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School Cleaning Tips for the Pros

School Cleaning Tips for the Pros

If you’re part of the clean-up crew at the school, then this time of year has you doing a mad rush to get the school disinfected and back in working order before all the kids return. Schools are huge buildings and without the proper instructions in place, it can seem like a daunting task just to get started. Don’t get overwhelmed just yet, here are a few tips on how you can start knocking away at that cleaning schedule.

1. Start With Sectioning Off the Building

If you divide and conquer, you’ll be setup for success from the start. Divide the school up by room type: classrooms, bathrooms, main activity rooms (library, gym, music, etc.), hallways and stairways, and offices. Depending on the size of the school, you may want to divide these room types up by hallway and floor too so that you’re not cleaning hundreds of toilets in a day – that’ll make for a crappy day, seriously.

2. Keep With One Chore

Remember to start cleaning up high and work your way down to the floor. If you’re dusting, go ahead and make the entire day about dusting, so it’s all done. If you do it this way, then you only need to carry around dusting supplies, no need for all the other cleaning supplies.

3. Know Your Cleaners

Your superiors should inform you of the difference between what cleaners can be used in the different locations throughout the school, but as a quick tip:

All-purpose cleaners are capable of removing most germs and is one of the most common cleaners used.

Sanitizers are often used in higher risk areas, but to be considered safe by most public health codes, they don’t necessarily eliminate all microorganisms.

Disinfectants eliminate almost all forms of microbial life and is the go-to cleaner for high risk areas, such as bathrooms and railings; however, because this cleaner is much more potent, it isn’t used in that many places.

Although a lot of us associate clean with that chemical-cleaner smell, the truth is that “clean” doesn’t have a smell, and around kids, that’s even more important to remember.

4. Cleaning the Kitchen

Okay, we said that sectioning things off may be the best way to tackle that school, but the truth is that the kitchen could be its own section.   There’s a lot of cleaning in a commercial kitchen that involves tons of elbow grease, including changing the hood filter, cleaning the oven, cleaning the walk-in, cleaning the other kitchen equipment, and making repairs where needed. Need help with the hood filter part? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this video.

5. Keep Dust Down

If you’ve gone through and attempted to get rid of all of that dust, you’ll appreciate this tip. Invest in new walk-off dust mats, especially at entrances, to help trap that dirt before it stirs in the air.

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Technology in the Restaurant That You’ll Actually Use

Technology in the Restaurant That Youll Actually Use

There has been a big push towards technology making its way into the restaurant industry, but the industry itself has been slow to adopt. Some has to do with making room in the budget for it, while other reasons are due to consumers’ willingness to participate with apps they’d have to download on their smartphones. With that said, we have seen a lot of restaurants that have found success in bringing in technology that helps improve efficiency in front of house and back of house operations, and here are some of our favorites that we think you could easily (and inexpensively) get started with today.

1. Tabbed Out

When we went to visit our Dreamstaurant winner, Snow and Co, they had tabletop signs throughout their establishment that advertised the mobile app, Tabbed Out. When we inquired about the app (available on iOS and Droid), one of the owners, Jerry, enthusiastically shared how the app was able to benefit the restaurant as well as the clientele. Snow and Co is in an area of town that is close to the opera house and art district. There are a lot of people that come in during intermission and for a quick drink or bite to eat. The faster that those consumers can get their tab and cash out, the faster they can get back to the show. With the help of Tabbed Out, guests can pay from their smartphone, including the tip, whenever they’re ready to pay up. They have the option to split the tab with friends, and they can earn rewards and receive personalized offers direct from the restaurant.   The restaurant benefits because they’re able to track customer history and preferences, which means they can send them more tailored offers to try to get them back in the door. The app also allows the business owner to set the tip at the percentage they prefer; the guest can change the percentage, but the recommended percentage can encourage higher tips.

2. Table’s Ready & WaitAway

If the traditional buzzer system has you spending more money that you’d like, then Table’s Ready or WaitAwayis the system for you. There’s no need for guests to download an app, because all of the technology is ran on your end. All you have to do is simply collect their name and phone number and once their table is ready, a text message or phone call (your choice) is sent to them letting them know the table is ready. These two systems let the guest know where they are in the line-up for a table, how long of a wait they can expect, as well as, showing the business owner time analytics, including average wait time trends by date, day of week, and hour. Both systems run on most tablets, laptops, and desktops.

3. Square

We’re sure you’ve seen Square before at your local farmers market and at your favorite food truck, but we’re starting to see them pop-up in local restaurants and eateries too. Square is a simple to use credit card POS that works with iOS and Droid systems. All you have to do is simply load the software to the device (table or smartphone), plug the swipper into the headphone jack, and you’re ready to start taking credit card payments. The price to run Square is much less than regular credit card processing fees and there are no commitments, minimums, or surprises (i.e. no inactivity fees, no chargeback fees, no bank routing fees, no cancellation fees, etc.). Don’t feel comfortable handing over a smartphone or tablet for payment? No worries, Square makes a stand that integrates with an iPad, and we’ve seen other genius ideas from local breweries and yogurt shops that have made their Square quite eye-catching.

4. NotifEye

Enough with the front of house fun, let’s talk about back of house. NotifEye is a cloud based monitoring system that works to monitor temperatures that range from -40⁰ to 257⁰ F. Think about being able to monitor temperatures from inside the walk-in from the comfort of your home. That’s right, if someone leaves the walk-in door open, you’ll be emailed about the temperatures being off and can immediately fix the issue. Where does this help you the most? You can now save food from spoiling because of harmful temperature ranges, save energy by knowing exactly what the temperatures in the front of house and back of house are, and easily report to the health inspector what the temperature ranges are throughout the building and within equipment.

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3 Sink Basin Dishwashing [Infographic]

The 3 sink basin dishwashing system is a well-known clean, rinse, sanitize, and dry method in many restaurants and bars. It’s a way to ensure that dishes are properly cleaned, sanitized, and ready to re-use. With this handy step-by-step guide for 3 sink basin dishwashing, it’s even easier to remember the importance of each step. It can also help remind staff of the do’s and don’ts for the process.

And if you feel so inclined, please share with your friends!

3 Sink Basin Dishwashing [Infographic]

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Step 1: Pre-Wash

Before starting the wash cycle in a 3 basin sink, you should try to scrape off as much food as possible in a waste bin or scrap container.  This will help keep the dish water cleaner, helping you save on detergents.

Step 2: Wash

Ensure that each basin is clean and sanitized prior to filling them.

The 1st basin is for washing with hot, soapy water at a range of 95⁰ to 120⁰ F.  You should have a good scrub brush and scouring pad on hand.  If you’re only cleaning glasses, a submersible glass washer will make things easier.   Remember to replace with clean, hot, soapy water when it begins to drop temperature or becomes dirty.

Step 3: Rinse

The 2nd basin should be filled with hot water at around 120⁰ F.  The cleaned dish should be rinsed off in the water until no more detergent is present on the dish.  If it becomes hard to get the detergent off, you should refill the basin with new, hot water.

Step 4: Sanitize

To be thoroughly cleaned, health code requires this last step, which is the sanitize stage.  The 3rd basin should be filled with sanitizer to ensure bacteria are removed from all surfaces.  The dish should soak in a mixture of sanitizer mix for at least one minute.  pH test kits are a great way to ensure the sanitizer is mixed to manufacturers standards.  If you’re using chlorine as your sanitizer, you should check the pH levels often, as chlorine will evaporate over time.

Step 5: Air Dry

The only recommended way for dry the dish is by air drying – no wiping the dish down with a towel, just let it air dry.

Tips

  • Never use your 3 sink basin as a mop or hand washing station.
  • The 3 sink basin should be refilled every 4-hours and cleaned between each refill.  You can create a schedule for testing and changing water to make it easier for staff to remember.  Simply use a dry erase pen on laminated paper with a simple to read checklist that includes the pH test, when to refill/change water, etc.
  • Before choosing a scrubbing pad, check with the business to see what is preferred.  Some companies/restaurants do not allow steel or copper pads to be used as they tend to breakdown over extreme use and can create small shavings that are left behind on the “clean” pan.

 

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Bar Maid Fun Bar Accessories

Bar Maid Fun Bar Accessories

As one of our bestselling brands in the bar business, Bar Maid has more than 50 years in the bar business. They’re well known for their 5 brush portable electric bar glass washers (especially in those busy bars out there), but they have everything from nifty gadgets to help boost bar sales to parts to help keep equipment running. Here are just a few of our favorite Bar Maid accessories.

Bomb Cups

Sure, you could sell bombers to customers in the regular ole’ bar glass and shot glass, but with bomb cups in assorted colors, you just added a little fun to the mix. We love these because they’re washable or disposable, come in 4 vibrant colors and include the shot glass.

Liquor Pourers

You could also settle for the trusty stainless steel liquor pourer or simple black, but why not liven things up? Bar Maid offers an assortment of fun colors in their liquor pourers with different dispense capacities and pour styles (free flow, measured, or none).

Liquor Pourer Covers

If you’ve ever seen that episode of Bar Rescues where they hold the flashlight to the bottom of the bottle and the audience gets to see the yucky things that can get in through liquor pourers, including bugs, you’ll know that liquor pourer covers can be a life saver in the bar. Good news, they’re pretty inexpensive too.

Glass Rimmers and Plenty of Salt

If you’ve spent time behind a bar, you already know what glass rimmers are and how handy they can be, but the best part of glass rimmers is being able to accentuate drinks with a variety of different colored salts. From different holidays to different events, having salts in a variety of colors helps bring the entire night together.

Bar Blender

No back bar is complete without a heavy duty bar in place and Bar Maid’s 3 horsepower, 64 ounce capacity blender is definitely a winner for blending up chilled drinks. Bonus, this blender is great at smoothing out hot soups too, so you can use it in the kitchen as well.

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The Frozen Drink Machine Guide to Slushy-Goodness

The Frozen Drink Machine Guide to Slushy Goodness

This month we’re featuring GMCW (formerly Grindmaster and Cecilware) frozen beverage dispensers, because it’s summer and cold drinks go perfectly with hot weather… and because there’s great opportunity here for you to increase bar sales. If you’re looking to invest in a new frozen drink machine or have one and are just looking for some more info, here’s our list of top know-how’s to ensure the perfect drink mix every time.

  1. Most drink mixes that are recommended to go with a frozen drink machine come with a recipe to follow; however, if you’re ever caught without a recipe, remember that most mixes call for equal parts mix and water.
  2. If you’re going to add alcohol, make it one part alcohol, two parts mix, and two parts water.
  3. The machine works to freeze the water into slush, so there’s no need to add ice; in fact, don’t add ice, it can break the internal parts.
  4. Feel free to leave the alcohol out of the drinks so that you can serve to a larger audience, including alcohol-free drinks and patrons that want less alcohol in their drinks.
  5. Alcohol added to the dispenser can cause the process of creating the slush to take longer. Think about how alcohol reacts in the freezer – it never freezes, right? This same process happens in the beverage dispenser, whereas the alcohol acts as a heat against the cold. This doesn’t mean that the machine can’t handle this process, but it will take longer for the slushy state to come around.
  6. You can mix things up a bit with flavored sodas and fruit drinks for the main ingredient in your drinks. The carbonation dies out quickly, but because of that, sodas like Coca-Cola will taste off. Sticking with fruity drinks will work best.
  7. Allow for 1-2 hours for the drink to be at the proper temperature and slushy-consistency.
  8. If you’re using a pre-made mix, make sure to match up the number of gallons it makes with the number of gallons your machine makes… you don’t want to start mixing for 10 gallons and later find out your machine can only hold 5 gallons (rookie mistake, but it happens).
  9. Water always goes in last.
  10. For specific recipes, try searching Google for some fun ideas.
  11. If you want to get adventurous and start mixing up your own frozen concoctions, like our friends over at Snow and Co, start off with pre-made mixes first, and once you have that down, try creating your own mixes. Just remember, don’t put anything chunky in the frozen drink dispenser – everything going in should be nice and smooth.
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Protect Food Allergy Sufferers in Your Restaurant

Protect Food Allergy Sufferers in Your Restaurant

There are more than 15 million people in the US with food allergies, and catering to this crowd could equal extra revenue for your restaurant. If your menu utilizes one of the eight common allergy ingredients (peanuts, tree nuts, fish, crustacean, eggs, milk, wheat, and soy), it’s time to learn how to protect your guests with food allergies, as well as your business.

We recommend starting by designating a front of the house person on your staff to become the “expert” in food allergen concerns. That person should be the only one that takes orders from food allergen guests. That designated person will serve as the liaison between the customer and the back of house to ensure the ticket‘s dietary restrictions are properly addressed.

It’s then up to the back of house team to ensure that the appropriate tools and foods are segregated from allergen contaminated food stations and utensils – even the tongs and turners need to be kept separate to prevent spreading allergens . Remembering to do all of this is made easy with the Allergen Saf-T-Zone System from San Jamar. It’s a designated kit that comes with its own set of tongs and turners, as well as a 10” chef’s knife and 12 x18” cutting board, all in purple of course. The purple helps remind everyone that, that particular meal has some sort of allergen restriction that needs to stay out of contact with other foods.

It’s simple awareness that helps keep your guests and business safe. Where it starts with being alert, organized, and thorough, it ends with ensuring food safety is top of mind and contamination is never an issue.

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Gluten Free & Allergy Labeled: Toothpicks Help Mark Their Territory

Gluten Free & Allergy Labeled: Toothpicks Help Mark Their Territory

Cross-contamination is one of the biggest risks when it comes to food safety and dietary needs that warrant strict cross-contamination rules, but with toothpicks that clearly mark what the food is, you’ll help keep your guests safe while increasing sales. Tablecraft offers specialty toothpicks that clearly label gluten-free products and allergy products, so that guests with food allergies know exactly what foods are safe for them. They’re also fun for at-the-table sword fights, but that’s another story ;).

