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Tundra: Catering to Caterers’ Needs Nationwide

Tundra: Catering to Caterers’ Needs Nationwide

Whether you specialize in destination weddings, buttoned-up corporate conferences, fast-paced event concessions, high-volume school lunches, or a little of everything, Tundra has what you need to grow your catering business and keep your staff, clients and patrons happy.

Get What You Need—Fast

Our Catering and Buffet Specialty Shop, located at eTundra.com, offers best-in-class parts, equipment and supplies from top brands like American Metalcraft, Cal-Mil and Winco, and provides several handy filters to help you quickly find what you’re looking for and get back to what matters—running your business.

To keep the shopping experience simple and painless, we have several top-level catering and buffet categories to choose from: beverage station, buffet supplies, displays, equipment, serveware, serving utensils, and storage and transport. From there you can drill down into a variety of sub-categories. Or, if you’re more inclined to type than click, just enter your query into the search bar, and we’ll serve up relevant results faster than you can light a can of Sterno.

And since time is a caterer’s most valuable—and scarce—resource, our Catering and Buffet Specialty Shop lets you shop for items that are eligible for Quick Ship, so you get what you need right when you need it, because no one wants to deliver bad news to Bridezilla.

Save Money

Every catering business, no matter the age, size, or specialty, wants to save money. A penny saved is a penny earned, right? To help cost-conscious caterers, Tundra provides competitive pricing, frequent discounts, free shipping on dozens of items, and a low-price guarantee.

Tundra exists to help your catering business thrive and prosper, and we take that commitment seriously. Whether you’re in the market for an $0.90 salad bowl or a $9,000 Refrigerator Transport Cart, we’ll treat you with respect, courtesy and prompt service.

Head Over to Our Catering and Buffet Specialty Shop!

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How to Clean a Commercial Griddle

How to Clean a Commercial Griddle

If you ask 10 professional chefs how to clean a commercial griddle, you’re likely to get 10 different answers.

There are several ways to skin the proverbial cat.

While cleaning methods and materials may differ from chef to chef, the goal is universal: a clean, sanitary griddle that allows for efficient cooking and delicious, unadulterated food.

What You’ll Need

It usually takes 5-10 minutes to properly clean a grill.

Directions

  • While the griddle is hot, pour 1 cup of cooking oil (you can use fryer oil) onto the griddle surface.
  • Scrub the griddle surface with a griddle brick/pumice stone, making small concentric circles—Miyagi style—until the surface is clean.
  • Scrape the oil into the grease trough and discard. Turn the griddle off.
  • Pour (carefully) 1 cup of club soda/seltzer water onto the still-hot griddle. The carbonation helps loosen and lift stubborn grease.
  • Scrub the griddle surface with your griddle brick/pumice stone, making small concentric circles until the surface is clean. Scrape remaining liquid into the trough for discarding.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar onto the griddle surface, spreading liquid out evenly across the entire surface and not allowing the vinegar to pool.
  • Rub the griddle surface with a rag, making small concentric circles until the surface is polished.
  • Scrape the vinegar into your grease trough and discard.
  • Rub the surface with a rag soaked in cooking oil to polish and reseason the steel.
  • Bask in the warm glow of your newly cleaned griddle.

“How Often Should I Clean My Commercial Griddle?”

If your griddle sees heavy daily use, we advise cleaning it daily. This will prevent flavor transfer, efficiency loss and unsightly burnt-oil-flake contamination.

Shop griddle supplies at eTundra.com:

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Street Food 101: Benefits of Starting a Mobile Food Service Business

Street Food 101: Benefits of Starting a Mobile Food Service BusinessThe earliest street food vendors trace back to ancient Greece where small fried fish were first to make the menu. Today, a new generation of street food enthusiasts are lining up at food trucks. Affordability and flexibility are just a few benefits of starting a mobile food service business. If you happen to be an entrepreneurial spirit a food truck business could be the perfect fit.

Professionally trained chefs and home chefs alike can open a food truck for much less than a traditional restaurant operation. Ask existing food truck owners and they’ll tell you there is no set formula for determining how much it will cost to start a food truck business. However, research has shown that the medium price for starting a mobile food business runs anywhere from $75,000-$100,000 (this depends on location and state). This price includes essentials like the truck, permits, licenses, kitchen equipment and supplies, marketing and promotional needs, disposables, food ingredients and payroll.

