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    5 Most Common Restaurant Complaints

    Keeping customers happy is a key to success for restaurants. Ideally, the combination of delicious food, outstanding service, and a comfortable atmosphere should leave customers satisfied. But not all visits go as planned. While dissatisfied customers complain about a wide range of things, this post will cover 5 of the most common restaurant complaints and what you can do about them.

     

    Impolite Servers

     

    impolite server

     

    Servers are the heart and soul of any restaurant. And no matter how tasty your food is, you’ll have a tough time getting customers to return if they have a bad experience with the server. In most cases involving a customer who complains about an impolite server, it’s best to apologize and offer a free dessert or drink. Of course, you’ll always want to hear your server’s side of the story as well. If you notice a trend where a lot of customers are having issues with the same server, it’s probably time to have a more thorough discussion.

    It’s important to keep in mind that everyone holds servers to different standards. So something that one diner considers impolite might be perfectly fine according to another customer. Servers should avoid calling customers by pet names like “honey” or “dear.” Although some customers will be okay with that, it’s not worth the risk of offending those who aren’t.

    The best way to ensure customers are satisfied with your servers is by hiring the right people and training them well. Make sure they’re aware of your expectations and hold them accountable when they don’t live up to them.

     

    Dirty Utensils / Table

     

    dirty utensils

     

    When it comes to dining out, a clean eating environment is just expected. So leaving leftover food debris on a table or silverware is a surefire way to get on the bad side of a customer. And now with state-of-the-art commercial dishwashers that can clean several hundred racks per hour, there’s no excuse for dirty dishes or utensils. As far as dirty tables go, a lot of that falls on how diligent your staff is. If they’re good workers who are well-trained, they should be able to keep things spotless. An occasional mistake is forgivable. But if you find that several customers are complaining about the cleanliness of your tables, it might be time to step in and hold someone accountable.

     

    Cold Food

     

    cold food

     

    Another common restaurant complaint stems from diners receiving cold food (assuming the meal is supposed to be hot). Customers usually work up quite an appetite by the time an entrée arrives. They travel to the restaurant, wait to get a table, and sit patiently while the meal is prepared. If the food is cold when it arrives and the customer’s hunger is at its peak, they’re probably going to be a little irritated.

    There are a couple ways to combat this issue. The first is by ensuring meals that are being served to the same table finish cooking at the same time. This can be challenging, especially when your restaurant is busy or you’re serving a large party. Another option is to outfit your kitchen with equipment that will help keep dishes hot. A commercial microwave is the traditional choice. Other options include holding cabinets and drawer warmers. Cook and hold ovens cook dishes and keep them warm until they’re served.

     

    Being Rushed

     

    being rushed

     

    This transgression could fall under impolite server, but it’s important enough to get its own category. Rushing a customer out the door can manifest in several ways. The most egregious is removing a plate before they’re finished eating. Some people take their time with a meal, taking breaks and savoring every last morsel. Even if it looks like a customer is finished, always be sure to ask them first. Only when a diner confirms that they’re done should you remove their plate.

    Another way customers feel like they’re being pushed out the door is when a server delivers the restaurant check without being asked. A diner might’ve had their eyes on a tasty dessert or another cocktail. So to receive the check before they’re ready can make them uncomfortable weird about ordering anything else. So as if it’s not bad enough that you’re disappointing the customer, you’re also losing business. It’s always best to make sure customers are ready for the check before delivering it.

     

    Automatically Adding Tips of 18% or Higher

     

    gratuity added

     

    There are some surprises that people like. Finding out a large gratuity has been automatically added to their bill is not one of them. If you feel like you absolutely have to include gratuities to help protect your servers, try to limit it to when serving parties of 6 or more. And make clear from the start that it’s the restaurant’s policy. If a table has a bad experience with a server and is forced to pay an 18% gratuity, you can be sure that they’ll never be back again.

     

    As most experienced restauranteurs have learned, there are infinite ways that customers can complain. This post covers just 5 of the most common restaurant complaints. And while practicing damage control is one way to handle the complaints, the better option is to prevent the issue that causes them. By training your servers to prevent issues before they arise, you’ll receive fewer complaints from customers and earn repeat visits.  

    Opening a Restaurant Checklist

    For many people, opening a restaurant is a lifelong dream. But as with most dreams, making it come true can be challenging. Someone doesn’t become a restauranteur overnight. In fact, opening a restaurant is often a long, drawn-out process that can wear down even the most passionate potential restauranteurs. This post will make the process a bit easier by providing a simple-to-follow checklist for opening a restaurant. 

