Author Archives: Chase Stanley

About Chase Stanley

Chase is a content specialist for Central Restaurant Products, a foodservice equipment and supply distributor dedicated to providing our customers with the best solutions to their foodservice needs. Chase writes for the blog, catalog, website and social media channels. Interact with him on Twitter @CRPRestaurant.

Sustainable Restaurant Practices Outside the Kitchen

Our recent post, Environmental Sustainability Inside the Kitchen, outlined tried and true techniques for reducing your carbon footprint inside the fast-paced commercial kitchen environment. This post seeks to further elaborate on practices restaurants can readily embrace to continue sustainable efforts outside of the kitchen.

Sustainable practices are not only necessary for the well-being of the planet, but they’re also in demand. Nielsen reports that 75% of the millennial generation, and more than 50% of Baby Boomers, are willing to pay more for products and services that make a positive impact on the environment. From the dining room to the restroom and beyond, these options are easy to incorporate into day-to-day operations.

Sustainability in the Dining Room

Here are just a few ways your foodservice can enhance its environmental preservation efforts in the dining room.

Use recyclable or reusable cutlery and utensils.

Say no to single-use products such as plastic dinnerware, flatware or to-go containers. If your restaurant currently relies on single-use items, switch to products that can be recycled or composted. Most plastics won’t decompose in a landfill. Fortunately, some manufacturers, like Packnwood, have started making eco-friendly single-use items that are biodegradable.

Phase out straws.

It’s estimated that every day in America, consumers plow through more than 500 million straws! Most plastic straws are not heavy enough to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter, and too many end up polluting the ocean and harming marine life. Instead of offering every customer a straw, implement a new policy that only grants straws upon request. You may be surprised by how fewer straws you hand out.

PackNWood 210CHP19 Eco Straws

PackNWood Eco Straws, Central Model #18M-441, are made out of paper instead of plastic and are biodegradable and compostable!

Opt for cloth over paper.

Paper napkins are another popular single-use item that can be avoided, especially in sit-down establishments. Cloth napkins are washable and can be reused for years!

Replace old incandescent lights with more efficient ones.

Incandescent lights are not energy efficient by any stretch of the imagination. They operate based on heat, a piece of wire shielded by a glass enclosure that passes along an electrical current that gets so hot that light radiates. What does this mean in terms of energy efficiency? Less than 5% of the energy used is converted into visible light.LED light

LED lights (an acronym for Light Emitting Diodes), on the other hand, are a much better, sustainability-promoting solution. Instead of operating on heat, LED bulbs use diodes, a semiconductor device, to pass on the electrical current to produce the same lumens as incandescent bulbs while using a mere 10-20% of the energy. A lot of science talk, we know. Bottom line, they save energy, lowering utility costs and are a much more sustainable alternative. Another pro – they can last for years without needing to be replaced!

Print menus on recycled paper.

This is a very simple, yet effective way to make use of what would otherwise be trash while showcasing your commitment to helping the planet.

Sustainability in the Restrooms

In addition to the dining room setting, restrooms are another common area in restaurants where efficiencies can be implemented to reduce your carbon footprint.

Replace paper towels with energy efficient hand dryers.

It’s estimated that we use 13 billion pounds of paper towels every year in the United States alone! Replacing paper towels with an energy efficient hand dryer is a sure-fire way to enhance sustainability. Many hand dryer manufacturers – such as Excel Dryer, manufacturer of the popular Excel Xlerator dryers – make both a standard and eco-friendly line of dryers, so it’s in your best interest to do a little research on each model’s energy consumption first. For more information on hand dryers, check out our buying guide here.

This video illustrates the difference between standard and eco-friendly hand dryers:

Offer hand towels.

If you’re looking for another alternative besides installing hand dryers, change out the trash can for a laundry hamper and replace disposable paper towels with hand towels.

Install motion-sensors for lights and fans.

This will ensure energy is only being used when people are in the restroom. Lights and fans left on all day substantially increase energy consumption and utility costs.

Additional Sustainable Enhancements

Add some plants!

Not only do they add some extra aesthetic appeal, but plants absorb carbon dioxide, keeping the air clean. Certain plants are better for indoor spaces, such as the areca plant, snake plant (also referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue) or money plant. Whether you decide to add some in the corner of your restaurant or as a centerpiece on the table, they will purify the air and detoxify the space.

Upcycling

This relatively new term implies the reuse of a product for a different purpose. Some creative examples include:

  • Repurposing empty bottles to make tabletop vases or decor
  • Creating pet toys out of branded items – like old employee t-shirts – to donate to shelters instead of just throwing away

Company Car

If your business caters and uses a company vehicle to do so, invest in an eco-friendly car! Look for features like a lightweight design, high gas mileage, hybrid or electric mode, efficient air filtration systems, etc.

