Author Archives: Chris Clark

Dining with your Dog: Bone Appétit

During these dog days of summer, owners don’t want to keep their pampered pooch locked up at home. They want to spend time with them in the great outdoors. After a long walk in the park or through the city, more and more dog owners are looking to grab a bite to eat with their canine companions. Luckily, more restaurants are embracing this trend and offering appropriate kibble for both man AND his best friend.

Easy Ways to Attract Fido and their Money Spending Owners

Want to cash in on this business? Start with your outdoor dining space as most health departments will frown upon non-certified service dogs inside your establishments. This may limit your canine customers to seasonal visits when your outdoor spaces are usable. Also, some local health departments may impose restrictions on animals even if they are kept outside or in areas away from general food preparation. There are no federal laws dealing with animals inside food establishments, but state laws may vary.

A Doggie Diner at Canal Bistro in Indianapolis. Photo by Julia Eiszner.

A Doggie Diner at Canal Bistro in Indianapolis. Photo by Julia Eiszner.

Whether you advertise as being dog friendly, or simply don’t turn away dogs with their human companions, make sure you have organized policies. Potential situations can arise ranging from excited or aggressive barking to dogs that just don’t know how to excuse themselves and visit the facilities. Make sure your service staff clearly knows your handle these situations, including appeasing other customers who don’t agree with your dog friendly policies. Stress the importance of proper hand-washing after interacting or petting one of your canine customers.

Most dog friendly establishments will offer well-behaved dogs a complimentary bowl of water. Consider using disposable or dedicated dog bowls for this purpose and wash them by hand or separately from your normal dishware for added food safety. Other restaurants may decide to create dog friendly versions of their human dishes or offer snacks from local dog bakeries. When serving food specifically for the canine set, be especially careful in the ingredients as some common spices may be potentially harmful to a dog.

The ‘Secret Menus’ for Dogs

You might not know it, but major chains have already embraced the dog trend with secret (and not so secret) dog menus. Foodbeast compiled a list of these ‘secret doggie menus‘ in March of 2015. Their list included the Puppuccino from Starbucks (a small cup filled with whipped cream), the Pup Patty from In-N-Out Burger (a simple unseasoned patty with no salt), and the specially made Doggie Cupcakes from Sprinkles (a sugar-free cupcake topped with a yogurt frosting). It’s worth the read for some clever ideas!

Going ‘Dog Friendly’? Let Everyone know!

Indiana Restaurants at BringFido.com

BringFido.com compiles lists of dog friendly restaurants, hotels and attractions.

When dog lovers need help choosing a dog friendly restaurant, hotel or attraction – many visit bringfido.com! The website was started in 2005 by dog lover Melissa Halliburton as a clearinghouse for user submitted information on dog policies and dog friendly offerings at over 25,000 worldwide hotels and thousands of restaurants. Users can search by location each location is user rated on a scale of 1 to 5 bones.

A search of Central Restaurant’s home base of Indianapolis showed 25 dog friendly restaurants that included some of the city’s best known names. Some restaurants were listed as welcoming dogs to their outside patios, while other users provided information like “provided a water bowl.”

The website provides an easy way for users or restaurateurs to submit an establishment too. After submitting basic information like the name, location, type of cuisine and a description of the restaurant, Bring Fido immediately posts the listing on their site which allows other users to rate and review it.

With thousands of visitors looking for dog answers every day, a simple listing could significantly boost your business. Don’t forget to prominently feature your dog dining policies on your website and social media profiles as well!

Shop Central for Your Supplies

We want to be the restaurateur’s best friend. We have over 65,000 items available for purchase on our CentralRestaurant.com as well as competitive prices. Need a little help? Our team of Product Consultants will be as loyal as your childhood puppy with answers to your questions, expert advice and any assistance you may need to open or grow your business. Contact them via phone at 800-521-1277 or start an online chat right now.

Extremely cute featured image courtesy 1000s of internet sites.

Foodservice News Week in Brief: August 14

Foodservice News

Summer is slipping away. Take a couple of minutes to catch up on that industry news you missed this week. Check out the latest news stories, plus this week’s blogs and promotions from Central for the week of August 10 through August 14!

Central’s Blog Posts

Current Promotions

Visit CentralRestaurant.com to view these promotions!

Catalog Available!

