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Mechanical and Digital Scales [Buying Guide]

mechanical-kitchen-scaleThere are several types of kitchen scales you could purchase for your kitchen (around 10 or so, to be exact). Other than their obvious purpose of calculating the weight of an object, some scales are designed for specific business purposes; for example, a baker’s dough scale is used by baking professionals to measure dough, or the lesser-known keg scales help you track how many drinks were poured at the bar over the course of an evening.

If you haven’t used scales in your kitchen before, consider this: one of the leading causes of food cost variances is poor portion control. If you prep or line cooks are in the habit of “eyeballing” measures, you could see a variance of 5% or more. Beyond measuring baking ingredients for the perfect cake, you can use a kitchen scale to portion out steaks, measure pasta, or weigh a pizza pepperoni by pepperoni to ensure the appropriate amount of product is headed to diner’s plates.

In the new buying guide from Tundra Restaurant Supply, you’ll learn about the types of kitchen scales on the market, whether a digital or mechanical scale is best for you, and other scale features you may not have considered initially in your purchase decision (like a tare feature, air dashpot, or even being dishwasher safe).

Click here to check out the Mechanical and Digital Scales Buying Guide »

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An Easy Way to Get Kids (and Adults) to Eat Their Veggies

As a parent, getting your child to eat nutritious vegetables is sometimes a challenge. It’s a shame really, considering the gorgeous produce have access to during summer’s farmer’s markets. That said, it’s typically a texture issue, not a flavor issue, when it comes to veggie disgust.

You can work with texture.

sofritoIn my family we often make a cuban sofrito, which consisted of a bell pepper and an onion blended in a food processor or food blender, like this one from Hamilton Beach. Sofrito is used often in Spanish and Latin cuisine, and can include tomatoes, garlic, paprika—basically anything. The great thing about sofrito is that you can add it to a myriad of dishes, like burgers or pasta sauces, to add flavor and nutrients that hungry mouths might not have otherwise.

Here are some easy instructions to make sofrito at home:

  1. Quarter an onion and a bell pepper and place in your food processor attached with the blade.
  2. Pulse or chop until the mixture becomes a fine consistency or mush.
  3. You can refrigerate the sofrito for up to a week, or freeze up to 3 months.

Note: The sofrito will be quite watery (onions have a lot of moisture), so use a slotted spoon to minimize the moisture when adding to burgers. If you’re adding to a soup or pasta sauce, don’t worry about this step as the moisture will evaporate out during the cooking process.

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Harvest Lettuce from Your Vegetable Garden

lettuce-harvest-gardenFew things beat the taste of fresh lettuce you just harvested from your vegetable garden. Depending on which type of lettuce you planted this year, you can start picking leaves at just about any size. For other varieties, such as Bibb lettuce, you’ll want to wait until the lettuce is full size in diameter (around 6 to 8 inches)—waiting longer results in matured lettuce that tastes slightly bitter or earthy.

  1. Harvest
    You can either pick leaves from the outside of your head of lettuce, or cut the entire head off at the base. If you choose the latter, you should note that the second growth of your lettuce leaves will be different in color and texture that may not be as delicate as your first harvest.
  1. Wash
    Depending on how much lettuce you’re harvesting, you’ll want a sizeable bucket of cold water to plunge the leaves into. This helps thoroughly clean the leaves from dirt and perk up any wilted greens from the hot summer sun.
  1. Dry
    A salad spinner like one this one from Dynamic, is a great investment to wick away excess water and moisture on your delicate leaves. You’ll want to pick a salad spinner with a large enough capacity for your needs and a well-made, heavy-duty handle to ensure it stays in working order.
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Product Spotlight: Baking Brushes

Brush an egg wash on your rolls prior to baking for a golden, shiny exterior.

Brush an egg wash on your rolls prior to baking for a golden, shiny exterior.

When I moved out of my childhood home, one of the first things my mother bought me was a baking brush (like this one from Carlisle)—not surprising of course, since she is a baker herself and once owned a bakery in Miami, Florida called Afternoon Tea. A baking brush, also referred to as a pastry brush, is primarily used for spreading butter, a glaze, or an egg wash on food. For example, brushing an egg wash* over the top of bread dough yields a shiny, golden and crispy exterior (while still maintaining that moist, chewy interior we love about fresh bread).

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Traditional baking brushes have natural or nylon bristles, while newer models are opting for silicone bristles.

Traditional pastry brush bristles are made from either natural or plastic/nylon, while more modern adaptions include silicone brushes. Both types of brushes perform equally well, though you may find a traditional pastry brush offers a smoother, more complete coating whereas larger gaps occur with silicone bristles. Traditional brushes do run the risk of losing bristles over time (similar to a paint brush), so be sure to inspect your food carefully.

Try brushing an egg wash on your next batch of dinner rolls for extra color and flavor.

*an egg wash is a lightly beaten egg mixed with either 1 tablespoon of milk or water

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Volunteering with Growe Foundation

At Tundra Restaurant Supply we’re big on supporting our community. We’ve had the opportunity to sponsor fun events like the School Food Project’s Iron Chef Competition for Boulder Valley and the Boulder International Film Festival. Nothing gets us quite as excited though, as getting down and dirty in the vegetable gardens at our local schools.

Enter Growe Foundation, a great local organization committed to tackling the obesity epidemic in our country—the figures are daunting, with nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese (as reported by Let’s Move!). By educating children about the benefits of healthy eating and environmental stewardship, Growe Foundation hopes to create healthier children, schools and communities. To date, Growe Foundation has implemented 19 school gardens in 6 cities across the Front Range in Colorado.

