November 2018 Culinary Depot Blog Posts

    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: