to decide if PPE is required.  Many restaurant owners, however, have opted to implement PPE, especially when it comes to cut resistant gloves.  And no wonder, a 2008 report by National Safety, Inc reported that 30% of lost time in the work place was due to cuts, slices and abrasions: 80% of those accidents were to the hands.

Cut Resistant Materials

The Truth About Cut Resistant Gloves

Cut Levels & American Standards

As well as knowing the different material types, you should also know that there are different cut levels, and a significant difference between American and European standards.

There are 5 different cut levels: the highest number being the most resistant.  And although it is up to you to decide what cut level is best for your business, it’s advised to test different products to find the right fit.  You should also make sure that you are following American standards for cut level, instead of European standards.  American standards are referred to as:

  • ASTM/ISEA (American Society for Testing and Materials/International Safety Equipment Association);

Whereas European standards are known as:

  • CE/EN388 (Conformité Européenne, meaning “European Conformity”/European Norm 388).

ANSI/ISEA

Cut Level

CE/EN388

100-199

0

100-199

200-499

1

120-249

500-999

2

250-499

1000-1499

3

500-999

1500-3499

4

1000-1999

3500+

5

2000+

The difference in standards are more pertinent when comparing the “safest gloves” available; in other words, when someone says that a glove is the “safest” there’s a vast difference in how safe that glove actually is, depending on the standard it was assigned.

HexArmor’s New Cut Resistant Glove

HexArmor recently introduced the NXT 10-302 cut resistant glove as a solution to cut injuries and exceeds ISEA and CE level 5.  Interested? Check out this video:

Visit Tundra for more information on cut resistant gloves available.

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Conserve & Control: Portioning Out Your Precious Resources

Picture your next outing to a new restaurant or eatery. Mouths watering, you and your dinner companions order the same large entrees based on similar tastes and growling stomachs. As your succulent steaks make their way to the table, you notice your friend to the left has a small spoonful of potatoes overshadowed by an over-sized steak.  On the opposite side, your friend to the right sheds a tear when he sees his small piece of beef half hidden behind a heaping wall of potatoes. While you’re plate looks just right, you chuckle at how disproportionately different the three meals are, and how each of you paid the same price.

Now extend this imaginary dinner outing to the typical guest experience at your own establishment. Are the two uncannily similar? From an operational standpoint, how can you calculate margins and accurately tally expenses when each plate sent out is proportioned differently? The short answer is, you can’t.

Controlling the portions you provide your customers is an easily overlooked but extremely important way to cut costs and preserve your restaurant’s margin. Amid the hustle and bustle of today’s high-energy commercial kitchens it’s essential to have a tried-and-true method of keeping the portions your staff dishes out exact.

One place to weight watch when it comes to portions is proteins. Outfitting your kitchen with the right restaurant equipment is important, and a quality portion scale is a greatConserve & Control: Portioning Out Your Precious Resources way to keep an eye on what is probably the most expensive item on your entrée plates. Pop that protein onto a portion scale to quickly and easily stretch your product as far as it can go.

Starches, veggies, and soups are highly susceptible to varied portions.  What is shrugged off as an additional carrot or extra green may be adding up to cost you thousands of dollars in lost revenue every year! The simplest way to take control of these portion sizes is to utilize a handful of portion measuring utensils. Using a specific disher, Spoodle, Loon, or ladle for certain food items, and always using that same sized utensil, will help you avoid over serving.

Water use is often undervalued and overlooked. Restaurants use a lot of water, it’s a fact. From washing dishes and tables to cooking and serving guests, water output eats up a nice chunk of your monthly budget whether you realize it or not. An excellent way to save, and also help your establishment be greener, is to watch your water. Here are 5 sensible tips to help you do just that: 

Fix leaky faucets – don’t let that drip drain your budget!

Wash full racks only – it’s a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often a member of your staff starts a half-filled rack through the washer.

