Monthly archives of “June 2016

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Throwback Thursday – Old School Ovens vs our Commercial Ranges

Technology doesn’t always make life easier but – who are we kidding, yes it does!  Particularly with cooking equipment, advances in tech have made life much easier for the modern chef.  Wood fire ovens are still very much in vogue for pizza restaurants and certain bakers, but for the most part, chefs want speed, heat, and – most importantly – control, in order to ensure that every single entree is fired to perfection during dinner service.

wood burning oven

Here is a typical oven from back in the day before electricity.  Large and bulky, this oven would serve the double purpose of heating the home and hearth as well as cooking the meal.  Although it probably smelled wonderful, an oven such as this would not have the heating range or preciseness of modern day ranges which provides superior cooking.


Here, in contrast is a modern, top of the line Empura stove (available for purchase through our website).  The large oven can be precisely heated and the many ranges on top provide a variety of options for a busy dinner service.  Gas ranges, although not the most modern in technology, remain popular among chefs due to the precise temperature control which can be achieved over a gas flame, from low heat to high heat.

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Tips to Create a Better Lunch Experience for your Restaurant

sandwich for lunch

Lunch represents a huge monetary opportunity for restaurants – and although you can provide the same service and menu as you would for dinner, you will increase your tables, turn around, and profits if you tailor the experience to the meal – and what your customers want!

Speed is one of the first factors diners mention when going to lunch.  Some offices provide a strict hour timeline to eat, and if that includes travel time, it may be difficult for diners to enjoy their lunch experience and get in and out in a timely manner.  Express lunch options will allow those in a hurry to get in and out speedily.  Multi course and fast to prepare, these can also increase the cost per head per diners and boost your profits, while giving the kitchen easy, pre-prepped food choices which will make for speedy kitchen service.  Another tip is to have the servers ask if there are any time constraints when parties are seated.  Some people may not like to be rushed – particularly if their lunch is also a business meeting.  By asking, your restaurant can provide speedy service to those in a hurry without rushing those who may choose to linger.

If you work in an area with lot of office buildings, don’t forget the potential for boxed/catered lunches.  You can prepare boxed meals for pick up/delivery for those who don’t have time to eat a sit down meal at an affordable price point and boost your revenue while also keeping your labor costs down.  Advertise with local HR managers and pick up catering for luncheons also in local office buildings.

Don’t be afraid to research your competition also.  By going to lunch a your competitor’s establishments, you can get valuable insights into what works for them and then transfer that, when applicable, to your own menu.  Buck a shuck?  Omelettes for lunch?  Research Instagram as well for creative ideas on how to increase your lunch game.

Finally, don’t assume that every diner is going to be an office worker.  Stay at home moms and dads with kids in tow – and discretionary income – are a great target for lunch.  Offer a great lunch menu for kids and advertise to local moms groups and at the library in order to target the ‘ladies who lunch,’ and their littles!

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Building Social Capital for your Restaurant

sos taste of the nation

Share our Strength is a great, national food based charity for those looking to connect.

What is social capital?  It’s: “the network of social connections that exist between people, and theirshared values and norms of behaviour, which enable and encouragemutually advantageous social cooperation (DICTIONARY.COM).”

But in a broader sense than the literal definition, social capital speaks to the intangible, non-monetary, but still incredibly valuable ‘capital’ a business can build by supporting the community around it and giving back to those in need.  Warby Parker is a famous, and very successful, example of a business which gives back heavily of itself by donating a pair of glasses for each pair they sell.  Newman’s Own is another, food based socially minded business, which gives “all profits to charity” and focuses as a non-profit.

Both of the above mentioned businesses build tremendous social values by giving to those in need with every sale they make.  For restaurants, the charity model is possible on a much smaller, scaleable, and easy to manage scale.  No matter your neighborhood – there are good causes which need help and support.  And it doesn’t have to be monetary based – literally everyone has to eat, and food donations are always appreciated.  Bakeries can donate day old bread to homeless shelters.  Pizza places can sponsor their local little leagues with fun pizza party fundraisers.

For higher end restaurants, sampling opportunities abound, especially in big, metropolitan areas.  Almost every museum and major charity, whether arts based or social needs based, hosts a large fundraiser every year to provide vital funding for their various initiatives.  Many of these fundraisers take the form of galas with a silent auction, where you can donate gift cards, but even better are those which have stations where chefs cook food in small portions for guests.  The food costs for these events is usually not terribly high, and the marketing impact is very good as it brands your establishment as a socially conscious establishment whilst simultaneously showing off your goods to a large crowd of typically affluent and entertainment focused individuals.  So get out in your community and look for chances to do good.  It will help you connect with potential customers and make a positive impact at the same time.

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Big Data and its growing importance to the Restaurant Industry

restaurant energy use

Big Data used to be inaccessible to all but the largest companies, but the rise of computerized information means that restaurants large and small can now take advantage of it.

Although “big data” seems complicated, it’s just the process of collecting as much data as possible about customers in order to better serve them. Everyone realizes that understanding analytics is imperative to improving business operations, but few people actually know how to use it.

Previously, big data analytics was the domain of major corporations such as Amazon. Now, thanks to advances in software and hardware capability and access to cloud-based services, restaurants of all sizes can use big data software to mine information from their POS, marketing, accounting, inventory and scheduling systems.

Analyzing and understanding big data allows for restaurants to reduce waste and increase efficiency, particularly with food orders and labor costs.  In addition, it allows restaurants to better predict trends for year over year sales.

Analyzing this data will help readers better understand customer preferences, improve menus and service, and improve operations providing customers with a better experience. This will ultimately lead to significant improvements in the bottom line.

Since competition in the restaurant business is at an all-time high, having an effective big data system is critical.  Stay on top of your business and pay attention tot he analytics.  Investment in reporting can pay off big when it yields a massive increase to your bottom line!

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Shaken or stirred? A quick guide to how to mix your favorite cocktails.

shaken not stirred

TGIF!  As part of our weekly cocktail series, we bring you some handy tips on mixed drink prep.  James Bond famously asked for a martini, ‘shaken, not stirred,’ but – we hate to report: 007 was incorrect.

A classic martini contains dry elements which do not need to be shaken to be combined.  In fact, a shaken martini (or manhattan) may end up with ice chips as it’s a very delicate mix of similarly weighted liquors which requires only a couple brisk stirs and a strain in order to mix effectively.

So what’s the point of a shaken cocktail?  Anything with heavier elements, such as fruit (or a flip egg white cocktail) requires a vigorous shaking in order to combine the elements in the drink properly.  So shake up your daiquiri, your margarita, your cosmo, or any other cocktail which has thick, heavy ingredients which will require vigorous movement in order to meld them properly.

Delicately stir your full liquor cocktails – particularly those with gin or whiskey, as it is said that shaking can ‘bruise’ the liquor.  Below is a recipe for a classic stirred and a classic shaken cocktail to get you started.  Happy bartending!


1.5 oz sweet vermouth | 1.5 oz Campari | 1.5 oz gin | Orange twist to garnish

Combine all ingredients, minus the garnish over ice in a cocktail shaker, stir several times, strain into a chilled highball, garnish and serve.

Mai Tai

1 oz light rum | 1 oz dark rum | 1 oz fresh lime juice | .5 oz Orange Curacao | .5 oz Orgeat syrup | .25 oz simple syrup | mint sprig garnish

Pour all ingredients, except for the garnish, into a large cocktail shaker filled with two cups of crushed ice.  Shake vigorously to combine, pour without straining into a highball glass, garnish and serve.