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Learn how to buy the right restaurant equipment and supplies right here.

Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

Picking the correct ice type for your establishment is very important when shopping for a commercial ice machine. The shape of the ice has everything to do with its intended purpose.  Whether used in beverages, food presentation or health care services, Tundra Restaurant Supply offers many different types of ice machines in order to satisfy the widest variety of uses.

Full cube: Also known as “full dice cube”, measures 7/8” on all sides and looks very much like a cube. This ice type is the most recognizable by consumers and offers maximum cooling with nearly 100% ice to water ratio. Furthermore, it melts slowly and can be produced quickly which is perfect for high-volume operations.

Ideal uses include:Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

  • Mixed drinks
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Bagged ice/ice retailing
  • Ice dispensers
  • Banquet services
  • Ice displays

Full Cube Ice Machines

Half Cube: Also known as “half dice cube”, measures 3/8” x 7/8” x 7/8” and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Like full cube ice, half cube offers maximum cooling with nearly 100% ice to water ratio. The small, easy-to-handle shape is perfect for blended drinks because if breaks down easily and creates a smoother finish.

Ideal uses include:Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

  • Blended drinks
  • Mixed drinks
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Ice dispensers
  • Ice displays
  • Banquet services

Half Cube Ice Machines

Nugget Ice: Also known as “pearl ice” or “cubelet ice”, measures 3/8” – ½” in diameter and encompasses a soft, chewable texture. This ice type is very versatile and slow melting. It cools drinks rapidly due to its high liquid displacement resulting in increased profits.

Ideal uses include:Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

  • Blended cocktails
  • Smoothies
  • Fountain drinks
  • Salad bars
  • Therapeutic uses/patient care
  • Produce displays

Nugget Ice Machines

Flake Ice: Also known as “Shaved ice” is small, soft pieces of ice with a 73% ice to water ratio. Flake ice maintains food hydration, which extends the shelf life and appearance of seafood, produce, meat displays and helps increase sales. Flake ice is also great for use in bakeries, catering and health care applications.

Ideal used include:Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

  • Produce, seafood and meat displays
  • Blended cocktails
  • Therapeutic uses/patient care
  • Salad bars

Flake Ice Machines

Hopefully this ice machine buying guide exposes all of the options you have when it comes to choosing the right commercial ice machine for your needs. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask them in a comment below!

 

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Commercial Dinnerware: A Complete Buying Guide

Dinnerware is used in every type of restaurant, whether your run a fast-casual, diner or fine dining restaurant. Choosing the right dinnerware will complete a guest’s dining experience. From modern to traditional and bamboo to Fine China knowing the dinnerware options you have is key to creating the perfect place setting.

Commercial Dinnerware: A Complete Buying Guide Bamboo dinnerware is made from bamboo fibers, a renewable resource making these plates and bowls environmentally friendly. All of the bamboo dinnerware Tundra Restaurant Supply offers is safe for commercial use and commercial dishwashing. This dinnerware is manufactured from harvested bamboo that has been dried for an extended period of time. When dry, it is then ground and pulverized into a very fine powder and has 100% food-safe pigments mixed in. High-pressure and heat is applied to cast each piece of dinnerware and then a glaze is applied. Available in a variety of colors, bamboo dinnerware will make an eco-friendly and stylish statement in any restaurant setting.

Commercial China that is found in restaurants and hotels is much more durable then fine china found in residential homes. Commercial china dinnerware is designed to withstand the restaurant environment. Classic white china, with a basic rim is often preferred in restaurants because it allows for a more varied meal presentation. China that is embossed features a wider rim with grooved patterns. China dinnerware that has a banded rim feature two or more colored stripes and an off-white surface. These plates are great for diner and café settings and are manufactured to withstand years of commercial use.Commercial Dinnerware: A Complete Buying Guide

Melamine dinnerware is a type of plastic that is scratch resistant and shatter proof. Melamine’s strength and durability make it a popular type of dinnerware in the restaurant industry. Melamine plates and bowls can be used hundreds of times and withstand the wear and tear of a commercial setting. Our selection of melamine dinnerware includes upscale and basic designs that will compliment any restaurant ambiance. Melamine dinnerware is often found in ethnic restaurants; including Mexican and Chinese food establishments.

