Hot Drinks and Warm Foods for Winter

stay warm during winter


With more than a month of winter still left on the calendar, your restaurant’s customers are almost assuredly growing increasingly tired of the cold weather. That’s where you come in! Keep your patrons warm and their spirits high by offering hot drink and food specials. Here are just a couple of items that will help bridge the gap until the snow melts and spring arrives.


Revitalize with Coffee

It’s no secret that America loves coffee. Found in nearly every office throughout the country, coffee is more than just a pick-me-up: it’s a lifestyle. And rather than brewing cups at home, people are increasingly turning to coffee shops and restaurants to get their fix (1). As espressos and gourmet coffee products increase in popularity, restaurants will be pressured to compete with shops that carry specialty products like butterscotch lattes and caramel macchiatos.

A great way to contend with these niche coffee shops is to offer coffee at a reduced price during winter months when customers need it most. By doing so, patrons will become accustomed to having delicious coffee in your restaurant. Before they know it, stopping by for a hot cup of Joe will just be part of their daily routines.

Another option is to improve the quality of your house coffee or start offering alternatives like cappuccino, espresso, and gourmet coffee. This is of particular importance if Millenials make up a large portion of your restaurant’s target market, as they are the most likely to drink those types of products and willing to pay a premium for their coffee (1).


hot coffee


Stay Cozy with Tea

With nearly unlimited flavors, there’s a type of tea to satisfy every customer’s palette. Whether you prefer something spicy or tame, there is a tea out there for you. Unfortunately, most restaurants don’t carry such a wide selection of tea. By offering a variety of tea flavors, you can differentiate yourself from other restaurants and attract new customers.

 A lighter alternative to coffee, tea can boost the immune system and help your customers stave off illness throughout the winter months (2). Since tea contains significantly less caffeine than coffee, it is a great option for customers who want just a small energy boost. Herbal teas like chamomile can even soothe the digestion system. Offer cups of tea with add-ins like honey and lemon, and customers with sore throats will be forever grateful.

Indulge in Decadent Hot Chocolate

Family restaurants that are often frequented by kids should make sure to always have hot chocolate on hand during the winter. That way, when a child’s parent asks for tea or coffee, the child can order a cup of hot chocolate and fit right in. Although commonly believed to be an indulgence, hot cocoa has also been shown to be a significant source of antioxidants (3).

Don’t forget to also stock up on marshmallows and whipped cream for the ultimate hot chocolate treat! If you really want to spice things up, try offering a hot chocolate special of the day. Some possibilities include gingerbread hot chocolate, peanut butter hot chocolate, and salted caramel hot chocolate. Not just for children, sometimes there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a hot cup of delicious hot cocoa.


decadent hot chocolate


Relax with a Hot Adult Beverage 

Although there might not be anything like a cold beer on a hot summer day, there are several hot alcoholic drinks that can keep you warm on a cold winter night. Restaurants that have liquor licenses can help keep their customers satisfied by offering liquid escapes from the cold. Irish coffee–hot coffee mixed with Irish whiskey–is perhaps the most well-known example. A glass of hot spiked apple cider is another common choice, with rum and bourbon being delicious alcohols to mix with cider. Perfect for drinkers who are looking for more of a kick, a hot toddy is whiskey infused with hot water, honey, herbs, and spices. Try asking your customers what special hot drinks they’d like to see offered during the cold winter months.

Healthy Soup

Even if your restaurant already carries soup, consider expanding your offerings for a month or two. It’ll give diners extra motivation to leave the safety of their comfortable homes and venture into the cold if a large bowl of hot soup awaits them. Chicken noodle soup is the obvious choice, as it’s been shown to have a wide range of positive health effects–including:

  • Reducing upper respiratory cold symptoms by minimizing inflammation
  • Increasing air flow and movement of mucus
  • Hydration
  • Improving of the efficacy of cilia – tiny hair-like projections in the nose that prevent contagions from entering the body

Depending on what region of the country your restaurant is located, you can offer a specific soup that will satisfy the locals. A restaurant in the northeast would benefit from serving a hearty New England clam chowder, while foodservices in the southwest can thrive by offering spicy tortilla soups.


chicken noodle soup


Never-Ending Chili

Few foods spark unbridled passion quite like chili does. Inspiring hundreds of annual cook-offs throughout the United States, chili has a dedicated following of fans who crave variety. When the temperature starts to drop, these chili-obsessed diners don’t just consume their favorite chili. Instead, they want to try every kind of chili this world has to offer! As a restaurant owner, you can take advantage of this by offering a chili of the week throughout the winter.

According to the foremost authority that is the International Chili Society, chili is “any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red/green chili peppers, various spices, and other ingredients, with the exception of beans and pasta which are strictly forbidden”(5). While this chili con carne style usually includes beef and is what most Texans strictly adhere to (6), there are certainly alternative chili recipes that have become prominent elsewhere. Black bean chili is popular among vegetarians who crave the warm, hearty taste of chili but have don’t consume meat. Common in New Mexico, chili verde is made with pork simmered in spicy hatch peppers. By alternating changing the chili your restaurant offers, you will ensure chili connoisseurs keep coming back for more.


Hearty Stew for the Soul

Stew differs from soup in that it’s prepared by simmering meat and/or vegetables in a covered pot for a long period of time. Typically heartier, more filling, and containing less liquid than soups, stews usually feature a meat like beef along with an assortment of vegetables that might include potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, beans, and tomatoes. Other items commonly found in stews include chicken, lamb, sausage, and seafood.