     

    Decide On Your Restaurant Concept

     

    restaurant concept

     

    Owners always have the option of franchising an already well-established restaurant. While doing so requires them to pay a franchising fee upfront, it also gives them immediate brand recognition. The built-in customer base provides a leg up on the local competition. But for owners who want to craft a restaurant in their own vision, proper time and consideration should be given to the restaurant concept.

    Your restaurant concept includes its food, menu, atmosphere, and service style. Even your restaurant’s name should make sense in the context of everything else. Ideally your concept should be unique enough to differentiate your foodservice from other establishments. But at the same time, a concept that is too unique might alienate potential customers. So it’s a delicate balancing act. Food is the foundation of any successful restaurant, so try to base your concept around what dishes you offer.

     

    Location

     

    restaurant location

     

    It’s always best to thoroughly scout surrounding areas before buying or leasing a building. After all, you don’t want to open a pizzeria down the street from a town’s favorite pizza joint. The more foot traffic a location receives, the more potential customers you’ll have. Of course, buildings in busier locations are costlier. It’s also important to know the demographics of your community. If you’re in a college town, fast food and fast casual will likely fare much better than fine dining establishments.

    The savvy move when it comes to identifying a good location is to find an up-and-coming area that’s undervalued in the real estate market. If you anticipate the area will receive more traffic in the near future, it could make a perfect location of your restaurant. Buying or leasing a building that was previously set up as a restaurant can help save you some money. Rather than having to do construction to set up gas and water lines, everything will already be in place.

     

    Raise Funds

     

    raise funds

     

    If you’re wondering how to open a restaurant with no money, the simple answer is to get some. Cash is just another of the many things needed to start a restaurant. So whether you want to borrow it from a friend or a family member, take out a loan, or just dip into your savings, you’ll want to figure out the money situation upfront. After all, there’s no point in putting in hundreds of hours into brainstorming and research if you don’t have the wherewithal.

    If you’re relying on investors to fund your restaurant, you’ll likely have to present a detailed business plan. And even if you’re not relying on outside investors, formulating a business plan is a great way to know exactly where you’re going. A good business plan should include everything about your restaurant – concept, location, revenue projections, estimated costs, and local competition are just some of the many topics it should cover.

     

    Equipment / Supplies

     

    commercial kitchen equipment supplies

     

    Commercial kitchens operate most smoothly when they’re outfitted with the right restaurant equipment. Different types of kitchens require different appliances. So what you need will largely depend on what type of establishment you’re opening. If you plan to open a fast food restaurant, be sure to reference our fast food restaurant equipment list for a breakdown of the essentials.

     

    Secure Licenses / Permits

     

    licenses permits

     

    The proper licenses and permits are essential requirements for a restaurant. A business license is the first thing you’ll need. If you plan to sell alcohol, you’ll need a liquor license as well. Proper protocol for attaining these licenses varies depending on your exact location. So either ask other restauranteurs or search the Internet for what needs to be done.

    Once construction is finished and its equipment is in place, you’ll have the option to schedule a pre-opening health inspection. These types of inspections aren’t mandatory. And although they can delay your opening, they also help you correct issues before they become too serious. There’s no grade involved with these inspections, but the comments do become part of the public domain. So if you’re unsure if your restaurant satisfies local requirements, consider hiring a consultant who can let you know if your set-up looks okay.

     

    Hiring Employees / Training Procedure

     

    hiring and training employees

     

    Although the role of robots in restaurants continues to expand, actual human employees are still important as ever. That’s why hiring the right people should be a top priority for restaurant owners. After all, service is one of the aspects that customers most remember about their meal. Good service enhances the experience, while bad service can scare patrons off forever. When hiring servers, experience and personality should always be considered. If you think a friend or family member would make sense as a hire, you should be 100% sure. The last thing you want is for your business to get in the way of your personal relationships.

     

    When it comes to how to start a restaurant business, there’s no one path to follow. Everyone approaches it differently, so do what’s right for you. The one bit of advice that all restauranteurs should heed is to not rush into it. Starting a business is expensive and time-consuming. So always take time when making important decisions that could potentially affect the fate of your restaurant.

    Fast Food Restaurant Equipment List

    While national fast food restaurant chains are seemingly everywhere, that doesn’t mean there’s not also room for smaller operations. They might require more work, but success is certainly possible if you have perseverance. If you’re thinking about opening a fast food restaurant but aren’t quite sure what equipment you’ll need, then you’ve come to the right place. This post features a fast food restaurant equipment list that includes the most important appliances you’ll need.