When it comes to implementing environmental sustainability within your restaurant, there are no limits. The more creative you allow yourself to be, the more options you’ll find. Don’t forget to share your efforts with your community to let your valued guests know you’re committed to reducing your carbon footprint! Change doesn’t happen overnight, but with increased awareness and continual small changes, we can all make a difference!

Sustainable Kitchen Practices

Environmental Sustainability Inside the Kitchen

Decisions made by commercial businesses can have a huge impact on the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 11% of total U.S. emissions are contributed by the commercial and residential sectors.

With increases in the millennial generation’s spending share, there is also an observable demand for sustainable offerings. Nielsen reports approximately 75% of millennials are willing to pay more for products and services that make an effort to positively impact and preserve the environment. Likewise, more than half of the Baby Boomer generation are also willing to support companies in this endeavor.

There are quick and easy changes that can readily be made to drastically impact the environment for the better. All it takes is a bit of knowledge, planning and implementation.

Sustainability Inside the Kitchen

Restaurants can immediately start incorporating environmentally friendly efforts inside their commercial kitchen space. As a quick example, no piece of commercial equipment is immortal. Sooner or later it’ll become outdated or will no longer provide the performance necessary to run an efficient business. There are options for ensuring the replacement process is as waste-free as possible.

When getting rid of an old piece of equipment, first consider selling it to a company specializing in the reuse, refurbishment or recycling of commercial products. Finding such a company is as simple as a quick Google search. Here are just a few:

Energy StarTaking a proactive approach when shopping for new equipment can also have a strong impact, not only on your business’s environmental footprint, but also on the bottom line. Implementing certain keywords, like Energy Star, into your search is a tried and true strategy. Products that are Energy Star rated have been purposefully designed to optimize resources so that less is consumed each time the equipment is used. Many Energy Star certified commercial dishwashers, for instance, use less water consumption per rack than their traditional counterparts, and are up to 40% more energy efficient. This not only assists in sustainability efforts, but lowers long term utility costs associated with the product. Depending on the state you reside, there may also be certain Energy Star rebates applicable to your purchase.

In addition for searching for that Energy Star label, there are several other factors to consider.

1. Water Consumption

When analyzing dishwashers and other high water-consuming equipment, look at how much water is used per rack. Energy Star depicts efficient water consumption at 0.89 gallons per rack, which means any amount up to that point is extremely efficient.

2. Natural vs. LP Gas

When perusing the options for commercial cooking equipment, you’re likely to see options for Natural Gas or LP (liquid propane). Though both offer their unique sets of benefits, LP gas actually provides up to two-and-a-half times more energy output than natural gas, meaning less is needed to produce the same amount. LP gas has also garnered the reputation of “green fuel” because of its nonexistent toxicity to the environment. Natural gas, on the other hand, is considered a greenhouse gas – a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation. In other words, not an ideal solution for enhanced sustainability.

3. Conventional vs. Convection

Conventional ovens cook food by radiating direct heat from the top and bottom of the oven box to the food. Convection ovens heat by circulating forced hot air around the food. This more quickly and evenly cooks the product, making convection ovens the more efficient and sustainable option. Since foods can be heated quicker, the temperature can be set lower – typically by 25°F – thus consuming less energy.

4. Refrigerant Type

The type of refrigerant a piece of equipment uses is often an overlooked factor when searching for environmentally friendly products. Many products use refrigerants made of CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons) which expel pollutants that can have a negative impact on the ozone. Instead, look for equipment that use less damaging HFC (hydrofluorocarbons) refrigerants. True is one major refrigeration brand that has embraced this change.

5. Cookware Size

The size of the commercial cookware used in preparing meals serves as another important energy-saving aspect. When utilizing an electric stove-top, be cognizant of the size of the pots and pans. If you’re using a smaller pan on a larger burner, you’re wasting heat. The US Department of Energy has found that so much as a 2-inch difference between pan and burner size could waste as much as 40% of heat.

Remember the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Perhaps one of the simplest ways your restaurant can be eco-friendly is by enforcing good recycling habits. Keep recycling bins accessible in your kitchen and be sure to recycle plastic and paper scraps, and anything else your local recycling center accepts. If the center requires recyclables to be separated, simply add another bin and mark it for such.

Rubbermaid 3 Stream Recycling Bin

Rubbermaid 3-Stream Recycling Bin; Central Model #972-5C3

When implementing new recycling bins, post signs that inform what types of items can be recycled to better ensure non-recyclables stay out. It is extremely important that your staff is careful about what they put in. If they throw in a material not listed, like certain plastics or food, the recycling plant may not be able to process the bin and your recycling efforts could be wasted.