Basketweave or Wood Weave dinnerware is beautifully crafted and finished with a smooth, polished finish. The warm finish of basketweave dinnerware will create an inviting ambiance in any restaurant setting. Basketweave dinnerware will impress guests and is perfect for serving salads, appetizers and side dishes. It is normal for commercial-grade basketweave bowls and plates to change color slightly over time – especially when used constantly. Basketweave dinnerware is best when hand-washed making it a better fit for small, quaint restaurants and cafes.

Commercial Dinnerware: A Complete Buying Guide Polycarbonate dinnerware is manufactured from food-safe plastic that is shatter proof and durable. Polycarbonate bowls and plates can often be found in institutional settings; including schools and health care facilities. Polycarbonate dinnerware is typically inexpensive, dishwasher safe and available in a variety of colors and sizes.

Glass dinnerware is not as popular in commercial restaurants because glass tends to be more expensive and very fragile. However, glass plates are great for serving first courses; including salads and appetizers. Traditionally, glass dinnerware is much smaller then melamine and china plates and platters, another reason why glass is great for serving salads and appetizers.

Dinnerware is used for everything from appetizers and salads to main courses and desserts. Make sure you choose the right dinnerware selection or your restaurant. Guests notice the finest details when visiting your food service establishment; show them how much you care with an elegant, tasteful place setting.

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Buying Guide | Flatware 101

No table setting is complete without the proper flatware pieces. Whether your guests are expecting a fine dining or quick diner experience understanding your flatware options is important and will contribute to the ambiance and style you’re trying to achieve. Tundra Restaurant Supply offers a variety of commercial flatware at every price point.

Table/Dinner KnifeBuying Guide | Flatware 101

A table knife is an item of cutlery, part of a traditional table setting. Table knives are typically of moderate sharpness only, designed to cut prepared and cooked food. They are usually made of stainless steel.

Butter Knife

Commonly, a butter knife refers to any non-serrated table knife designed with a dull edge and rounded point; formal table settings make a distinction between a dinner knife (table knife) and a butter knife.

Dinner Fork

The dinner fork is part of the traditional five-piece flatware setting. It is used during the main course. A dinner fork is a tool consisting of a handle with several narrow tines on one end.

Salad Fork

Similar to a dinner fork, but shorter and may have one of the outer tines shaped differently.

Dessert Fork

A dessert fork is smaller and features a thinner build then a salad fork. It is typically used for eating desserts like pie and cake. In Europe, a dessert fork is often referred to as a pudding fork or cake fork.

Cocktail Fork

A cocktail fork is a small fork resembling a trident used for spearing cocktail garnishes, such as olives or cheese. This is an individual fork traditionally used with the standard five-piece place setting.

Buying Guide | Flatware 101Teaspoon

A teaspoon is a small spoon, commonly part of a table place setting suitable for stirring and sipping the contents of a cup of tea or coffee.

Soup Spoon

A soup spoon is a type of spoon with a large or rounded bowl, used for eating soup. This term can refer to the Western soup spoon or the Chinese spoon. The Western soup spoon features a deep, circular bowl for holding liquid. The Chinese soup spoon is usually ceramic and of a distinct Chinese soup spoon shape.

Dessert Spoon

A dessert spoon is a spoon designed specifically for eating dessert and sometimes used for soup or cereals. Similar in size to a soup spoon but with an oval rather than round bowl, it typically has a capacity around twice that of a teaspoon.

Tablespoon

A tablespoon is the largest type of spoon used for eating from a bowl. In Europe, a tablespoon is a type of large spoon usually used for serving.

Bouillon Spoon

This is another type of soup spoon mainly used for clear soups or broths. The bouillon spoon has a rounded spoon head.

Demitasse Spoon

A demitasse spoon is a diminutive spoon and smaller than a teaspoon. It is traditionally used for coffee drinks in specialty cups and for spooning cappuccino froth. It is also used as a baby spoon.

