All posts filed under “Food Preparation

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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 for the best possible deals from the best brands and shop with us first when outfitting your new restaurant.

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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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Patriotic Cocktails for Memorial Day Weekend!

TGIF!  Welcome back to our three day cocktail series.

It’s a three day weekend!  Celebrate in style with your family, friends and customers with the following patriotic cocktails!

red white and blue margarita


Red, White and Blue Margaritas

1 cup ice
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
3 ounces tequila
2 ounces lime juice
1 ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau
1/2 ounce simple syrup

Blend  strawberries and freeze for several minutes.  Combine and blend remaining ingredients and pour the strawberry back into the blender.  Top with limes and blueberries for color.

captain america slushie

Captain America Slushie (courtesy of Giraffes Can Bake)

Captain America Slushy Cocktail
Ice Tray
Food Coloring
2 oz Irish Whiskey and 1 cup frozen sprite cubes (for white layer)
2 oz Blue Blue Curacao and 1 cup frozen sprite ice cubes (for blue layer)
1/3 cup frozen strasberries and 1 cup sprite (for red layer)
Put sugar and blue food dye in a zip lock bag and shake to make the garnish.  Wet rims of glasses and dip in sugar.   Combine each layer in the blender and spoon into glass.  Serve with a patriotic straw.
red white and blue jello shots
Red White and Blue Jello Shots

1 6-oz package strawberry Jell-O
Blueberry vodka
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 6-oz package berry blue Jell-O
Whipped cream

Combine strawberry jello and 2 1/2 cups hot water.  Add 1/2 cups blueberry vodka and stir to combine.  Fill shot glasses 1/3 of the way and set in the fridge for one hour.  Repeat with unflavored (clear) jello and add sweetened condensed milk.  Repeat one more time with blue jello. Set in the fridge for one hour between each color.  When complete and ready to serve, garnish with whipped cream and sprinkles.

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Brunch Tips – How to Create the Perfect Spread

brunch picture avert

Pictured: brunch at Avert Brasserie

It’s Mother’s Day – the perfect day for brunch.  Fun, relaxed, and usually involving an adult beverage (or two!) brunch is a Sunday favorite.  Here are some tips on creating the perfect spread:

For a buffet style brunch: fresh and simple is best!  A raw bar, like the one pictured above, is a really lovely touch, but make sure you have the proper ice and refresh the spread often to keep things fresh and cold.  Including an assortment of jams, jellies, and spreads to go with your pastries is also a nice touch.  Another buffet tip – a Bloody Mary bar is a fun and interactive talking point to anchor your brunch spread!

For a full menu brunch: a variety of choices is best to please your guests.  Choose some sweet, some savory, and some traditional lunch items (sandwiches, cheeseburgers, etc) to make sure everyone can get what they want!  Eggs benedict is an easy favorite and can be dressed up with a variety of proteins from ham to duck breast.  Don’t forget to keep some items vegetarian/gluten free as brunch can be heavy on the carbs and bacon for those with dietary restrictions.  And finally, add sides!  Fun to share (and an easy upset for the servers) some small, shareable plates such as a grapefruit brûlée or fried brussels sprouts will elevate your brunch game.

For the drinks: Mimosas are classic, but why stop there?  Classic champagne cocktails can be fun and innovative.  Bloody marys can be extreme when they are loaded with different ingredients.  Particularly for Italian restaurants, don’t forget a selection of classic, seasonal bellinis utilizing different fruit purees.  Finally, offer some non-alcoholic beverage options: classic cappucinos and fresh pressed juices are easy, classic crowd pleasers.

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Songwriting Duo Opens Pizzaria

Many things go into the creation of a pizza restaurant. There’s getting the Baker’s Pride Pizza Oven, the shakers for the Parmesan cheese, and even getting a little bit for the bar. We love it when people take the leap and open up their own pizza place… especially with such an honest reason for opening.

“Everybody loves pizza. It’s one of the major food groups.” We’re definitely in favor of that enthusiasm and sentiment. The Red 7 Pizza Company takes the owners’ love of pizza to the next level. The name comes from the 7 meats and sauces that the company offers.

The ingredients for Red 7 come from all over the board. There are influences from everywhere… they even have a Thai sauce for one of their pizzas. “How do you not like pizza? You know, pizza is one of those things, especially the way we do it, where you could basically have any flavor you want. There’s unlimited amounts.”

The owners of the restaurant are prepared to start changing and developing the relationships needed for a long-lasting pizza restaurant. We’re looking forward to seeing where they’ll be a few years down the road. That sheer, unbridled optimism is infectious.