Composting

The National Restaurant Association reports that restaurants throw away 10% of the food they buy. This translates to 15% (or roughly 20 billion pounds!) of all food waste in landfills. Composting is a simple and beneficial way to reduce food waste and avoid environmental harm. Benefits of composting include:

  • Returns valuable nutrients back to the soil, enhancing plant growth
  • Provides a natural fertilizer that won’t burn plants like some chemical fertilizers
  • Improves air circulation in the soil
  • Retains soil moisture, reducing the need to water as frequently

Food scraps in any restaurant are inevitable, but composting offers a way to rid of them while making a positive contribution. If your restaurant grows its own food, composting on site is a perfect opportunity to promote a better ecosystem. If your restaurant doesn’t have the need or desire to compost on site, find an organics collection service or other composting facility nearby to take in your food waste and properly compost it.

This hotel uses composting to process food waste as a way to reuse food scraps to enhance their restaurant quality:

Tidy Planet ROCKET Food Waste Composter from Tidy Planet on Vimeo.

It is as important as ever to promote sustainability in business practices, and restaurants have several unique opportunities to do so. By recycling the old and purchasing energy efficient equipment, your restaurant can significantly reduce its carbon footprint. Simply by instilling everyday habits like using the right size cookware or composting scraps and food waste can result in a substantial impact.

If you enjoyed this post on sustainable techniques inside the kitchen environment, you may also like our post on readily implementable efforts outside the kitchen, including eco-friendly enhancements to the dining room and restroom.

Dinnerware Material: China vs. Plastic

Deciding which type of dinnerware to feature in your food service operation can be daunting. There’s just so many options to choose from and several questions to ask. Will it coordinate with the current setup? Can it enhance the dining room ambiance? Will it withstand heavy use, or will it need replaced frequently?

At Central Restaurant Products, we offer hundreds of different types, styles, designs, and patterns from some of the most popular manufacturers of commercial dinnerware in the world. When shopping for dinnerware, you’re likely to come across the construction material in the features, but what does this really mean?

Not all plates, platters or bowls are created equal. Even though ceramic and plasticware are the two primary umbrella categories, not all plastic dinnerware will guarantee the same degree of durability. How will the construction of your dinnerware impact your overall bottom line? What’s the benefit of opting for a melamine collection, say, than traditional china? What’s the difference between all the different types of plastic materials? Shopping for new dinnerware can be loads of fun, but it can also be stressful if you’re not fully aware of the quality you may be receiving. Here, we seek to shed some light.

Ceramic and Fine Chinaware

Traditional chinaware is made of a durable ceramic material that is biscuit-fired at high temperatures and then glazed fired at a lower temperature. There are two common types of china dinnerware that you’re likely to come across in your search.

Porcelain china is constructed out of combination of rock minerals and clay including feldspar, quartz, and kaolin. Porcelain chinaware is usually the less expensive china solution and has a noticeably heavier weight than bone china; however, the brittle composition usually results in more frequent chipping, thus needing replaced more often.

Porcelain China Dinnerware

Central Model #474-483

Bone china dinnerware is constructed out of a more finely grated composition, still including the same minerals as porcelain china, but with added ox bone ash which enhances its durability. Fine bone china is often considered to create a more upscale, fine dining appearance. It’s thinner and lighter than its porcelain sibling, but runs at a higher price point. However, with its stronger durability, it will need replaced far less frequently. A classic case of you get what you pay for.

Fine Bone China Dinner Plate

Central Model #60K-806

A good test to see if your existing chinaware is porcelain or bone is to hold it up to a light fixture. If there is no trace of light shining through, you are most likely holding a piece of everyday porcelain ceramic dinnerware. Chinaware with the added ox bone ash element will allow some light to shine through.

High end chinaware is often ideal for upscale, fine dining establishments. Nice china can set the mood of the dining room, enhancing the theme, presentation, and creating personality. It holds many benefits for the front and back of the house, acting as a canvas ready for the chef’s masterpiece.

China that’s 100% vitrified works to prevent crazing and cracking that lead to bacterial growth over time, thus enhancing sanitation and food safety efforts. Fully vitrified china means that the dinnerware was fired at a lower temperature, coming out stronger and thinner than non-vitrified china. Vitrified dinnerware does not absorb water so there’s less risk of expanding and contracting, working to prevent accidental breakage and ensuring longevity of the product life.

Earthenware and Stoneware are two other types of porcelain dinnerware in the same family as china. Stoneware is durable and often trendier, featuring a stone exterior. Its unique, trendier presentation makes it ideal for restaurants serving Asian cuisine, bistros, farm to table, etc. It’s either semi or fully vitrified and safe for microwave or dishwasher use. Earthenware, on the other hand, is much less durable, a result of a quick and simple firing process. It is made of non-vitrified clay and less expensive than stoneware. It also offers excellent heat induction while adding a rustic feel to the ambiance. It is recommended to be handwashed only.