     

    Fryer

     

    fast food fryer

     

    Fast food restaurants are perhaps best known for their fried offerings. As a result, commercial fryers place high on our list of essential fast food restaurant equipment. Fish, French fries, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks are the most popular types of fried food. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also deep fry things like ice cream, bananas, dough, and even Oreos.

    Since not all kitchens are the same, there are a variety of different types of fryers on the market. Some take up minimal space and conveniently fit atop counters. These types are ideal for smaller commercial kitchens found in concession stands. Other fryers are bigger in size and require floor space. These commercial deep fryers can have as few as 2 tanks and as many as 6, which makes them perfect for frying large volumes of food. In the event that you don’t have access to a gas hookup, an electric fryer is your best bet. And if you prefer something that will fit seamlessly into your countertop, consider a drop-in fryer.

     

    Griddle

     

    fast food griddle

     

    Commercial griddles are must-haves for any fast food restaurant. Whether you’re cooking burgers, eggs, sausages, pancakes, steak, chicken, or fish, a griddle is up to the task. Countertop commercial griddles are as compact as 12" wide and as large as 72" wide. So if you have some spare countertop space, this type of griddle is the perfect solution. If you’d prefer something a little more permanent, drop-in griddles fit securely into countertops. If you want something like a griddle that will leave beautiful grill marks on your burgers, then a commercial charbroiler is for you.

     

    Refrigeration Equipment

     

    fast food refrigeration

     

    Fast food restaurants preserve food so it tastes delicious as possible. That’s why every restaurant needs to outfit its commercial kitchen with refrigerators and freezers. Glass-door refrigerators offer better visibility, while solid door units provide superior insulation. For kitchens that crave versatility, commercial refrigerator-freezer combos are the perfect solution. These units come in a range of styles. Whether you prefer drawers, full-size cabinets, or half-size cabinets, there is a refrigeration unit for you. If your fast food kitchen could use a commercial chef base that doubles as a refrigerator or freezer, we have plenty available.

     

    Hood

     

    fast food kitchen hood

     

    A commercial kitchen hood is imperative to the safety of you and your kitchen staff. Especially important in fast food restaurants, a hood helps rid your kitchen’s air of unwanted smoke and grease. This process keeps your kitchen’s air fresh and, more importantly, reduces the risk of fires. If you’re opening a smaller fast food restaurant, a ventless hood system might be your best option. These units require minimal space and provide kitchens with more versatility when it comes to design. Commercial exhaust hoods are the other option. Mounted directly to your wall or ceiling, these units become fixtures in the kitchen and are best-suited for high-volume fast food restaurants.

     

    Prep Table

     

    fast food prep table

     

    Before you cook your meals, you’ll to have to do some meal prep. Stainless steel work tables are popular for their durability. Coming in a range of styles and sizes, there is a perfect prep table for every operation. Some have built-in sinks, while others only feature just table top space. All units have undershelves that offer extra storage space.

    If you want a prep table that can multi-task, a refrigerated prep table is perfect for you. Especially great for kitchens that make a lot of sandwiches, salads, or pizzas, these units have easy-to-access storage bins that hold ingredients. Cutting boards come standard and allow your chefs to quickly slice and dice food. The refrigerators located underneath these prep tables come in the form of doors and drawers. So no matter your preference, there’s an option for you.

     

    Sinks

     

    fast food sinks

     

    Maintaining a sanitary environment is not only important for the health of your staff and customers, but it’s also the law. That’s why every fast food restaurant needs commercial sinks. Whether you’re using a sink to wash hands, rinse supplies, or dip a mop, there is a sink that suits your needs. Compartment sinks have as few as 1 compartment and as many as 4. Drop-in sinks fit conveniently into countertops, while hand sinks can be mounted to walls. The type of sinks you need will largely depend on the layout of your kitchen, so it’s best to know your design before browsing options.

     

    Shelving

     

    restaurant shelving

     

    When opening a fast food joint, it’s easy to get caught up in all the commercial restaurant equipment. But also remember that you’ll need space for storage. Restaurant shelving offers a compact solution that works seamlessly within your kitchen’s layout. Wall mount shelving can be affixed to walls and is perfect for kitchens that don’t have space for more traditional shelving units. If you prefer a more mobile option, you can always apply casters to the bottom of your shelving.

     

    Getting the proper equipment is just one step toward opening a fast food restaurant. After all, starting a restaurant business is a complicated process that requires months on planning. So don’t rush into buying equipment until you have the rest of your restaurant’s foundation in place. But when you’re finally ready to start looking at equipment, this fast food restaurant equipment list can be a helpful guide.

