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    Restaurant Merchandise Ideas

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    If you’re looking for ways to increase brand awareness, selling restaurant merchandise is a great option. Although offering custom merchandise likely won’t make a significant impact on your bottom line, it excels at getting the word out about your bar or restaurant. This post will explore different items that can be used for merchandising as well as cover a few basic tips when it comes to selling.

     

    The Best Items for Merchandising

     

    custom restaurant t-shirt

     

    Items you’re selling should capture the essence of your bar or restaurant. So if you’re offering a T-shirt, be sure to make it unique. You can do so with a witty one-liner, bold colors, or even an interesting font. Not only will this make this customers more likely to buy the shirt, but it will also pique the interest of their friends, family, and whoever else is exposed to the shirt.

    If you own a bar or pub, drinking glasses are the obvious merchandising choice. Offering cocktail glasses, wine glasses, beer mugs, and shot glasses ensures there’ll be a type of glass for everyone. Bottle openers can be great, inexpensive alternatives. Especially if you don’t want to invest too much capital in merchandise.

    Other merchandising ideas include dinner plates, bowls, cozies, pens, key chains, caps, toys, and sauces. What you choose to offer largely depends on the type of restaurant you operate. If you run a family-style establishment that serves a lot of children, toys can be a great offering. On the other hand, renowned barbecue joints are better-suited by offering delicious sauces that patrons can bring home. Overall, apparel is usually the best choice since it’s so great at raising brand awareness. No matter what you choose to merchandise, make sure the item fits the vibe of your establishment.

     

    Tips to Maximize Merchandise Sales

     

    restaurant merchandise display

     

    Always ensure your merchandise is easily visible to customers. Ideally. It should be in the front where people enter and exit the restaurant. It’s not likely that people will go out of their way to find whatever items you have for sale. So the onus is on you give them every opportunity to make a purchase. Also make sure your merchandise items have prices on them so people know exactly how much they cost. If a patron is interested in a product but doesn’t know how much it costs, chances are he will just walk out without it. And if possible, also offer products through online outlets like your website and social media.

    If your restaurant doesn’t already have strong visual branding, consider hiring a professional who can help. After all, there’s no point in in putting your restaurant’s name and logo on items if it’s not appealing to customers.

    Always be brainstorming. The first merchandising idea you get might not be the best one so be sure to have numerous merchandising options you can choose from. Try asking each staff member to come up with several ideas each. Lay out all the ideas, choose the best one, and put a plan to action.

    If it’s an option, order custom merchandise from local businesses. A major advantage of this is shipping costs are minimized. Another perk is the owner and workers will be more likely to eat at your restaurant and even recommend it to their own customers.  

     

    No one knows your bar or restaurant as well as you do. So while it’s great to get other peoples’ opinions about what you should merchandise, the decision is ultimately yours. Take time to decide what items mesh best with your restaurant’s style. And as always—go with your gut.

    Sushi Grade Fish – What is It?

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

    raw fish

     

    Raw fish can carry dangerous foodborne illnesses like Salmonella and Vibrio vulnificus. As a result, it’s best to use higher-quality “sushi grade fish” if you’re not cooking your fish. But what exactly makes fish sushi grade? This post will answer that as well as cover where to find it, how it should look, and how you should handle it.

     

    How Does Fish Get Labeled “Sushi Grade”

    Since there are no official standards for sushi grade fish, labeling is the responsibility of the vendor. The Federal Drug Administration provides detailed fish handling procedures that include steps to destroy parasites. However, the FDA has nothing to do with the sushi grade labeling.

     

    Where to Get Sushi Grade Fish

    When it comes to buying sushi grade fish, trust is extremely important. Ideally, you’ll want to get all your fish from a vendor you’ve worked with before. If that’s not an option, make sure you’re buying from someone who comes highly recommended. Ask other local restauranteurs or read online reviews to get a feel for different vendors.