Tuxton Earthenware Soup Crock

Central Model #479-279

As we’ve discussed, some china is more durable than others. When shopping for your next china pattern, pay attention to whether or not the china can be used in the microwave or oven. A good determinant on the durability is whether it comes with a manufacturer warranty. Many top brands offer a one year no-chip warranty. International Tableware offers a Five-Year no-chip warranty exclusively at Central! A manufacturer warranty is typically a good determinant of durability, as it can be read that the manufacturer themselves have strong faith in their work.

Our top chinaware manufacturers include:

It’s important to note, however, that no piece of china is break-resistant. Most, but not all, chinaware is dishwasher safe. This is something you will want to verify in your research. Some china feature with glazed patterns that are not recommended for use in a dishwasher. Read on to learn more about dinnerware solutions that are virtually unbreakable.

Melamine Dinnerware

Melamine dinnerware rose in popularity in the 1940s for use during dinner parties. Melamine is a chemical that is used to make hard plastics and is therefore extremely durable and typically offered at a much lower price point than traditional chinaware. Some high-end melamine dinnerware even replicates the look and feel of chinaware, thus offering the best of both worlds. Given its notable durability, many melamine manufacturers will boast that their products are “virtually unbreakable!”

GET Urban Mill Melamine

G.E.T. Enterprises Trendy Urban Mill Pattern Melamine

Melamine is a great solution in many different types of commercial foodservice operations. Because it can withstand the rigors of day to day use, commercial melamine dinnerware is often seen in school cafeterias, hospitals, or other types of institutions with hectic, fast-paced rushes. Like china, melamine dinnerware also comes in quite the array of styles and patterns, with top brands working around the clock to define new trends.

Though melamine is difficult to break, instances of chipping have occurred if not properly cared for or maintained. However, melamine dinnerware won’t shatter if accidentally dropped, like most types of china. Most melamine will also be able to withstand high heat, many types up to 212°F. It’s an insulator, not a conductor, meaning it can maintain temperatures longer than other types of plastic dinnerware. It also stays cool to the touch when serving hot foods.

Generally speaking, melamine dinnerware is dishwasher safe and dries quickly, so users won’t wait long before they’re able to re-enter the dinnerware back into the food serving assembly. In addition to their durable “break-resistant” advertisements, melamine is also considered to be scratch and stain resistant.

Though dishwasher safe, melamine is not recommended for use in the microwave or oven, as opposed to some of their ceramic counterparts. Even though it’s capable of withstanding high heats, it should never be heated while in contact with food. Proper cleaning and care of melamine dinnerware ensures longevity. This video from our friends at G.E.T. Enterprises offers tried and true techniques for proper melamine maintenance.

Our top melamine dinnerware brands include:

It’s easy to talk in general terms, but like all types of dinnerware, not all melamine is the same. It’s best to fully research all the features of a specific style before committing. At Central, you can request a free sample of many of our dinnerware selections to see for yourself prior to purchasing.

But wait… is plastic safe?

A common concern with melamine and other plasticware are the chemicals used to create hard, durable plastic. These chemicals are extensively researched and tested to assure their fit and safe for dining. BPA is one of the most common chemicals used in plastic construction.

  • What is BPA?

A concern many have when it comes to melamine products is the amount of BPA they may contain. BPA, which is an acronym for Bisphenol A, is a chemical that manufacturers started using to construct certain plastics and resins starting in the 1950s. In the 1990s, consumers began questioning whether BPA was safe with many studies trying to link it to health problems. The FDA has since concluded that low levels are not harmful to humans. However, many products containing BPA, such as baby bottles, have been banned in the United States. Some melamine products on the market do still contain small traces of BPA in their construction, while others proudly exclaim they are 100% BPA free.

  • NSF Certification

If BPA is a concern for you, you can check to see if the piece of dinnerware is NSF certified. NSF is a stamp of approval given from NSF International, an independent public health and safety organization that develop standards for public health regulation. NSF approved dinnerware is always recommended over dinnerware that isn’t, and this isn’t something exclusive to dinnerware.

NSF Approved Logo

NSF Approved Logo

All sorts of commercial food service equipment and supplies are NSF listed. NSF International reviews construction material and the manufacturing process to confirm that all their standards are met. Therefore, opting for an NSF approved product gives peace of mind that the brand is complying with national regulations and safety standards. Many NSF listed items also feature added sanitary protections. The benefits of choosing products that have NSF International’s seal of approval reduce the risk of foodborne illness, are often easier to clean, and may help boost overall health inspection scores.

Other Plastic Dinnerware Constructions

Ceramic and melamine are arguably the two most popular types of commercial dinnerware constructions on the market. However, throughout your shopping adventures, you’re likely to see a few other types of plastic materials. Here’s a brief breakdown of what they mean.