Use a foot pedal for hand washing sinks – foot or knee pedals are a great way to avoid waste. They not only give your staff a sanitary way to operate the sink, but also shut off automatically to instantly help you save.

Landscape with conservation in mind – water outside can be as costly, if not more, than water inside. Keep that in mind when you’re adding a flower garden or line of decorative shrubs to the outside of your establishment.

Train employees – without the help of your employees your conservation plan is just a plan. Make sure each employee knows where your business stands when it comes to conserving.

Conserve & Control: Portioning Out Your Precious ResourcesBONUS: Spread the word –people love to hear when steps are taken to be more environmentally conscious. If you’ve made changes to how you do things, and these changes have a positive effect on the surrounding community, don’t be ashamed to toot your own horn and let people know!

So when it comes to portion control it’s time for you to be in control. As a basis for calculating your restaurant’s profitability, portioning out your product is essential to keeping your margins low and your plates consistent. Effective portion control is easier than you think and is a good way to accurately assume where your expenses will sit each month. Without a proper portion control method in place you end up gambling with these assumptions, and in the restaurant industry it’s often these kinds of gambles that can make or break you. Why not sway the odds in your favor as much as possible?

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QR Codes: Does Your Restaurant Need One?

QR Codes: Does Your Restaurant Need One?

Regardless of what industry you’re in, participation in mobile advertising is becoming necessary to remain competitive with today’s smart phone technology. QR codes [quick response codes] are one way restaurant owners can quickly spread the word about their services, promotions and news.

What is a QR Code?QR Codes: Does Your Restaurant Need One?

A quick response code is a two dimensional barcode originally designed for the automotive industry. QR codes have become popular in a variety of industries due to its large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. A standard QR code consists of square dots arranged in a square pattern on a white background. These codes can store virtually any sort of data.

QR Codes Benefits:

Quick response codes can be put on virtually any sort of advertising; including posters, banners, napkins, disposable cups and menus. In addition, QR codes can be placed on billboards, buildings, flyers, taxi cabs, subways, trains and buses.  These codes can be used to provide a variety of information, including pictures, videos, menu items, promotions, events and coupons. Customers access the content from QR codes through smart phone apps like Red Laser and Barcode Scanner.

Restaurants that embrace mobile advertising will thrive in today’s electronic society. QR codes are free to set up so no matter what size restaurant you own QR codes are another tool that will set you apart from the competition.

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Join the Conversation: Managing Your Restaurant’s Online Reputation

In the fast paced world of write-what-you-will-when-you-want internet blogging, reviewing, and all around tom-foolery, you’re able to find varying opinions on just about anything. From bashing faulty restaurant equipment to condemning an establishment’s service, it would seem that opinion makers particularly enjoy targeting the restaurant world. Inhabiting an industry that’s so inherently subjective, restaurant owners need to be in the know when it comes to how customers, and the public in general, view and talk about their eatery. Not monitoring your online reputation, or worse yet ignoring the opinions you do uncover, can lead to customers not coming through your doors and eventually those doors closing for good.

Join the Conversation: Managing Your Restaurant’s Online ReputationSocial media, review sites like Yelp, and literally any random person with a voice wanting to be heard, can be both an excellent way to spread positive feedback or negatively criticize a restaurant for poor quality. With 84% of American consumer’s decisions affected by online reviews being on top of the pulse in terms of watching what people say about you is crucial. Here are a few tips for staying ahead of the naysayers and building relationships with your optimistic fans.

Actively listen. All too often people are just waiting for their turn to speak rather than actively listening to what’s being said. If you take this approach when reading negative, or even positive, reviews you can really miss the message and come across as ignorant and inattentive. Open up those ears and take it all in, one disgruntled customer at a time, and realize that the opinion surrounding your restaurant can’t and isn’t molded by your hands alone.

Start with the social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and branch out to more specialized review sites like Yelp, UrbanSpoon, OpenTable, and the likes. Additionally, you can comb the entire internet with Google Alerts and have it scour the web for mentions of your restaurant’s name. The tools are out there, you just need to use them.