     

    How Sushi Grade Fish Should Look

     

    sashimi grade tuna

     

    It’s great to have a fish vendor who you trust completely. But knowing what fresh sushi grade fish looks and smells like will give you even more of a leg up. The fish should smell like seawater and never have an overly “fishy” odor. Its eyes should be clear and mildly bulging. Gills should be red, scales should be intact, and flesh should firm. Finally, the fish shouldn’t feel too slimy when you touch it.  

     

    How to Store Sushi Grade Fish

    When you go out to buy sushi grade fish, make sure to bring a cooler with ice. This is because transporting fish on ice helps reduce the chance of foodborne illnesses. When you get the fish back to your kitchen, refrigerate or freeze it immediately. When it’s time to thaw the fish, always do so in the refrigerator. Thawing frozen fish on the countertop can result in its temperature reaching 40°F, which makes it prone to dangerous bacteria.

     

    Raw Fish Protocol

    When you have to handle raw fish, it’s best to do so with gloves. Keeping your tools and food prep area clean will help reduce the chance of spreading foodborne illnesses. And as always, thoroughly wash your hands both before and after dealing with sushi grade fish.

     

    handling raw fish  

    How to Get More Online Restaurant Reviews

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    online restaurant reviews

     

    Today, many diners read online restaurant reviews before going out to eat. According to one study, 60 percent of people reference online reviews before deciding where to dine. Perhaps even more surprising, a Harvard Business School study found that a one-star bump in a restaurant’s Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. This all points to the importance of leveraging online restaurant reviews. Especially for new restaurants and those located in touristy areas, Internet reviews can make or break a business. This post will focus on what owners can do to increase their number of online reviews.

     

    Provide Excellent Service

    Providing superior customer service is a surefire way to net some positive customer reviews. But the key is to truly go above and beyond. While most restaurants offer good service, it falls on you to do more. Patrons should leave your restaurant feeling like they want to share their amazing dining experience with the rest of the world. The best way to ensure your service leaves this kind of impression is by fostering a positive restaurant culture.

     

    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

    Getting online restaurant reviews is largely a numbers game. The more customers you ask, the more likely it is that someone will leave a review. If you sense that a patron dining in your restaurant is likely to leave a positive review, go ahead and politely ask them. If you have an email list, try asking for reviews through there. But keep in mind that while asking is great, you never want to repeatedly solicit or pressure customers. Doing so makes you come off as desperate. And as a result, customers will be less likely to return to your restaurant in the future.

     

    online restaurant reviews

     

    Make a Landing Page on Your Website

    Featuring a testimonial page on your restaurant’s website is a great idea. But what you really want is a landing page that leads to popular review sites like Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Google Plus. This makes it easy for patrons to click a link and leave a review. And the easier you can make the review process, the more reviews you’re likely to get.

     

    Engage in Social Media

    If you’re already on Facebook and Twitter, make sure to provide links to pages that feature your restaurant reviews. And always try to keep an active account. One of the most common reasons people don’t leave reviews is because they forget. The easiest way to combat this issue is by maintaining an active social media account that shows up in customers’ feeds. If people forget to leave a review, your social media account will serve as a reminder.

     

    Maintaining an online presence is more important than ever these days. By following the listed tips, you’ll be putting your restaurant in the best position to get more online restaurant reviews. And with enough positive reviews, more and more patrons will want to dine at your restaurant.

    How True Refrigeration Units Can Save You Money

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    true refrigeration products

     

    True has been a leader in the commercial refrigeration industry for over 70 years. And although this blog has already covered a few of the many benefits offered by True products, there are still plenty of other reasons for the company’s success. This post will focus exclusively on how one specific feature of True refrigeration units can save you money.

    Also known as RCU, a reverse condensing fan motor does enables users to reverse the condensing fan motor of a refrigeration unit. This action helps keep the condensing coil clean while also reducing negative effects of a dirty coil. So while a fan still operates in a conventional manner, it’ll run in reverse for the first 20 seconds after the unit starts up. Doing so cleans the unit by blowing dust, dirt, and debris off the condensing coil. So since these coils don’t need to contend with unwanted debris, True refrigerators and freezers use 20% less energy than similar units. This helps users save money on electric bills.