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a lightweight plastic material that, like melamine, is commonly considered to be shatter resistant. Unlike melamine, traditional polycarbonate dinnerware is also heat resistant and safe for microwave use. A lot of polycarbonate dinnerware can withstand temperatures between -40°F through 212°F. This makes the dinnerware ideal for use in both freezers and high temperature environments.

Cambro Polycarbonate Three-Compartment Plate

Central Model #250-564

BPA (see above) is a common chemical used to make polycarbonate plastics. BPA is one of the most extensively tested chemicals today, and, again, the FDA has concluded that small traces are not harmful for humans.

Polycarbonate dinnerware is typically inexpensive, which can be a big plus. However, though it’s thought to be break-resistant, some polycarbonate dinnerware may scratch and stain easily.

Our top polycarbonate dinnerware brands include Carlisle and Cambro.

Polypropylene and Polyethylene

Both polypropylene and polyethylene are similar, and many pieces of dinnerware are made using a blend of the two. Though a more affordable alternative to other types of dinnerware, by and large, dinnerware constructed out of polypropylene and polyethylene plastics are considered to have moderate scratch and break-resistance, not holding up quite to the same standards of melamine. They are, however, highly stain resistant and safe for both dishwasher and microwave use. They have a fairly decent drying time but may require additional wiping. It can typically withstand temperatures between 32°F through 180°F.

An additional blended hybrid of polypropylene is co-polymer. This material is often observed in the construction of cafeteria trays, and has a high resistance to breakage, scratching or staining. It’s also microwave and dishwasher safe, and considered to have a faster drying time than traditional polypropylene plasticware. It can handle temperatures between 40°F and 210°F, not ideal for use in freezers.

Acrylic

Acrylic is a hard plastic that is manufactured to replicate the look and feel of glass and high-end crystal. Acrylic is a common construction material of servingware, enhancing the presentation of buffet areas while extremely durable. Throughout your search, you’re likely to come across serving bowls, utensils, display stands, and bakery cases made of acrylic. Acrylic products are traditionally more affordable than their glass counterparts, with added shatter-proof durability.

Rosseto Acrylic Display Case

Central Model #989-019

ABS and SAN Plastic

ABS is the same type of plastic material used to make the popular LEGO® building blocks! It stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, a thermoplastic (a resin that becomes a plastic on heating and hardening) resin that’s largely considered to be middle of the road. Plastic dinnerware made with this type of material is typically considered to be medium strength with a good resistance to impact, breaking, and chemicals. It absorbs shock, resistant to high heat and scratches, and affordable. It can withstand temperatures between 0°F to 180°F.

Some limitations of ABS plastic include poor weatherability and not resistant to solvents that may weaken and corrode ABS plasticware over time. It also generates a lot of smoke if burned. Because of this, dinnerware made of ABS is not recommended for use in the microwave. It is, however, dishwasher safe with an average dry time. Due to the lack of solvent-resistance, it is recommended that you wipe down your ABS-constructed ware soon after the cleaning cycle finishes.

ABS is not considered to be the most environmentally-friendly plastic material on the market. It is not biodegradable or a renewable resource.

SAN plastic, also known as styrene acrylonitrile resin, is another co-polymer plastic blend and shares a lot in common with ABS in terms of its chemical structure. SAN is often used by manufacturers to create durable plasticware that mimics the look and feel of ceramic china.

Additional Dinnerware Material

In commercial dining facilities, china and plastic dinnerware are certainly the two most common. However, dinnerware made of metal and glass are occasionally used to create unique, one of a kind environments.

Metal Dinnerware

Metal dinnerware is sleek and affordable, but should only ever be used for serving, and never for cooking or reheating. Common types of metal dinnerware include stainless steel and copper, which offer a trendier presentation for appetizers, entrees and side dishes. Check out American Metalcraft’s selection of dinnerware for trendy, affordable serving inspiration.

Bon Chef Metal Soup Bowl

Central Model #16Y-037

Glass Dinnerware

Glass is ideal for upscale dining establishments. Quality glass dinnerware runs at a higher price point than their plastic counterparts that have been strategically designed to mimic the look and feel of glass (see acrylic section above). However, authentic glass adds a touch of class to every dining room.

Libbey Gibraltar Clear Glass Dinnerware

Central Model #186-087

In addition to higher upfront costs, there is also a higher risk of breakage. Glassware will need replaced down the road, so your glass dinnerware purchase more than likely won’t be a one and done experience.

The three most common types of glass dinnerware include Annealed, Fully Tempered, and Rim Tempered.