    How to Make a Milkshake

    As the calendar turns to spring, it’s only a matter of time before the weather starts to heat up. And that means milkshake season is right around the corner. The classic summer-time treat is a classic for a reason. If you’re wondering how to make a milkshake, then you’ve come to the right place. This post will cover just that while also detailing some of the best milkshake machines on the market.

     

    How Do You Make a Milkshake

     

    strawberry milkshake blender

     

    The beautiful thing about making milkshakes is that there’s no one way to do it. Depending on what kinds of equipment and ingredients you have on hand, you can take a few different approaches.

    The most basic way of making a milkshake requires milk, ice cream, and a blender. Syrups and sauces can also be added to give your finished product a little flavoring. Chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, and fruit-based options are most common. If you’re interested in how to make a shake that boasts a bit more nutritional value, consider using almond milk as your liquid base. Cookies and candy can inject some extra sweetness or delicious texture into your milkshake. If your kitchen opts to make milkshakes with a blender, be sure to use a reliable, high-capacity unit like the Vitamix Quiet One.

     

    How to Make a Milkshake with Ice Cream

     

    how to make a milkshake with ice cream

     

    Did you know it’s possible to make milkshakes without any milk at all? By blending flavored syrup with ice cream from a soft serve machine, you can streamline your milkshake-making process. In fact, this is how some fast-food restaurants, such as Dairy Queen, make their milkshakes. So if you’ve already invested in one of the best commercial ice cream machines and don’t want to also carry hard ice cream, this method is perfect for you.

     

    Use a Commercial Milkshake Machine

     

    use a commercial milkshake machine

     

    If your foodservice makes a ton of milkshakes, you might want to consider using commercial milkshake machine. These units use premade milkshake mixtures and produce delicious milkshakes that taste just as fresh as the other methods. Many of these milkshake machines have multiple spouts, making it easy for you to offer several flavors. While some units conveniently fit atop counters, others require floor space.

    If you’re interested in exploring the different options, we offer some of the best commercial milkshake machines on the market. The best milkshake maker for your specific operation depends on a couple variables. Size and scope should always be kept in mind.

    In addition to producing milkshakes, the machines we carry can also be used to make delicious frozen drinks. Just Google commercial frozen drink machine recipes and try whatever sounds best.

     

    How to Make the Best Milkshake

     

    how to make the best milkshake

     

    The milkshake that you and your customers consider “the best” will come down to personal preference. Everyone has their own tastes and will likely prefer something different. As a result, the best way to ensure that customers get the best milkshake possible is by offering a wide range of options. By stocking different flavors and mix-ins, you’ll be able to customize milkshakes for each and every customer. Do it right, and each customer will leave your shop with the exact milkshakes he wanted and a big smile on his face.

     

    While other trends have come and gone, milkshakes have withstood the test of time. Since being introduced in the 1800s, the delicious drinks have continued to evolve and still remain popular. The multiple ways of making milkshakes ensures nearly any café, shop, or restaurant can serve them. So if you don’t currently offer milkshakes, what are you waiting for? Summer will be here before you know it!

    If you like the idea of offering milkshakes but prefer a healthier alternative, be sure to check out our smoothie guide.

    Restaurant Design Trends 2019

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    Diners consider many things when deciding where to eat. Perhaps the three most important variables are food, service, and ambiance. While delicious food and good service are relatively straight forward, ambiance is always evolving. The restaurant designs that were stylish in the 1950s and 1980s certainly aren’t stylish today (unless you’re going for the whole retro thing). If you’re thinking of opening a new restaurant or redesigning the one you already have, it’s important to be up to date on what appeals to today’s customers. This post will cover some of the most popular restaurant design trends of 2019.

     

    Eco Friendly

     

    eco-friendly restaurant

     

    Until recently, industrial minimalism was all the rage. Silver was everywhere, and restaurants were outfitted with the bare minimum required for operation. But now interior design style is shifting back in the opposite direction. Warm woods like bamboo are increasingly being used for floors, walls, tables, and seating. This shift in approach partly accounts for why recyclable materials are more in vogue than ever. The importance and awareness of a restaurant’s carbon footprint provides further motivation for switching to eco-friendly materials.

     

    Layered / Textured

     

    layered restaurant design

     

    The rebellion against industrial minimalism can also be seen through the switch to more textured atmospheres. By using more layers, restaurant designers are doing their best to liven up their environments. Wood certainly helps in this regards, as does any distinct artwork you can display. Shades, curtains, and bolder seating options can also help give your restaurant’s interior decor a more textural feel. If you have a high ceiling, hanging ornaments is another option.