Our Print Catalog is available! Click here to request your FREE catalog!

Vulcan

Lowest prices and free shipping on Vulcan! Hundreds of items in stock for same-day shipping when ordered Monday thru Friday by 5 p.m. EST. Shop now!

15% Off Carlisle

Hundreds in stock for same day shipping! Shop now!

San Jamar

Big savings on select San Jamar. Save up to 20%! Shop now!

Larkin

10% off exhaust hoods and ventilation solutions. Free Shipping! 3-Day Quick Ship available. Shop now!

Scotsman

Scotsman Prodigy Plus models now available. Now easier to use, clean and service. Shop now!
Libbey Sampler Giveaway

Win a Libbey® Craft Beer Sampler Set!

There is still time to enter and win a case of 12 wood paddles and (48) 5 oz Mini Pub glasses from Libbey glass! Plus, earn extra entries for helping us spread the word on social media or by signing up for our catalog or email lists!

Connect With Us!

To keep up with the latest, subscribe to Central’s email list and get exclusive benefits such as discounts, new product alerts and early access to our clearance list. You can also follow us on the following social channels for the latest blogs, foodservice industry news and more!

Grab and Go Made Easy with Structural Concepts

We’ve become a Grab and Go society. Has your establishment followed?

Whether you run a full service restaurant, a quick serve restaurant or offer prepared food in a convenience store or cafeteria – a grab and go merchandise can incrementally increase your sales. Central Restaurant and Structural Concepts want to help you realize that revenue with a great value on the C047R Oasis merchandiser that includes valuable options like a FREE night curtain and an upgraded 2 year parts and labor warranty. It’s a $600 value! Plus, it’s in stock and ready to ship same day!

Why Add a Grab and Go Merchandiser?

CO47R

Central’s CO47R Oasis Refrigerated Self-Service Case

Your customers are more likely to buy something when they can see it! Want your customers to upgrade to premium drinks like fruit juice or Monster Energy® drinks? Stick them near your checkout register as impulse buys? Want to draw attention to premium salads or deserts at your restaurant? Display them in a merchandiser visible while they are entering the building or waiting in line.

It’s a fact that 60% of a consumers perception of food quality is based on the environment and presentation. Central’s CO47R package features a vertical air curtain merchandiser that includes a sleek black exterior with mirrored interior sides that draw attention to your product. Four metal lighted shelves make sure your customer can see every delicious product loaded into the merchandise in perfect detail. With solid sides and a front air intake, the CO47R can be integrated between your existing equipment or built into a wall cabinet. Just leave a 4″ gap from the rear wall using the included spacer to ensure proper compressor ventilation.

This model measures 47-1/4″ wide and has a 26.2 cu. ft. capacity, so there is plenty of room for all your beverages, salads, sandwiches and deserts. Structural’s Breez~E  refrigeration system is efficient and keeps contents at a food safe 40°F or less.

Loaded with Free Central Edge Options

Structural Concepts CO47R Night Curtain

You get this Night Curtain FREE in our CO47R Edge Package

$600 in FREE options, to be specific.

Keep the cold in even longer at night with the night curtain included in our Edge package. Pull down this silver curtain when your Oasis is not being used and you’ll save money on energy costs. The curtain is retractable and uses a magnetic catch to hold in place. This option does not have a security lock.

For piece of mind, Central Restaurant is offering an upgrade two year parts and labor, 5 year compressor warranty on this CO47R package. With the quality of Structural Concepts equipment, you can rest easy knowing your unit will be generating revenue for you in the years to come!

Stop Procrastinating – It Ships Today!

So now we’ve convinced you need a new Grab and Go merchandiser, and now you want it a soon as possible? Central Restaurant has worked with Structural Concepts to stock the CO47R with the Central Edge package at our Central warehouse. Order it online any Monday thru Friday before 5 p.m. EST and we’ll ship it to you that day!

Still have questions? Our expert Product Consultants can give you all the answers. While only this configuration is available for quick shipping and the Central Edge package, your Consultant can help you find the right Structural Concepts model and configuration that meets your unique needs. Give us a call at 800-521-1277 or start a chat with us online.

The Best ‘Breakfast All Day’ Options Today

McDonalds Egg McMuffin

McDonalds Egg McMuffin, public domain image by Evan-Amos.