Food service experts suggest the increased interest and revenue from the food truck business is largely associated with a slowed economy. People are seeking affordable lunches, breakfasts and snacks. Not to mention the convenience; food trucks quickly serve up hot, healthy meals.

Mobile food service businesses typically have lower overhead and require fewer employees than restaurants and can easily be moved from one location to another if one location does not generate enough revenue. These key points make starting a mobile food truck business great for someone who is entrepreneurial.

Before deciding on what types of food you will sell it’s always a good idea to develop a budget and business plan. A few things to think about:Street Food 101: Benefits of Starting a Mobile Food Service Business

  • Startup financing
  • Time commitment: full or part time
  • What are your ideas? How will you carry them out?
  • Who do you envision as your customers?
  • How will you get to your customers?
  • Finally…what type of cuisine will you serve?

Food trucks can be found across the country in a variety of flavors from grilled cheese and cookie trucks to tacos and pizza trucks, mobile food trucks are a viable food service business that is expected to have huge growth over the next few years.

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Serving: Common Wrong-Ways of Doing Common Things

Sometimes in life, the experience we gain, the repetitions we perform, can create a false feeling of perfection. The more times we perform a task without complication, the more we tend to believe that we are performing it perfectly.  This isn’t always the case.

A false feeling of perfection is something I have witnessed many times in the restaurant industry.  It seems that once servers get comfortable with their environment, they stop considering their actions.  As professional servers and managers, we must always strive to be better, to learn more, to hone our craft and to question our processes. When working with the same group of people, who have the same mentality and knowledge as ourselves, there is no one amongst us to correct us, to improve us or to guide us; we must rely on ourselves.

Below is a list of common wrong-ways of doing common things.  Do you do any of these?  What could you change tonight that could make you even better at your job?Serving: Common Wrong Ways of Doing Common Things

1.  Handle stem-ware from the stem not the globe.  Holding glasses from the base is what your customer can do, not you.  Keep the glass clean and free of smudges for as long as it is in your possession.

2.  When clearing glasses from a table DO NOT GRAB FROM THE RIM.  Palm the glasses in your hand or use a serving tray.  When you grab glasses from the top you are touching lots of people’s lips and spit…yuck.

3.  When you go to your table, return to the same spot every time.  People are creatures of habit.  Create a fast habit for your table and train them to notice you by being consistent.

4.  Seams down, seams in on all things linen. It’s a small thing but it creates a polished look that lets customers know that attention to detail is important to you.  That can create trust in the server/customer relationship.

5.  Do not carry your check presenter in your butt.  Some people do this and those people shouldn’t.

6.  Do not carry your serviette over your shoulder.  Your serviette should never be near your hair. Carry the serviette in your hand and pocket it when not in use.

7.  Do not point in the dining room.  Pointing is rude, you were taught that when you were little.  That rule applies in the dining room as well.  A flat hand or pointed fist is how you should show direction.

8.  Don’t call a female guest “Mam” or “Hun”.  Mams & Huns hate that!  Call them Miss.

9.  Don’t stand akimbo at a table (hands at hips).  Don’t stand with your hands in your pocket.  Stand with your arms at your side, clasped in front of you or clasped behind you.  This shows attention without showing a casual or over-familiar attitude.

10.  Present food open handed.  What is open handed?  If you could immediately and easily hug your customer after you set down their food that is open handed.  If when you set down their food Serving: Common Wrong Ways of Doing Common Thingsyou could immediately and easily elbow them in the face, it’s not.

11.  Do not auction food.  Unless you work at Denny’s, Denny’s servers have a free pass. If you don’t work at Denny’s, know who ordered what before you get to the table.

12.  Don’t tell a guest how you are unless you are doing good.  If they say “how are you?” DO NOT tell them ANYTHING negative.  A customer should never have to hear that your house burned down, you’re tired or you’re having a bad night. When they ask how you are, treat it as a nicety and nicely reply.

13.  Don’t touch your face in front of guests.

14.  Don’t touch your hair in front of guests.

15.  Don’t interrupt your guest’s conversation.  If they are in conversation, go to your “speaking spot” at the table, count to five, if they don’t give you attention then walk away and try back in a few minutes.  Do this as many times as it takes.

16.  When asking permission to remove dinnerware from someone, do not ask the guest if they are “still working” on their meal.  Remember, dining on the food that your restaurant serves is not work.  Instead, ask if they are finished “enjoying” their meal.

17.  When bussing a table, don’t stack plates on top of food or silverware.  There is a correct way of stacking plates.  Hold one plate in your hand, this plate is for silverware, share plates, bread plates and food scraps.  Place the next plate on your forearm, balancing it.  From that position add more plates to the plate nearest you and the food scraps, silverware and small plates to the plate in your hand.  When you have stacked all you can, put the plate from your hand on the top of the plate stack nearest you.   You are left with a nice, neat, manageable stack of plates.

18.  When presenting plates to guests you should not have your thumb on the plate.  Carry with the meat of your thumb/palm as much as possible.

Serving: Common Wrong Ways of Doing Common Things

19.  When possible, remove from the right; deliver from the left…unless it is soup.  Soup is delivered or poured from the right.

20.  Do you follow a set direction on the floor?  Developing a traffic map will make service more seamless and less clumsy.

21.  When presenting a bottle of wine for a table, remember to place the cork on something, never just place it on the table. Your goal is to keep the table free of clutter and clean, not add to its messiness.

22.  Do you leave the cork on the table?  You shouldn’t…unless they want to keep it, so always ask. The idea here is table maintenance.  One of your constant goals is keeping the table free of clutter, mess or debris.  An unwanted cork on the table is a mess, clutter and debris.

 

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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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Followerwonk: Why it’s Great For Your Restaurant

Followerwonk is like a pet gopher. This mega tool digs deep into your Twitter data and reveals everything you could ever care to know about your Twitter world. Use it to track your follower gains and losses, compare Twitter accounts, do global searches in Twitter bios, and analyze any account’s followers! Soon enough, this tool will be able to make you hot cocoa and crumb cake because it pretty much does everything!

Do you want to search Twitter bios to target and connect with anyone?

Followerwonk has a unique bio search function that allows you to find potential new customers, friends, talent or even competition. Let’s try a search!

Let’s say I am opening a new Vegan restaurant in Denver, Co. I want to see if I can reach out to Denver based Vegans so I’m going to click “more options” to get a location based search field.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

Voila!

Now you can sort the list by criteria such as tweets, following, or followers. This is a good way for restaurants to find customers, future employees and content developers within a specific niche. Then you can start an outreach campaign!

How to Compare Twitter Users:

Compare Twitter users to see whose followers or followed accounts overlap. Use this to see if you are missing any customers in your niche. You can also use the overlapping metrics to see how you stack up against influencers in your business. Let’s search!

When doing a search you will need to compare at least two Twitter users. You can look at either who they follow or their followers. When the results load you will see a breakdown of their followers/followed and an awesome bubble graph.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

 

From here you can click on any of the categories to get a report of shared followers or unique followers. You can also click “follow” next to users that you are not currently following. Make sure to pay close attention to to the influence, tweets, followers and following sort options to ensure you are not following spammers or nonactive accounts.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

The bar graphs at the bottom of the page help you see things like influence and activity on Twitter. It’s a great way to see how competitive your competition really is in the Twittersphere.

How to Analyze Followers:

Analyze any account’s followers/followed to see a treasure chest of data. You can look at metrics on influence, gender, location, languages, and much more. Let’s go!

Type in the Twitter account you want analyze (in this case it’s @NoochVegan) and choose whether you would like to look at followers or who they/you follow. The first thing you will see is a map of the world. This map is interactive and can show you the geotagged locations of your followers/followed. It’s a great way to get an idea of where your audience is hailing from.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

After you track down your followers like James Bond; you can check out a plethora of other metrics displayed on interactive pie charts.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

Each section of this delicious data pie can give you insight into what accounts exist in each range. Just click on the section you want to look at and you will get a comprehensive report of the followers in that data set.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

You can also check out when your followers are most active on Twitter. The graph is based on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), but if you hover over the bars you can see your local time. The last thing that makes my eyeballs spin with radness is the word cloud report.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

Followerwonk also allows you to track gains and losses of your followers. You can see which followers put you on a pedestal and those who drop you like it’s hot by unfollowing you.

Unfortunately Followerwonk can’t pull historical data on your account so you can only see the losses and gains for the time period Followerwonk has been tracking your account.

In a few days after joining you will be able to see your daily followers, gains, losses or days without change.

The Twitter analytics that Followerwonk returns is insane. From searching Twitter bios and comparing users to analyzing and tracking followers you can optimize for social growth in no time. It’s never too late to connect with new influencers in your niche. Followerwonk is such a great tool for restaurants who are on Twitter. If you’re restaurant is not on Twitter yet, well then, that’s a whole other story…

For more on how to use Followerwonk check out this awesome video from SEOMoz – They acquired Followerwonk in August and believe me, they know their stuff!

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Test Strips and Sanitizers: A Complete Buying Guide

Are Test Strips Required, and Why?

Commercial sanitizers and test strips are required by health department regulations, and in Colorado those are the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations.  Why do you need Test Strips and Sanitizers: A Complete Buying Guidethem?  Because test strips tell you if the chemical sanitizing solution is the required concentration.  Section 4-402 reads:

“A test kit or other device that accurately measures the concentration in parts per million (mg/L) of the sanitizing solution shall be available and used.”

What is Sanitization and Why is it Important?

Good questions, and I’m glad you asked!  Here is the definition from Section 1-202:

“Sanitization means the application of cumulative heat or chemicals on cleaned food-contact surfaces that, when evaluated for efficacy, is sufficient to yield a reduction 5 logs, which is equal to a 99.999% reduction, of representative disease microorganisms of public health importance.”

Simply put, if you apply either sufficient heat, or sufficient chemical sanitizer, then nasty microbes that can make you sick are reduced by 99.999%.  That protects you and your customers, and it is important.  The regulations define how much is sufficient, and I discuss that next.

Test Strips and Sanitizers: A Complete Buying Guide

Types of Chemical Sanitizers

The three most common chemical sanitizers are chlorine-based, quaternary ammonia (QA), and iodine- based.  The required concentration ranges are below:

  • Chlorine-based (available chlorine as hypochlorite) | Between 50 ppm and 200 ppm
  • Quaternary ammonia (QA) | Between 100 ppm and 400 ppm
  • Iodine-based (available iodine) | Between 12.5 ppm and 25 ppm

How Do You Use Test Strips and How Often?

Chlorine-based sanitizers:  Dip the strip into the sanitizing solution, then immediately remove and compare to the color chart.  If it reads between 50 ppm and 200 ppm, then the concentration is fine.

Quaternary ammonia (QA) sanitizers:  Dip the strip into the sanitizing solution for 10 seconds, then remove and compare to the color chart.  If it reads between 100 ppm and 400 ppm, then the concentration is fine.

Iodine-based sanitizers:  Dip the strip into the sanitizing solution for 60 seconds, then remove and compare to the color chart.  If it reads between 12.5 ppm and 25 ppm, then the concentration is fine.

If the concentration is either too low or too high, either add sanitizer or dilute as needed in order to achieve the required concentration.Test Strips and Sanitizers: A Complete Buying Guide

How often do you need to check the concentration?  The Colorado regulation does not specify.  But you need to check often enough to ensure the proper concentration at all times.  A minimum of twice a day is my recommendation.

If you have a high temperature dish machine in Colorado, you must provide a minimum temperature of 160 F on the surface of utensils/equipment to ensure that sanitizing has actually occurred.  Since dish machine gauges can be inaccurate, purchase and regularly use hot water test labels.

Fryer oil and pH test strips are not required by the Colorado regulations.

Remember This!

  1. Test chemical sanitizers in all locations.  This includes the buckets for your wiping cloths, the 3-compartment sink, and the low temperature dish machine.
  2. Inspectors will often ask for your test strips and have you test the sanitizing solution, or they will test it themselves. Asking you to provide the strips will show them if you keep them readily available…a manager scrambling to find them is a bad sign!  Secondly, watching you do the test will show them if you know how, so be prepared.
  3. The requirement for test strips is non-critical, and if you violate it, it is marked as an 11C violation on the inspection form. But have the strips, use them, make sure your staff knows how to use them, and keep all your sanitizing solutions at the proper concentration.
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Is Mayhem Knocking at Your Door?

Is Mayhem Knocking at Your Door?

Mother Nature has had quite the attitude this year! From devastating fires and flash floods to hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes, she has been turning communities upside down. Thank heavens you can plan ahead for such tragic events. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have generated some tips to help restaurateurs make food safety part of their preparation efforts. If you have a game plan for when severe weather strikes you can prevent food loss and potential food borne illness in your establishment. Temperature controlled food storage can be difficult during a power outage if your commercial refrigeration loses electricity so make sure to stock up on dry ice, canned food, bottled water and batteries. Below are steps to follow if natural disasters are knocking at your door.