     

    Warm Colors

     

    warm colors

     

    Today, a large number of customers document their dining experiences through Instagram and other social media platforms. If you want the pictures they take at your restaurant to come out looking great, be sure to use a mixture of warm colors when designing its interior. Doing so will not only satisfy your customers who snap photos, but it will also catch the eyes of their followers. If your restaurant looks appealing enough in the pictures people see on Instagram, they’ll certainly want to check it out in person.

     

    Bespoke Lighting

     

    bespoke restaurant lighting

     

    The technology of 2019 makes it easier than ever to customize your lighting. Thanks to remote control apps, brightness and color can be adjusted with just the touch of a finger. Bespoke lighting allows you to have lights installed just where you want them. With this level of customization, it won’t matter what day time of day it is or how the weather outside is acting. Simply use a remote to tweak your lighting until it’s perfect for the circumstance. And since many of the newer lighting systems enable you to control each individual light bulb, it’s possible to accommodate multiple diners who prefer different kinds of ambiances.

     

    Plants

     

    restaurant design plants

     

    Going green isn’t just about outfitting your kitchen with an Energy Star-qualified convection oven. It can also mean integrating plants into the design of your restaurant. If you’re looking for cheap restaurant design ideas, plants are perfect. Not only do plants look pretty, but they are also proven to increase happiness. Of course, taking care of your plants will be an extra task on the to-do list.

    While farm-to-table restaurants have gained popularity, there has also been an increase in restaurants that grow their own produce. Displaying the gardens where your food originates is a great strategy for restaurants that have large outdoor eating areas. If you want to feature plants indoors but don’t have much room, spice up your restaurant wall décor by hanging a vertical garden.

     

    Nobody ever said designing restaurants is easy. So if it’s not your forte, there’s no shame in collaborating with an expert. But now that you know what’s in style and are well-aware of the old decorating trends to avoid, designing should be a bit easier. Just be sure to stay up to date on new trends in restaurant décor so you can continue to evolve with the changing times.

    How to Clean Stainless Steel Restaurant Equipment

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    It’s no mystery why so much restaurant equipment is made out of stainless steel. Long hailed for its durability, stainless steel sets the standard by which all other materials are measured. That said, even stainless steel can wear down if not properly cared for. This post will provide several tips for how to properly clean stainless steel restaurant equipment.

     

    Use the Right Brush

     

    use the right brush

     

    Always use softer materials like microfiber cloths, sponges, and plastic scouring pads when cleaning stainless steel appliances. While steel wool and wire brushes might be great for removing stubborn debris, they also have potential to leave unsightly scratches on stainless steel surfaces. Even worse, steel brushes can leave little particles in your stainless steel equipment, and those particles can eventually lead to rusting.  

     

    Clean Frequently and Go With the Grain

     

    go with the grain

     

    The best way to avoid the build-up of stubborn debris is by cleaning your equipment regularly. Create a schedule and make sure your staff sticks to it. The more build-up that forms on your equipment, the more difficult it will be to clean off later.

    If you look closely at stainless steel, you might be able to see little lines pointing in the same direction. When scrubbing stainless steel equipment, it’s best to scrub with the lines and never against them. In other words, scrub parallel to the lines/grain.

     

    Use the Right Cleaner

    To keep stainless steel looking great, it’s best to use an alkaline or alkaline chlorinated cleaner.

    While bleach might seem like a good idea, the reality is that stainless steel does not mix well with chloride or chloride-based cleaning products. So never use these or hydrochloric acid when cleaning stainless steel.

    In addition to helping your stainless steel equipment look like new, the right cleaner will reinforce the equipment’s protective coating. This provides an extra layer of protection and increases durability of your stainless steel freezer or fryer.

     

    Removing Oil and Grease

     

    removing oil and grease

     

    If there’s a pesky oil or grease mark that you want gone from your equipment, there are a couple of different cleaners you can use. Isopropyl alcohol, acetone, and methylated spirit are all great options. The grease mark on your stainless steel might not be gone after the first washing. So if that’s the case, simply keep applying the solvent until you achieve your desired results.

     

    Rinse Thoroughly

     

    use clean water

     

    Especially if someone uses non-chloride cleaner (which should never happen!), it’s imperative to thoroughly rinse the stainless steel cleaner off your equipment. After that, lingering water should be wiped off, and the unit should be dried as soon as possible.

