eTundra Categories

Archive | In The Restaurant

Working in a restaurant? Then these articles are probably perfect for you! From server issues to recipes for the cook, these are some of our favorite In The Restaurant finds.

Restaurant Restroom Updates


© iStockPhoto

In many ways, your restaurant’s restroom is just as, if not more so, important as the dining room.


As many diners will attest, a dirty restroom in their mind equates to a dirty kitchen. Maybe it’s because a restroom is a space that’s considered more “behind-the-scenes,” and the amount of care you take with your restroom maintenance is reflective of the thoroughness of your cleaning practices in the kitchen.

Now I’m not suggesting you go so far as to make your restroom the theme of your restaurant, like the Modern Toilet Restaurant in Taipei, or its stateside sister Magic Restroom Cafe which failed to launch with the same success in the states (go figure).

You may find just a little care goes a long way, and keeping your restroom current is as easy as stocking up on a few of the necessities. Even if you have a small establishment with a co-ed, single room restroom, you’ll find that these simple additions are all it takes to creating a positive experience with your diners.

Here are 10 ways you can make a difference in your restroom facilities:

1. Accessibility Compliance

Since 1990, the Americans with Disability Act requires specific design and engineering standards to make public restrooms accessible to disabled individuals. Some of these guidelines include lowered sinks and urinals, and wider stalls for wheelchair access that also feature grab bars near the toilet. Don’t get hit with a large fine for something completely preventable.

2. Eco Friendly Water Usage

Water restrictions aren’t going away. As more locations are hit with unseasonably dry weather, more pressure is put on restaurants and consumers to conserve their water usage. Try investing in faucets with sensors that automatically shut off the water if a forgetful guest leaves it running; or you could equip your men’s room with waterfree urinals that are touch-free and reduce your water and sewer costs. But if that’s not enough you could go so far as to feature a “Smart Sink” like Denver’s Root Down, which recycles toilet water to wash with your hands. If you can get past the ick factor (they assure you the water is clean), this is a great way to cut down on millions of gallons of water.

Image Courtesy of TripAdvisor

And if the warm, fuzzy feeling of saving the environment isn’t enough, maybe learning that 58% of consumers are likely to make a restaurant choice based on its eco-friendly practices is.

3. Clothes Hooks

This is a shout out to my ladies, who wouldn’t welcome a much-needed hook or side table in the restroom when it comes to placing our purse somewhere. When faced hookless, our options are A) place that bad boy on a dirty floor or B) straddle that purse on your knee while you go about your business. Please, please…for the love of $30 or less (stylish models like this hook from Bobrick come in a satin finish)…invest in hooks.

4. Functional toilet paper dispenser

Bobrick - 273-103 - Spindle

Bobrick – 273-103 – Spindle

The key here is “functional.” How many times have you been caught in a stall with a broken toilet dispenser, and in its place was a charming opened roll of toilet paper that you’d rather not consider who handled it last? Or maybe the dispenser still holds the toilet paper roll, but it’s so tight that you’re in an arm wrestling match just to get more than 1 measly square of TP. Try stocking up a few spindles (like this one from Bobrick) so you have some handy when one breaks.

5. Working bathroom locks

Few things ruin an evening more than being interrupted while you’re in a precarious situation. Give your guests piece of mind by ensuring all stall and bathroom door locks are in working order.

6. Soap Dispensers

I’ll gladly admit I’m one of those who uses a tissue or her sleeve to open the bathroom door—cleanliness is important to me. But nothing is more off-putting than using the restroom only to find a lack of soap afterwards. Ensuring your soap dispensers work (and are topped off with soap) are vital to restroom management, and they come in several styles to choose from: like wall mount dispensers, surface mounted soap dispeners, ones that sit on the counter by the sink, and more. As if a public restroom couldn’t get dirtier, try not having any soap in there for an entire dinner shift. Yuck.

7. Air Fresheners

Sometimes, there’s just no amount of cleaning you can do to make your restaurant’s restroom smell fresh and clean—when that’s the case, stock up on some commercial air fresheners for your space. They’ll discreetly add a pleasant scene to the air, and some are even programmable to regularly spray in 60-minute intervals. Your guests will thank you.