Interact. If you’re not responding to your critics and formally thanking your fans you should be. With an internet era that’s all about conversation it takes more than listening to truly understand where consumers are coming from and what they’re expecting in regards to your restaurant. Make sure to create a dialogue with both your critics and your regulars and let them know that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.

Just remember to follow a few common-courtesy rules during the conversation and you’ll be in good shape:

  • Don’t insult people
  • Avoid acting defensive
  • Don’t pat yourself on the back

Have a voice. Instead of letting those who talk negatively about your restaurant form your online reputation you need to take action and do more than simply notice the public. Saying Join the Conversation: Managing Your Restaurant’s Online Reputationthank you can go a long way, but offering an alternative viewpoint for people to weigh when making a decision is important. Rather than letting your potential customers believe a non-flattering review they come across, use discussion and interaction to provide an inside look into how your restaurant operates. Offer blog insights and helpful tips (Facebook & Twitter are invaluable when it comes to spreading information) and you’ll be surprised how many people will tune in.

Customer research. Knowing your customers is the key to providing them with the best service possible and exceeding expectations. In line with actively listening, once you’ve established a conversation it becomes easier to cater to needs and discover trends. If you see social media and active response as an opportunity to know customers better than they know themselves (in terms of what flavors suit their fancy) you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.

Monitoring feedback and staying in-the-know when you’re being talked about is easier than ever. Whether you’re trying to attract a new customer or attempting to turn a bad experience into a second chance prospect taking the initiative by managing your online reputation is step in the right direction. Granted, living up to a positive reputation requires dedication, but learning the habits of your customers is satisfying when you can take them from trying your food through having their expectations exceeded. Often satisfied customers are more than happy to help you spread a positive word!

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Advice for Young Chefs by Marc Vetri

Advice for Young Chefs by Marc VetriThe Huffington Post – Taste  asked the head chef/owner of Vetri, Osteria, Amis and Alla Spina – Marc Vetri, to give advice to young chefs regarding how to aspire in the food service industry. His advice is not only great for those in the back of the house but any profession, really.

Please take your time to read this, I think you will really enjoy!

“When I was young, my house seemed to be the place where all of my high school friends came for advice. My parents just had a way of handling problems that most parents didn’t seem to be able to control. I remember when my friends came over they would always end up asking my parents to weigh in on something. The advice they got was straight talk and usually pretty harsh, but always honest. It wasn’t always what my friends wanted to hear, but it was always what they needed to hear.

It’s funny how life works out since I now find myself in my parents’ role of being an advisor of sorts. I’m at a point in my career–two decades spent in a professional kitchen–where so many young chefs come to me, email me and write letters to me, all seeking advice.

“How do I break into the business?”

“How did you start, and how do you think I should start?”

“What’s a good road to take?”

“How much money should I make?”

While they all want advice, the fact of the matter is that they usually don’t like what they hear. I can usually tell if someone is going to make it in the industry after a couple of minutes with them. So, in order to speed up the process, I thought I would jot down a couple of tidbits that can help a young chef navigate the decision-making process. If you still want to open a restaurant after reading this, I believe that you’ll have a good shot at making it. Here goes!

1.) No one cares about your resume.

I’m not all that interested in knowing that you spent two months picking herbs at Noma, and three months scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush at Alinea. I would prefer to hear that you cooked at a bar for the last three years and can make a medium-rare hamburger like nobody’s business. That’s something I can work with! Nowadays, I never hire anyone without having them spend a couple days with us to see what they’re really all about. So, if you write on your resume that you worked with a butcher for a year, you better be able to butcher an animal!

2.) Don’t worry about what you get paid.

