water, image from morguefile

5 Ways to Keep Customers Cool

Temperatures have been holding at record-breaking heights this summer in the United States.  In fact, according to The Weather Channel, it’s actually been as hot as 117 degrees, recorded in Childress, Texas on June 26.  That’s not even counting the humidity which can make the heat index rise even higher.   With all of these thermometer busting days, it’s tough to find ways to keep customers cool.  To quell the complaints until snow begins falling again, Central’s got just what you need.  We’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks and recipes to keep patrons chilly and maybe even allow them to enjoy outdoor dining without the fear of melting!

water, image from morguefileHydrate Through Water

We all know that it’s important to get enough water into your system even when it’s  scorching outside.  Thankfully, this is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep your guests (and staff) healthy and happy.

Product Tip:  Water Coolers can be a great investment to keep staff from overheating while a pretty glass can help make water a bit more appealing to guests.

Try this twist to add a little flavor: Lemon & Cucumber Water from Food.com

 Hydrate Through Food

If filling guests up on water sounds like an opportunity for money loss, rest assured there are also other ways to keep them hydrated.  Foods like watermelon and cucumbers are also full of H2O and are in prime season during these hot months.

Try these tasty recipes:  Watermelon and Cucumber Gazpacho from Epicurious
Minty-Watermelon Cucumber Salad from Taste of Home

Don’t Forget the Ice

It may not be a great idea to encourage customers to fill up on frozen margaritas while they’re out in the 100°+ heat.  In fact, alcohol actually speeds up dehydration according to the U.S. Army Medical Department.   Instead, you can cool them down by offering a slushy, non-alcoholic alternative (if they’re tasty enough diners may not even miss the alcohol).

Product Tip: Instead of crushing the ice yourself or burning out the motor on your food blender, try using an ice shaving machine like the Hamilton Beach Revolution Ice Shaver.

Try this sweet addition:  Pear Green Apple Raspberry Granita also from Hamilton Beach

chili pepper, image from MorgueFileBeat the Heat with Spice

It may sound crazy, but spicy food actually helps cool you off.  Think of the weather in places like India and Mexico, then think of the different types of food they eat.  Items like curry and chili pepper are so popular in these places because they increase sweat.  According to The New York Times, “If you are living in a hot climate, the increase in body temperature (when eating spicy foods) can make you feel cooler by diminishing the difference between you and the surrounding air and by inducing sweating, which cools the body when the perspiration evaporates.”  So why not use the heat as an opportunity to try out a few new spicy recipes for patrons, while educating them on the benefits of using heat to cool off?

Product Tip: Don’t forget to have anyone preparing these spicy items wear gloves, especially while cutting up and handling peppers.  Cut Resistant are good to prevent chopping accidents while non-latex and vinyl gloves are great options to help ensure excess seeds and/or juices don’t end up getting rubbed in worker’s eyes.

Try these spicy recipes:  Spicy Chicken Coconut Curry from Food Network
Thai Stuffed Chili Peppers from About.com

Eat your Greens

While eating a salad may sound like just the trick due to the cold veggies (or even just the thought of iceberg lettuce), there is actually more to their cooling effect.  FoodRepublic.com suggests, “Green, leafy vegetables—like spinach, kale and broccoli—are packed with calcium, which is crucial to your body’s thermoregulatory abilities.”  In plain English this means that the calcium helps keep your brain in contact with the rest of your body to make sure you don’t overheat.  Salads are also a great idea for restaurants in the summer months because so many different fruits and vegetables are in season, making them a bit cheaper, yet fresher tasting.

Product Tip:  After washing your lettuce and any other vegetables, throw them in a Salad Spinner or Dryer to make sure they’re dry and will grab hold of any dressing you might use.

Check out veggie versions or opt to add fruit: Roman Summer Salad from Food Network
Strawberry Summer Salad from All Recipes

 

If these five tips still have guests sweating (remember that’s supposed to happen with the Curry), there’s always the hope that Fall is just around the corner (September 23) and hopefully with it will come cooler weather.  In the meantime, kick back, relax and let the fan be your guest’s best friend.

Have a fail-proof recipe or idea for staying cool in during the sweltering summer months?  Share your thoughts with us below.

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