8. Baby changing station

Koala - KB200-01SS - Grey SS Veneer Horizontal Baby Changing Station

Koala – KB200-01SS – Grey SS Veneer Horizontal Baby Changing Station

As if the news (and us, to be fair) weren’t harping on the benefits of baby changing stations enough, here’s another shout out for these utilitarian devices. If you’re worried about aesthetics, opt for a baby changing station featuring grey stainless steel veneer. Save yourself from a potential “changing baby on the dining table” disaster and get one of these tables. Stat.

9. Hand dryer or paper towel dispenser

Nobody likes to emerge from the restroom with unsightly water marks on their clothes because the restroom lacked a hand dryer or paper towel dispenser. These handy tools are more a cosmetics than anything else, but your customers will note if your restroom is lacking them. If eco-friendly is important to your restaurant, opt for a hand dryer or set up compostable waist bins for the paper towels.

10. Mirrors

You’d be amiss to not include a mirror in the restroom. Mirrors seem pretty commonplace, but there are times that single restrooms lack these common necessities that guests will surely notice. Help your guests prevent a potentially embarrassing incident by adding a mirror to your restroom. Bonus points—add a full length mirror in the women’s room—ladies love it. Trust me.

What updates have you made to your restroom to make it a comfortable space for guests?

Continue Reading

Spotlight on: Verde Food Truck

When your kitchen is roughly 120 square feet of floor space, you don’t have the luxury of stocking up on a multitude of supplies and equipment like you would in a traditional commercial kitchen. This means a food truck chef is forever discerning of every item that makes it on the truck; every single kitchen tool on your truck must be accounted for and assessed for its overall usefulness, down to the last stainless steel tong and griddle scraper, like these highly popular ones from Vollrath.

It all starts with a menu

Due to space limitations, food truck operators should first consider the food. Your menu will dictate the tools you’ll need to execute the dishes. Interested in dishing up fried favorites like sweet potato fries? Or maybe you’re ready to serve the finest Cuban sandwich around a la Jon Favreu’s “El Jefe” character in “Chef”. When crafting your menu, consider the prep time involved and how easy it is to execute on the truck with limited resources. Some trucks offer a variety of items while others focus on 5 or less seasonal favorites.

Whatever you decide to specialize in, remember to keep it simple to execute. And be sure to equip your mobile kitchen with the fryers, Panini grills, and other equipment you’ll need to create outstanding dishes in record time.

The food is where it all started for Verde, a local food truck favorite who just opened their first brick-and-mortar 8 months ago. “We wanted to bring good Mexican food to Colorado,” says Verde chef and owner John Michael Sethney, originally from Arizona. “We have a scratch kitchen and try to make everything in-house including our salsa, guac, corn tortillas and meats. Our meats are all slow-braised 12-14 hours overnight.” The low and slow approach works for Verde, who can serve up to 100 entrees in an hour during a rush.

Since the winter of 2010, Verde has operated its food truck around the expansive Northern Colorado region. From servicing large events like the Summer Concert Series in Denver to catered events like weddings, parties and neighborhood events, Verde still maintains a regular day-to-day lunch service around the Boulder, CO area; at Tundra Restaurant Supply we’re lucky enough to be located near one of their regular stops.

Verde Food Truck in Boulder, Colorado

Verde Food Truck | © Natalie Fauble

Verde Food Truck in Boulder

Verde owners KAC Slager, John Michael Sethney, TJ Ingraham and Chris Ingraham | © Verde Photo

Proper execution is paramount

So you know what you want to cook, but what tools do you need? Here’s a quick checklist supplies and equipment you’ll want for your truck:

  • Cooking tools (we like the quality and durability of these tools from Vollrath) –  spatulas, chef knife, spoons, tongs
  • Prep bowls
  • Food storage products – think foil, saran wrap, plastic bags
  • Food-safe handling gloves
  • Dishes and utensils – try compostable products for a eco-friendly alternative
  • Cleaning products – trash bags, degreasing products, dish soap, etc.

And big ticket items like equipment? Stick to the essentials.

Verde’s menu consists of traditional Mexican favorites like burritos, tacos and quesadillas which are easy to execute with a good griddle and steam table. “We have an oven, but we rarely use it because it can get pretty hot in the truck,” says Sethney. “Since we slow-braise our meats, our steam table pans are great for keeping meats warm and ready to serve.”  Next to quality, speed is crucial when it comes to food trucks. Lines can build up quickly, and customers expect their food quickly and just as tasty as the first time they ordered it.