Since stews utilize slow moist heating to make meat tender, juicy, and flavorful, you can use less tender cuts of meat and still yield a delicious meal. This makes stews one of the more cost-efficient dishes for restaurants. But since it takes a long time for a meat’s juices and flavors to seep out via slow cooking, foodservices should prepare a large amount of stew that will provide for many customers’ meals.


beef stew



Getting Your Restaurant Ready for Valentine's Day

valentine's day dinner


Valentine’s Day–the second busiest day of the year for restaurants–is fast approaching. In less than a week, restaurants all over the country will be overrun by thousands of lovebirds who crave delicious food and a romantic ambience. As a restaurant owner or manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure couples fall in love with the meals and décor your restaurant offers on their special day.


Love At First Bite

Pleasantly surprise dining couples by altering your menu to include special foods that are natural aphrodisiacs. Start your diners off with a tasty appetizer that incorporates vitamin- and mineral-rich asparagus. Avocados are also a great choice and have been considered ‘love foods’ since the Mayans used them 1700 years ago. For an entrée, you can’t go wrong with delivering oysters on one of our elegant seafood serving trays. High in zinc, oysters are renowned for their aphrodisiac effects. Don’t forget to also throw in a few red peppers, which stimulate ‘feel good’ endorphins and are the perfect color for the holiday.


valentines day oysters


No Valentine’s Day meal is complete without dessert. With several delicious options to choose from, there’s no crime in offering more than one. Said to have been used by Aztec emperor Montezuma for its aphrodisiac effects, there’s a reason chocolate is such a popular Valentine’s Day gift. Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a compound that boosts serotonin levels and also contains caffeine. Our catalog carries an assortment of chocolate molds that enable you to give your homemade chocolate unique a shape. Bananas are another great dessert option, as they are filled with nutrients that boost the male libido. Fitting the red color of the holiday, watermelon relaxes blood vessels and boosts energy levels.


valentine's day chocolate


Serving red and pink food will further immerse your diners in unique Valentine’s Day ambiance you’ve created. Foods like tomatoes, shrimp, salmon, strawberries, and red-skinned potatoes are perfect for the holiday. Shaping food is another common practice that can help enhance a Valentine’s Day dinner. Simply shaping oysters to look like a heart or arranging the asparagus you serve as an appetizer to spell “LOVE” will be appreciated by your diners. Although it’s great to add small touches, it’s essential to do so without compromising the quality of the food.

 valentines day sushi


Drink to Your Heart’s Content

Make sure to stock your wine buckets and wine racks with plenty of red wine for Valentine’s Day! Not only does red wine match the holiday’s color, but it is also an aphrodisiac that increases blood flow and improves heart health. Enabling your patrons to relax and enjoy themselves, red wine increases a women’s libido and a man’s testosterone levels. However, drink too many glasses of red wine and these positive effects quickly diminish. Make sure to stock up on wines with lower alcohol content so your diners can split a bottle for optimal results.


valentine's day red wine


Another option for restaurants that boast large selections of wine is to offer free wine tasting on Valentine’s Day. Many couples share a passion for wine, so this type of promotion provides extra motivation for wine-loving couples to choose your restaurant over the competition’s.

Renaming your shots and cocktail beverages to reflect the holiday is another idea that many restaurants embrace. Drinks that feature red and pink mixers like grapefruit juice and cranberry juice are perfect candidates for name makeovers. For example, rename your Bloody Marys to be something like ‘Cupid’s Potion.’


The Perfect Scent

Utilizing flowers, incense, and scented candles can help you establish a great-smelling environment that sets a romantic tone within your restaurant. But it’s also important to find a good match between your chosen scent and clientele. Boosting the mood and energy of patrons, jasmine is ideal for restaurants frequented by older diners. On the other hand, lavender helps diners relax and is perhaps best suited for young couples who are possibly spending their first Valentine’s Day together. Other popular scents include ylang ylang, which helps relieve tension, and sandalwood, which is a well-known aphrodisiac.


Music for the Mood

Serenade your diners with the sounds of pleasant background music. The key word here is background, as couples’ conversations will be their main focus during their Valentine’s Day dinners. You can’t go wrong with instrumental genres like string quartets and classical music. If you want to really impress your guests, hire a string quartet or piano player to perform live in your restaurant. Just make sure the music’s volume remains low enough for your patrons to easily converse.


valentine's day music


Creating an Ambiance with Lighting

Whether you want to illuminate your restaurant with overhead lightingcandles, or a combination of both, it’s important to maintain a romantic ambiance for Valentine’s Day. Dimmer lighting is especially effective in this regard. Candles, whether scented or not, can also really enhance the romanticism of your restaurant’s ambiance. Regardless of how you choose to create a romantic atmosphere, your diners will appreciate you going the extra mile to honor their special day.


valentine's day ambiance


Planning the Day and Leveraging Social Media

The Valentine’s Day plans of your restaurant should be made well in advance of the actual holiday. This will give you ample time to inform your customers of holiday specials through mail, email, social media, your website, and any other outlets. Twenty days prior to Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to start getting the word out.

If you’ll be featuring a special menu just for the Valentine’s Day, you can post it on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram to let your diners know. Since certain couples can’t dine out on Valentine’s Day, many restaurants extend their holiday specials to the following weekend. This allows busy couples to properly celebrate when their schedules allow them to.


Show Your Gratitude

Thank your diners for spending their Valentine’s Day at your restaurant by giving them a small gift that commemorates their night. Personalized wine or shot glasses that display the date and your restaurant’s name are inexpensive ways to show your appreciation. If you want to give something a little more extravagant, wine bottles and boxes of chocolate are also great options. Sending diners away with gifts will encourage them to return to your restaurant for future Valentine’s Day dinners, as well as meals throughout the year.

wine gift

Starting a Food Truck Business – What to Know

food truck

Starting a food truck business is the perfect plan for chefs who desire a less risky and lower cost alternative to opening a restaurant. Requiring lower overhead, fewer employees, and a less costly up-front investment, food trucks also offer the freedom to travel to different locations and serve food to a wide variety of people. Free marketing through social media platforms is yet another advantage of mobile food trucks. Whether you’re a restaurant owner who’s looking to do something new or a chef who wants to make a name for himself, opening a food truck business might be the right move for you!  


