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Restaurant Sinks and Faucets: Some Useful Tips

More than likely, your restaurant has several sinks that serve many purposes in the back of the house, in server stations, and behind the bar.  Having the right kind of sinks in the right places is important not only to accomplish many various tasks, from glass and hand washing to stock pot and flatware cleaning, it’s also a vital part of your food safety program, and something that health inspectors will focus on.

First, let’s get the basics out of the way.  Most of you probably already know this stuff because you have to set up your sinks properly to pass inspection.  But if you’re thinking about starting a brand new restaurant, the following info will be very helpful.

For the rest of you, skip past this and read some additional, VERY IMPORTANT information, unless you’re looking for one of the sinks or faucets listed below.  Click the link if this is the case.

Types of Sinks:

Restaurant Sinks and Faucets: Some Useful Tips

Hand Sink

  • Hand Sinks: these are pretty standard sinks for washing your hands.  Keep the dishes out.
  • Kitchen Sinks: choose from 1, 2, 3, or 4 compartment kitchen sinks for rinsing and washing dishes.  An HACCP program requires a 3 compartment sink for the proper sanitization of dishes.  Review the procedure here.  If you want to wash and fill stock pots and other big cookware items, get a big sized compartment sink.
  • Bar Sinks: 3 compartment bar sinks are designed for glass washing behind the bar.
  • With all these sinks, make sure you buy NSF approved only! NSF sinks have features that prevent the buildup of grime and bacteria, like welded drainboards and sealed seams that eliminate spaces.

Types of Faucets:

Restaurant Sinks and Faucets: Some Useful Tips

Deck Mount Faucet

  • Deck Mount Faucets: these faucets mount directly onto the sink.  Make sure you measure the hole centers, or the distance between the center of the two holes where the faucet will mount on your sink, before ordering.
  • Wall Mount Faucets: these faucets mount from the wall and come through the backsplash.  Wall mount faucets are by far the most common type in restaurants.
  • Pot Filler Assemblies: these are a specialized wall mount faucet with a hose or extended, swiveling spout that allows you to easily fill big stock pots.
  • Pre-Rinse Assemblies: these assemblies are designed to help staff quickly rinse dirty cookware and tableware before it goes into your dish machine.

It’s always going to be easier to install the type of faucet that your sinks and kitchen’s plumbing are set up for.  If the sink in question has holes for a deck mount faucet and your pipes come vertically out of the floor, use a deck mount.  If you have plumbing coming horizontally out of the wall, by all means use a wall mount faucet.

If you skipped down, start here.

Leaky faucets can waste thousands of gallons of water every year! That costs your restaurant money, especially if it’s the hot water that’s leaking.  Over time, the washers in a stem assembly become worn, which means they don’t form a perfect seal when the handle is turned off.  This allows water to leak out even though the faucet is turned off.  These washers are less than $5, and they can save you hundreds of dollars in utility costs over the course of a year.

Caring For Restaurant Sinks and Faucets

Commercial sinks and faucets are made from stainless steel.  Stainless steel is a great material because it’s durable and rust resistant, but a couple simple maintenance techniques can extend the life cycle of any sink or faucet.

Never use abrasive pads or detergents.  Steel isn’t stainless or rust resistant.  There is actually a thin film of chromium and/or nickel that covers the steel and gives it it’s shine and prevents rust from forming.  When you use an abrasive pad or detergent to clean stainless steel, this thin film becomes scored and develops holes, which allows rust to move in.

Wipe sinks and faucets down daily.  Moisture is rust’s best friend, and the sinks and faucets in your kitchen are necessarily wet all day.  When you clean out your sinks at the end of the day, however, make sure you wipe them down with a soft rag.  This prevents moisture and rust from working together overnight to tarnish and rust your sinks and faucets.

Use a Garbage Disposer

Restaurant Sinks and Faucets: Some Useful Tips

Garbage Disposer

In kitchen sinks that collect food waste from washing cookware and tableware, installing a garbage disposer is important.  Not only does it increase your kitchen’s efficiency since you don’t have to clean out and dispose of food waste separately, a garbage disposer also makes your restaurant green.  That’s because you keep food waste out of landfills and conserve water by reducing sink cleaning time.  Sending food waste down the drain also keeps it out of trash cans and dumpsters in your kitchen, where it decomposes quickly, breeding bacteria and nasty smells.