     

     

    While a reverse condensing fan motor doesn’t eliminate the need for maintenance, it does prolong the lifespan of your True refrigeration unit. This means you won’t need to purchase new refrigerators and freezers at the same frequency you would with other brands. RCU technology also helps True refrigeration units maintain the coldest temperatures and freshest products. So whether you’re operating a large dining hall kitchen or a cozy concession stand, using a True refrigeration unit pays off in the long run.

    Preparing for Thanksgiving Eve - The Busiest Bar Night of the Year

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

    thanksgiving eve

     

    Thanksgiving always takes place on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s a day of family, food, and football. But the party really starts the night before. Also known as Blackout Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve is the busiest bar night of the year—outclassing holidays like New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day. College students return home from school and reunite with friends, while workers enjoy a night out before their day off on Thanksgiving. As a result all this foot traffic, bars and pubs need to be on their A-game for Thanksgiving Eve. This post offers 5 tips that will help you get the most out of the night.

     

    Use Plastic Beverageware Instead of Glass

     

    broken glass


    If you usually use glass beverageware to serve drinks, consider switching to plastic for Thanksgiving Eve. When bars and pubs get overcrowded, the chance of accidental collisions between patrons increases. Add in the fact that people will be in an especially celebratory mood, and the chances of glass shattering on the ground are unusually high. The last thing you want in your bar is broken glass. Not only can customers cut themselves, but it’ll be difficult to clean since the bar will be so crowded. Proactively nip the issue in the bud by using plastic beverageware.

     

    Hire Some Extra Muscle

     

    bar bouncer


    There’s a reason Thanksgiving Eve is also referred to as Blackout Wednesday. And while nearly all patrons will be able to maintain control of themselves, there’s an increased chance that an issue will arise. Hiring a bouncer is a great way to prevent unwanted problems. If there’s a fight or even a threat of a fight, a bouncer can help quell the situation before it gets out of hand. The extra business that comes from Thanksgiving Eve is great. But the last thing you want is to end up on the local news as the site of a big bar brawl.

     

    Know When Enough is Enough

     

    know when enough is enough

     

    If you sense a patron is getting too rowdy, it’s your responsibility to cut them off—even if they’re trying to buy a round of shots for the entire bar. You might lose out on a little bit of money. But you’ll be ensuring a safe environment for the rest of the night.

     

    Re-Up on Beverages

     

    full bar


    You don’t want to be the bar that runs out of someone’s favorite drink. Maybe the customer will opt for something else, and you won’t lose any business in the moment. But that patron will likely remember the instance and next time choose to go somewhere else. So make sure your bar or pub is fully stocked with all kinds of beers, liquors, and wines.


    Have Cleaning Supplies On Hand

     

    cleaning supplies

     


    Where there are large groups, there are often large messes. Drinks that are spilled on the floor lead to wet surfaces that are potential safety risks. And if your patrons are fleet of foot enough to avoid slipping, those wet surfaces soon turn extremely sticky. Customers will labor just trying to separate their shoe from the floor, and your bar will soon be known as dirty. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent such a fate. Always keep a couple mops and towels on stand-by. If there’s a spill, you’ll be ready to clean it up before it has a chance to offend anyone.

     

    When it comes to Thanksgiving Eve, everyone needs to up their focus. The large crowds put extra stress on staff, so it falls on the owner to make sure everyone is ready. Start preparing early so by the time Blackout Wednesday arrives, you’ll be ready to handle the busiest bar night of the year.

     

    busy bar

    Why Your Kitchen Needs a Commercial Can Crusher

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    edlund can crusher

     

    Restaurants, cafeterias, and dining halls can go through hundreds of cans of food per day. And after a while, the empty cans start to pile up and take up significant space. That’s why many kitchens have commercial can crushers that help handle waste. If your kitchen does not currently use an Edlund can crusher, here are a few reasons why it should:

     

    Crushing Cans Saves Money

    It doesn’t matter what size or shape a can is. An Edlund can crusher quickly compresses it by 84%. And since crushed cans take up much less space than uncrushed cans, they drastically reduce trash volume. So much so that your number of recycle pick-ups can realistically be cut in half. So if you spend $4300 annually on trash removal, you can expect to save roughly $2000 per year with the help of a can crusher.