Know the Difference | 18/10 vs. 18/0 Grade Stainless Steel

The 18/10 and 18/0 specifications are simply figures that illustrate the percentages of chromium and nickel content present in the stainless steel. Examples: if a piece of flatware has 18/10 construction, there is 18% chromium and 10% nickel content. If the flatware has an 18/0 construction, there is 18% chromium with zero nickel matter. Chromium is a hard metallic substance that helps increase product hardness. Nickel is defined as a silvery metallic element that helps resist corrosion.Buying Guide | Flatware 101

18/10 Flatware Features:

  • Brilliant luster
  • Rust-resistant material
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to maintain

18/0 Flatware Features:

  • Soft shine
  • Zero nickel content
  • Economical design
  • Subject to staining

Purchasing flatware might seem like a complicated process, but with the proper information and knowing the basics you can create a special table setting for any guest setting. Tundra Restaurant Supply offers hundreds of flatware collections at every price point.

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Creating A Sexy Back Bar

Having an attractive and organized back bar is important for several reasons. A presentable bar will show your customers that you care about your business, property, product and furthermore, them. You want to do everything you can to trigger a spark in your customer’s mind that tells them your establishment has great drinks, food and atmosphere. Presentation is often half the battle of retaining repeat business and happy customers. Another reason to keep your back bar organized is for your bar staff. The easier it is for your bartenders to find what they need and get to it quickly will significantly reduce customer waiting time which, in turn, will boost customer loyalty. Here are a few tips on how to make your back bar “sexy”.

Bar Refrigeration

Your bar refrigeration has a tremendous impact on your customers. People like their drinks cold when served. Even a chilled glass can make a world of difference. It is important to keep your back bar refrigeration orderly, clean and visible to your patrons.

Back bar coolers are a must behind the bar. These coolers either have a glass door or solid door. Glass door bar coolers are great for bars with a wide selection of bottled beer or wine. People will generally not have to ask “What do you have in bottles?” if they can see your selection. Just remember that you must stay on top of your coolers organization and cleanliness because everyone can see what is inside. A solid door bar cooler is great for storing refrigerated garnishes, cocktail mixers or anything else that may not be as visually appealing to your guests.

If you have ever had beer in a frosty mug you know how exquisite the cool liquid feels and tastes as it hits your taste buds. Glass and plate chillers allow you to chill beer mugs as well as small plates in a hurry. Chilled plates are great if you serve cold appetizers or desserts.

Draft beer dispensers are another great addition to your back bar. They allow customers to easily see what beers you currently have on tap. Kegs are easily stored in the cabinet under the taps where they are refrigerated to ensure a cold brew with every pour.

Bar Glassware

Make sure your restaurant glassware is accessible and displayed in an appealing way. First decide the types of glassware your establishment needs and then how to display it. Glass hangers work Creating A Sexy Back Barwell and keep glassware out of your bartender’s way while still making it easy to grab when needed. Just make sure to have enough storage for all the glassware your bar needs. Hand drying glasses is a great habit to take on in order to avoid water marks. You do not want your glasses on display to look dirty or smudged.

Bar Organization

Liquor displays are not only eye catching but helpful for your patrons. Make it easy to differentiate top shelf bottles (more expensive liquors) from well bottles (less expensive liquors). Often restaurants put their most used liquors on speed racks below the counter and display top shelf bottles on tiered displays or shelves that are easily visible. It is common practice to put your less expensive bottles on the bottom of the display and more expensive at the top. Many bars will actually display empty bottles and keep back stock under the bar in liquor storage cabinets for easy-to-reach access.

The last products I would like to encourage are garnish centers and bar caddies. Making garnish centers available to your customers is okay but not encouraged. You do not want your customers periodically sticking their dirty hands in your garnishes. What I do recommend is making them visible to remind customers about your citrus selection and Bloody Mary toppings. Bar caddies should be in your drink mixing stations as well as on your counter top. Your bar staff can then easily grab what they need in a hurry and customers can grab extra napkins, straws or a toothpick without interrupting your staffs’ workflow.

An organized and clean back bar will result in a sexy back bar. You must always remember that what your customers see will make a lasting impression on your establishment.

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A Really Easy Way To Make Commercial Steam Tables Energy Efficient

A Really Easy Way To Make Commercial Steam Tables Energy EfficientIf your restaurant or commercial food service operation uses steam tables to keep food hot before you serve the customer, then this post is for you.  If this post is for you, then you already know how integral steam tables can be in your day-to-day operations.  You also know they can eat up a lot of energy on a daily basis.

Making commercial steam tables more energy efficient is easier than you might think.  If you’ve got an older unit, the first thing to consider is buying a new steam table.  Newer models are more efficient, more reliable, and create a better impression with your customer.