Restaurant sinks are easy to forget about.  It’s one of those things you have to worry about when you first open a restaurant, and don’t really think about afterwards.  But properly maintaining your sinks and faucets, repairing them quickly when they leak, and equipping them properly with things like pot fillers and garbage disposers, not only makes your operation more efficient, it can translate into significant savings later on.

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Restaurant Kitchen Casters: Buy Smart

Casters make life in your restaurant’s kitchen a whole lot easier.  They allow you to roll heavy equipment around for cleaning.  They make your mop buckets mobile and power hand carts and loaded shelving in your walk-in and storage areas.  They even let you roll the trash out quickly.  The lowly caster serves many purposes, but what many restaurateurs don’t realize is how easy they are to replace, and, most importantly, how much money you can save by buying casters for new equipment separately.

Restaurant Kitchen Casters: Buy Smart

Most heavy equipment will take a heavy duty plate caster, but some may take a threaded stem caster instead

Let’s start with new restaurant equipment and shelving.  Any time you buy a new piece of heavy restaurant equipment like a gas range, a fryer, or a reach in refrigerator or freezer, the manufacturer will want you to buy an accompanying caster set.  Casters on this heavy equipment is a great idea because it makes cleaning your kitchen much easier.  An even better idea is to buy an after-market caster set separately, with the same weight capacities and heavy duty construction, at a fraction of what the equipment manufacturer wants to charge you.  Most heavy restaurant equipment will take a plate caster or a threaded stem caster.

Restaurant Kitchen Casters: Buy Smart

An expanding stem caster fits into the round or square hole of a shelving post and expands so that it fits tight inside the hole.

The wire shelving you use in walk-ins and for storage are much easier to handle if you mount them on casters.  That way, shelving can be moved for cleaning, and the extra height will help you meet the minimum 6” space between the bottom shelf and the floor required by the health inspector.  Shelving usually takes an expanding stem caster.  And while we are on the subject of shelving, if you are buying some for your walk-in, make sure you get the epoxy coated kind!  The moist environment in a walk-in causes non-coated shelving to rust very quickly, which not only looks bad, it means you’ll be buying more shelving within a few years.

Restaurant Kitchen Casters: Buy Smart

Most carts, dollies, and mop buckets take a caster like this one, but some take a small plate caster

Hand carts, dollies, and mop buckets also have casters.  Unlike restaurant equipment, these items usually come already mounted with their casters, so buying them separately is not an option.  However, those casters often break or wear out long before the item is no longer useful.  Replacements are often hard to find unless you know where to look.  These casters are often very easy to replace, getting a replacement caster can extend the life of your carts, dollies, and mop buckets.

So the next time you need some new equipment casters or need to replace some old ones, remember that you have options, and if you look around, you can save some significant dough by buying smart.

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Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

The planetary mixer is a mainstay chunk of equipment in many commercial kitchens.  Whenever your restaurant or bakery needs a large project done, and done well, more than likely you’re turning to the mixer taking up a whole corner of the kitchen.  The tasks you can perform with a well outfitted mixer are numerous, and the speed with which you can accomplish these tasks is impressive.

Of course, as great as the planetary mixer is, it may not be the right mixer for your operation, especially if you’re looking for a mixer that does one specialized task very well.  The two most obvious exceptions to the planetary mixer rule are the spiral mixer and the vertical cutter-mixer.  The spiral mixer has a fixed dough hook and rotating bowl and it’s designed for mixing large amounts of dough all day long.

Some people even claim that spiral mixers mix better dough than a planetary mixer, but that’s a matter of opinion to be sure.  Vertical cutter mixers are more of a food processor; they can do mixing, chopping, blending, etc., and are ideal for operations that need to process large amounts of a specific food product day in and day out.

So what makes the planetary mixer so great?  Well, to start, it’s a very versatile machine that can operate on a large scale.  Different attachments allow you to mix dough, whip up creams, sauces, and icing, chop, shred, or grate vegetables, or even grind up meat products.  Planetary mixers have a single offset shaft that turns in an orbital motion resembling planets going around the sun, which accounts for the name.  When attachments are affixed to this shaft they rotate through the mixer bowl in an elliptical shape, which ensures an effective mixing of the entire contents of the bowl.