Whatever you think you should make, you’re probably wrong. Go to places where you want to work and wait for an opportunity there. Those are the places that are going to mold you into the chef that you will become. I waited outside Wolfgang Puck’s Granita every day for two weeks until they let me stage there. Then I staged for six weeks until they hired me…for peanuts. But that was my cooking school. It’s where I learned all the basics about cooking and working in a professional kitchen. I went in early without punching in so I could learn to butcher, make stocks and learn ordering. Without that experience, I would not have been able to do any of the things that followed. Going somewhere for the money is ALWAYS a mistake.

3.) Work ethic and attitude is everything.

It’s the only thing that matters. I would take a less knowledgeable cook with a great attitude and work ethic over a talented prodigy with pissy attitude any day of the week. It will always make for a better team at the restaurant. I can’t tell you how many amazing cooks have been through my kitchens and simply have not made the cut because of their attitude. And guess what? Three, four, five years later those cooks are still line cooks. They still complain about how much everybody else sucks around them. If you’re a line cook at 25 and still one at 35, it’s time to look in the mirror. I can guarantee that YOU are the problem not anyone else.

4.) Learn the basics.

I once had a young cook who used to bring in modern Spanish cookbooks because he wanted to make things like mango caviar eggs and chocolate soil. I told him, “Hey, how about you learn how to blanch a goddamn carrot first, cook meat to a correct temperature, clarify a broth and truss a chicken? Once you can do these things then, and only then, should you try to learn these other techniques.” Trust me when I tell you that José Andrés is a master of the basics. You should strive to be one too.

5.) Don’t ever think you’re above learning from anyone.

I learn from my staff as much as they learn from me. And I am inspired by my staff probably more than they are inspired by me. You can never stop learning, and if you think you can’t listen to a busboy or dishwasher in order to learn how to do something better, you’re dead wrong.

6.) If you’re getting into cooking and the restaurant business for the sole reason of just wanting to be on TV, do us all a favor…stop…turn around…and just go away.
TV has done some great things for me and everyone in the business. What I want you to understand is that the successful chefs who are on TV are still chefs first and foremost. It’s in their blood. If TV somehow went away, these guys would still be in their kitchens. They’ve spent years learning our craft, worked their butts off, sacrificed and studied. They deserve to be showing people what eggplant to choose at the supermarket or how to fondle a tomato because they’ve earned that knowledge. In order to make it in this industry you need to LOVE to cook — period. It just won’t work otherwise. It needs to be your life passion and you need to be willing to make many sacrifices for it. If you go into professional cooking because you think it’ll be a fast track to fame and a TV deal, you’re probably not going to make it past your first prep job of peeling four cases of fava beans and cleaning 30 pounds of baby squid.

7.) Don’t get involved in kitchen drama.

There is and will always be talk.

“This guy is making more than this guy.”

“Did you see how much the servers made?”

“That kid just doesn’t pull his/her weight.”

“He made that wrong, but I’m not sayin’ anything.”

“Back of the house is better than front of the house.”

It is all cancerous nonsense. Don’t fall into the trap. Yes, servers make more than you. Yes, a cook who is not as talented as you will make more than you. And yes, people will mess things up and you will notice. Be the person with the good work ethic who can look beyond that and see the big picture. Help others if you realize they’re making something incorrect. Come in early, leave late and be the person that the chef can rely on. You’re in this for your own reasons, stick to them and you will shine.

8.) The best cooks develop their own styles.

You can learn from many people, but the greats take all they have learned and they create dishes that inspire them. Like musicians learn licks from other artists, the great ones develop their own lines. Get inspired by other chefs and other restaurants, but let that be a catalyst for you to create that which inspires you and reflects who you are. Be your authentic self and let your personality come through in your food. It will show in your plates and it will be recognized.

9.) If you follow all of the advice here, then this last one will likely be relevant for you.