Once you perfect your menu, you’ll find a standout dish or two that’s really your call to fame. In Verde’s case, it’s their signature California burrito. Made with carne asada, home style potatoes, cheese and guacamole, the California burrito is one of their most popular dishes. As your food truck grows in popularity, having a signature menu item will help differentiate yourself from other local operations.

Above all, operating a food truck takes passion. Working in small, hot kitchens require discipline—and the job certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Just remember to love what you do, and do what you love.

If you’re in the Boulder area, be sure to visit Verde at their restaurant located at 3070 28th St (Unit B), or check them out on Facebook and Twitter (@VerdeFoodTruck) to find out where the truck is. Interested in their catering options? Check out their website for more catering details »

Continue Reading

Should Restaurants Cater to New Parents?

As a new parent myself, I’m familiar with the fiercely debated stories of patrons changing dirty diapers on dining tables; the reason for this, as most parents insist, is because the restaurant neglected to install a diaper changing station in the restroom. Of course, this quickly turns into a debate on whether or not it’s the restaurant’s responsibility to supply a changing table in the restroom.

Regardless of which side of the fence you reside, I think most agree that given another option, a parent would choose not to change their child on a dining table.

So the question is, “Is it the restaurant’s responsibility to be kid-friendly?”

QSR magazine recently highlighted new parents as an overlooked demographic through the Hartman Group’s recent findings; new parents are described as being not only “more purposeful in making healthy food choices,” but they are “also looking at restaurants from a different angle: one in which they must consider the logistics of dinging out in a new way.”

The author and her daughter.

The author and her daughter.

Recently we featured the pros and cons of having a diaper changing table in your restaurant, and many of these points still hold true. As a parent who has changed her baby both in the car and on awkward side tables in the restroom (you do what you gotta do), I appreciate having a changing table accessible. Though I never considered accommodating a specific child’s needs to be a restaurant’s responsibility per se (because let’s be honest, kiddos need a lot), it does impact my decision for repeat visits. For example, when planning a family dinner out with a large group, I’ll probably pick a place which has changing facilities because it makes my life just a little easier.

Where there is need, there is opportunity: restaurants can make small changes that could translate into return visits and even more loyal customers. I’m not even talking about loading up on crayons and butcher paper-lined tablecloths, but rather, small discreet accommodations that most diners probably wouldn’t even notice:

Install Changing Tables
In my own personal experience, one of the first things I do at any new dining establishment is to pop into the restroom and assess the changing facilities. It’s all about planning after all, and if I need to get creative with changing my baby at some point during the meal, I prefer to be prepared. For example, the car might not be an option if we parked several blocks away, or if there’s inclement weather—and under no circumstances is the bathroom floor ever an option.

While I don’t necessarily expect a changing table in the restroom, I absolutely appreciate one in place. My husband and I often enjoyed dining out for two, and that hasn’t changed since the little one’s arrival (except now our reservation is a table for three). And with newer, stylish options like this Koala Baby Changing Station with stainless steel veneer, you don’t have to compromise style with function.

Set Aside a Table or Two with More Room
My husband and I have dined at several places where two tops (one side is a booth, the other are chairs) are stretched along a wall, and the tables were pretty much right on top of each other. In these situations, I found it difficult to shimmy myself between two tables just to make it to the booth—and don’t even think about any bathroom break during dinner. Not only that, try maintaining a consistent conversation string when you’re so close to your neighbor you can hear them chew.

If you find diners struggling to get in and out of your seats on date night, consider diners with children or even those with special needs. Children not only come with lots of gear (diaper bag, snacks, carrier and/or stroller), but they also want to grab everything within reach—you’ve seen it before… glassware, plates and utensils pushed to one side of the table while the child gets the most elbow room of everyone.

Try giving extra room to a couple tables for diners who are unable to make the tight squeeze to their seat. You’ll be pleasing more diners than just the new parents.

This should already be on your inventory list, but I have encountered some newer farm-to-table like venues who opt to go straw-less. Saving the environment is noble and I do commend it, but even a paper straw kept on hand for requests is helpful for children who have yet mastered the art of drinking from a glass. Not only will you save a (potentially) big mess, but the parents will thank you for making their lives much easier. Bonus: have a few kid cups with lids (or try these Disposable tumbler lids from Cambro that’ll transform your existing drinkware into kid cups) and those parents will be over the moon.

Above and beyond – the outdoor space
Here in Colorado, we experience a range in temperatures—from the high highs of 100 degrees (but it’s a dry heat), to the low lows of 0 degrees. Still, when one local restaurant transformed the old parking lot into an astroturf play area, parents were thrilled.