    Another way that crushing cans saves money is that it reduces the use of garbage bags. About 42 uncrushed #10 cans fit in a standard 55-gallon trash bag. But if you’re crushing your cans, you can fit a whopping 200 in one of those bags! So if you usually spend $1000 per year on trash bags for cans, a can crusher will reduce your spending to about $200. 

     

    Can Crushers Save Time and Labor

    Transporting garbage bags from the kitchen to the outside dumpster can be a time drain. If cans aren’t crushed, the recyclables might need to be taken out several times per day. During winter this might mean bundling up to deal with the cold. There’s also a risk that kitchen staff might stop and get involved in conversations when they should be working. But by utilizing can crushers, your kitchen staff will be able to work more efficiently and make the most of their time in the kitchen.

     

    Edlund offers a few different commercial can crushers than can effortlessly compress as many as 2000 cans per day. It’s simple as this:

     

     

    Product Highlights - Commercial Mixers and Attachments

    by Dov Soiefer

     

    hobart mixer picture

     

    What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word “mixer”?


    For me it’s dough. For others it may be pizza or a bakery. But did you know that there is a small easy-to-miss part on the top of most commercial mixers called a “hub” that opens up a whole other world of opportunities -- from grating/shredding to grinding and even slicing! One of the great advantages of these attachments is that its only source of power is from the mixer itself. So as long as your mixer works, your attachment will work (mixers are one of the longest lasting pieces of equipment).


    All you need to do is take the round plate off the front of your hub, insert the attachment into the opening, and tighten the screw on the side of the shaft. And walla -- you’re ready to roll!


    Now although the original attachments can be purchased from the mixer manufacturers, they tend to be very overpriced. Below is a list of all the attachments that are just as good and available at a fraction of the price. And most importantly, they're always in our Monsey, NY showroom and ready to ship immediately.

    Grater/shredder attachment:

    GS-12 Includes a standard 3/16” disc. The kugel blade for this attachment is KD-GD (the GS-22 for the larger mixers take the same blade discs).


    Grinder attachment:

    12HCOMPL Includes knife blade and ¼” grinder plate. We stock replacement knives and many more grinder plate sizes.


    Slicer:

    VS-12KDS Can be adjusted to any thickness so multiple blades aren’t needed. This would only work if you already have the GS-12, If you don’t have the attachment and you want to slice, you would have to get the complete slicer attachment VS-12.

     

    mixer attachments 

    What is Pumpkin Spice?

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    pumpkin spice

     

    The fall season brings about harvests, festivals, and perhaps most importantly—pumpkin spice. The delicious seasoning is used in everything from pies to drinks to cookies. Even breakfast items like waffles, pancakes, and muffins feature the renowned spice. Although it’s enjoyed by nearly everyone who tries it, there is a mystery surrounding the fall-time spice. This post will answer the question, “What is Pumpkin Spice?”

     

    Is Pumpkin Spice Made with Real Pumpkin?

    Surprisingly, pumpkin spice traditionally doesn’t have any pumpkin in it. Instead, the spice usually contains a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves. Since pumpkin spice is often homemade, many chefs have their own recipes. It’s worth experimenting to find the perfect combination of ingredients that tastes just right. If you find that one spice in the mix is a bit too strong, simply remove some from the recipe.

    Check out this recipe to get started with making your own pumpkin spice.  Once you’ve thoroughly mixed the ingredients, be sure to store the seasoning in an air-tight jar to ensure freshness.  

     

    Where Did Pumpkin Spice Come From?

     

    pumpkin spice latte

     

    Pumpkin spice was originally offered as “Pumpkin Pie Spice” in the 1950s and 60s by brands like McCormick. The seasoning was primarily used as an additive in pies and cake. But it was only a matter of time before it grew in popularity.

    Pumpkin spice coffee was introduced to the world in the 1990s, but Starbucks soon topped that with its Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2004. The revolutionary beverage was the result of a 3-month long recipe experiment. The Pumpkin Spice Latte was a smash hit from the start. And although it’s only seasonal, the hot drink has been served over 200 million times at Starbucks and has been imitated at countless other coffee shops. Anytime you see #PSL on social media, you can be assured someone is enjoying a pumpkin spice latte.

     

    What is the Future of Pumpkin Spice?

    Today you can’t go anywhere during the fall season without coming across pumpkin spice. While it’s a safe bet that the spice is here to stay, there’s no telling what the future holds. We’re guessing that history will repeat itself, and pumpkin spice will be used in new ways that we currently can’t even imagine.

     

    pumpkins

    Most Popular Food Processors We Stock

    robot coupe r2n

    by Dov Soiefer

    The most basic model we stock is the R2N. Featuring a bowl with an S blade that's used for items that need to be pureed, the R2N which also has a continuous feed option. This model, however, cannot dice at all and a dicing kit cannot be added on even at a later time. A grating disc (27764) is also available.

    Then we stock the R2 DICE, which is basically the same as the R2N but with the dicing option. A 10MM dicing kit is included and other sizes can be purchased separately. We stock all size dicing kits

    Lastly, we stock the CL50 which has an all metal body so it’s more heavy duty BUT works only with continuous feed and does not have a bowl option. The dicing kit is available but must be purchased separately. We also carry Robot Coupe (28061) grating discs.

    In regards to dicing in general, because of the high speed of these units, if you would try to dice a soft tomato it would not give you a perfect cube. Therefore we stock the Dynamic CL006 (3/8”), which although it is a manual machine will dice any fruit or vegetable
    perfectly! We also stock all blade sizes for this model.

    These are only a few of most popular food processors. To view our entire catalog, click here.

    Why Free Samples Are Great for Business

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    free samples great for business

     

    “Free Sample” might be the greatest two-word phrase in the English language. Whether you’re getting cheese, chocolate, or some kind of meat on a stick, it’s nearly impossible to say no to a free sample.  And believe or not, offering free samples is a great way to increase long-term profits—as detailed in this article from The Atlantic. Food courts, specialty shops, and Costcos have been benefitting from giving free samples for years, and there are several reasons why restaurant owners should consider adopting the practice.

     

    Increased Goodwill

    Offering a free taste of an appetizer or a drink is a small gesture that will be much appreciated by your customers. Your customers will not only be more likely to return in the future, but they’ll also recommend your restaurant to friends. You’ll be known for doing something that few other restaurants outside the food court dare to do: give free samples.

     

    Educates Customers

    It can be tough to bring customers up to speed regarding your restaurant’s newest cocktails and appetizers. And even if customers know about your new offerings, they might have a tendency to stick to known commodities. By giving guests free samples of something they haven’t tried yet, you’ll be helping them make informed decisions when ordering their food and drink.

     

    More Sales

    According to a Cornell study, increasing customer satisfaction results in more sales at winery tasting rooms. This same concept can easily be applied to bars and restaurants. The more satisfied your customers, the more likely they are to purchase more items. Whether those items are drinks, appetizers, entrees, or desserts, your restaurant will reap the benefits.

     

    Diners Appreciate Variety

    Alternating free sample offerings encourages customers to frequently visit your restaurant. Whether you decide to offer a different sample every two weeks or every month, the idea is to provide patrons with a good reason to keep coming back. And by providing a unique experience each time, you’ll be doing just that.

     

    For best results, be sure to keep track of what food and drink samples result in the most purchases. Weigh this against the cost of offering the samples to decide what samples are the most profitable for your restaurant. This will help you plan future samples while ensuring that your restaurant maximizes profit.

     

    more sales