Trucks vs. Carts vs. Trailers

Although many use the term ‘food truck’ as a general, all-encompassing term, the truth is there are distinct differences between food trucks, food carts, and food trailers. Food trucks are the largest and most mobile of the three. Single continuous units, food trucks usually range from 14-34 feet and provide plenty of space for your staff to prepare, cook, and serve food. Food carts are the smallest of the three and consequently can limit the amount of food you serve. Easily attached to vehicles for transportation, food carts are simple to clean and cost significantly less than the other two options.  Food trailers are like a mix between trucks and carts. Closer in size to food trucks but requiring to be towed like carts, food trailers boast enough interior space for a decent-sized kitchen. Now that we’re clear on the differences between the three units, the rest of this post will focus primarily on food trucks.


Rules Are Rules

Before you invest in a multi-thousand dollar truck, there are a couple of important details that should be considered. First, check the local bylaws of your city, town, or neighborhood to ensure mobile food trucks are legal. Even if they’re legal in your city, places like New York and Los Angeles are notorious for limiting the number of permits they distribute. It can often takes months or even years to procure the proper permits and licenses.

Maybe you scouted out a few locations and found a heavily-trafficked area that would be perfect for your food truck. Unfortunately, many locations restrict food trucks from parking on their premises. So while you might think you’ve found the location of your dreams, it’s in your best interest to ensure food trucks are permitted there.


Finding the Perfect Truck

Since trucks are significant investments, it’s essential that you find the right one before moving forward with your business. There are several factors that must be taken into account when you buy a food truck. Perform a little informal research first by asking other food truck owners what they like and don’t like about their trucks. Some of their answers might resonate and give you a better idea of what kind of truck you’d prefer. It’s also important to be aware of any local or state regulations regarding the design of food trucks. By knowing what type of truck can satisfy these requirements, you will save yourself from dealing with potential future issues. When you find a food truck for sale that fulfills your personal needs as well as the local and state requirements, try to envision yourself in that truck. If you can easily do so, you know you’ve found ‘the one.’


food truck festival


Deciding What Food to Offer

The obvious advice is to offer food you love and know how to cook. But if other local food trucks have already cornered or saturated the market on those specific items, it will be in the best interest of your food truck to offer something else. This idea is particularly applicable to smaller cities and neighborhoods. It’s also important to consider what types of food are popular in your area.

As the cost and availability of food ingredients can vary significantly, these variables should also be assessed when determining what type of food is best suited for your food truck. Last but not least, the cost efficacy of your food should also be taken into account. After all, your food truck is a business that will need to produce a positive bottom line.


Designing a Menu

Designing effective menus is an art-form. Leaving lasting first impressions on your customers, menus should accurately convey the style, attitude, and personality of your food truck. But before focusing a menu’s style, an owner must decide what dishes will be listed and what their prices will be. Researching other local food trucks can help shed some light on each of these dilemmas. Ideally, dishes that are like those of your competition should be priced similarly. This means they should be offered for within $1 more or less than your competition. Once your food options are known, you’ll have the freedom to name dishes something elegantly simple or wildly extravagant. Whatever you choose, make sure it complements the unique personality of your food truck.

Small font and illegible writing can frustrate customers and motivate them to eat elsewhere. To avoid these issues, ensure the words on your menu are large and easy to read. Especially in certain diverse neighborhoods, it’s essential to offer appropriate menus for non-English speakers. Provide food photos that accurately represent what your serve. If you Photoshop an item to look more appealing, your customers will inevitably be disappointed when their food doesn’t match the picture. Make sure to highlight dishes that are specialties or exceptionally popular. More than just informing people of your food options, menus should enhance the visual experience provided by your food truck and encourage customers to refer their friends and family.


food truck menu


Tracking Your Finances

Obtaining a truck is just the first step toward creating a successful food truck business. As the owner, you will also have to account for expenses like fuel, kitchen designs, commercial cooking appliances, food truck equipment, and employees’ salaries. Make sure to lay out a detailed financial plan that addresses these expenses along with anything else you can think of.


Hiring Employees

The most important trait a potential employee can have is a passion for people, food, and the food truck industry. Since you and your staff will be spending long, fast-paced hours together, it’s essential that your employees maintain positive attitudes. This is not only for your benefit, but more importantly for the customers who expect to be a greeted and helped by friendly faces. Cooking experience is also important, but your unique kitchen procedures and recipes will need to be taught regardless of the employee’s expertise. Also make sure you know what hours you will need your staff to work, as this helps you identify which potential employee’s schedule aligns well with yours.



Launching a successful marketing campaign is one of the most important factors in generating buzz for your new food truck. Successfully leveraging digital marketing platforms like social media is immensely helpful when it comes to informing the public about your business. Mediums like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram will help interested customers stay informed about the location of your mobile food truck, and what it’s offering. Even if computers aren’t your thing, it’s easy to delegate this responsibility to a more tech-savvy employee.

 food truck social media


Hard Work

There’s no getting around the fact that hard work is an absolute necessity for owners who wish to run a successful food truck business. A lifestyle that encompasses more than just cooking delicious food, owning a food truck requires you to work long days that will test your stamina, patience, and dedication. Customers expect to receive their great-tasting food promptly, even during chaotic meal time rushes. This means you’ll have to cook more quickly and efficiently than ever before. And even if you excel at working long, fast-paced hours, it will ultimately be your skills in business, marketing, time management, and relating to customers that make the difference between a failing and thriving food truck.



Culinary Depot Restaurant Supplier to Exhibit at Kosherfest 2016

Culinary Depot, a leading vendor, supplier, and installer of commercial restaurant equipment and supplies, is excited to announce it will host an exhibit at Kosherfest 2016. Taking place at the world-famous Meadowlands in New Jersey from Nov. 15-16th, Kosherfest is the largest and most-attended kosher-certified trade show in the US. The two-day event brings together vendors and businesses from various backgrounds and locations, helping them connect and network with each other.