  1. Annealed glass is your standard glassware and the most cost effective (up front). It’s slowly cooled to reduce internal stress, making it capable of withstanding temperature changes. However, when it breaks, it shatters into a hundred shards, creating a cleaning nightmare and safety concerns.
  2. Fully-Tempered glass has been more processed than annealed glass, increasing its strength and making it less prone to breakage. When it does break, it breaks in chunks instead of shattering into dangerously miniscule and sharp shards.
  3. Rim-Tempered glass runs middle of the road. A part of the piece has been tempered for added protection, but not the entirety of the product. This is usually the rim, because it’s the most likely to tip over and take the blunt force of the impact. This is a nice option if you’re on a budget but want to ensure some sort of durability.

Libbey is one of our top glassware manufacturers, boasting a comprehensive selection of glass drinkware and dining solutions.

All in all, your final decision should be made around which piece of dinnerware can enhance the experience you wish to give your guests, based on your established environment, ambiance, and menu. Central offers a complete selection of all different types of dinner and servingware to help you find the right piece you’re looking for. If you have any additional questions about which material will work the best given your unique needs, give us a call us at 800.215.9293.

Vendor Spotlight: Tablecraft

Tablecraft makes it all. They’re an essential brand in tableware, offering a comprehensive selection of tabletop and serving supplies tailored to their creed of “conscience-driven foodservice innovations.”

Tablecraft was founded by Adolf Davis in 1946 as an import distribution company specifically catering to the foodservice industry. Since then, they’ve grown to offer more than 3,000 products spanning several product lines including buffet service and serveware like serving bowls and platters, to contemporary tabletop necessities like shakers and squeeze bottles. They also offer a complete line of bar service supplies including syrup dispensers and liquor pourers, glass rimmers, beer buckets, shakers, sealers and more.

Serving Baskets

Among the diversity of assortment Tablecraft offers, some of their most popular items are serving baskets, available in a variety of colors, shapes and styles. Central offers their best-selling 1076 Large Serving Basket at an economical price point. This basket is perfect for sandwiches and side orders, featuring a durable polypropylene construction that is both dishwasher and microwave safe. They are also stackable for convenient storage. This basket is a standard for quick eats, available in black, brown, green, red, and yellow.

Tablecraft Serving Basket

Central Model #682-020

Tabletop Displays

Tablecraft as a brand always manages to keep their products affordable while staying on trend, putting themselves in the shoes of the restaurant owner. Their array of displays and risers add a certain elegance to products. Like their collection of baskets, their displays also come in a variety of styles to add a flare to any catered event or buffet.

Tablecraf CR3 3 Piece Riser Set

Central Model #682-29D

Tablecraft CW40309B Half Stand

Central Model #682-R41

Tablecraft BKT3 3 Tiered Basket

Central Model #682-18U

Presentation matters. Tablecraft is determined to continue to produce innovative solutions to assist, inventing new ways to showcase your products in ways your guests will adore. See all Tablecraft products here.

Hamilton Beach Commercial Appliances

Vendor Spotlight: Hamilton Beach

Hamilton Beach appliances are a fixture in households across the country. Hamilton Beach Commercial, the company’s global commercial brand, is highly regarded for their continuous innovations in food and bar blenders, juicers, warmers and cookers, and other product lines. Their durable products can be seen in hotels, restaurants and bars worldwide. Founded in the early 1900s by Louis H. Hamilton and Chester Beach, Hamilton Beach is now celebrating more than a century of leading the way in commercial appliance technology.

Beach’s creation of a universal electric motor that operated on both alternating and direct currents was a game changer. At the time, this new technology was used to power sewing machines and other attachments, thereby ending the era of treadle sewing machines and other muscle-powered chores. Building momentum from this early success, Hamilton and Beach were able to pioneer their way to others, marketing many new innovations, like electric fans, glass washers and vacuum cleaners, under their Hamilton Beach name.

Hamilton Beach Drink Mixers

Perhaps one of the greatest Hamilton Beach staples is the electric drink mixer. First created in 1911, their original drink mixer created quite the sensation, quickly mixing up malts for customers across America. As the twentieth century progressed, one could hardly step inside any soda fountain or ice cream parlor without spotting a Hamilton Beach mixer. And even though times change and technology advances, even though soda fountains have since faded into nostalgia, one can still spot Hamilton Beach blenders and mixers at nearly any restaurant bar or establishment serving up smoothies or ice cream treats.

Hamilton Beach’s HMD400 Three Spindle Drink Mixer is one of their most popular mixers on the market because it mixes nearly twice as fast as other three spindle mixers with an automatic start/stop operation.

Hamilton Beach Bar Blenders

In addition to mixers, Hamilton Beach’s line of commercial bar blenders range from light duty to high performance, depending on intended use. The popular Hamilton Beach HBB908 Light Duty Bar Blender is one of their most economical blenders enabling smaller establishments to add high profit frozen drinks to their menu at a low upfront cost.

Hamilton Beach HBB908 Light Duty Commercial Bar Blender

Light Duty Bar Blender, Central Model #815-058

It’s not, however, ideal for bars with high volume.  The Hamilton Beach HBH550 three-horsepower Fury high performance bar blender is. This model features an all-metal drive coupling that’s built to last.