Lucky Pie, located in Louisville CO features an astroturf area where kids can move around and guests can sit to enjoy their ice cream from Sweet Cow located next door.

Why? Instead of waiting in the tight entryway for a table during peak times, kids could stretch their legs and release some energy while parents could put their feet up. Lucky Pie in Louisville, CO utilized the new space to showcase their raised bed gardens (you can only order a margherita pizza when the tomatoes are in season) and filled the area with ample seating.This space is great for all people (not just families) as a way to spend those moments waiting for a table that much better.

What tips do you have to accommodate different diners?

Continue Reading

Food Allergies Aren’t Going Away


As many as 15 million people in the USA (and 17 million Europeans) have some kind of food allergy.

As a restaurant owner, it’s crucial that your kitchen and staff have a process in place to indicate safe food-handling instructions for diners with food allergies. States like Massachusetts and Rhode Island require restaurants to display a food allergy awareness poster featuring the eight most common food allergies (developed by FARE) to protect diners.

But a poster is just the beginning. Many restaurants are requiring additional employee training that instructs staff how to handle customers with food allergies; everything from food preparation (and which utensils are used) to where ingredients are stored are crucial to preventing cross-contamination and keeping diners safe.

Types of food allergies

Most likely you’re familiar with these eight common types of food allergies:

  1. Milk allergy
  2. Egg allergy
  3. Wheat allergy
  4. Peanut allergy
  5. Tree nut allergy
  6. Fish allergy
  7. Shellfish allergy
  8. Soy allergy

Diners suffering from these allergies are typically able to find a menu-substitute to meet their needs, but if you’re fond of butter and cream-based sauces, be cognizant of a substitution for those with a dairy allergy.

Also be wary of cross-contamination, particularly for those with nut-based allergies like tree nuts and peanuts (yes, two different allergies). Nuts may emit a fine powder that could affect other ingredients in your pantry, so take care with their storage. Also clearly denote (and inform staff) which salad dressings might contain nuts (like cashew powder)—salad dressings are a hidden culprit as many diners don’t consider nuts are in them!

What is the difference between a food allergy versus a food intolerance?
A food allergy causes an immune system reaction that may affect various parts of the body and range from mild to severe or life-threatening. A food intolerance, however, tends to be less serious and instead affects your body’s digestive system.

‘Gluten-free’ has become marketing buzzword that’s put on everything from specialized pastas to homemade polish-style latkes at your local farmer’s market. Still unsure of what gluten actually is? Don’t fret, you’re not alone:

Gluten is in fact a protein found in wheat and related grains (like barley and rye). It’s what gives your pasta and bread dough elasticity and shape. Most diners who opt for gluten-free options are either gluten intolerant, or suffer from Celiac disease, an immune reaction to eating the protein gluten. In fact, a new study shows that nearly two million Americans have celiac disease, making it four times more common now than it was 50 years ago.


How do you prepare for diners with allergies or a food intolerance? Do you have a special menu or are you prepared to customize your offerings?

Shop Tundra Restaurant Supply’s line of allergen-safe purpled-designated kitchen products »

Continue Reading

Chefs Creatively Tackle California’s Drought Laws

When Mother’s Day looks like this in your state…


4 inches of snowfall on May 10th in Louisville, Colorado.

…it’s hard to imagine other parts of the country are facing the most severe droughts on record. California is entering its 4th year of drought, which has depleted snowpacks, rivers, and lakes. Last Tuesday, May 5th, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted an emergency regulation requiring an immediate 25% reduction in overall potable urban water use; that 25% is anticipated to save more than 1.2 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months.

The National Restaurant Association reports that quickservice restaurants consume 500 to 1,500 gallons of water a day, with full-service restaurants clocking in at an astonishing 5,000 gallons. Water conservation should be a priority for your restaurant, whether or not you’re located in an area with government-imposed sanctions. Why? Because issues concerning water and other valuable resources affect the industry as a whole, so it’s good to plan ahead and utilize best practices now. Here are a few ways that you can start practicing water conservation (from The National Restaurant Association).

Conserve water now:

  • Serve water to guests upon request
    How often are you dumping out an entire glass of water simply because a guest left it behind and you need a fresh product for the next party? Those 16oz add up quick over a shift.
  • Run dishwashers only when full
    Seems like common sense, but wait to wash those dishes until you can’t even fit a spoon in there.