Culinary Depot plans to hold a live Kosher cooking demo with a Rational Combi Oven and showcase brand new equipment for the first time.

Culinary Depot the Restaurant Equipment Supplier

"We're very honored and humbled to be the leading supplier for Kosher kitchens," stated Culinary Depot CEO Michael Lichter. He continued, "We understand the important role and responsibility we carry and are confident that our knowledge and expertise can benefit our kosher customers and improve their experiences."

Over the years, Culinary Depot has worked with various leading equipment manufacturers to create Sabbath-friendly ovens and refrigerators, including Vulcan Convection OvensMetro Warmers and Traulsen Refrigerators.

Metro C539-H-DD8890-U Sabbath Mode

"We're thrilled to be a part of Kosherfest for both business and social reasons. No matter how much we grow, we like to keep in touch with our roots and make sure all of our customers are happy," stated M. Lichter.


About Culinary Depot

Culinary Depot has been building, renovating, and servicing commercial kitchens for hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants, caterers, and synagogues for 15 years.

Culinary Depot prides itself on helping customers design and build kitchens that truly meet their needs. Projects are completed on budget and on time.

For more information about Culinary Depot visit there new mobile friendly website at call 888-845-8200.

How to Write Powerful Menu Descriptions That Increase Profits

The Expert: Gregg Rapp, Menu Engineer | September 2016


At most restaurants, menu descriptions are a lifeless list of ingredients

A good description adheres to a set of best practices, and you don’t have to be a writer to benefit from them

When written well, descriptions convey the soul of your restaurant and lead to higherrofits



A very big problem I see with most restaurants is that they describe their menu items with a lifeless list of ingredients. This is unfortunate, because menu descriptions allow you to share the heart and soul of your restaurant with customers and can have a defining impact on a restaurant’s reputation and profits. They really are that important. In particular, they can positively impact your restaurant in the following ways:


1. Menu descriptions allow a restaurant to differentiate itself

Strong menu descriptions take a dish out of the realm of being a commodity and make it appear better than a similar dish being sold by a competitor across the street. A good description won’t compensate for bad food, of course, but when customers believe that you are offering something distinctive, something that they can’t get anywhere else, your restaurant reaps the benefits through increased traffic and guests’ perception that the dish’s price is more justified.


2. Good menu descriptions entice guests, leading to repeat business

When tempting language makes three entrees seem irresistible, customers will order one of them and possibly return two more times to try the other two on future visits.


3. Good menu descriptions lead guests to order more items at a given sitting

Customers typically spend just 90 seconds looking over the menu, and this time does not expand to accommodate any confusion caused by a poorly written menu. Good descriptions require less work (e.g., reading, searching) from the customer, and less confusion or searching during the item-selection process means customers have more time within those 90 seconds to find and add additional items to their order.

Now that you know the importance of how you present your restaurant’s offerings to the world, I will teach you how to describe them to your customers. All of the information I present applies to all types of food establishments, from high-end restaurants to hotdog stands to food trucks. And note that it is important to adjust the language you use to suit your particular audience. While reading, please keep in mind that each piece of information below addresses one or more of the three positive impacts listed above: it differentiates your dish, entices your customers to order your dish, and/or makes it easier for customers to find and order more of what they want.




Descriptions can be split into parts, and their order matters

A menu description can be split into three parts, and you should usually present them in the following order:


1. The name of the dish


2. The ingredients

Place the main ingredients of the dish first, starting with the most expensive and important ingredients (and make sure to include any that commonly cause allergic reactions). The reason for this is that guests read as little as they can when deciding what they want to order, and the main thing they want to know about your dish is what’s in it.


3. The “sell copy”

This phrase refers to language whose primary purpose is to sell the dish.


Example in the suggested order: 1 > 2 > 3
Chicken Pot Pie – Roast chicken, baby carrots, spring peas topped with grandma’s flakey pie crust.

To keep the menu from being monotonous, occasionally reverse the order of the second and third parts and place the “sell copy” before your ingredients. There is no rule dictating which dishes should have this less common presentation – just go with what you think makes the most sense in your situation.


Example in reverse order: 1 > 3 > 2
Chicken Pot Pie – Grandma’s flakey pie crust filled with roast chicken, baby carrots, and spring peas.

As you read on, you will learn how to optimize each part of a description. The topics presented below roughly follow the 1 > 2 > 3 order displayed above, but note that some of the advice can apply to more than one part of the description.


Don’t force customers to read the description

A dish’s name should clearly identify the dish so that guests don’t have to read the description in order to obtain this basic information. When customers can easily determine if they want to read further by just reading the name of the item, it saves them time. To achieve this level of clarity, you often must mention the specific item in the dish name. For instance, instead of writing “Joe’s Special” and then describing this mystery dish, you would write “Joe’s Lasagna Special,” which allows customers to quickly decide if they want more detail.


Reinforce how the item is categorized on the menu

When a menu has a section with a heading such as “Salad,” some think that it is OK to list dish names such as “Greek” and “Buffalo Chicken” under this heading because it will be obvious that both dishes are types of salads. Instead of relying on customers to always make this connection, make things easier for them by sprinkling the word “salad” into some of the dish titles in order to reinforce to customers that they are reading through the salad section: e.g., “Greek Salad” and “Buffalo Chicken Salad.” Not every dish within a given section has to include the section heading in its name, but seeing such obvious dish names frequently within a menu section makes it easier for customers to read through the menu and make decisions.


Add value to an ingredient by stating its geographic origin

When you add value to an ingredient, it is no longer just a commodity that everyone else has, and one way to do this is to inform guests of where the item came from. For example, the following descriptions of the same menu item add more value to the ingredient as you read from left to right:

Midwest Pork Chops > Iowa Pork Chops > Muscatine, Iowa, Pork Chops

As you move from left to right, the term before the ingredient “Pork Chops” gets increasingly specific (the Midwestern region of the U.S. contains the state of Iowa, and Iowa contains a city named Muscatine), and this further differentiates the dish vs. its more generic competition. To obtain such geographic information, you can ask vendors and distributors about the origins of the food that you buy, and if you are buying from local farms, you can include these locations in your descriptions. Most items you buy come from a specific farming area or small town, and the smaller the town, the more interesting the menu description.


Strawberry Sorbet – Hidden Valley Fruit Farm strawberries, shortbread crumb, and cream.

Deviled Eggs – Baffoni Farm egg, bacon lardon, and crispy shallots.

Short Ribs – Soy-braised Blackbird Farm short ribs, shiitake and snap pea risotto.

This method of adding value allows you to avoid resorting to an uninspiring list of ingredients, and it can also easily be applied to dish names (the first part of the description).


Mention brand names

In addition to stating the geographical origin of your dish, if an ingredient is supplied by a well-known and respected brand, you can also mention the brand name in your descriptions. Adding a few brand names among your menu descriptions makes it appear that you are buying “the good stuff,” which in your guests’ minds raises the value of all your dishes.


Describe how unfamiliar ingredients taste

If you write something in a description that people don’t understand, they won’t order that item. Listing the name of an uncommon ingredient without any supporting information alienates the many people who are not familiar with it, and people in groups (think business lunches, people on dates, etc.) are often embarrassed to ask for clarification because it can make them look uncultured.



If you write something in a description that people don’t understand, they won’t order that item.



You can overcome the pitfalls of listing an uncommon ingredient by including three pieces of information in your description:


1. The name of the ingredient

2. A description of how the ingredient tastes

3. The food category to which the ingredient belongs


For instance, by writing “buttery cacio bufala cheese,” you not only name an ingredient that not everyone is familiar with (cacio bufala), but you also let readers know that the uncommon ingredient is a type of cheese (the food category) and that it has a buttery taste. This description allows customers to be far more confident and comfortable when ordering a dish. Note that there is no correct order for these three pieces of information. Simply include all three of them and go with the order that makes sense in your situation.


Shakshuka – Farm egg baked in sauce of sweet tomatoes, chiles, and smoky cumin.
(Category: Egg; Taste: Sweet

Blistered Shishito Peppers – Bite-sized mild peppers with grilled lemon and flake salt.
(Category: Peppers; Taste: Mild)


Provide a “backstory”

As I noted earlier, “sell copy” usually follows the ingredients in your menu descriptions, and it has the task of “selling” your items outside of any interest generated by the ingredients. An ingenious way to create this copy is to share the “backstory,” or history, behind the dish.

I don’t see this effective technique used in restaurants very often, and you don’t need to be a copywriter to generate such content. In fact, the best place to start is with the chef. In my experience, chefs are usually pressed for time and would much rather cook than write, so try to pull the backstory for each menu item out of the chef verbally while using a dictation device. You can then transcribe the comments and edit them down for inclusion in the menu description.

Here are some examples of the kind of content that you can generate from this exercise: The chef used this recipe for his own wedding reception. The recipe is a long-held family secret. The chef experienced this dish while on vacation. The chef’s grandmother created it. The length of time the item has been on the menu. Why the recipe is worthy of being on the menu vs. the many other options the chef could have chosen.

Note that the geographic origin of certain ingredients (a factor mentioned earlier in this article) can also be part of the backstory.


Grandma Dot’s Kickin’ Cornbread – Sweet summer corn, stone-ground cornmeal, and a touch of jalapeno. Cornbread with a kick of personality – just like Grandma Dot.

South Street Chicken Wings – Smokey peach chipotle barbecue sauce, smothered crispy chicken wings. A summertime favorite for years at the South Street block party!

A backstory takes the dish out of the “same old, same old” realm. It gives your menu its own personality and allows the dish to stand on its own and become even more appealing. And remember that this method is as valid for a high-end, full-service restaurant as it is for a fast-food restaurant.

The backstory is critical when creating a description, and its importance extends beyond the menu. Having a written backstory behind a menu item also allows your servers to better understand the item, to be more confident in suggesting it, and to sell it better. In some cases a dish’s backstory can become a legend in your restaurant.


Use photographs with great caution

Using food photographs on your menu is a way to visually “describe” your menu dish. Guests like them because pictures allow them to avoid reading, and when used very sparingly (just one per menu page, for example) they can significantly increase sales of a given item.

That said, the use of photographs comes with large downsides. To start with, pictures cheapen a menu, which limits pricing flexibility. In addition, professional food photographs are often more perfect than reality, and when the dish arrives looking somewhat different, customers can be disappointed. Along the same lines, the unrealistic expectations built up by a professional photograph can extend into the realm of taste, and that’s definitely not something you want to compete against.


Use evocative language

Your menu descriptions should be more than just factually accurate. They should also create desire within the reader, and to do this your descriptions should engage readers’ imaginations so that they want to experience what they are reading about.


Examples (Uninspired)
• Pork Chop – Served with apple braised cabbage and jus.

• Chocolate Cake – Served with raspberries and whipped cream.

Rewritten Examples (Evocative)
• Wood-Fire-Grilled Pork Chop – Double-cut, bone-in Berkshire pork chop, sweet & sour braised cabbage, apple cider jus.

• 5-Layer Chocolate Cake – Espresso-soaked chocolate sponge cake, milk chocolate ganache filling, raspberry coulis, and fluffy whipped cream.

There are no inherently good or bad words to use in your descriptions; your choices depend on your particular situation and what you feel is the best reflection of what you are trying to accomplish.