How to prepare for a possible weather emergency:

  • Keep a refrigeration thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer at all times. Refrigerator and freezer thermometers will provide the internal temperature of your refrigeration in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food. Set freezers at 0°F or below and refrigerators as 40°F or below.
  • Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold after power is out.
  • Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you don’t need immediately to help keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Plan ahead and know where you can get dry ice and block ice quickly.
  • Store foods on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
  • Have coolers available to keep refrigerated food cold if power is out for more than 4 hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in freezer for use in refrigerator or cooler. Freeze ice packs and blankets ahead of time to use in coolers.
  • Group food close together in freezer to ensure foods stays cold longer.

Steps to follow during and after a weather emergency:

  • Do not taste any of your food to determine if it is safe!
  • Minimize how often you open your refrigerator and Freezer doors to maintain the internal temperatures as long as possible.
  • A refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep food at the proper temperature for about 48 hours. If it is half full is will keep food cold for 24 hours if the door is not opened.
  • If your food contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below it may be refrozen.
  • Obtain dry ice or block ice to keep your refrigeration as cold as possible if the power goes out for a long period of time. 50 pounds of dry ice should hold an 18 cubic food full freezer for 2 days.Is Mayhem Knocking at Your Door?
  • If the power has been out for several days you will need to check the temperature of the freezer with a refrigerator thermometer of food thermometer. If your food contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below the food is safe.
  • If you do not have a refrigerator thermometer then you will need to check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals it is safe.
  • Throw away or compost refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without electricity.
  • If you are ever in doubt, get rid of the food.

How to determine what food to keep and what to discard:

  • Do not keep or eat anything that may have been in contact with flood water.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof food container if it may have been in contact with flood water. (e.g Containers with screw on tops, snap lids, pull tops, and crimpled covers are not waterproof. Also discard cardboard juice boxes, baby formula boxes and home canned foods in they come in contact with flood water because they cannot be cleaned and sanitized)
  • Inspect canned food and discard anything that looks damaged. (e.g Swelling, leaking, punctures, holes, fractures, rusting and denting represents can damage.)
  • Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented bleach per gallon of clean water.
  • Thoroughly wash countertops with hot water and detergent then rinse with sanitizing solution.

How to remove odors from refrigeration:

  • Get rid of all spoiled food.Is Mayhem Knocking at Your Door?
  • Remove shelves, crispers, and ice trays. Wash thoroughly with hot water and detergent then rinse with sanitizing solution.
  • Wash interior of refrigeration including door and gasket, with hot water and baking soda. Then rinse with sanitizing solution.
  • Leave the door(s) open for 15 minutes to allow free air circulation.

If the odor still remains:

  • Wipe the inside with equal parts of vinegar and water. Vinegar destroys mildew.
  • Stuff refrigeration with rolled newspapers, close the door(s) and leave for several days. Remove paper and clean with vinegar and water solution.
  • Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds or baking soda loosely in a large, shallow container in the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Place a cotton swab soaked in vanilla inside the refrigeration. Close door for 24 hours.

As you can see there are many precautionary steps you can take to protect your restaurant from food loss, food borne illness and odors that may turn customers away from your establishment. Weather emergencies are not always foreseen so make sure to plan ahead so you don’t go down with your ship!

If you still have questions about the safety precautions you should take before severe weather or what to do post disaster you can contact FSIS representative, Karen, at www.askkaren.gov or m.askkaren.gov on your smart phone. Ask Karen is available 24 hours a day!

 

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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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E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.: How to Spell Hired in the Restaurant Industry

Any restaurateur knows that hiring the wrong employee can be very costly for business. Not only will a bad employee cost you literally, by spending the money to hire and train them and the employee that eventually replaces them, but the level of work they bring to the table in your restaurant can also be very costly. While employed this problem employee is representing your business to the public. This can be more costly than the money spent to hire and train them because your company may lose current or potential customers as a result of the poor customer service.

E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.: How to Spell Hired in the Restaurant Industry This makes employee interviews and knowing how to recognize a good worker when you see one an important skill for a restaurateur to master. This skill does not come easy; people can seem like a very capable candidate in an interview and turn out to be a below average employee after they are hired.