Sizing Your Mixer

The capacity of the mixing bowl determines the size of the mixer.  Commercial mixers can be separated into three main categories: countertop, bench, and floor models.

Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

Countertop mixers are usually 5 – 8 quarts in capacity and resemble a residential model mixer.

Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

Bench mixers are quite a bit larger than a countertop model (10 – 24 quarts) but can still sit on a sturdy work table.

Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

Floor mixers are the most common type of commercial mixer.  These large mixers range in capacity anywhere from 30 – 80 quarts and are a freestanding unit.

To determine what size mixer you need, take a couple factors into consideration:

Leave yourself some extra capacity.  Some products will expand when agitated in the mixing process, which can mean a mess if you’ve completely filled the mixing bowl.  Besides, you may need to make larger batches of whatever you’re mixing in the future as your business grows.

If  you’re mixing dough, calculate the absorption ratio (AR).  The drier the dough, the tougher it is to mix, and that is going to affect how large a batch you can mix according to the size of your mixer.  To calculate the AR, divide the water weight by the flour weight, e.g. 20 lbs. of water and 50 lbs. of flour equals a 40% (0.4) AR.  The lower the AR, the more stiff and therefore more difficult to mix the dough is and therefore the smaller the batch will need to be.

Please note that just because you need to mix a smaller batch due to the stiffness of the dough does not mean you should use a smaller mixer.  The point of calculating the AR is to find a batch size that your mixer can manage without overworking the motor.  Consult with your operator’s manual or the mixer manufacturer for recommended batch sizes for different absorption ratios.

In general, if you plan to use your mixer for day in and day out dough mixing, go with a heavier duty floor mixer that can handle the heavy load dough puts on a mixer motor.

Mixer Attachments

Planetary mixers have several attachments for performing different tasks.  Here are the most commonly used ones:

Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

Dough Hook – these spiral shaped attachments are for mixing and kneading yeast-based dough.

Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

Flat Beater – this paddle shaped attachment is perfect for mixing batters and icings or for mashing vegetables like potatoes.  Basically, anything that needs to be creamed should get the flat beater treatment.

Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

Wire Whip – the wire whip looks just like a handheld version but packs a lot more punch.  Use it for the same things you would use your hand whip – meringue, creams, and frostings, just on a much larger scale.

Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

Pastry Knife – use this thin dough hook to mix shortening and flour for light dough for things like pie crusts.

Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

Vegetable Slicers & Grater/Shredders – these attachments can process a high volume of just about any kind of vegetable very quickly.  Use them to slash your prep times on tedious slicing tasks.

Commercial Mixers: How To Buy A Good One And Make It Last Forever

Meat Chopper/Grinders – these attachments allow you to chop up or grind meat products quickly and efficiently.

Mixer Maintenance

If you maintain a good planetary mixer that is properly sized for the tasks you give it, that mixer should serve you faithfully well into the future.  Some tips to make sure your mixer has a long and happy life:

Clean it regularly.  The mixing bowl, attachments, and shaft should be cleaned after every use.  The rest of the mixer should be cleaned on a regular basis.  No matter what part of the mixer you’re cleaning, always use soapy water and a soft rag or brush.  Never use abrasive pads or steel wool to clean any part of a mixer.

Lubricate moving parts regularly.  Refer to your owner’s manual for an official schedule and the location of all the parts that need regular lubrication.  Always use food-grade lubricant, especially on parts that could come into contact with food product, like the mixer shaft.

Don’t overload the mixer, ever!  If you do, you’re going to break something sooner or later.  Take care to size the mixer properly for the tasks you have at it and overloading shouldn’t be an issue.  Always remember that what seems like a bargain when you buy a smaller mixer can end up being a headache later when it burns out on you from overwork.

A planetary mixer can do a lot of work for you.  Buy the right one at the start and take care of it throughout, and you’ll have a permanent fixture in your kitchen’s daily operations.

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A Review of My Favorite Pocket Thermometer

A Review of My Favorite Pocket ThermometerAbove is an image of my favorite thermometer for everyday food service use, the COMARK PDT-300.

Here is why:

  1. It is NSF approved and meets the Colorado requirement for a thin probe thermometer to measure the temperatures of thin foods such as patties, fillets, etc.
  2. It reads quickly, in just a few seconds.
  3. It is reliable and durable, withstanding drops and continual use.
  4. The battery just keeps going…mine typically lasts about a year, and you can imagine how often I use my thermometer.
  5. Performing an ice water calibration is simple and takes less than one minute.
  6. The price is unbeatable…less than $20 at Tundra Specialties.