Hamilton Beach HBH550 Fury High Performance Commercial Bar Blender

High Performance Bar Blender, Central Model #815-076

Coming back to Central’s catalog is the Hamilton Beach HBS1400 Revolution Ice Shaver and Blender. This model offers precise ice portion control and can make up to four 16 oz. drinks at a time. One of the main features of this model is the sensor technology that alerts the users to ensure the hopper lid is in place or if the drain line is full. The double-wall hopper minimizes noise while keeping ice solid.

Hamilton Beach HBS1400 Revolution Ice Shaver and Blender

Revolution Ice Shaver/Blender, Central Model #815-065

View Hamilton Beach’s extensive commercial line here.

Online Restaurant Reservations | Booking Online Reservations | Central Restaurant Products

As millennials buying power continues to grow, many businesses are adapting to accommodate their preferences.  This is a generation in search of convenience, opting to do what they can with a click of a button on their phone without having to speak to anyone. This includes quickly making restaurant reservations, whether last-minute or planning a special occasion.

For many small businesses, building a website advanced enough to allow for online reservations can be a daunting and costly endeavor.   Some restaurants may have the ability to manage their own reservations; but, they may also be in search of new ways to market to a broader group of diners, or just trying to get their name out there more.

We wanted to break down a few of the bigger players in this space to give a high-level overview of what they offer.  One option isn’t better than the other. It all depends on your personalized business needs.

Open Table

According to OpenTable’s site they offer restaurant marketing, data analytics, training, support and more for restaurants who sign up.  Some compelling stats of the reach they can offer your business include:

  • 21 million diners find restaurants through OpenTable each month
  • Their diners have spent more than $16 billion at partner restaurants
  • OpenTable diners write more than 850,000 reviews each month

Their app is user friendly, allowing a potential diner to search by location, time and day and then expand differently.  You can also select a restaurant based on recommended options, cuisine type, and more.

Open Table

Open Table’s Mobile User Interface

Outside of the breadth of restaurants on OpenTable, potential diners may choose to use this reservation option over others because of the perks of booking through their site or app.  Each reservation offers points that a diner can cash in for gift cards to OpenTable restaurants or Amazon.  This could potentially sway guests away from making the reservation directly on the restaurant’s website, opting to use OpenTable instead.

Open Table Rewards

Open Table Rewards

OpenTable offers two different package options: GuestCenter or Connect.  Connect is their standard offering that features “more covers without the table management.” GuestCenter, on the other hand, is a cloud based service that runs on both Apple and web-based products, marketed as their premium level of service.

This chart from their website makes it easy to compare the pros between the two:

Open Table: GuestCenter vs. Connect

Courtesy of www.opentable.com

Additionally, there is a $1,295 set-up cost when you start with them.  OpenTable allows you to accept reservations through their website or through your own website via a widget.

You can find more information on all OpenTable can offer here.

Yelp

Yelp bills themselves as a better restaurant booking system at a lower cost.  The stats they offer are:

  • 92 million diners seated in 2016
  • Number one most frequently used site for finding restaurants
  • Save, on average, $800 for every 1,000 online reservation

Yelp officially got in to the online reservation game in 2014, having already acquired SeatMe in 2013, leveraging the 95 million plus who use Yelp monthly. They went on to acquire Eat 24 in 2015, and partnered with NoWait, a company that helps diners skip the waiting time, in 2017.

They offer a single standard plan cheaper than the OpenTable options. There is a flat monthly fee for service and that’s it. No set-up fee, no individual reservation fee, no hidden fee.

Yelp Reservations

While the pricing is more affordable, the ability to search based on open tables on a specific date and time is not yet available. 

To use, a potential diner searches by area and selects the restaurant to view availability.  This can be a drawback to someone looking to make quick reservations.

Yelp also displays restaurant reviews front and center. This is a nice experience for potential diners to see, but if a restaurant has less than stellar reviews through the Yelp service, it may not be the best option for them.  It also shows the most recent review below the star rating.  If a restaurant has several great reviews, but your most recent one is negative, it will unfortunately be the review potential guests see until a new review comes in.

Like OpenTable, you can accept reservations through Yelp or through your own site with their widget. You can find more information on what Yelp could offer your restaurant by clicking here.

Resy

Resy is a complete restaurant reservation and waitlist system, boasting:

  • 80 million diners seated
  • 8% global no show rate
  • 2,000 venues live
  • 160 global cities

Like Yelp, the cost structure on Resy is based on a flat fee; however, they offer more plan options ranging from $189/month to $899/month.Resy

The search functionality allows users to search by date and guest count, and will show open time slots right on the search result page.

