All posts filed under “Cooking Equipment

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All the Little Details

Stainless Steel Equipment in Empty Kitchen

Opening a new restaurant?  Congratulations.  We hope you’re shopping for the best equipment with the best prices with us.  You have so many decisions to make, and we hope this handy check list will help you get everything you need prior to the big day, without a stressful experience:

Big Equipment: do research into every single piece of equipment that you buy.  Make sure the sizes match the sizes of your build out (there’s a big difference between a 48 and a 52 inch cooler if you only have space for 48 inches).  Look into energy efficient designs that will save you money in the long run.  Shop our full collection for the best deals and prices!

Little equipment: chefs knives, dishes, plates, forks, soap dispensers, brooms, mops, paper towels.  The list is virtually endless.  Get organized with a spreadsheet so that you can check items off if you purchase them.  And take advantage of the end of the year – and the end of tax season – to purchase as much as possible before January 1!  It’s all business expense and a write off for you.

Front of house details: decor and design are the finishing touches on your big project.  Take time to research and develop a decoration scheme which complements your brand, identity, and theme.  From succulents to candles, the small accents are the final touches to create a perfect look.

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The Benefits of Owning a Franchise

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Thinking about owning a restaurant, but feel like you just don’t have a concept in mind?  Then franchising may be for you!  Franchising contains many benefits (and also some risks of course – but then again – entrepreneurship always does!)  Here’s what to know before you buy:

Competition exists no matter what.  Just because you purchase a franchise doesn’t necessarily mean that someone else won’t open a similar or even identical store right down the street.  When you negotiate – keep this in mind and build some non-competes into your agreement.  That way, you won’t have to look across the street or down the road and see another one of your mother company’s locations going in to cannibalize your own business.

Enjoy knowing you’ll have built in marketing and recognition.  One of the biggest challenges to face a new restaurant owner is ‘getting the word out there.’  With no reputation or brand recognition, you’ll have a hard time attracting new customers and may need to invest heavily in marketing.  But when you have a franchise, the name is already established, and chances are the marketing system is already in place.  So make sure to ask about marketing and advertising plan before you buy, as well as any expectation or cost for your own marketing (what are you allowed to do by corporate, for example, and is there any required spend on your behalf on an annual or quarterly basis).  Knowing and understanding the marketing behind your business will help you get an instant following and traceable, quick ROI.

Know you’ll still have cost.   You’re buying a name and a concept.  You still need to make that investment.  Restaurant equipment will be needed (and you can shop here, of course, to find the best deals!).  Plus rent, utility, labor costs.  All of the traditional business costs associated with you new start up will still be present, so do your budget accordingly.  One major plus: franchises tend to be proven concepts, so securing a business loan in typically a much more straightforward process than with an original restaurant concept.

Don’t be afraid of hard work, but also know that major success is possible.  Unless you have an active partner in the business and you’re just a silent financial backer, be prepared to pour yourself body and soul into your new enterprise.  You’ll be investing many hours into your business to get it up off the ground.  However, once you have one location, you can buy another, and another.  And still another.  Eventually, many franchise owners will have multiple chains and a successful business model which virtually runs itself.  But to start out – you’re going to be putting in major hours to make your vision a reality.

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Making the Transition from Food Truck to Brick and Mortar Location

Chef Grills Bacon On a Food Truck

Food trucks are a great, economical way to get your business started on a budget.  Many brick and mortar restaurants envy food trucks their low overhead, mobility, and ability to go to customers vs waiting for customers to come to them.

However, at some point, every food truck may consider expanding their operations to a brick and mortar store.  Once you have a proven concept at hand, you can increase your profit margins drastically by adding chairs – and a liquor license! – to your operation.  However – there are still important things to consider before taking the plunge:

Location – a food truck can easily go from place to place.  Some cities, such as Austin, TX, will even allow food trucks to semi-permanently park on land – thereby rendering the operation extremely cheap from a rent perspective.  A restaurant is, of course, static by nature.  So location is key.  Even a couple miles distance in a city can be the difference between high foot traffic and almost no foot traffic.  Although a solid menu and marketing plan will certainly boost your customer base – as well as the reputation you’ve built through your food truck business – choosing a desirable, high traffic location will certainly help.

Finance – a new restaurant build out can easily cost a quarter of a million dollars – or more.  Where is this capital coming from?  Chances are, you will need a partner with deep pockets or a hefty loan in order to turn your restaurant into reality.  In addition to the opening costs, it’s important to consider how long you will be in operation before turning a profit.  Average, six to twelve months are needed before a restaurant turns a profit (although again – see above – a good marketing plan, good location, and good reputation can drastically increase that).

Vibe – food trucks are, almost by definition, hip and cool places.  Restaurants can have many different atmospheres, and it’s a great time to sit down and brand your business appropriately when your’re creating your restaurant plan.  Are you more upscale?  Chic?  Minimalist?  Family oriented?  Traditional?  All of these are great things to consider with your architect and general contractor as you make the plunge from food truck to brick and mortar.

Equipment – this is last on our list but perhaps the most important piece of all!  Your restaurant will need: ovens, shelves, refrigerators, ice machines, pots and pans, knives, cutting boards, the list goes on and on.  Chances are a good part of your food truck may be used in the new spot, but it may make sense to keep the food truck for mobile/catering operations and to sustain your existing business and start from scratch.  No matter your choice – trust RestaurantSupply.com for the best possible deals from the best brands and shop with us first when outfitting your new restaurant.

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BBQ for the Summer

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Brisket from Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ

Thinking about expanding your menu offerings? BBQ can be a fun hot weather crowd pleaser. We have a vast array of BBQ equipment for you to shop from, including industrial grade smokers from Town Food Equipment like this one here which can easily accommodate a large restaurant crowd:

industrial grade smoker

So, once you have the equipment, what do you want to cook?  Brisket, wings, meatballs, pork – there are multiple foods which lend themselves well to BBQ.  There are classic cooking styles – Memphis style (more vinegar based), dry rub (from Texas) or Kansas City style (sweeter, tangier).  If you decide to go classic and traditional, make sure you’re following ALL the techniques associated with your chosen style so that you can give your guests something that is really indicative of the style.  Authentic BBQ lovers will notice the difference!

If you decide to be playful and quirky with your BBQ, you can experiment with fruit and alcohol flavors for unexpected twists on the classics.  Bourbon is wildly popular, fitting its smokey profiled nicely with smokey meats.  Fruit flavors can include everything from peaches to grape jelly.   Fusion is possible as well, using Asian style flavor profiles, curries, or Samoan type flavors also.  BBQ is versatile, fun, and carries a high profit margin.  Use high quality meats, take your time with the smoking process, and come up with some killer signature sauces for excellent results your customers will love.

 

 

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Thinking about starting a food truck? Here’s what you should know

yardbird

So, you have a great restaurant concept, but you want to start a bit smaller than a brick and mortar store.  Food trucks have been growing in popularity as more social media savvy consumers utilize Twitter and Facebook to follow their mobile food stations and find gourmet meals at great price points.  However, there is still a lot that goes into a food truck operations.  Here’s what you should know:

1/ Commissary, commissary, commissary.  Even though you may be a mobile operation, you still have to practice strict food safety guidelines when working with the general public.  You will need a commercial grade kitchen with current grade health inspections in order to operate your truck.  Instead of opening your own, find a local one willing to rent out space.  Most commissaries are in large warehouses and will welcome the additional business!

2/ Equipment, equipment, equipment.  Although you can find a decent food truck second hand, make sure your equipment is top of the line.  Especially in the summer months – and heat – you’ll want an AC system and ice machines that can stand up to a large lunch rush.  Your customers – and staff! will thank you for thinking in advance, and by planning early on, you can avoid gaining a bad reputation when faulty equipment breaks in the middle of a busy lunch rush.  Equally important: a small heating device, open flame, and dishwasher.  Everything must be scaleable and custom, so shop with us and secure the best possible equipment at the best price.

3/ Location, location, location.  Where to go?  Where the crowds are is an obvious answer, but there is more to a good location then simple volume.  Make sure you have the proper permits and also that you are in an area known for its foodie scene.  Food trucks thrive together – but if there’s another grilled cheese truck in the park, consider going elsewhere.  Fairs, festivals, and even food truck specific events are also great spaces for high traffic and exposure.  If your town or city has an arts scene, or a sports stadium, consider looking into permitting to park outside before or after a big event.  A large venue will draw in a big crowd!

4/ Marketing, marketing, marketing.  Letting people know WHO you are is important for any restaurant, but letting them know WHERE you are is equally important as a mobile food truck!  Keep your customers up to date via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  Make sure your social media info is updated regularly and displayed prominently on your truck and marketing paperwork.  It can be a fun to be elusive, but it’s better to keep folks in the know, and if you develop a fan base, they will find you given the proper tools!