People ask me all the time, “Who are the chefs that you most admire?” The most important thing a successful chef can do is teach and give back. Be philanthropic. The chefs who excite me the most are the ones who run solid restaurant organizations and give back to the community. Chefs like Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Bobby Flay, Tom Colicchio, John Besh, Suzanne Goin, Paul Kahan and so many others, these chefs spend as much time on charitable work as they do running their restaurants. Support a foundation. Give your time to young people trying to learn. Latch onto a cause that you believe in. It’s not only going to make your life more fulfilled and rich, but it will also make you cook better. I promise you that! I was inspired the most by a little girl named Alex whom I had never met. She inspired me to help her foundation, which inspired me to start my own foundation, which has brought smiles to thousands of children. YOU can make a difference, and in order to be great chef, that’s what you have to do.” – 

Marc Vetri

Marc’s advice has success written all over it. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article as much as me!

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Share Your Story of Restaurant Mayhem

The United States has faced devastating disasters in the last 10 years that have not only affected families, but businesses too.

  • In 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest hurricanes in recent history, hit the Gulf Coast.  In a 90,000 square mile area,  thousands of local residents were left Share Your Story of Restaurant Mayhemunemployed and homeless while the death toll rose to more than 1,800 people and the total cost of damage was estimated at $125 billion.
  • Midsummer of 2012 ignited another catastrophic disaster – the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado. This fire was named the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history: killing 2 people, burning 346 homes, forcing an evacuation of 32,000 people and smoldering 18,247 acres.
  • Most recently, Hurricane Sandy aka ‘Frankenstorm’ ripped across the east coast. The death toll has risen to approximately 109 people while 17,500,000 people were affected and an estimated $60 billion in damages (see this compelling Katrina vs. Sandy comparison by the Huffington Post).

Now more than ever, restaurant owners are learning what it means to prepare for a natural disaster – like those aforementioned, as well as the numerous earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and other catastrophic  weather patterns that have devastated our nation. Precautionary steps need to be made for before, during and after an event: building and food care, evacuation plans, support needs, etc. Unfortunately, the lack of available resources to learn more about what this means is few and far between.

Share Your Story

Share Your Story of Restaurant MayhemShare Your Story of Restaurant Mayhem
That is why we need you! Your story can be extremely valuable to other restaurant owners, not only in the US, but around the globe…
  • What is it like to live through a natural disaster?
  • What did you do to protect your business?
  • What didn’t you do that you wish you would have done to prevent damage?

We would love the opportunity to hear your story, and in return, your story could be published in our next flyer publication! We send our quarterly flyer to 250K independent restaurant owners nationwide and, of course, you would get the opportunity view the article before it goes to print.

If you are interested please share your restaurant’s mayhem story; we can’t wait to hear your story!

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6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

In 1621, Pilgrims dressed in black and white with buckled shoes and hats atop their heads in the Plymouth Colony to celebrate their first harvest. They invited the Wampanoag Indians and everyone gobbled down turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

That’s the story you probably learned as a young child. Well, it turns out that only part of that is true. Historians say there was indeed a feast that year shared by the colonists and Indians but nobody actually knows whether Turkey was really on the menu. Deer was served in 1621 and turkey may have been there too but there is no record of it. Pumpkin was available but probably not whipped into pie, sweat potatoes were not a familiar food to the colonists and cranberries may have been at the table but most likely not as a sauce or relish. Pilgrims didn’t even dress in black and white with buckled shoes and top hats.

It is still unclear why Americans started eating turkey in the 1800s for Thanksgiving but I do know one thing… It sure is tasty!  That’s why I have compiled 6 different ways to cook a Turkey for your feast this year. Whether you’re serving patrons or your family, these cooking methods will work for you. Perhaps you will decide to try something new this Thanksgiving!

Deep Fried Turkey6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 3 gallons of peanut oil for frying, or as needed
  • 1 (12 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • ¼ cup Creole seasoning
  • 1 white onion

Directions:

In a large stock pot or turkey fryer, heat oil to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Be sure to leave room for the turkey, or the oil will spill over. Layer a large platter with food-safe paper bags.