One question that frequently arises is where to place the thermometer when taking the temperature of food.  That is best answered by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in Annex 5 of the 2009 FDA Model Food Code:

The geometric center or thickest part of a product are the points of measurement of product temperature particularly when measuring critical limits for cooking.
The geometric center of a product is usually the point of measurement of product temperature particularly when measuring the critical limit for cold holding.

As a former health department food safety manager, I’ve used many types over the years, and in my opinion, it’s the best for the money for everyday food service use.  I regularly demonstrate it to my customers, and they invariably ask me where to buy one – the answer is easy; I tell them Tundra Specialties.

My name is Jim Austin and since 2001 I’ve been a food safety consultant in private practice, based in Denver, Colorado. I am a former Colorado local health department manager who was responsible for the food inspection program. I know how the world of government regulation really works, and I enjoy helping my customers deal confidently with the health department and protect their business interests.

For a free initial consultation, please contact me:

Colorado Restaurant Consulting

303-728-4878

jim@coloradorestaurantconsulting.com

http://www.coloradorestaurantconsulting.com/

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Commercial Coffee Brewing Equipment: Serve Great Coffee Every Time

Not all brewing equipment is created equal, and the success of your quest for a great cup of coffee can largely rest on the type of brewing equipment you use.  When investing in new coffee equipment, it’s also vitally important to purchase a brewer that can handle your weekly volume.

For more info on how to brew a great cup of coffee, and why your restaurant should invest in great coffee, read my previous post.

For Low Volume (0-15 lbs. of coffee per week)Commercial Coffee Brewing Equipment: Serve Great Coffee Every TimePourovers.  This is your standard coffee brewer and it works just like the one at home.  Water is poured manually into a tank inside the machine, heated, then poured over the coffee bed to brew coffee.  Time, temperature, and water quality can all be hard to control with a pourover, especially as the unit ages.

Commercial Coffee Brewing Equipment: Serve Great Coffee Every Time

Automatic coffee machines.  An automatic unit has a direct water line for faster brewing.  It’s also easier to filter water on a direct line to ensure coffee quality.

Commercial Coffee Brewing Equipment: Serve Great Coffee Every TimeDecanters vs. Airpots.  Low volume coffee machines dispense brewed coffee into either a decanter (your standard restaurant coffee pot) or an airpot (what you usually see at Starbucks or a hotel’s continental breakfast).  Decanters usually sit on a low-heat warmer to maintain temperature.  The problem is that over Commercial Coffee Brewing Equipment: Serve Great Coffee Every Timetime this degrades the coffee’s taste.  Airpots, on the other hand, are not heated but can retain the temperature at which the coffee was brewed for a few hours without degrading the flavor.  Airpots also limit coffee’s contact with oxygen, which reacts with elements in coffee and causes an acidic or bitter flavor.
For Medium Volume (15-50 lbs. of coffee per week)

Commercial Coffee Brewing Equipment: Serve Great Coffee Every Time

Satellite coffee brewers.  A satellite brewer has digital controls that allow you to manage all the elements of the brewing process and dispense coffee into an insulated holder that can be filled and moved to various locations around the restaurant like server stations and back bar counters.

For High Volume (50+ lbs. of coffee per week)

Commercial Coffee Brewing Equipment: Serve Great Coffee Every Time

Urn type coffee machines.  An urn type coffee machine can produce large amounts of quality coffee quickly and easily.  These units require a lot of up-front investment, but if you are serving large amounts of coffee, there’s really no other way to go.  Urn type machines are automatic and digitally controlled.

No matter what kind of restaurant you have, serving quality coffee can create great sales and upselling opportunities.  Take the time to experiment with the right combination of equipment and brewing elements until you find a combination that truly gives your business a better cup of coffee.  The results of your investment of time and money will be happy customers and (hopefully!) a fatter bottom line.

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Color Code Your Food Safety Program

Color Code Your Food Safety ProgramBacteria, contaminants, and pathogens are all the enemies of your restaurant’s kitchen.  It’s a battle you fight every day.  The first line of defense is controlling the growth of pathogens that could make your customers sick.  That is best accomplished through a robust HACCP program.  Unfortunately, as effective as HACCP is at controlling pathogen growth through temperature management, there are many other areas where contamination can occur.