There are no inherently good or bad words to use in your descriptions…



Here is a list of words and phrases to help jump-start your creativity:

aromatic complex drizzled encrusted
fit for the gods grass-fed house-made infused
juiciness knead local meticulously
nosh organic pan-seared quintessential
roasted seasonal time-tested unbeatable
vibrant wild-caught yummy zesty



The importance of language is underscored by the following:


1. The financial impact of a well-worded menu description can be highly significant. In his book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Professor Brian Wansink of Cornell University tells of a study he was involved in, in which a cafeteria attempting to enhance its image and sales rotated the same dishes for six weeks, alternating between basic and descriptive dish titles. The descriptive titles led to an impressive 27 percent increase in sales over their basic counterparts.


2. Language can impact a guest’s impression of how a dish tastes. No kidding. In the same study, participants reviewed the meals that used the descriptive dish titles more positively than the identical meals that used the basic titles.

Your words matter. Take them seriously.


Adjust the length of your descriptions to your advantage

There is no ideal length for a description, but here is some guidance on this topic:

1. Guests spend a limited amount of time reading the menu, so be practical.

2. Ask yourself: Are your hamburgers described in more detail than your steaks? Doesn’t it make sense to spend more time describing the steaks rather than the burgers?



…the length of a description should reflect an item’s importance…



In other words, the length of a description should reflect an item’s importance, so save your longest descriptions for the most popular and profitable dishes and limit other dishes to more basic descriptions. Failure to follow this rule is the most common problem I see when it comes to menu descriptions, and it is relatively easy to fix.


When writing in two languages, make them easy to navigate

When your audience does not share a common language, you can reduce the amount of time that guests spend searching through your menu by having two separate menus (one in language A and the other in language B) or by creating graphic cues that allow guests to easily navigate to their desired language – two possibilities include distinguishing the languages through font color or italic text.


Write your own descriptions

You should use a proofreader after you put your menu together in order to catch mistakes, but I advise against hiring a writer or an advertising team to write your descriptions. Doing so can result in a menu that is unrecognizable to the chef who created the dishes because outside writers may not understand the heart and soul of the restaurant. Instead, the operator or person who put the menu together is the right person for the job.

Keeping the writing in-house can help give the menu a much desired personality – and note that this personality is more important than perfect grammar. I will often joke that if you misspell a word on your menu, just make sure that you do so three times so that it “becomes” a word.



…I advise against hiring a writer or an advertising team to write your descriptions.



Menu descriptions should come from your heart and soul, and they should feel right to you. Both guests and workers will be able to spot a contrived menu, and that negative impression will end up hurting your establishment.

Because of their larger employee base, chain restaurants must try harder to find their heart and soul when writing menu descriptions. Also, for a franchise organization, if the franchisees don’t understand the descriptions, they won’t believe in them. These issues are beyond the scope of this article, but note that the problems created by having many locations to work with are not insurmountable.



Optimizing your menu descriptions is one of many ways to generate higher profits from your menu, and the practice falls under the broader topic of menu engineering, which is the study of the profitability and popularity of menu items and how these two factors influence the placement of these items on a menu. Menu engineering covers everything from determining which items to display on a menu, to the optimal place on a menu to display these items, to how many dishes to display and in what order.

Culinary Depot Delivers on Expertise for New Kellogg's Eatery in NYC

MONSEY, NY--(Marketwired - September 21, 2016) - Culinary Depot, a leader in wholesale restaurant supplies and installation, has recently completed work at Kellogg's NYC, a new cereal eatery in the heart of Times Square. The project consisted of designing custom cabinet structures, curating appliances, and outsourcing manufacturing for the eatery. The eatery opened on July 4th and serves dishes featuring a combination of Kellogg's cereal with unique ingredients including fruit, nuts, and other breakfast enhancements.

With such a large project, Culinary Depot relied on extensive communication and organization to ensure the project went smoothly.


"It had its challenges but years of industry knowledge allowed us to easily overcome them. All the custom pieces from the manufacturing company made it a challenging project to finish within the given time frame. We were definitely fighting the clock and had to work efficiently while still maintaining a keen attention to detail. In the end, we came out on top and the project was a huge success," stated Michael Lichter, CEO of Culinary Depot.

In addition to Kellogg's, Culinary Depot continues to provide their services for large brands while remaining a reputable supplier for local restaurants and companies as well. With its recent expansion and success, the business is now flourishing in the second half of 2016. Culinary Depot has also been voted as a top place to work in 2016 by the Rockland Journal News Top Workplace Awards.

Culinary Depot the Restaurant Equipment Supplier

Culinary Depot, apart from selling commercial kitchen equipment, has spent much of 2016 completing various kitchen installation projects for high-end customers throughout the US, with Kellogg's NYC being their latest endeavor.

"The Kellogg's NYC project was a success across the board from start to finish. It involved designing, manufacturing, and installing appliances and custom designed woodwork, all of which put our knowledge base and skill set to the test," states Culinary Depot Sales Executive, Abder Berrada. "One piece of the project was designing and implementing a special cabinet system in which employees could place orders for customers to take themselves in a rotate by-order fashion."


About Culinary Depot

Culinary Depot has been building, renovating, and servicing commercial kitchens for hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants, and more for more than 10 years. In an industry where much is over-promised and under-delivered, we are uniquely equipped to help customers design and/or build a kitchen that truly meets their needs on budget, on target, and on time.


For more on Culinary Depot visit

What exactly is the farm-to-table movement


Farm-to-Table Movement Improves Food and Health

The farm-to-table movement has its roots in healthy eating, but it also has a positive impact on the environment and the economy. Foods that are picked unripe and shipped long distances just don't have the same flavor as sun-ripened foods that are locally sourced. It's also a drain on the environment to have fleets of semi-trucks continually hauling food from one place to another. Finally, cutting out unnecessary middlemen allows the farmer to make a decent profit that offsets the investment and labor of growing and harvesting produce.