Rinse turkey, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Rub Creole seasoning over turkey inside and out. Make sure the hole at the neck is open at least 2 inches so the oil can flow freely through the bird.

Place the whole onion and turkey in drain basket. The turkey should be placed in basket neck end first. Slowly lower basket into hot oil to completely cover turkey. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cook turkey for 3 1/2 minutes per pound, about 45 minutes.

Carefully remove basket from oil, and drain turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; the internal temperature must be 180 degrees F (80 degrees C). Finish draining turkey on the prepared platter.

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Smoked Turkey 6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 1 (20 pound) bag high quality charcoal briquettes
  • Hickory chips or chunks

Directions:

Place the charcoal into the bottom pan of the smoker. Light the coals and wait for the temperature of the smoker to come to 240 degrees F (115 degrees C). Lightly oil grate.

Rinse turkey under cold water, and pat dry. Place hickory chips into a pan with water to cover.

Place turkey onto the prepared grate. Add 2 handfuls damp chips at start of cooking, then a handful every couple of hours during the cooking process. Leave the lid on – DO NOT keep looking at turkey or you will let the heat out! Continue smoking until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 180 degrees F (82 degrees C), or keep going until the coals die out. 

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Roasted Turkey6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 (18 pound) turkey
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ qt turkey stock
  • 8 cups prepared stuffing

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place rack in the lowest position of the oven.

Remove the turkey neck and giblets, rinse the turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Rub the skin with the softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Position an aluminum foil tent over the turkey.

Place turkey in the oven, and pour 2 cups turkey stock into the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste all over every 30 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the pan. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add stock to moisten them, about 1 to 2 cups at a time. Remove aluminum foil after 2 1/2 hours. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh reads 180 degrees F (80 degrees C), about 4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. 

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Turkey Brine 6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-18 pound) turkey
  • 1 gallon vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 tbsp crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried savory
  • 1 gallon ice water

Directions:

In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.

When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.

Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.

Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge.

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Rotisserie Turkey6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 pound) turkey

Seasoning:

  • 1/4 cup lemon pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sage

Turkey Stuffing:

  • 1 medium onion cut into 8 equal parts
  • 1 carrot cut into thin disks
  • 1 apple cored and cut into 8 thick slices

Directions:

Mix together seasonings and rub over the surface and inside of cleaned and dry turkey. This is best done the night before to let the seasoning permeate the meat.

Stuff turkey and place securely on rotisserie skewer. Test it to make sure it’s well balanced and tightly secured. Make sure that the wings and legs are firmly tied to the turkey and that the turkey is well balanced on the rotisserie skewer. Prepare grill by removing grate and placing a drip pan in the center. Pan should be big enough to hold the turkey itself.

Light grill and let it heat up. If using a charcoal grill make a medium fire around the drip pan. With gas turn the burners to medium. But generally follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Half fill the drip pan with water and place the turkey on rotisserie. The cooking times should be similar to that of a 350 degree F. oven so use the time chart on the turkey packaging as a guide. You will need to use a meat thermometer to be sure of doneness.

Remove rotisserie turkey from grill when the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees F. The water in the drip pan is there to keep the drippings from evaporating away. If the pan goes dry add more water. I suggest hickory, oak or alder wood chips if you wish to add an extra smoky flavor.

Recipe courtesy of about.com

Grilled Turkey6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  •  1 (12 pound) turkey
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect medium-high heat.

Rinse turkey and pat dry. Turn wings back to hold neck skin in place. Return legs to tucked position.

Brush turkey with oil. Season inside and out with Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper. 

Place turkey, breast side up, on a metal grate inside a large roasting pan. Arrange pan on the prepared grill. Grill 2 to 3 hours, to an internal thigh temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Remove turkey from grill and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

These are all great and tasty ways to prepare your Thanksgiving bird. And though the colonists possibly left the Turkey out of their first holiday feast it would be a shame if your guests were deprived of their Thanksgiving gobbler.