     

    Use Clean Water

     

    rinse thoroughly

     

    Despite its name, stainless steel can in fact be stained. Hard water is notorious for leaving spots and staining. So if you have an issue with hard water, try to soften it by installing water filters. This will help reduce corrosive elements that threaten the integrity of stainless steel. It also doesn’t hurt to enlist the help of a trained professional. Treatment specialists can help ensure your water treatment is satisfactory.

     

    Knowing how to properly clean stainless steel is one thing, but consistently putting that knowledge to action is something completely different. Diligence is key when it comes to cleaning stainless steel. The only way to ensure your restaurant equipment remains in peak condition is by rolling up your sleeves and putting the work in.

    The World’s First Commercial Sabbath Refrigerator

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    Sabbath Mode equipment make it easier than ever to comply with Jewish law. And while Sabbath-friendly appliances like ovens, lamps, and refrigerators have long-been available for at-home use, restaurants have recently gotten in on the market. Today, kosher commercial kitchens are often outfitted with ranges, ovens, and warming drawers that are equipped with a Sabbath Mode feature. And thanks to our recent collaboration with Traulsen, kosher kitchens will now for the first time ever have access to commercial Sabbath refrigerators and freezers. If you want to learn about what makes this Shabbos friendly equipment so perfect for kosher kitchens, then just keep reading.

     

    Internal Timed Clocks

     

    internal clock

     

    These Sabbath Mode freezers and refrigerators keep track of time so you don’t have to. At exactly 2pm on Friday, the units enter Sabbath Mode. This lasts until 10pm on Saturday, when your refrigeration units will exit Sabbath Mode and resume normal functioning.

     

    Sabbath Mode

     

    dark refrigerator

     

    So what happens to your refrigeration equipment when it enters Sabbath mode? The first thing is its electronic display will turn off to comply with Jewish law. Next, the unit’s internal lighting system will disengage. This means that if you open your refrigerator’s door to get some food, the unit’s internal lights will still remain off.

     

    Combats Power Outages

     

    power outage

     

    If a Shabbat-friendly freezer or refrigerator loses power during the Sabbath, it will remain in Sabbath Mode when powering up again. The internal timed clock will not be reset, and the unit will still adhere to Jewish law.

     

    Manual Activation/Deactivation

     

    manual activation

     

    Since the units clock initiates Sabbath Mode at 2pm on Friday and ends Sabbath at 10pm on Saturday, there’s a chance you might need to override the system. After all, depending on what time of year it is, these times can be much different from the actual sunset. To ensure easy use, this unit enables you to manually activate and deactivate Sabbath Mode so that it conforms to your specific needs.

     

    Developing these Sabbos friendly refrigerators and freezers was not an overnight process. In fact, it took several months. From concept to completion, we collaborated with Traulsen to ensure everything was perfect. When all was said and done, Rabbi Tavi Ortner, the CRC, and the Orthodox Union unanimously approved of the Sabbath mode freezers and refrigerators.  

    These commercial Sabbath Mode refrigeration units are currently available exclusively through Culinary Depot. Any Traulsen G-Series freezer or refrigerator can be made Sabbath-friendly at no extra cost. If you have any questions about these units, please call or email us.

    7 Restaurant Equipment Maintenance Tips for Commercial Kitchens

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    Owners spend countless hours researching restaurant equipment before deciding what’s right for their commercial kitchens. When their new equipment arrives, it’s like the kitchen chefs have a shiny new toy to play with. But soon that initial excitement wears off. And that equipment becomes just another tool in the kitchen. If not cared for properly, the unit will start to break down. Instead of ceasing operation completely, it might just become less efficient. The equipment will work harder to compensate, and this can lead to a more expensive electric bill as well as some more serious issues.

    When restaurant equipment stops operating, it often requires repairs that are quite pricy. And if that’s not bad enough, restaurants can also lose significant revenue from the break down. Consider a walk-in freezer full of steaks. If the unit breaks down and the steaks spoil, that restaurant will be fighting an uphill battle to recover those lost profits. A restaurant might even need to close down temporarily until its equipment is back up and running.

    Thankfully, there’s a way to minimize the risk of equipment failure. This post will cover 7 restaurant equipment maintenance tips that will keep your commercial kitchen operating at its full potential.

     

    Commercial Refrigeration Equipment

     

    refrigerator maintenance

     

    Whether you’re maintaining a commercial refrigerator or a freezer, protocol is going to be similar. Here are a couple of maintenance tips that will help you get the most out of your refrigeration equipment:

    Gaskets – Gaskets are the part of a freezer or refrigerator that provide a tight seal when the unit is closed. They help keep cold air inside the unit and prevent it from escaping. If gaskets start to weaken over time, the refrigerator will have to work harder to keep its temperature cold. Regularly inspect your gaskets for splits or cracks and replace them as necessary. You’ll also want to keep your gaskets clean, as dirt and grease can cause problems down the line. It’s common for restaurants to pay services that come in and regularly replace gaskets. But if you want to save some money, you can also change gaskets yourself.