Good for Your Health

Have you noticed that fruits and vegetables purchased from a produce stand often taste better than the same offerings at the local grocery store? One reason is that bulk growers pick fruits and vegetables before they're completely ripe to make them easier to ship. This also makes the produce less likely to spoil on the way. Fruits and vegetables need energy from the sun in order to ripen with all of their natural sugars and vitamins intact. As soon as you pick them, the sugar starts turning to starch and the nutrients begin to degrade.

The more produce is handled, the greater the risk that it will end up contaminated with germs. If there's a problem with a particular shipment of grapes or lettuce, it may spread illness to different areas of the country or even the world before the issue is identified. Local produce is also more likely to be organically grown because it's planted in small batches that don't need the widespread application of fertilizers and pesticides.

Good for the Environment

The overuse of chemicals by factory farms pollutes the soil, and storm runoff contaminates nearby water sources. Local farmers are better stewards of the land because they care about the long-term sustainability of their fields. Another issue is that long-distance shipping requires the use of fossil fuels that continue to contribute to global warming. A third factor that puts stress on the environment is the overuse of cardboard, plastic, and other materials used for packaging.

Buying foods from local farms, farmers' markets, and agricultural co-ops means that there is less distance to haul it, and much less pollution-causing fuel is required. Produce also needs less packaging since it's not going very far, cutting down on the non-biodegradable materials that harm the earth's trees and oceans. Of course, eating locally grown produce also means you can't have grapes from Chile in the middle of the winter – a small price to pay to save the environment.



Good for the Local Economy

Many restaurants have embraced the farm-to-table philosophy because the food is fresher, tastes better and is cheaper than produce shipped long distances. In some places, farmers deliver directly to restaurants and other retailers, while some cities create a 'produce hub.' This is a location where farmers can drop off their latest harvest to be purchased by many different food service businesses.

Farmers' markets are good sources of revenue for farmers, and other local businesses benefit when they're nearby. Local farms spend money in the area on equipment and supplies, and the restaurants they serve provide employment opportunities. One recent trend is for chain supermarkets to set aside a section for locally grown foods. When supermarkets don't rely entirely on large corporate farms for produce, it puts money in the pockets of local farmers.

Farm-to-Table Philosophy

In the United States, the farm-to-table movement started in California and Oregon in the 1970's. The restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California opened in 1971 and is recognized as the first restaurant to serve only food from small, local farms. As time passed, the many benefits of locally sourced food become apparent, and the movement spread.

The nutritional quality of freshly picked local produce is far better than that of fruits and vegetables that have been shipped across the country or even the world. For years, doctors have agreed that locally grown, organic foods promote good health. The concern over factory farming, genetically modified foods, pesticides and soil/water pollution has fueled many peoples' enthusiasm for the locally grown movement. Restaurants have followed this trend because fresh, locally grown food is not only better for people and the environment, but it's also delicious!

Will Going Green Really Save Your Restaurant Money?

You've heard many people discuss green methods for restaurants, and you are eager to do your part in helping the environment. However, your concerns extend beyond the natural world; you are concerned as to how these changes could affect your budget. Even though you are concerned about Mother Nature, you know you're in financial trouble if your restaurant closes down. Fortunately, saving the environment can truly work in tandem with creating a stronger financial fort.

Reduced Consumption of Materials
Going green involves a number of components, and reducing the amount of waste that your business creates is one of them. For example, you may entirely eliminate any paper or plastic utensils from the establishment and purchase reusable ones instead. Although those reusable items likely have a higher unit cost, you do not need to constantly buy them. The fewer products you have to buy in the long term, the less money you need to allocate in the budget for them.

Solar Panels
Instead of constantly using artificial energy to power all elements of your business, look into how solar panels can help. Again, you are going to have to put down more money now, but in the long run, companies that use solar panels often see a significant reduction in the amount of money that they have to pay for energy. Even if solar panels are not for you, consider other ways that the sun can help your business. If you install large windows overlooking a gorgeous view, not only are you creating an attraction at your eatery, but you are also reducing the need to turn on lights when the weather is beautiful.

Energy Star Windows
You have probably heard of homeowners who received tax breaks when they installed Energy Star windows, so you should find out if the same opportunity is available for your business. On top of bringing you in that sum of money, you will also find that you have to spend fewer dollars on your energy bills each month. Therefore, these types of windows help you to save in multiple ways.

Develop an Energy-efficient Plan
Installing new devices can help your business save money in different ways, but you also need to make sure your employees are doing their part. Hold a meeting where you discuss the new energy-efficient plans that your company is integrating. For example, you might make it a requirement that certain set of lights is turned off by a certain time. Put this information in the company handbook; explain that repeated violations of the policy can result in penalties.

Customer Attraction
Keep in mind that many people want to work with businesses that have the best interests of the environment in mind. In fact, a number of customers now refuse to enter into or support any company that does not make the environment a priority. Once you have infused green methods into your plan, make sure that you also include that in your marketing material. You now have the opportunity to attract a new set of customers who want to do their part in taking care of the envrionment.

The decision to go green can certainly save your restaurant money, as well as attract more diners to your establishment.

How Do You Bake at High Altitude?

How to Bake at High Altitudes

Because the air pressure is lower at higher altitudes, baking at altitudes 3,500 feet or higher above sea level can be challenging. Baking involves a number of chemical interactions, such as leavening and evaporating, among several different ingredients that are complicated by the effects of the climate in high altitudes. With a few adjustments, however, you can create baked goods at high altitudes that are just as successfully done and delicious as if they were baked at sea level.

Oven Temperature and Baking Times

Because evaporation and leavening occur more quickly in high altitudes, you need to set the oven temperature between 15 and 25 degrees higher to prevent drying out or overexpansion.

Now that you've set the oven at a higher temperature, your baked product will be done sooner. Decrease the baking time between 5 and 8 minutes for every half hour.