The most obvious is through food preparation equipment and utensils.  Food processors, mixers, and slicers all need to be cleaned regularly with an approved sanitizer to prevent cross contamination.  As for utensils, cutting boards and knives are probably the two most likely candidates for cross contamination, and it’s very important to your food safety program that you make sure different types of food are not coming in contact with each other through the use of the same utensils.

As you know, that’s easier said than done in a busy kitchen.  Serving food on time is the number one priority, and, especially during the rush, your line isn’t always thinking about cross contamination first, no matter how much you train them.

Raw protein products like beef, poultry, and fish typically go with red cutting boards or knives.  Raw vegetables go with green, and other food types go on white.  Many restaurants will also separate poultry from other proteins and assign them to yellow utensils.Color Code Your Food Safety Program

The added bonus of using color coded food prep utensils is that you also prevent taste contamination.  No one wants the juices left over from a T-Bone mixed with their chicken breast in a white wine sauce.  Potential allergens are also effectively separated when you assign specific foods to certain colors.  Shellfish is one of the most common culprits; many people can become violently ill if their food is in even passing contact with any kind of shellfish.

Finally, color coded labels can help your staff select the right product to pull from the walk-in very quickly.  Most restaurants use a First In, First Out (FIFO) policy, which is effective at prioritizing the oldest product for first use on any given day.  Color coded labels (e.g. red for “use now,” green for “just arrived off the truck,” and yellow for “use soon”) make sure you minimize spoilage and use your inventory in a safe but intelligent way.

Even in the sometimes chaotic atmosphere of a busy kitchen at the peak of the dinner rush, clear color codes can help staff maintain a high food safety standard that will keep your customers safe and coming back to your restaurant for more.  This is especially important in an industry where employee turnover rates are so high.  A simple color code system means new hires can plug into the team quickly without you having to worry about food safety being compromised.  Color coding your food preparation process will make your kitchen run more efficiently and safely, which means you’ll have more time to take care of what’s really important: your customers.

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The Poseidon: The New God of Digital Portion Scales

The Poseidon: The New God of Digital Portion Scales

The Poseidon portion scale: Submersible. Self-calibrating. Wow.

Edlund has long been known for their tough, durable kitchen equipment.  The Edlund “Old Reliable” manual can opener has been a kitchen standard in thousands of restaurants for years.  And Edlund portion scales have long been favored for their toughness and accuracy.

Luckily, Edlund hasn’t decided to sit back on their laurels.  The new Poseidon portion scale represents the forward thinking of a venerable old company.

The best part about the Poseidon is that this scale is waterproof and fully submersible.  That means you can use it, wash it off, and use it again.  Finally, you can get the accuracy of a digital scale without having to worry about the messiness of your busy kitchen.

I have even heard reports of restaurateurs running the Poseidon through the dishwasher to clean it, although this isn’t recommended by Edlund.

The best part about this digital scale is that the submersible feature isn’t the best part.  The best part about this scale is its revolutionary self-calibrating feature.  Used to be a digital portion scale had to be sent back to the manufacturer to be recalibrated.

Well, no more.  The Poseidon can be flipped upside down, where it automatically weighs itself and recalibrates accordingly.  Combine this smart feature with a stainless steel body, and you’ve got a tough instrument with a lot of accuracy.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

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Restaurant Equipment: 4 Factors For Calculating Total Cost Of Ownership

There’s always a significant amount of cost involved whenever you buy a new piece of restaurant equipment.  Those costs only continue as that equipment ages in your restaurant – from energy use to repairs, the consequences of new equipment will be around for a long time after you’ve written the check to purchase.

Of course, restaurant equipment makes you money as well.  Without that fryer or reach-in refrigerator or griddle, you wouldn’t be able to prepare your product for your customers.  But understanding the total cost of a piece of equipment over its lifespan has been ignored all too often in the food service industry for years.

Many chains have started doing a Total Cost Of Ownership analysis for equipment because they buy large numbers of the same type of equipment all at once.  A faulty or inefficient piece of equipment can mean thousands of dollars in extra expenses for the chain over the lifespan of the piece, and conducting a cost analysis beforehand helps avoid problems down the road.

By and large, most independent operators do not undertake the complicated task of calculating total cost – usually because the information or the know-how necessary to make an accurate calculation isn’t available.

That doesn’t mean independents and smaller chains can’t benefit from a cost analysis before they buy new restaurant equipment.  Here’s a quick guide to help you get started on your own cost analysis before you buy your next piece of equipment.
Restaurant Equipment: 4 Factors For Calculating Total Cost Of Ownership
Capacity. The larger the piece of equipment, the more volume it can handle.  The trade-off here is that larger equipment also uses more energy, which means higher operating expenses.  That’s fine if you’re using that capacity to generate revenue, but one of the biggest traps smaller operations fall into is buying too much capacity or not enough capacity.

Let’s use an ice machine as an example.  A large air cooled ice machine with a 1,000 pound ice bin will use a significant amount of energy every day, translating into hundreds of dollars of electricity expenses every month.  That’s perfectly fine if you’re coming close to emptying that bin every day to keep your bar stocked and your kitchen well supplies with ice.  But if you’re barely putting a dent in that ice, even during your busiest periods, then you’ve got a two-fold problem: first, you’re paying to make ice you don’t use, and second, you’re adding labor costs to your budget because now you’ve got to clean all that unused ice out of the bin regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and other pathogens.

On the other hand, if your ice machine is too small, you risk shortening its lifespan because the unit never gets a break as it tries to keep pace with demand, not to mention the inconvenience to your staff and your customers that comes with an ice shortage.

In general, you want to size new equipment capacity based upon your best estimate of growth over the course of the unit’s life.  A good ice machine should last about 10 years.  Hopefully in 10 years your business has expanded and needs more ice.  That means you need to buy more ice capacity initially to accommodate future growth.
Of course, that means more energy expenses at first as you ramp up to full capacity, but down the road, one ice machine is more efficient than two.

Energy Efficiency. Unfortunately, energy usage information is very hard to come by when it comes to food service equipment.  The government run program Energy Star has begun to rate more and more restaurant equipment, so before you buy, check there to see if you can get some energy usage information.Restaurant Equipment: 4 Factors For Calculating Total Cost Of Ownership

Energy use is a big one when calculating the total cost of a new piece of equipment.  Most equipment in your kitchen uses a lot of energy, so even the smallest differences in usage can translate into thousands of dollars in savings over the lifespan of the piece.

Try to collect energy use information from the different manufacturers as you’re shopping for a new piece of equipment.  Often more efficient units have a higher initial price because more efficient components are usually also more expensive.  However, paying 10% – 20% more for a unit that’s 30% more efficient means you’ll still be saving thousands of dollars over the entire lifespan of the unit.

It’s common practice in the food service industry to shop aggressively for the lowest price point.  While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with bargain hunting, an unintended consequence of this has been that many new units still employ older component technology that keeps the price low, even though those components can be significantly less efficient.

Keep in mind that sometimes, spending a little more up front can actually save you a lot of money down the road.

Stay tuned tomorrow as I explore two more areas where calculating the total cost of your restaurant equipment is important.  Click here to read the second installment of this article.

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Food Service Equipment: Getting Properly Stocked

A restaurant kitchen is alive with the hum and bustle of life and movement, and while nothing beats a good staff, stocking the right food service equipment can infinitely improve the efficiency and quality of your restaurant. No matter what type of restaurant you own or operate, you’ll need a massive amount of equipment on hand; ovens, ranges, processors, blenders, freezers, mixers, not to mention plates, knives, forks, chopsticks, etc, etc. In this article, we’ll take a closer at everything your restaurant needs to run as smooth as butter.

Food Service Equipment: Getting Properly Stocked

One thing that any kitchen needs, whether it’s a smoothie bar or a sushi bar, is proper commercial refrigeration. You need a fridge to keep things cold, fresh, and legal. From walk-ins to reach-ins, do your research to ensure that you get a refrigerator that best suits the needs of your establishment.

Also, you’ll most likely need to make ice on site, so if you’re looking for your restaurant’s ideal commercial ice machine, take a look at these tips on the importance of the right ice machine.

All things start with prep, so you need to be sure that you’ve got the right tools to get any dish started. There are many specialized food prep machines which simplify anything from making pasta to sausages.