I know, you thought I said this would be easy.  In the likely case you’re planning on keeping your current steam tables and just want to make them more efficient, read on for the really easy part.

Steam table pans are the essential moving part that keeps a steam table going.  Those pans also act as a lid that helps trap the heat the table is creating to keep food warm.  And as anyone who has worked with those steam table pans knows, over time the corners and edges become bent and wavy.  In fact, my personal experience is that it only takes a trip or two through the dishwashing station in a busy kitchen for those corners and edges to start bending upward.

The problem with bent corners and edges on steam table pans is that their role as the lid on the heat generated by the table is compromised.  The gaps between the edges of the well and the edges of the table allow steam to escape, and anyone watching a pot of water come to a boil knows that one without a tightly sealed lid is going to take longer.

It may not seem like a big deal to have a little steam escaping from a couple gaps where the pan meets the well, and by itself for an hour or two it isn’t.  The problem is that if you’re using commercial steam tables to keep food warm, you’ve probably got it running for several hours at a time many days in a row.  Over time, those little gaps end up costing you significant amounts of money – as much as $30 per well per year!

This is where the easy part comes in.  A pair of pliers and some time should be enough for you to straighten out the curled and bent edges of your existing steam table pans.  A Really Easy Way To Make Commercial Steam Tables Energy Efficient

When you go to buy new pans, I would highly recommend The Edge steam table pans by Polarware.  These pans are made from 300 series stainless steel and have a reinforced edge and corners that resists bending or curling.  The edges are also specially designed for easy gripping, making the constant chore of replacing steam table pans much easier on your staff.

Sometimes the simplest solution, like making sure all the edges on your steam table pans are straight, can make a huge difference, especially in a business with historically thin profit margins like the food service industry.  And sometimes, when all new steam table pans look the same, one has features that make it stand out from the crowd.  Polarware’s The Edge steam table pans are definitely a standout.

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A Bartender’s Glassware Guide: Does Your Glass Have Class?

A Bartender’s Glassware Guide: Does Your Glass Have Class?Aside from knowing how to mix hundreds of cocktails, a bartender must know what type of glass to pour their mouth-watering drinks and cocktails into. So, to make life just a tad bit easier we have smashed our brains together to develop a restaurant glassware guide that will make your toes curl with joy.

Wine Glasses:

White Wine Glass: Sizes range from 5-10 ounces, but the most practical size for a white wine glass is 6-8 ounces. Forms vary from balloon shaped to straight sided to tulip shaped.

What to Drink:
Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, Muscat / Moscato, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier

Red Wine Glass: The large size of this balloon glass allows wine to breath. Sizes typically range from 8-14 ounces.

What to Drink: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Syrah, Shiraz, Sangiovese, Malbec

Sherry Glass: The smallest of the wine glasses holds from 4-6 ounces. It can also be used for liqueur-based drinks.

What to Drink: Sherry, Port, Aperitifs, Liqueurs, Layers Shooters

Flute: The Champagne Flute is a tall, thin, tapered glass that holds between 7 and 11 ounces and is perfect for Champagne Cocktails. The purpose of the flute design is to keep the bubbles in the flute longer; with less surface area exposed to the air, the bubbles can’t escape as fast.

What do Drink: Champagne, Sparkling Wines, Bellini’s, Prosecco’s, Mimosa’s, Asti, Champagne Cocktails

Cocktail Glasses:

Old Fashioned: Sometimes called lowball or rocks glass, the Old Fashioned Glass is a squat tumbler with a heavy base that holds approximately 5 – 10 ounces and is the most versatile. Typically used for short mixed drinks and anything on the rocks.

What to Drink: Scotch, Whisky, Old Fashioned, Black/White Russians, Mai Tais

Collins Glass: An optional addition to the bar as it is interchangeable with the highball glass. Used primarily for any Collins drink, it is a narrow tumbler that holds between 8 and 12 ounces.

What to Drink: Collins, Fizz, Zombies, Long Islands, Sours, MojitoA Bartender’s Glassware Guide: Does Your Glass Have Class?

Highball Glass: Highball Glasses are large tumblers with heavy bases that hold between 8 and 12 ounces and can easily replace a Collins glass. This glass is generally used for mixed drinks.