Use extra liquid to prevent your baked product from drying out due to the faster evaporation rate and higher oven temperature. You can use extra-large eggs or additional smaller eggs to increase the total amount of liquid. Also, because fewer liquid molecules can carry less flavoring, add between 1/2 and 1 additional teaspoon of flavoring for a tastier product. Underbeating egg whites will keep the batter from rising too much and collapsing.

Additional flour, especially that containing a higher amount of protein, can help strengthen the structure of the baked product.

Sugar becomes more concentrated with increased evaporation, thus weakening the structure of the baked product and resulting in flat cookies and fallen cakes. For each cup of sugar, decrease the amount by 1 tablespoon.

Decrease leavening, such as baking powder and baking soda, to prevent the product from rising too much. If the recipe calls for both baking powder or soda plus sour cream or buttermilk, use all baking powder with sweet milk. Yeast doughs rise faster, so decrease the time you allow them to rise. In addition, you could use less yeast. You should also "punch down" the dough twice during rising.


To prevent an underbaked "inside" or overbaked "outside" of your shortening-type cake, increase the liquid by 1 to 4 tablespoons or use extra eggs.

Fill the cake pans only one-half full to prevent overflowing. Also, be sure to grease and flour or line your pans with parchment paper to keep your cake from sticking.

Decrease oil or shortening by 1 to 2 tablespoons to assure your cake is moist. To prevent an overly moist top or bottom, increase the flour between 1 tablespoon and 1/2 cup.

Be sure to bake the cake long enough. This way you won't end up with a "fallen" cake.

For angel food cakes, beat egg whites just enough to form soft peaks to avoid over-rising. You don't want your angel food cake to have a coarse texture, so increase the flour between 1 tablespoon and 1/2 cup. An increase in water up to 1/3 cup and oven temperature by 25 degrees will keep the cake from falling out of the pan as you're letting it cool upside down.


Because it takes less time for dough to rise in high altitudes, use a larger bowl so you're not caught with dough that rises out of the bowl! To slow down the first rise, cover the dough and refrigerate it to allow the dough to develop. To prevent the dough from overexpanding, decrease the flour or increase the liquid. You can avoid "holey" bread by punching down and letting the dough rise twice.


Cookies have relatively less water and more fat content than breads or cakes, so baking them at high altitudes isn't quite so complicated. Because cookies bake for a shorter time, you only need to decrease the time in the oven between 5 and 8 minutes for every half hour of baking time. To prevent overspreading, decrease the shortening 2 tablespoons for each 1/4 cup, decrease the sugar a bit or increase the flour. If the cookies don't spread enough, increase the liquid to keep the dough from drying out.

The Advice and Products Offered By Culinary Depot

Culinary Depot is an innovative restaurant supply store that offers unique and high quality selections that range from kitchen supplies to commercial equipment. When it comes to versatility, Culinary Depot offers any supplies for any type of cuisine.

What Does Culinary Depot Offer?

Of all the types of cuisines to make, Culinary Depot has an extensive supply of pizza making material. Find all the necessary equipment that is needed for a pizza shop, a pizza restaurant, or for making pizza at home within this supplies store. Even the diversity of pizzas can be made with the pizza making materials is endless and includes the deep dish pizza, the New York style pizza, and even the California pizza.

Culinary Depot's Versatility

In addition to having an endless supply of material, Culinary Depot offers knowledgeable advice on how to take the proper safety precautions and cleaning precautions. An excellent example is the advice that is often given by those who work through Culinary Depot and give excellent advice on how to clean a pizza oven in a proper and safe manner.

The Proper Way to Clean a Pizza Oven

As suggested by Culinary Depot, the proper way to clean a pizza oven involves several materials to begin with. These materials include:

  1. Gloves
  2. One apron
  3. Non-toxic stainless steel cleaner and polish
  4. One oven brush or scrapper
  5. Three to five towels
  6. One hand brush
  7. One dust pan

Culinary Depot suggests that a pizza oven should be cleaned of debris on a daily basis in order to preserve the fresh tasting flavors of the pizza. This daily task involves scrapping any debris from the oven. In addition to the daily cleaning, it is also suggested that the oven be cleaned thoroughly once a week to avoid picking up undesired flavors and to make sure the oven remains in the best condition for as long as it can.

To Begin

  1. The first step in cleaning the oven thoroughly is by making sure that the oven has cooled down all the way. It is important to understand that adding cleaning solutions to a hot oven will cause burns to the skin.
  2. Remember that before beginning, put on the apron and the gloves for protection.
  3. To begin the cleaning process, taking one of the towels and apply a small amount of the stainless steel cleaning solution. This solution will assist the cleaning process by removing discoloration within the oven.
  4. After applying the solution to the oven, use the scrapper or the brush to collect debris within the oven. this includes any buildup of soot over the week long pizza making. Use the scrapper or the brush to gently brush away the debris into the dust pan that will be discarded in the nearest trash can.
  5. One important aspect of cleaning to remember is to never use any water within the cleaning process. The stoneware within the oven will absorb the water which will later lead to cracks on the interior of the oven.

The Thoroughness of Culinary Depot

As demonstrated, Culinary Depot not only offers products, but also offers advice and consultation for any restaurant worker or owner. The countless supply options on the Culinary Depot website makes this an easy way to shop. In addition to pizza making supplies and cleaning supplies, Culinary Depot also offers an extensive list for bakeries, catering and buffet businesses, as well as bars. The high quality materials that are sold through Culinary Depot make sure that every single purchase that is made, saves money in the long run.

Offered Restaurant Items

For every restaurant business, there is something for everyone. The furniture that is displayed is especially versatile in fashion and can come in any style whether is by Spanish or Oriental. At Culinary Depot, the mission is to offer the best products that can fit into any style of restaurant. With excellent quality products as well as excellent quality consultations and advice, it is easy to see why Culinary Depot continues to grow in business as more and more clients flock to this website to make easy and affordable purchases.