    Coils – Condenser coils are what keep your refrigerator or freezer cold. They do so by taking any hot air inside the unit and blowing it out. This is why it’s often hot right outside a refrigerator’s condenser. If a condenser gets clogged with dust and other debris, your refrigerator will struggle to maintain lower temperatures. This is one of the most common reasons why commercial refrigeration units malfunction and require maintenance. And it’s why you should try to clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils once every 3 months.

     

    Commercial Fryers

     

    commercial fryer maintenance

     

    Cleaning your commercial fryer not only prolongs its lifespan, but it also ensures your fried foods taste better. Furthermore, allowing excessive grease to pile up in your gas floor fryer can result in contaminated fried food. Something you certainly don’t want.

    Daily Cleanings – At the end of each night, wipe down the exterior of your commercial gas deep fryer and clean its baskets of any lingering grease. The best way to do this is by simply running the baskets through your dishwasher. Always make sure that the fryer baskets are completely dry before they’re returned to the tank.

    Boil Outs – To remove the stubborn fat that adheres to your fryer’s tank, you’ll need to execute a complete boil out. Protocol for boil outs vary from unit to unit. So be sure to reference your owner’s manual before performing one.

     

    Commercial Ranges

     

    commercial range maintenance

     

    Similar to fryers, restaurant ranges have different designs and should be maintained according to what’s outlined in the owner’s manual. That said, here are a few cleaning tips that every range owner can follow.

    Burner Maintenance - If grease gathers in the burner of a commercial gas range, it can lead to incomplete combustion. This results in your range functioning less efficiently and an increased risk of a carbon monoxide leak. A lethal gas that’s both scentless and odorless, carbon monoxide is the last thing you want in your kitchen. And that’s why it’s so important to clean your ranges’ burners on a daily basis.

    Clean the Grates – A build-up of stubborn grease will often form on your ranges’ grates. If a simple wipe down does not remove the grease, you’ll have to soak the grates in warm soapy water. And if that doesn’t work, you might have to use something stronger like ammonia and let the grates soak for a few hours. Grates that are left dirty can prematurely age your unit and also present a fire hazard.

    Check Your Exhaust Hoods – If too much grease builds up in the exhaust hood, your kitchen will not ventilate properly. Its air will be thick, and your chefs will be uncomfortable. Even worse, a greasy exhaust hood will lead to an increased risk of a kitchen fire. Depending on the amount of cooking you do, an exhaust hood should be cleaned once every 30-90 days.

     

    Knowledge can be helpful when it comes to restaurant equipment maintenance. But the only thing that really matters is that you’re diligent about taking care of your equipment. It takes hard work to maintain a thriving commercial kitchen. And getting educated is just the first step. Now it’s time to roll your sleeves up and put your knowledge to work!

    5 Things to Know Before Opening a Rooftop Bar

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    Rooftop bars are becoming increasingly popular in big cities. By offering a truly unique dining experience, they give patrons more reason than ever to spend a night on the town. This post will cover 5 things you need to know if you’re thinking about opening a rooftop bar.

     

    Why People Love Them

     

    rooftop bar manhattan

     

    The View

    The first question anyone asks about a rooftop bar is, “How’s the view?” Food, cocktails, and service are important. But they all take a backseat to the all-mighty “view.” Perched high atop cities, rooftop bars offer incredible sight lines of impressive buildings and the bustling pedestrians below. Dinner and a show has long been heralded as a classic night out. Eating and drinking while taking in a brilliant view of the city is just that.

     

    The Fresh Air

    There’s a reason why outdoor eating areas see the most competition for seating. When the weather is nice, nothing complements a delicious meal like some beautiful fresh air. And while sidewalk dining areas in the city are sometimes plagued with the smell of car exhaust, a rooftop bar allows patrons to escape the stench. The air on top of a building is cleaner and more breathable, which leads to a better overall experience.

     

    The Environment

    Even though a rooftop bar might be only a few stories above ground level, it can feel like a different world. For a patron who had a rough day at work and is frustrated with the city, a rooftop bar can help him see things from a different view—both literally and figuratively.