What to Drink: Bloody Marys, Vodka Cranberry, Gin & Tonic, Scotch & Soda, Bourbon & Coke, 7 & 7, Moscow Mule, Fuzzy Navels, Screwdrivers

Cocktail Glass: The familiar conical shape of the Cocktail Glass makes most of us think of Martinis and so it should. Nowadays, Cocktail glasses range from a 6 ounce glass to a huge 16 ouncer (too much of a good thing?)

What to Drink: Martinis, Manhattans, Cosmopolitans

Snifter: A Snifter comes in a variety of sizes and is the traditional vessel for brandy and cognac served neat. Its large bowl is cupped in your hand to warm the contents. Snifters can also be used for some cocktails.

What to Drink: Brandy, Cognac, Whisky, Barleywine

Margarita Glass: While most margarita glasses have a narrow neck, some are balloon shaped. Capacity ranges from 12 – 16 ounces.

What to Drink: Margaritas, Daiquiris

Shooter: This 1 1/2-2 ounce glass is used for drinking shots but can also be used as a measuring tool when mixing cocktails.
What to Drink: Tequila, Whisky, Mixed Shots

Hurricane Glass: Typically used for blended and frozen tropical cocktails. The distinct pear-shaped curve of this glass is reminiscent of vintage hurricane lamps and holds between 10-12 ounces.

What to Drink: Piña Coladas, Rum Punch, Coco Coladas, Tropical Fruit Drinks, Daiquiris

Irish Coffee Glass: The Irish Coffee Glass replaces the average mug for good-looking hot cocktails. This footed glass mug holds between 8 and 12 ounces and is made of heat-resistant glass.

What to Drink: Hot Toddy, Irish Coffee

Cordial Glass: Small and stemmed glasses used for serving small portions of your favorite liquors at times such as after a meal.

What to Drink: Amaretto , Grand Marnier, Cordials

Beer Glasses:

A Bartender’s Glassware Guide: Does Your Glass Have Class?

Pint/Pub Glass: Cylindrical glass with a slight taper and a wide mouth. There are two standard sizes, the 16-ounce (US Tumbler) or the 20-ounce Imperial (Nonic), which has a small ridge towards the top, a grip of sorts and helps in stacking them.

 What to Drink: Pale Ale, IPA, Porter, Brown Ale, Red Ale, Stout, Amber Lager

 Pilsner Glass: Typically a tall, slender and tapered 12 ounce glass, shaped like a trumpet at times, that captures the sparkling effervesces and colors of a Pilsner while maintaining its head.

What to Drink: Pilsner, Dortmunder, American Lager, Bock, Pale Ale

Mug/Stein: Heavy, sturdy, large and with handle, the mug is a fun and serious piece of glassware that comes in many shapes and sizes.

What to Drink: Oktoberfest, Munich Dunkel

 Weizen Glass: These classy glasses, with their thin walls and length, showcase the beer’s color and allows for much headspace. Most are 0.5L in size.

What to Drink: Witbier White Ale, Bavarian Weizen/Weissbier, American Wheat Ale

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Is Your Restaurant Exhaust System Sucking Up Money?

Is Your Restaurant Exhaust System Sucking Up Money?The exhaust system in your kitchen is one of those essential pieces of equipment that you must have in order to operate.  And if your hood is like the ones in most restaurants, it has two settings: “on” and “off.”  When your line is operating at full tilt during the dinner rush, the “on” setting is probably perfect, quickly sending heat and fumes straight from your cooking equipment outside.  But what about afternoons or during light lunches?  You probably still have the ventilation on but your equipment is not creating nearly as much exhaust.

I don’t have to tell you how much energy that hood exhaust in your kitchen is using.  Here’s a few tips on making sure your restaurant exhaust system is running as efficiently as possible:

Get the system rebalanced. Your exhaust system needs some regular maintenance to run at optimal levels.  If too much smoke is building up in your kitchen, or if the system seems like it’s on overdrive all the time, a rebalancing by a trained technician is in order.  A rebalance ensures the system is keeping the kitchen safe but not sucking up too much energy by working too hard.