What Does Gluten Free Mean?

You’ve likely heard about the top eight common allergy ingredients, but do you know what it means to be gluten free? Gluten is a protein that is found in grains, which includes the barley used to make beer, as well as, wheat, rye and triticale (that’s a mix between wheat and rye). Celiac disease is the term used to describe people that have an allergic reaction to the gluten protein and they can have similar reactions to other food allergy sufferers when they ingest gluten of any kind.

The good news is that most people with celiac disease are well aware of the foods they need to abstain from to avoid adverse reactions; however, since a lot of grains can be mixed into foods where you wouldn’t usually expect it, it’s always a good idea to be informed of the most common gluten free foods that are avoided, including: beer, breads, cakes, candies, cereals, chips, cookies, croutons, French fries, gravies, imitation meat, matzo, pastas, processed luncheon meats, salad dressings, sauces, soups, and vegetables in sauce. If you’re not sure if the product is gluten free or not, look for a gluten free label, or call the manufacturer.

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Getting Your Restaurant Prepped for Non GMO Labeled Meals

Getting Your Restaurant Prepped for Non GMO Labeled Meals

If we told you that 91% of Americans want to see non GMO labels on the food they eat, would you rethink what foods you should be serving up? “Genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology, and a growing portion of your clientele would like to be made aware of their presence in the ingredients you use. Making the move towards offering non GMO foods for your customers is not that hard, but it will involve setting up separate stations. For example, you should consider investing in another fryer that is only used to hold non GMO canola oil; keep in mind that same frying oil will work to cater to other dietary restriction orders, like allergens and vegetarian diets. If the initial cost of doubling up on a few choice pieces of equipment seems overwhelming, remember that the percentage of people in the US that need segregated food is growing at an exponential rate, which means greater profits for those restaurants that follow suit.

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Who Uses Soap On Cast Iron?

Who Uses Soap On Cast Iron?

In the residential kitchen, we’re all quite aware of the 3 forbidden rules when it comes to cast iron:

  1. Never, ever use soap!
  2. Never, ever soak it in water!
  3. Never, ever let water rest on it after being cleaned!

Depending on who you talk to, and how big their love for cast iron is, there could definitely be some rules added to this list – never use metal utensils, throw out rusted pans (this one hurts my heart a little bit), always season new pans, etc.  However, whether it be a frying pan, oven to table ware, or griddles, almost all of these rules are different when it comes to using cast iron in a restaurant.

Restaurant Use of Cast Iron

If you scour the web for help with taking care of cast iron in a restaurant, resources are very limited, and almost all of the information you find is for home cooks.  However, all of these forbidden rules aren’t the same in the commercial kitchen, because there are health code regulations that don’t allow for a pan to be simply wiped clean and re-used.

If you’re one of those home cooks, prepare to be blown away by what we’re about to tell you.

Wiping a pan clean or using salt to scrub the left-over bits away is not the way to properly clean cast iron after being used in a restaurant.  In fact, as far as the health inspector is concerned, the same holds true for cast iron as with any other pan: it has to be ran through a 3-sink basin with detergent/rinse/sanitizer in order to be properly cleaned for re-use.  As in most commercial kitchens, the detergent that is required to be used is specifically for what’s being cleaned; e.g. pots and pans has their own detergent, just as flatware has a particular pre-rinse formula.  If you think about it, it makes sense to clean cast iron like this, to ensure the seasoning of the pan doesn’t turn rancid – risky and scary.

So, want to know how restaurants get away with not following all of those forbidden cast iron rules?  They use those pans so many more times than that same pan would ever be used in the residential kitchen and they’re stored in a very hot environment, which basically helps them season themselves.

Now, that’s not to say that in the commercial kitchen other rules aren’t followed to help maintain a nice seasoning, which includes doing the first initial seasoning and wiping the pan down with vegetable oil or lard before storing (which a lot of residential users do as well).

With that said, because there is health code obstacles in the way of using cast iron in the food service industry, many cooks have started using hi-carbon or black steel pans to get a close substitute without having to worry about violating health code.

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Portion Control Has Never Been So Accurate

Portion Control Has Never Been So Accurate

71% of adults in America are trying to eat healthier when they eat out. For a lot of these potential restaurant patrons, eating healthy is not just a choice, it’s a need. For your customers on health related diets, the best way to enforce healthier standards is to use portion control. Insuring the accurate amount of butter or salt in a dish for the customer can ensure lower weight and blood pressure, while also saving you money by control ingredient cost. Detecto makes portioning out ingredients easy with their RP30 square rotating scale. This scale helps you weight every last ounce of food while you add it to a plate, making it easy to know precisely what’s leaving your kitchen and heading in front of those health conscious guests.

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