Long-term investment: Energy Star-rated equipment
Next time you need to replace your refrigerator, dishwasher, combi ovens or other equipment, make sure it’s Energy-related. Energy-efficient equipment can save you thousands of dollars a year.

You can also get creative
As reported by Eater, California chef John Cox, executive chef of Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn, got creative in his water efficiency—he replaced his restaurant’s dish sprayer with an air compressor. “Sierra Mar uses approximately 3,500 gallons of water per day,” Cox says. He continues on his Facebook page, “One of the single largest uses is for spraying off dirty pans and dishes before loading them into the dish machine. That spray handle uses close to 1,000 gallons of water per day.”

The air compressor reduces the sprayer use to 80%, or saves nearly 800 gallons of water a day.

The video, which he shared on his Facebook page, is an appeal to other restaurants to follow suit as an easy way to conserve water.


For more information on how to set up your own “Kitchen Compressor Hack” visit Chef Cox’s blog here »

Is water conservation a priority at your restaurant? What are ways you conserve water in your kitchen?

Continue Reading

Should Restaurants be Required to Have Changing Tables in the Men’s Restroom?

Where to Change the Stinky Diaper?

California recently tried to pass two bills that required businesses to have diaper changing tables in both restrooms – men’s and women’s. The bills were both vetoed, as the California Governor, Jerry Brown, felt that the decision to have diaper changing tables should be left up to the business owner(s).

Even with a veto, these bills do raise questions on the requirements of diaper changing tables in the men’s room in private businesses, especially family-friendly restaurants. I’ll let you give us your own thoughts in the comments below, but here are a few reasons why we think you should have changing tables and a few reasons why we understand you don’t.

Why You Should Have Diaper Changing Tables

  1. It’s only fair to have a changing station available for both parents.
  2. Because some people are totally fine with changing diapers at your restaurant dining area tables.
  3. If you are a family-friendly establishment, your parent patrons are expecting to see a diaper changing table – yes, even in the men’s room. Seriously, someone already made a site to help parents find changing-table-friendly-restaurants.
  4. They’re really not that expensive.
  5. Koala makes stylish models to fit your decor.
  6. Some areas have very extreme temperatures that make it difficult to change a baby in the car. Having a spot to safely change the baby makes for happy parents.

Why You Don’t Have Diaper Changing Tables

  1. Traditionally, there aren’t diaper changing tables in the men’s room. How have dads been changing diapers up until now? No reason to break something that isn’t broken.
  2. Because some people like to try to sit on the changing table, thus breaking them. You’ve already replaced them 4 times and now you’re taking a stand.
  3. They’re ugly/they don’t go with the decor.
  4. They’re gross – these things are nastier than the toilet seats!
  5. It’s not a requirement; it’s a courtesy.
  6. There are potential liability issues.

Tell us what you think about diaper changing tables being required in a restaurant.

Continue Reading

How to Clean Pizza Pans

Scrubbing Hard to Clean Pan

Pizza pans are a great investment, especially when you know they’ll last you years to come; that is, if you know how to take care of them. Overtime, they start to get grease build-up (that thick brown layer) and become sticky or tacky to the touch. This is actually a polymerizing process of the oils – a varnishing, if you will. But alas, those pans aren’t destined for the garbage – just add a little elbow grease and time to get them back to new again! Here are a few suggestions from our friends at American Metalcraft for getting those pizza pans back in working order.

Method #1

What You Need

Get to Cleaning

  1. Start by boiling a gallon of water with 2 cups of vinegar. If you can fit more than a gallon of water in your sink, just remember that you’ll need 2 cups of vinegar to every gallon of water.
  2. Once it reaches a boil, pour the boiling water and vinegar into a large, plugged sink.
  3. Add your pizza pans to the sink. If your sink is too small to fit the entire pan, just rotate it a few times as it soaks.
  4. When the water cools down to the point you can stick your hands in it, go ahead and sprinkle the pan with baking soda and scrub with a scouring pad until it comes clean.
  5. Clean the pan as you normally would – soap and water – then rinse.
  6. Re-season the pan with vegetable oil.

Method #2

What You Need

Get to Cleaning

Carbon-Off is for tough, stuck-on stains, and works to dissolve grease and carbon build-up.

  1. Spray the pizza pans with Carbon-Off.
  2. Let them soak for 5 minutes.
  3. With the scouring pad, start scrubbing the pans until all of the build-up starts coming off.
  4. Clean the pans as you normally would.
  5. Re-season the pans with vegetable oil.
Continue Reading

New Payment Technology: What You Need To Know

Apple Pay

Recent data, compiled by Statista, estimates there were more than 153,000 quick service restaurant franchise establishments actively operating in the United States in 2013. In an era of such steep competition, serving great food isn’t enough to attract or retain customers. To build customer loyalty and consistent purchase patterns, food service businesses must cater to the entire customer experience, including accommodating the latest payment technology. Here’s a look at recent evolutions in payment technology, and how they’re changing the way customers want to be served by restaurants.

Mobile payment options at the point of sale. An estimated 58 percent of the American population now has a smartphone, and the masses are quickly becoming accustomed to on-demand, nearly instant results. By plugging a dongle (small device that a payment processor provides) into the jack of a smartphone or mobile device, for example, wait staff can quickly swipe a customer’s credit, debit, or gift card to complete a secure transaction tableside or while they wait in line to pick up an order.

Self-serve mobile payment. Mobile devices empower consumers to “self-serve” in a way that meets their needs at any given time and in any context. Their expectations of the same type of control are seeping into their restaurant experience too. Data compiled by Statista reveals that 43 percent of consumers’ ages 18 to 34 have used a smartphone to pay for a meal. Thanks to advances in near field communications (NFC) technology, the idea of waiting in a checkout line, or even interacting with a person at the cash register to pay, will soon be extinct. For example, Subway recently introduced its Softcard app, which uses NFC technology to allow Subway customers to “tap” their mobile device in the restaurant to complete payment while they wait for their sandwich to be prepared. To incentivize use, Subway is offering consumers a small discount on their purchase when they use the app to pay, and soon, plans to incorporate its rewards program into the app for easy redemption.

Apple Pay. It’s only been a month since Apple Pay was announced to the public, but thanks to partnerships with leading restaurant brands (including Subway and McDonald’s), it’s likely to impact the food service industry and consumer expectations of the payment technology restaurants use. Unlike mobile wallets of the past (like Google Wallet), Apple Pay combines partnerships with credit card issuers, financial institutions, retailers and restaurant brands in tandem with NFC-enabled communication to provide enhanced data security. Sensitive credit card data isn’t transmitted or stored on a consumer’s mobile device, the restaurant’s servers, or Apple’s. Consumers complete purchases on Apple Pay (set to release in late October) by holding the device near an NFC-enabled card reader, and using their fingertip to authenticate.

Branded apps. A 2013 study conducted by The National Restaurant Association revealed that 46 percent of consumers surveyed say they would use a restaurant’s app to place an order and pay, if the option was available to them. Thanks to food service industry leaders like Starbucks, which reports that 14 percent of its transactions now take place with its mobile app, consumers are increasingly familiar with using branded apps to order, redeem and earn rewards, and pay directly from a mobile device while in a restaurant.

The key to branded app success? Convenience. With Starbucks app, for example, consumers can manage and replenish available funds from a smartphone, and using a bar code, baristas scan the device to accept payments at the point of sale. The company recently added the ability to tip hours after the transaction and to “shake” the app to quickly find the card the customer wants to use for payment.

Continue Reading

Cleaning Behind Heavy-Duty Restaurant Equipment

Restaurant Kitchen & Heavy Duty Equipment

I’ve watched too many TV shows on restaurants that fail to clean under their heavy duty equipment, that it seemed fitting to write a post on exactly how easy it is to clean in a place that may seem hard to reach. Not only is it absolutely disgusting to ignore cleaning underneath and behind kitchen equipment, it violates health laws. Working with our friends from Dormont, here’s a list of how to move that heavy equipment out of the way for easy cleaning.

Moving Equipment for Cleaning

  1. Before moving anything, make sure the equipment is powered off.
  2. Your equipment should have casters or Stoveshoes, either of which will easily help move the equipment away from the wall. Stop the equipment when the cables (electric, gas, etc.) become taut.
  3. Reach behind the equipment and unplug the electricity cord.
  4. You’ll also want to shut off the gas supply at this point. The valve can be found on the main gas line. The valve needs to be turned to the off position.
  5. To disconnect the gas line, pull back the sleeve of the quick-disconnect coupling (on Dormont lines). Take care with the coupling and electrical cord, as dropping it on the floor could cause damage to these parts.
  6. Detach the restraining cable – the cable that prevents the equipment from rolling or being pulled too far away from the wall.
  7. At this point the equipment should be disconnected from the wall and can easily be moved out of the way, which makes cleaning a bit easier. Don’t forget about the wall while cleaning – it needs to get scrubbed too.
  8. When cleaning, make sure that no cleaners or detergents get into the electrical outlet, gas line (coupler), or the quick-disconnect coupling.