Nothing is worse than old, worn knives that waste your time inefficiently cutting, dicing and slicing, so be sure to have top quality cutlery on hand, and to sharpen or replace them frequently. Look over this cutlery Q & A to find the better blade for you.

Food Service Equipment: Getting Properly StockedOr, you can walk away from the knife and find a new cutting strategy. Using a quality food processor is a multifaceted method to save time while providing consistency of quality. Processors do your slicing and dicing for you, so you needn’t spend time you don’t have choring away at it. Time is money, so don’t waste another minute doing what a food processor could do for you. Also take a peek here to know what processor to buy.

If your restaurant serves food, that food presumably needs to be cooked, so while looking for any or all sorts of cooking equipment, check out this guide to commercial cooking equipment, which includes options for ranges, ovens, steamers and griddles, to find what best suits your needs.

As the American obesity rate continues to grow so does the popularity of fried food, so depending upon your restaurant’s health-stance, you may want to invest in a commercial fryer. While certainly not healthy, fryers make food undeniably delicious, so don’t exclude this enticing addition.

Food Service Equipment: Getting Properly StockedFrom water to wine, your restaurant will need to find a way to appropriately serve drinks, so consider whether you need a beverage dispenser, or frozen drink machine to make the job easier. Or to make anything from smoothies to mixed drinks, stock up with a blender.

After the dish is served, enjoyed and finished, you’re left to clean up the mess, so investing in a commercial dishwasher is essential for timely turn around.

So whether your restaurant is just starting up, revamping, or merely replacing old equipment, be sure to properly stock your food service equipment to ensure the best restaurant experience possible.

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The Importance of The Right Ice Machine

Maintaining any kind of restaurant requires ice, lots of ice, and the only way to meet your frosty needs is with the right commercial ice machine. If your restaurant is stuck with an excessively large ice machine, you may be spending extravagant costs to make ice you don’t need.

This is not only wasteful and inefficient, but it’s an unnecessary financial investment doomed to melt away. On the other side of the cube, an undersized icemaker can be equally disastrous; imagine unsatisfied customers with lukewarm drinks, and improperly chilled food that wilts alongside patron loyalty. Again, a potentially devastating expense to your business.
The Importance of The Right Ice Machine

Icemakers aren’t cheap, so when shopping for your perfect frozen-water machine you need to consider two things: production necessity and storage capacity. You need to ensure that you are making enough ice to meet the needs of your customers and your kitchen without wanton ice cube creation. In order to discover the perfect ice machine for your restaurant, use the following strategy to roughly determine your daily ice needs.

Within the restaurant, have approximately 1.8 lbs of ice per customer; with cocktails, keep 3 lbs ice on hand per expected patron whereas soft drinks require about 8 oz per 16 oz drink. Catering companies and cafeterias usually should have about a pound per person to keep meals ideally chilled. Using your restaurant capacity and average daily visitors, you should be able to calculate how much ice to create per day.

If your restaurant typically serves a hundred people a day and half of them drink cocktails then you should have 180 lbs of ice with an additional 300 lbs for cocktails for a total of 480 lbs of ice daily. Once you’ve ascertained your ideal ice creation quota, direct your attention towards which ice machine is right for you.

The most convenient and space conscious icemakers come with built-in storage bins, whose capacity range from 80 lbs to 1100 lbs so you can find the perfect fit for your icy needs. After calculating the right amount of ice for your restaurant, browse Tundra’s selection of restaurant ice machines.

Like a snowflake, not all ice is the same. It can come cubed, flaked or even in nuggets and the choice lies with you (although the right option is really just a matter of preference). While most restaurants opt for cubed ice, flakes or nuggets can work well with cocktails or soft drinks. Because of its smaller surface area, flake and nugget ice melts faster.

This can, however, be advantageous within the restaurant. Flake ice’s tendency to melt faster makes it a faster cooling agent, and makes it perfect for quickly chilling a drink or for temporarily housing fresh seafood or chicken. Nugget ice is the midway point between the other two and goes perfectly in cocktails or sodas because they cool drinks quickly without melting away too soon. You can find cube ice machines, flake ice machines and nugget ice machines all at Tundra.

Will the ice machine market as vast and mysterious as the Antarctic, make sure you learn what you need and how to meet those needs in your restaurant.

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