Maximize suction. If you’re paying to run your kitchen ventilation system, it might as well be pulling as much of the stuff you don’t want in your kitchen as possible.  To maximize smoke and heat capture, make sure your cooking equipment is pushed all the way up against the wall underneath the hood.  This prevents clean air from getting sucked up from behind the equipment and puts the maximum amount of hood over your line.  And if your hood doesn’t have side panels, you can install them easily and cheaply.  Side panels help trap smoke and fumes, making the exhaust system more efficient.

Install a demand ventilation control. If you really want to save some money on kitchen ventilation then a demand control is for you.  It senses the cooking volume in your kitchen and adjusts fan speed accordingly.  A ventilation control can reduce kitchen exhaust energy usage by 30% – 50% and can be either ordered with a new exhaust system or installed on an older unit.Is Your Restaurant Exhaust System Sucking Up Money?

Clean and maintain hood filters. The hood filters are the metal squares in the exhaust opening of your restaurant’s exhaust system that catch the grease in air as it gets sucked out.  The hood filter plays an important role, since grease buildup can become a dangerous fire risk.  As time goes on hood filters become saturated with grease and should be cleaned.  The dirtier the filter, the harder your exhaust has to work to suck air through them.  Also make sure they are installed correctly (with the baffles, or ridges, in the vertical position) and that there are no gaps between them.  Replace damaged filters immediately.  Click here for a complete guide to hood filters.

If you happen to be designing a new kitchen, you should account for a few factors in order to maximize ventilation efficiency:

Group heavy cooking equipment together. Whatever you’re going to be cooking with the most should all be right next to each other underneath the hood.  If you have a single heavy cooking appliance, like a charbroiler, and other lighter cooking equipment, it’s a good idea to separate the heavy piece from the lighter pieces and give it a dedicated high volume exhaust.  This allows you to run the lighter equipment under a hood that doesn’t have to be on full blast all the time.

Create a big overhang. While 4 feet is the industry standard, 5 or 6 feet of hood will capture more smoke and allow you to run your restaurant exhaust system more efficiently.

Making the kitchen ventilation system energy efficient not only saves you money, it ensures that the exhaust is capturing the maximum amount of smoke and fumes and getting them out of your kitchen.

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Restaurant Grease Management: How Traps Will Save Your Butt

Restaurant Grease Management: How Traps Will Save Your ButtGrease is an inevitable byproduct of your restaurant’s kitchen.  Unfortunately, grease doesn’t disappear when it gets washed down the drain.  Instead, it tends to build up and stick to the sides of pipes and drainages, just like cholesterol in diner’s arteries.

And just like cholesterol, that buildup over time can cause some serious problems.  Best case scenario, your kitchen smells like a rotting cesspool.  Worst case, you floor drains start spouting the soupy mix that can only be created when the drains of your dishwasher, pot filler sink, and pre-rinse sink combine.

The resulting food safety nightmare would make any health inspector shudder.  The damage is usually measured in the thousands of dollars.  You definitely don’t want that to happen in your restaurant.

Local codes usually require some sort of grease management system for commercial kitchens.  Otherwise cities end up with thousands of dollars worth of damage to municipal water lines.  But just because someone stuck a grease trap in the cellar 20 years ago doesn’t mean your restaurant is safe from the doomsday scenarios I lined out above.

Effective grease management means committing to an ongoing process that is usually unpleasant and never in the cleanest parts of your kitchen.  Some tips to make sure grease waste isn’t creating problems in your restaurant:

Evaluate your grease output.  Some restaurants produce more grease than others, plain and simple.  If you already have a grease trap system, check it once a week for a month and see how quickly grease builds up to the point where a cleaning is needed.  If you don’t have a grease trap, install one right away, then check it regularly to see how often it’s going to need to be cleaned.

Grease traps work by using a series of baffles to prevent grease from flowing from one end of the system to the other.  Since grease is lighter than water, it collects at the top of the trap.  Sooner or later so much grease will collect that it starts to flow over the top of the baffles, and the trap ceases to trap grease.  You want to clean your system well before this happens.

Use this information to formulate a regular cleaning schedule.  You might also want to rotate the poor sucker who gets this thankless task.  You may want to install smaller undersink traps on the biggest grease producing drains in your kitchen that are more accessible than the main trap, which makes cleaning easier and reduces the likelihood of plumbing system damage.