With all these rumors that fast-food giant McDonalds is prepping to expand last spring’s test and launch ‘Breakfast All Day’ campaign nationwide, we take a look at some other restaurants across the country that have already answered the call to offer bacon and eggs at any hour.

That Pancake House on the Corner

Chains like IHOP and Waffle House have been doing breakfast all day for years. Waffle House even has its own soundtrack album that sings the praises of their song to celebrate their scattered, smothered or covered food options.

LincolnSq-Banana-French-Toast

Indianapolis’ Lincoln Square chain of pancake houses and their popular Banana French Toast

Local options abound across the country as well, including the 11 unit Lincoln Square Pancake House started by George Katris in 1989. The central Indiana-based chain focuses on simple breakfast options done right. The signature Lincoln Skillet includes bacon, crumbled sausage or ham cooked with hash browns, onions and peppers. Homemade sausage gravy rounds out the mouthwatering combination. Traditional sandwiches round out the menu, but that is another story.

If you want to visit a real pancake mecca, then book a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee where dozens of local pancake houses line the main streets at the foot of the Smoky Mountains.

Patrons at the Pancake Pantry

Patrons at the Pancake Pantry from your author’s 2014 visit

A favorite stop is the Pancake Pantry, where they serve upwards of 4800 pancakes a day – and they don’t take credit cards. The dining room is always full of tourists and locals alike who have enjoying their signature Smoky Mountain Buckwheat Cakes since 1960. For a change of pace, order the Caribbean Pancakes which feature sliced bananas with chopped nuts and coconut an sprinkled with powdered sugar. Over 25 varieties of pancakes, waffles and crepes are offered.

The Great American Diner (aka a Greasy Spoon)

The famous portrait in the Seinfeld landmark Tom's Restaurant

The famous portrait in the Seinfeld landmark Tom’s Restaurant (Alan Kotok, CC BY 2.0))

When calories don’t count, you find a great ‘greasy spoon’ for omelets in the afternoon (or middle of the night). Thousands dot New York City and the New Jersey suburbs and the most recognized spoon of them has a sign out front that reads Tom’s Restaurant – although you might know it best at Monk’s Cafe as it appeared in almost every episode of the 1990s sitcom Seinfeld. Critics agree they might not have the best breakfast food in New York, but where else will you find see the portrait of Kramer from the show up on a wall. Although it’s not a breakfast food, we found several recommendations telling us not to miss the extra-thick milkshakes.

The Ultimate Combination of Meals: Chicken and Waffles

The Simplicity of a 1/2 Chicken and a Waffle from Roscoe's Chicken And Waffles

The Simplicity of a 1/2 Chicken and a Waffle from Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles

White Castle may have tried it in sandwich form, but there is nothing like maple syrup soaked waffle with a couple of pieces of bone-in chicken slapped on top. PBS’s The History Kitchen traced the combination of sweet waffles and salty, crunchy fried chicken all the way back to the 1600s where it was popular in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Today, the king of this combination is widely considered to be Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, which has seven locations in the Los Angeles area. While the food may look plain on the outside, journalists and Yelp reviews praise the huge portions and perfect blend of chicken spices. It’s no wonder that celebrities like Snoop Dog,  Larry King and the late comedian Redd Foxx have praised this ultimate combination of breakfast and dinner since its opening in 1975.

Central Can Help You Serve Whatever

We carry all the cooking equipment, utensils and serving supplies that you need to serve your customers morning noon and night. For simple re-ordering, use our quick order form when purchasing using our Central Model # from our catalog or your previous invoices. Our Product Consultants are also available to answer questions via phone at 800-521-1277 or at the click of your mouse with our live chat.

And, whether you serve breakfast, brunch or breakfast for dinner, remember the immortal words of Ron Swanson – “Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.”

RonSwansonBrunch

Featured Image: “Boston Tea Party – Newton Street – We always have time for Breakfast” by Elliott Brown (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Invest in Commercial Grade Furniture from Grosfillex

A chair is just a chair, right? You sit down, you stand up and the chair does it job. While at your home, you chair gets used only a couple of times a day. However, at your restaurant, bar, cafeteria or patio – your customers get up and sit down hundreds of times a week. That is a lot of wear and tear. Could your residential grade dining set take that abuse year after year?