Reattaching Equipment After Cleaning

  1. Make sure none of the lines you are reattaching are kinked. If they are, simply untwist them.
  2. Reattach the restraining cable.
  3. Reattach the quick-disconnect coupling by inserting the plug end into the coupler.
  4. Turn the gas valve back to on.
  5. Re-plugin the electrical cord.
  6. Carefully push the equipment back into place, making sure one of the cords get twisted up and they aren’t being run over by the equipment.
  7. Light the pilot, if need be, and turn the equipment back on.
Shop Dormont
Continue Reading

6 Tips on Boosting Your Restaurants Most Profitable Items on the Menu

Server at Restaurant

Profit margins are notoriously slim in the restaurant world, but boosting the volume of drinks and desserts you sell can be one of the simplest ways to generate more profit from every customer served. Here are six simple ways to sell more of the items that stand to put the most cash back into your restaurant.

1. Package your meals appropriately.

Offering some meals in a prix fixe format can be a symbiotic tactic you can leverage to sell your most profitable items in a way that feels like a value to the customer. Additionally, custom menus encourage diners to try profitable items that they love, but wouldn’t typically consider without the “package” deal, including a specialty cocktail, dessert or dessert wine.

2. Redesign your menu.

Effective menu design is an art and science; the images and layout you use to “tell a story” while guiding the diner’s eye where you most want it to go is a key piece to selling more of the items you want. Because the upper right corner of the menu is generally where the eye travels first, your most profitable items should be featured there. If you can avoid indicating prices (or at best, can minimize the level of attention they get on the menu), you also stand the best chance of convincing customers based on imagery and language, versus price alone.

3. Tweak your language.

Revamping the language you use to relevantly appeal to your customer’s motivations, needs, and desires can have a significant impact on your ability to sell profitable items. In fact, Brian Wansink, professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University estimates that using descriptive terms on your menu can boost sales by as much as 27 percent. Likewise, training wait staff to approach profitable items as a sales-oriented conversation versus a closed-ended question (“Do you want to hear our specials?”) can change the outcome of the order, too.

4. Give a complimentary “introducer.”

Boosting your profits by offering free food may seem counter-intuitive, but when you offer complimentary items like freshly baked bread, chips, or olives, they ideally make people want to order something even more profitable as an accompaniment. You establish a “win-win,” e.g. tasty basket of chips and salsa presented alongside your mouth-watering margarita menu can act as a natural food pairing.

5. Make the customer feel valued.

Free food on the table doesn’t just appease a hungry customer, it can make them willing to order at a certain threshold at your restaurant in exchange for your generosity — especially if the “freebie” is perceived as high quality. In a Freakonomics podcast about free appetizers, Cornell University professor Michael Lynn supported that theory, stating that “by giving away free items you’re increasing the appeal of what you have to offer to the public.”

6. Create a feeling of celebration.

Wansink also explains in the Freakonomics podcast that diners have different mental scripts based on the dining occasion, and will typically “perform” appropriate to that script and corresponding “consumption norms.” For example, because desserts and drinks typically accompany special occasions and celebrations, a diner who may not typically order dessert may do just that when the meal is for a special occasion, simply due to social norms. You can boost the likelihood that diners consider your profitable drinks and desserts by leveraging celebrations to your advantage. Train servers to ask if a special occasion brings diners in, and suggestively sell based on that response. (For example, a recently engaged couple will likely respond to champagne, while a couple who just found out they’re having a baby girl will likely respond to the opportunity to indulge in cake with pink icing.) In addition, you can create a lively and celebratory atmosphere supported by appropriate music, scents and sounds that generally make diners feel like they want to stay longer for dessert and drinks.

There may be limits to the prices you can negotiate with your suppliers, or the price you can command for various items from customers without hurting demand, but there are many small yet mighty tactics restaurant owners can leverage to drive profitable drink and dessert sales. With the collective impact of these small changes, you can have a significant impact on your bottom line, and the brand image you form for your restaurant in the customer’s mind.

Continue Reading