Many restaurants use a professional service company to clean and care for their main grease trap.  This can get expensive, but depending on the size of your establishment and the amount of grease you produce, it could be a worthwhile investment.  Some services even convert the grease they recover from your trap into biodiesel, adding a renewable element to the process.  It’s probably still a good idea to use undersink traps to supplement your main system even if you use a cleaning service, since this will reduce the frequency of their visits.

In general grease traps are pretty indestructible, especially if you clean them regularly, but eventually they will need to be replaced.  Look for damage to the baffles in the trap and cracks or excessive gunk buildup in the inflow and outflow pipes.  Canplas grease traps are one of the best in the business and my personal recommendation if you’re in the market for a new one.

The most effective way to manage grease in any commercial kitchen is to be proactive about it.  Don’t wait to clean traps and don’t assume the problem will take care of itself.  Otherwise your restaurant might look like this:

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Commercial Gas Range Buying Guide

Commercial Gas Range Buying Guide

A commercial gas range

A good gas range is the center and the soul of a restaurant or commercial kitchen, and every kitchen is different.  Choosing the best unit to suit your specific needs can be a challenge, but if you keep a couple things in mind buying the range you need shouldn’t be hard.

BTUs and Gas Type

Commercial ranges vary in the heat output they produce, which is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units).  Depending on the cooking application and energy usage concerns, you may want to purchase a unit with a higher or lower BTU rating.

Higher BTU ranges are going to heat things faster, but at a higher rate of energy consumption.  A higher BTU rating also means quicker heat recovery times

Lower BTU rates will heat things more slowly, but more efficiently.  Lower BTU ratings mean a slower heat recovery time

Most gas ranges are outfitted for natural gas.  Natural gas is the most common gas type and chances are you are hooked up to natural gas.  LP gas or liquid propane is the gas you get if your range is connected to a propane tank, usually for rural locations or portable operations.

griddle and Charbroiler Add-On Options

Griddles are ideal for cooking multiple foods at once.  The large, flat metal plate that makes up the griddle distributes heat evenly over the entire surface.  Heat can be controlled either manually or thermostatically.  A grease trough allows for easy cleaning.

Charbroilers allow you to broil poultry, seafood, and meat quickly and effectively.  Most restaurants and commercial kitchens purchase a separate charbroiler unit, but combination range and charbroiler units can be special ordered.

Necessary Accessories

Casters allow you to move your commercial gas range quickly and easily for cleaning or rearranging.  Manufacturers charge a ridiculous fee for casters that come with their restaurant cooking equipment.  Instead, buy your casters separately and save a bundle.

Gas hose connector kits allow you to connect your new restaurant range to your kitchen’s gas source, whether it’s natural or LP gas.  Make sure you check the diameter of your range’s connection before ordering.

Don’t Forget Your Altitude!

If your commercial kitchen or restaurant is above 2,000 feet in elevation, you may need to have the gas valves on your new range adjusted.  Make sure you tell the manufacturer or vendor you’re buying from if you are located above 2,000 feet.

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Mmmmmmm… Self Serve Draft Beer

Mmmmmmm... Self Serve Draft BeerIf Homer Simpson had his own bar (or took over Moe’s), then the Draft Tables made by Ellickson USA would be the first thing he bought.

The Draft Table is an all-in-one beer tapping system built into a circular table that allows customers to pour their own beer whenever they want – directly from taps in the middle of the table!  The Draft Table is controlled by a wireless connection and starts out as “closed.”  Once a server checks IDs and collects credit cards they can open the table via a wireless controller.  The taps at the table are now activated for two beers a person, and the fun begins.  Staff can re-open the table two more times after the two beer limit has been reached, giving servers a chance to check on the table.  Any beers under the limit are not charged, but who wouldn’t want to keep pouring their own beers???

Even better, Ellickson has developed “i-button technology,” which allows customers to sign up for a small chunk of hardware that attaches to a keychain and can activate taps automatically.  The two beer limit still applies.

Ellickson is an Irish company that has only recently landed on this side of the Atlantic.  The concept of self-serve beer is still pretty new in the U.S. but it’s starting to catch on – and 90% of the state liquor boards out there have approved the Draft Table for use.

The Draft Table gives customers a unique experience while improving the efficiency of a busy bar.  If your restaurant or bar caters to discerning beer drinkers then this innovative technology makes a lot of sense.  VisitEllickson’s website for more information!

Mmmmmmm... Self Serve Draft Beer

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