Before starting an interview it is always important to be prepared. First thing to do before an interview is know exactly what characteristics and experience you are looking for in a potential candidate. Setting a clear list of required skills and work experience will help you judge the candidates and find the ideal employee. Also, before the interviews, review each candidate’s resume carefully and form a list of questions for each one. It is important to ask open-ended questions that require the candidate to do most of the talking. This will give you a better insight into the person’s personality and work history. Some key questions are asking them to describe previous jobs, how they preformed and why they left.

It is not always easy to identify a good candidate in an interview but there are a few personality traits to look for that can indicate a good restaurant worker. The characteristics of a successful restaurant worker can be outlined by the acronym: E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.

Engaged

When working in a restaurant atmosphere it’s always important for an employee to be engaged with their work and the customers they are serving. This means that they are always focused on the task at hand and are ready and capable to handle any problem that may arise. A good way to test if a job candidate possesses this quality is to judge the way they carry themselves in the interview, an engaged person will not only give you their full attention but also capture yours with their answers.  Also talk with past employers to get a feel for if this characteristic was evident in their past working experiences. This includes being engaging with customers who come into the restaurant by being able to interact with them and keep them comfortable and satisfied throughout their visit

Mature

Many workers in the restaurant industry are students and young adults. This demographic can be tricky to judge and manage in a work environment. If you aren’t careful it can be very easy to hireE.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.: How to Spell Hired in the Restaurant Industry someone in this age group that simply is not mature enough to thrive or even survive in a work environment. An employee like this can be very toxic to a restaurant’s work environment.  An immature employee will struggle to carry themselves in a professional matter when dealing with coworkers and customers which will hurt customer service and staff teamwork. This may be the easiest personality trait to identify in an interview by judging the way they carry them self and looking at the quality and importance of their prior responsibilities.

Positive

Attitude is contagious in a work environment. The way one employee carries them self in the restaurant affects the attitude and work ethic of the staff around them. For example, if an employee is constantly complaining it will bring down the morale of the whole team and negatively affects productivity. And the opposite is true as well; a positive attitude can raise the staff to another level. This personality trait will be evident in the interview and when checking on past work experience.

Leader

Having leaders on a restaurant staff is crucial. It is important for staff members to know what they need to do at all times and be willing to take the initiative when they know something needs to be done. An employee that always needs to be told what to do and needs help with simple tasks is not a very productive employee. Leadership skills will be evident when looking at a person’s extracurricular activities and other tasks that they have voluntarily taken on.

Organized

Being well organized in any professional setting is crucial to an employee’s success. In a restaurant this skill is paramount. A restaurant worker needs to be organized in order to stay on top of incoming orders and customer requests. An unorganized restaurant staff can be a big headache for a restaurant manager. A well-organized candidate will be very easy to spot. A well put together resume and appearance are good indications of this skill.

Yes Sir”

A restaurant employee must be able to take orders from managers, customers or anyone else in a position of power without resistance. This is especially important when dealing with customers. In the restaurant industry the customer is always right; even if they really aren’t. When customer makes an employee aware of a mistake that has been made it is that employee’s job to accept the complaint, admit they made a mistake, apologize to the diner and immediately fix the mistake. Many people struggle with this and it can be very detrimental to customer service if an employee can’t swallow their pride and fix the problem. This characteristic may be hard to spot in an interview but can be verified by checking with the candidates past employees.

Efficient

E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.: How to Spell Hired in the Restaurant Industry As stated before jobs in the restaurant industry are demanding. Restaurants are fast paced environments where timeliness and quality of the product being served are very important and is commonly how a restaurant gains an advantage over the competition. Employees must be able to complete tasks quickly and without mistakes. Efficient employees help the business run smoothly and make up for the inefficiencies of others on the staff. This is another trait that will be obvious upon contacting the candidate’s references.

Energetic

The last but absolutely not the least important trait is energetic. Having energy in the work place can be contagious just like attitude. One employee’s level of energy can either bring others down or raise them to new heights. An energetic candidate will bring energy and great work ethic to your restaurant and help to positively influence workers around them. Energetic people will obviously bring energy to the interview and come across as extremely active on their resume.

These are in no way set in stone as qualities that every good employee must possess, but this is a good place to start when judging the quality of a job candidate. Some potential employees may be very well organized but not possess any leadership skills or they may be highly energetic and not as efficient. These types of candidates can still be highly successful but combining all of the qualities together should describe the ideal employee.

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