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Growe Foundation’s program features a three-pronged approach:

  • Education- Provide schools with experiential learning programs that enrich education and teach students about food and the environment.
  • Eating- Help children understand the importance of fruits and vegetables and the connection between what they eat and the health of their body.
  • Environment- help children understand how the health of their bodies is linked to the health of the planet.

So far, the Growe Foundation’s program has had a powerful impact on the community. Data collected from their Garden to Table lesson surveys show that the program is fun for students, motivating to teachers, and inspiring to parents. Teachers even enjoy sampling some fresh lettuce for their lunches!

Growe likes to think of gardens as living classrooms, where students plant, harvest and taste the fresh fruits and vegetables of their labor. The gardens also extend past the soil and into the classroom, where children connect academic lessons in geology, ecology, economics, and even math; last Monday at Louisville Elementary, for example, Growe Foundation harvested 96 bags of lettuce, each weighing from .5 to 2 pounds each, for a grand total of 115 pounds of lettuce.

Tundra has a longstanding relationship with Growe Foundation. After meeting our founder, Michael Lewis, 10 years ago at an event in North Boulder, Tundra has donated equipment (like food storage bags and salad spinners) to Growe Foundation, which is used in conjunction with schools for their gardens. Produce grown in the gardens are washed, bagged, and available for sale in the community with the funds directly supporting school programs.

We also like to donate our time during busy harvest and sowing seasons by collecting and washing produce, weeding the garden beds, and tilling the soil in preparation for the next batch of crops.

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Photo courtesy of Growe Foundation

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Photo courtesy of Growe Foundation

Growe Foundation is always looking for more people to join the team and give school gardens some extra love and care. If you’d like to volunteer, please click here for more information.

Interested in starting a Garden to Table Program at your school? Click for more information >>

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The USA is Lead-Free – but is your restaurant?

Check that your faucets are compliant with lead-free laws.

Check that your faucets are compliant with lead-free laws.

Lead exposure is among the most well-documented toxic contaminant today, and health officials have determined that there is no amount of lead exposure that could be considered healthy.

U.S. Senate Bill No. S.3874 modified the Safe Drinking Water Act (amended in 1986) and redefined “lead-free.” Affecting pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures, S. 3874 requires there is no more than .25% lead when used with wetted surfaces of pipes and its fittings and fixtures. Put into effect nearly 18 months ago, S.3874 requires your business to be compliant.

But this national law shouldn’t be a surprise.

The California Assembly bill 1953 (referred to as “AB1953”) was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, and went into effect on January 1, 2010. The new law re-defined the term “lead-free” to mean “not more than a weighted average of .25% lead content in pipe and fittings.” Products that dispense water for human consumption through drinking and cooking must be lead-free; this affects products such as: kitchen facets, bathroom faucets, bar faucets, glass fillers, pot fillers, bubblers, and supply stops (to name a few).

In addition to AB1953, Vermont passed its own Senate Bill S.0152 mandating that all products containing lead must “clearly and conspicuously post a warning at the point of sale, stating that these products contain lead and shall also provide to each buyer prior to sale information on the risks of lead exposure.”

Manufacturers are already updating their product lines to be compliant with these new laws. As more states follow suit with California and Vermont law, you can expect that your restaurant will also need to be lead-free, even if you’re not located in the California or Vermont areas. Check your plumbing fixtures in front of house (bathroom faucets, bar faucets, etc) and back of house (kitchen faucets) to confirm that you’re AB 1953 Compliant.

Purchase S.3874 compliant parts at Tundra Restaurant Supply >>

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Chefs Creatively Tackle California’s Drought Laws

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

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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.

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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?

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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
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Globe Mixer Shopping Guide

Globe Mixer Shopping GuideWhen shopping for new equipment, it can be overwhelming to weed through the differences from one piece to the next, but the good news is that when it comes to shopping for new Globe mixers, we can help make that decision a little easier.

Estimated Price Bowl Quarts Placement Speeds Horsepower Electrical Output Amps
Globe – SP5 Mixer $650 5 Countertop 10 800 watts 115/60/1 4
Globe – SP8 Mixer $1,000 8 Countertop 3 0.25 115/60/1 5
Globe – SP10 Mixer $2,500 10 Countertop 3 0.33 115/60/1 5
Globe – SP20 Mixer $2,800 20 Floor 3 0.5 115/60/1 6
Globe – SP25 Mixer $3,500 25 Floor 3 0.75 115/60/1 11
Globe – SP30 Mixer $4,500 30 Floor 3 1 115/60/1 16
Globe – SP30P Pizza Mixer $5,500 30 Floor 3 1.5 220/60/1 12
Globe – SP40 Mixer $7,800 40 Floor 3 2 220/60/1 & 208/60/3 12 & 7
Globe – SP60 Mixer $10,500 60 Floor 3 3 220/60/1 & 208/60/3 23 & 9
Globe – SP62P Pizza Mixer $12,500 60 Floor 2 3 220/60/1 & 208/60/3 18 & 12
Globe – SP80PL Mixer $15,000 80 Floor 4 3 208/60/3 10

Globe also has a handy mixer selection guide that allows you to pick the perfect mixer based on the type of ingredients you’re mixing together and the average batch weight.

All Globe Mixers Come With

  • Internal gears and shafts built to add longevity to the mixer’s transmission
  • Cast iron body that allows for the mixer to hold up to commercial kitchen use
  • The slide away bowl guard helps save precious kitchen space
  • The interlocked bowl guard and lift adds extra safety precautions
  • A complete mixer package that includes the bowl, beater, hook, whip, timer, and #12 attachment hub
    • 60 and 80 quart units also have a bowl truck included
    • 60 and 80 quart pizza mixer includes a power bowl lift

Shop Globe Mixers

Need more help shopping for a Globe Mixer?  Use our Live Chat feature on our main website or call us at 888-388-6372.

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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.

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