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5 Ways to Grow Your Business Starting Today

Customers are always looking for good food, good service and good value. These 5 business growth tips will help you fill your restaurant, remind existing customers why they love dining at your restaurant and bring in more revenue!

5 Ways to Grow Your Business Starting Today

  1. Start a Rewards Card Program: Reward cards are a great tool to attract repeat business. This tool allows you to apply  iscounts for repeat visits and add credit based on a percentage of total bill. A simple, economical way to start a rewards program is offer a punch card. If you operate a coffee shop, pizza shop or deli shop punch cards can be an easy way to ensure repeat business.  Example: buy 9 coffees and get the 10th for free!
  2. Host Promotional Nights: Everyone loves a classic burger or taco night at a discounted price. Promotional nights are a free way to give customers something to talk about. Remember to always focus your event around your restaurant theme. If you operate a fine dining establishment make sure the event is classy, if you own a local taco shop make sure the event is family-orientated. Ideas for promotional nights are endless, think of how you can incorporate your local community with your event.
  3. Use Local Farmers & Vendors:  Local farmers, vendors and suppliers are an independent restaurant owner’s friend. Such vendors are always looking for community exposure. Ideas include, offering your restaurant in exchange for reduced costs, a win-5 Ways to Grow Your Business Starting Todaywin for both parties. Local farmers and vendors imply to your guests a local connection with the surrounding community.
  4. Get Social! Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are perfect promotional outlets for independent restaurant owners. These outlets allow you to announce coupons, promotions reward programs, relationships with local vendors, new menu items and anything else you wish to let your customer base know about. Not to mention these media channels are FREE.
  5. Treat Your Customers Like Gold: Customer service is everything in the food service business. Treating customers well and accommodating their requests are keys to creating repeat business. Customer service also encompasses a clean, inviting and comfortable dining experience.

Remember every restaurant concept is different, if you try one tactic and you don’t see the results you’re expecting try something else. Keeping costs down while marketing a successful business takes time; these tips are things you can start today.

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Street Food 101: Benefits of Starting a Mobile Food Service Business

Street Food 101: Benefits of Starting a Mobile Food Service BusinessThe earliest street food vendors trace back to ancient Greece where small fried fish were first to make the menu. Today, a new generation of street food enthusiasts are lining up at food trucks. Affordability and flexibility are just a few benefits of starting a mobile food service business. If you happen to be an entrepreneurial spirit a food truck business could be the perfect fit.

Professionally trained chefs and home chefs alike can open a food truck for much less than a traditional restaurant operation. Ask existing food truck owners and they’ll tell you there is no set formula for determining how much it will cost to start a food truck business. However, research has shown that the medium price for starting a mobile food business runs anywhere from $75,000-$100,000 (this depends on location and state). This price includes essentials like the truck, permits, licenses, kitchen equipment and supplies, marketing and promotional needs, disposables, food ingredients and payroll.

Food service experts suggest the increased interest and revenue from the food truck business is largely associated with a slowed economy. People are seeking affordable lunches, breakfasts and snacks. Not to mention the convenience; food trucks quickly serve up hot, healthy meals.

Mobile food service businesses typically have lower overhead and require fewer employees than restaurants and can easily be moved from one location to another if one location does not generate enough revenue. These key points make starting a mobile food truck business great for someone who is entrepreneurial.

Before deciding on what types of food you will sell it’s always a good idea to develop a budget and business plan. A few things to think about:Street Food 101: Benefits of Starting a Mobile Food Service Business

  • Startup financing
  • Time commitment: full or part time
  • What are your ideas? How will you carry them out?
  • Who do you envision as your customers?
  • How will you get to your customers?
  • Finally…what type of cuisine will you serve?

Food trucks can be found across the country in a variety of flavors from grilled cheese and cookie trucks to tacos and pizza trucks, mobile food trucks are a viable food service business that is expected to have huge growth over the next few years.

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