     

    Climate is Key

     

    rooftop bar miami

     

    If you’re thinking of opening a rooftop bar in a colder part of the country, keep in mind it will likely be closed for half the year. A few outdoor heaters can make the cold weather more bearable in the fall and spring. But nobody wants to relax outside in sub-freezing temperatures. During times like those, it won’t matter how spectacular your view is. Your rooftop bar will not be on anyone’s to-do list. On the flipside, places in warmer parts of the country are perfect for year-round business.

     

    Design Plan

     

    rooftop bar waterfront

     

    If you decide to take on the task of opening a rooftop bar, you’ll need to determine whether it will also serve food or just beverages. If you opt to serve food, you’ll need to designate more space for tables and seating. But if your rooftop is drinks only, you’ll have more room for other things. Cozy couches are a popular choice. And you might even have enough space for a dance floor. Club-like rooftop bars can be tricky though, as you’ll likely need to monitor your music’s volume closely.

     

    Consider Your Clientele

     

    rooftop bar clientele

     

    Every bar and restaurant has a different set of regular customers. Keep these people in mind when designing your rooftop bar. For instance, you won’t want to open a club-like rooftop area if the majority of your patrons are older. And if your customers like to order food with their drinks, you’ll want to offer food in addition to drinks on your rooftop area.

     

    Get the Right Permits

     

    rooftop bar construction

     

    As you might expect, there’s plenty of red tape when it comes to opening a rooftop bar. If you’re leasing space, you’ll need to speak to your landlord about doing construction. And when the rooftop bar is completed, your lease will likely need to be re-negotiated. Elevators, gas hook-ups, and restaurant equipment are just a few things you’ll need to account for when altering space of the roof. Many of these require permits and can take a long time until they’re completed. So plan accordingly.

     

    Like any restaurant endeavor, opening a rooftop bar comes with its fair share of risk. But if you do your research, know your customers, and collaborate with the right construction company, your rooftop bar has a good chance of being the talk of the town.

    What is a Coney Dog?

    Written by: J. Vigotsky

     

    Each year, thousands of spectators flock to Brooklyn on July 4th to witness the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest. But despite the contest’s location in the heart of Coney Island, none of the eaters will be consuming actual Coney Dogs. If you’re now asking yourself, “What is a Coney Dog,” then keep reading. This post will answer just that.

     

    Coney Dog Ingredients

     

    coney dog ingredients

     

    The foundation for a Coney Dog is made with a hot dog or sausage that's been grilled or boiled. But aside from that, there is no one recipe. Some Coney Dogs are topped with chili or ground beef. Others feature mustard and onions.  And some have all three! Sauces are also often used to give the dish a little extra kick. Since different regions of the country have their own preferences, the ingredients used in each Coney Dog largely depend on where you’re located.  

     

    Coney Dog Origin

     

    coney island early 1900s

     

    The term “hot dog” was often misinterpreted in the early 1900s. To many immigrants who spoke little English, a dog was a furry friend with four legs. So when a piece of meat was advertised as “dog,” people raised a few eyebrows. As a result, the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce outlawed the term “hot dog.” Vendors adjusted, and the food item soon became known as a “Coney Island.” The modern day Coney Dog is a variation of that. Greeks and Macedonians who passed through Coney Island upon immigrating are credited with taking the classic “Coney Island Hot Dog” and making it the “Coney Dog” people know and love.

     

    Where are Coney Dogs Most Popular?

     

    detroit michigan

     

    Today, Coney Dogs are most popular in the South and Midwest United States. States like Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas all put their own unique spin on the dish. Ingredients used even vary by each city within a given state.

    Take Michigan for example. Ground zero for Coney Dog lovers, the state generally uses Vienna-style sausages rather than hot dogs. Despite that, there is still plenty of variation in how Coney Dogs are prepared and served.

    • Detroit – The biggest metropolitan area in the state is known for serving bean-less chili sauce atop its Coney Dogs.
    • Flint – Coney Dogs in Flint are topped with finely-ground beef heart. Trimmed from the muscles of the heart wall, beef heart is considered a muscle but still has blood vessels in it. So if that’s not your thing, you might want to opt for another city’s Coney Dog.
    • Kalamazoo – These Coney Dogs are made with a topping derived from a local product called Koegel’s Skinless Frankfurter.
    • Jackson – Despite Michigan’s reputation for using Vienna sausages, Jackson’s Coney Dogs are made with traditional hot dogs. Along with onions, spices, and mustard, these Coney Dogs are also topped with ground beef or ground beef heart sauce that’s especially hearty.

     

    If you’re ready to take the leap and try a Coney Dog, be sure to do some research first. Since different restaurants have their own way of making the dish, you’ll want to scout them out beforehand. See which Coney Dog is best for your specific taste and then have at it.