Trust in Commercial Grade

A couple of months ago we sat down with Bruce South, Director of Sales for Grosfillex Furniture, to talk about what makes a chair ‘commercial grade.’ Quite simply, he said it is all about the load and safety testing, as well as designing to commercial grade standards. Your home furniture may have gone through quality control testing during construction, but the overall design was likely not based on a set of commercial standards to ensure durability, stability and consistent weight capacity. Bruce reminded that when you put a dining chair in a public setting, the owner is opened up to liability concerns with the customer who is using it. Commercial grade furniture has that extra layer of ‘reassurance’ that it will hold up to rigorous customer abuse.

For example, the frames of metal chairs and bar stools sold for the home typically use 20-22 gauge steel frames. A Grosfillex chair with metal frame is constructed from a more robust 16-18 gauge steel. The resin and plastic materials used in commercial outdoor chairs also follow strict standards to hold weights of 300 lbs. and larger.

Products with the ASTM International mark meet stringent specifications

Products with the ASTM International mark meet stringent specifications

ASTM International Creates the Standards

ASTM International is an organization that has been publishing technical standards for products and services since 1898. They created and continue to maintain over 12,500 commercial and consumer standards. In the furniture sector, there are standards for everything from “standard performance requirements of plastic chairs for outdoor use” (ASTM F1561-03) to a “Standard Test Method for Fire Testing of Upholstered Furniture” (ASTM E1537-13). While following these standards is completely voluntary, the manufacturers who choose to display the ASTM mark are must follow the standards they have identified.

Why is this important to you? These standards are designed not only to dictate quality of construction, but also to ensure durability over the long run. While commercial furniture might be more of on investment at purchase time, less maintenance and breakage in the future will keep your costs down in the years to come. Spend a little more now, and save lots more later!

Take a Look at Central’s Grosfillex Assortment

Click to shop the Grosfillex assortment at Central!

Click to shop the Grosfillex assortment at Central!

Grosfillex has been a great partner with Central Restaurant for many years. We carry a large assortment of their colorful and stylish outdoor furniture including chairs, tables and chaise lounges made from durable, commercial grade resins and polymer plastics. Grosfillex also offers several styles of indoor/outdoor seating that feature aluminum or steel frames and legs. You can complete the set with table tops and sets made from melamine,  wood edge or laminates.

The Grosfillex Moon style chair works great indoors or outdoors

Central recently increased its assortment of Grosfillex indoor dining chairs. Check out the Moon or Plazza designs that are attractive enough to indoor use, but durable enough for outside dining or poolside. The Moon style shown is available in variants of Green, Blue, Gray and bright White. The Tempo and Domino series are indoor chairs with metal legs and contemporary designs in colors that include Fern Green and the new Raspberry. Check them all out online!

Central is Here to Help

Even if you don’t find the Grosfillex model you are looking for on our website, our knowledgeable Product Consultants would be happy to special order it for you! Whether you are buying a single replacement or outfitting a 200 seat ballroom, you’ll find the help, advice and great price to get the job done. Just give us a call at 800-521-1277, or start an online chat with us right now!

new years resolution ideas

Foodservice News Week in Brief: July 10, 2015

Foodservice News

Time to catch up on that industry news you missed this week. Check out the latest news stories, plus this week’s blogs and promotions from Central for the week of July 5 through July 10!

Central’s Blog Posts

True RefrigerationCurrent Promotions

Visit CentralRestaurant.com to view these promotions!

Catalog Available!

Our Print Catalog is available! Click here to request your FREE catalog!

Vulcan

Lowest prices and free shipping on Vulcan! Hundreds of items in stock for same-day shipping when ordered Monday thru Friday by 5 p.m. EST. Shop now!

15% Off Carlisle

Hundreds in stock for same day shipping! Shop now!

Grosfillex Furniture

Something for everyone! Shop now!

Libbey Craft Beerware

10% off craft beerware. Shop now!

Metro

Best-selling shelving, carts & racks! In stock now & ready to ship to you today when ordered M-F by 5 p.m. EST. Shop now!

Connect With Us!foodservice industry news social media

To keep up with the latest, subscribe to Central’s email list and get exclusive benefits such as discounts, new product alerts and early access to our clearance list. You can also follow us on the following social channels for the latest blogs, foodservice industry news and more!