The downside of using this option is the reach.  Since the service is only available in select cities, you are not reaching as many potential diners.  It also curates the results, so your restaurant may not show in all searches.  This is done with the potential diner in mind based on what they search and book; however, this can present a challenge in acquiring new customers.

You can find more information on what Resy could offer your restaurant by clicking here.

Oneida Foodservice

Oneida: Discover, Visualize, Sample

About Oneida Foodservice

Oneida has been enhancing tabletop presentation for well over a century. They have long been a stable of the dining room, designing a plethora of different styled dinnerware, flatware and glassware to appease any type of foodservice environment. Their products can readily be spotted in fine dining establishment or casual diners alike because their assortment is so massive and dynamic. At Central, we feature more than 3,000 Oneida products and regularly adding more as Oneida continues to release stylish designs that define dining trends year after year.

Oneida’s Plate Envy™

With such an assortment to choose from, it can almost be overwhelming to decide which style is best for your establishment’s theme and ambiance. Oneida acknowledges this and have recently unveiled a brand-new resource to help buyers decide which pattern will best fit their dining room. Plate Envy™ takes users on a journey, using questions and visual aids to highlight the desired place setting, thus ending with a pattern that’ll match. This new tool takes the hassle out of tireless research to determine where, in the sea of options, you should land.

Oneida Plate Envy

Oneida has spent the last century building their brand by earning trust. Respected throughout the world for their quality, Oneida stands behind all their products so you can feel confident using them. At Central, we offer free samples on hundreds of Oneida items to allow you to try before you buy, including on their popular Lumos line. Constructed on heavy weight, 18/0 stainless steel, Lumos flatware offers durability and pleasing aesthetics to create a perfect dining experience.Oneida Lumos Flatware

 

When shopping for commercial flatware…

When shopping for flatware, there are two characteristics to note: flatware weight and stainless steel composition. Flatware either comes with a medium weight or a heavy weight. Medium weight is usually the most economical option, but heavy weight offers more durability as it’s more difficult to bend. We recommend heavy weight flatware for most commercial facilities.

You’re also likely to observe 18/0 or 18/10 stainless steel composition. These numbers represent the percentage of chromium and nickel included in the stainless steel. 18/0 stainless steel is composed of 18% chromium and 0% nickel. It’s often characterized by a higher shine and can be used magnetic tableware retrievers and scrap blocks. 18/10, on the other hand, is stainless steel composed with 10% nickel for more protection against corrosion. It’s more durable with a softer shine and polish usually considered to be higher end.

Shop all Oneida now.

Ritz Professional Apparel

Ritz: Professional Apparel for Front and Back of House

About Ritz

Ritz is proud to be a family owned and operated business. With origins dating back to 1892, Ritz has maintained its family operated culture for generations, their values continuing to adhere to their moto “make lasting friends.” Ritz’s collection of products span industries, from retail, foodservice and hospitality, acquiring brands that enable them to add essential styles to the home, kitchen, hotels, and other facilities.

Ritz Apparel

Ritz’s selection of foodservice products predominately features durable chef apparel that protect against high heat. Having recently acquired the Chef Revival brand, they now boast an even larger array of chef jackets, pants, aprons and headwear essential for back of the house operations.

We’ve recently added their line of Performance Series Chef Jackets available in long sleeve or short sleeve styles, from extra-small to 3-XL, and in your choice of Black, Grey or White. The Performance Series Jackets are made out of their trademark EZ-Blend™ fabric, a poly-cotton mix that combines comfort, durability, and easy cleaning. Double stitched for enhanced durability and breathable mesh and side vents, these jackets are designed to keep operators cool working for long hours in hot kitchens.

Chef Revival Performance Series Chef Jackets

Performance Series Chef Jackets; Central Models #762-001, 762-002, 38K-921, 762-003, 762-004, 38K-922.

Ritz, together with Chef Revival, also offer stylish apparel for front of the house. Such apparel includes bib aprons available in a plethora of styles and color options. Their Tuxedo/V-Neck apron is ideal for adding an upscale appeal, while their traditional short bib apron includes plenty of pocket space for straws, pens, order pads, or more. With reinforced trim, this apron is durable and fade resistant, protecting clothes from accidental stains.

Chef Revival VNA3840 Tuxedo Apron

Chef Revival VNA3840 Tuxedo Apron; Central Model #792-491.

Ritz also produces standard waist and money aprons for staff to keep money, credit slips, and checks readily accessible and secure.

Other Kitchen Necessities

It doesn’t just stop at apparel. Many of Ritz’s commercial oven mitts are constructed out ofRitz Silicone Oven Mitt silicone and able to resist temperatures of up to 685°F. With a 100% cotton interior, they’re comfortable to wear while also bleach resistant and dishwasher and laundry safe.

To view Ritz’s entire line, click here. To see what all Chef Revival has to offer, click here.