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1,992 new products in our 2010 Master Catalog

Central Restaurant Products’ 2010 Master Catalog will be in mailboxes this week, featuring 24 new pages and 1,922 new items from the industry’s top vendors. Central provides expert solutions and personal service with a team of experienced in-house product consultants.

The 2010 catalog will also offer new brands such as BarMaid, Leer, Saniserv, Radiance and Centaur.

“While we can provide most any restaurant equipment or supply item manufactured for the food service industry, we’ve added a record number of new products spanning all categories of foodservice equipment and supplies to our new 2010 Master Catalog,” said Central Restaurant Products’ President Mark Korros.

Some of the products hand-picked for the 2010 Master Catalog include:

Additionally, CentralRestaurant.com features expanded options searching, browsing product lines, ordering and managing your account. Visit CentralRestaurant.com to shop new products online or request a catalog.

Top 10 school menu items for 2010

In this climate of fierce competition in the food service industry, even schools have to work hard to maximize profits, increase meal participation and eliminate waste. With that in mind, here are the leading school menu items of 2009…

1. Milk is the number one school-prepared menu item—consumed by 77% of children according to a study conducted by R&I, A 24 cu. ft. milk cooler helps serve high volumes quickly without causing bottlenecks. Also make sure to have plenty of sturdy, dishwasher safe milk tumblers to help cut down on waste from disposable styrofoam cups.

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2. Chicken was also named one of the leading school-supplied foods and beverages by R&I. Moreover, a school foodservice trend identified by FE&S Magazine has been a shift toward more combi-cooking in an attempt to accommodate more healthful menu offerings. Preparing chicken in a combi or convection oven offers more options for health-conscious foodservice operators.

3. In spite of the pressure schools are under to provide healthy meal options to students, French Fries are still among the top menu items in K-12 Schools according to the NPD Group. But here’s the good news: frying has made leaps and bounds in the last few years in terms of health, and Frymaster offers a number of solutions for fit frying, including a buying guide for choosing the right fryer and oil, tips for loading and cleaning the unit and guidelines for proper filtration. According to Frymaster, the best units for preparing French Fries are gas fryer #300-068, electric fryers ##300-075 and #300-014 and Dean electric fryer #300-070.

4. According to Technomic, 48% of consumers say they eat a variety of at least 11 different sandwiches over a one-month period, and sandwiches were also among the top school-supplied foods and beverages in NPD’s “Lunchtime Mealscape” study. The sandwich presents a tremendous opportunity for school foodservice operators to offers quick, healthy, made-to-order meal options. Sandwich/salad units are key for storing and serving fresh uncooked sandwich ingredients like deli meats and cheeses, vegetables and sauces and dressings. Other key sandwich equipment includes conveyor toasters and heated proofing/holding cabinets to keep bread warm and fresh.

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5. Pizza, according to Food Management Magazine “appears on nearly every menu, every cycle and every day part” in the non-commercial market. FM says pizza may be the most flexible and all-purpose offering in a typical noncommercial operator’s menu mix, and their research suggests that, if anything, the importance of this role has no place to go in the future but up. In addition to a high output pizza oven to feed your masses of hungry schoolchildren, consider equipment to more effectively market and display your pizza offerings, including merchandisers, menu boards and neon signs.

6. Also popular among school children are fresh fruits and salads. Cold food bars offer the portability and flexibility needed by school foodservice operators to offer a variety of fruit and salad options. Also consider food storage containers to cut down on waste by preserving fresh ingredients longer.

7. A study by the School Nutrition Association in 2009 showed that almost 2/3 of school nutrition programs now offer a vegetarian school lunch on a consistent basis, compared to just 22% in 2003. Vegetarian options often include entrée salads and vegetarian pizza with whole grain crust, beans and rice, yogurt, sunflower seeds, cheese-stuffed shells and veggie sandwiches like hoagies with cheese, red and green peppers, cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes. With all of these fresh ingredients in demand, it’s important for schools to have a plenty of to ensure products are kept fresh and don’t go to waste.Display cases and cabinets are an excellent way to market cookies at the point of sale, and if you’re already using an impinger oven to bake pizza, you’ll find it’s a great device for making cookies too—it seals in moisture and flavor and has a unique air flow design to bake more evenly than traditional ovens.

8. According to Food Management, cookies are the ultimate comfort food for all ages.

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9. According to R&I, as childhood obesity has reached concerning proportions in the United States, school vending programs have fallen under closer scrutiny. In 2006, the American Beverage Association (ABA)—whose membership includes representatives from some of the largest soft-drink marketers—adopted new national guidelines for school beverage sales. The guidelines emphasize wider availability of bottled waters, no-sweeteners-added juices and low-calorie drinks. Easily market juices and other beverages with self-service air curtain merchandisers and display cases at the point of sale.

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10. Many foodservice operations are trending away from bottled water in favor of filtered tap water, and for many foodservice operators, the change is welcome. According to R&I, if an operation can offer filtered tap rather than bottled water, it can earn points with green-minded diners (and their parents!)—and also cut purchasing costs and waste. Consider drop-in ice and water stations and water fillers, and remember: don’t neglect your ice machines! To achieve the best appearance and taste, replace your filters as often as the manufacturer recommends.

Additional Resources
Restaurants & Institutions
Foodservice Equipment & Supplies
Frymaster
The NPD Group
Food Management

Holiday giving can last all year

Here are some resources for any restaurants and foodservice operators out there who’d like to get involved with a charity. I talked to several nonprofits that team up with restaurants – here is the info –

The Salvation Army accepts food service equipment, appliances and food prep supplies for their senior centers, adult day cares and other community programs. Just use the website directory to locate a S.A. center in your area. They also accept monetary donations by phone, or you can call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825) to schedule a pickup.

Action Against Hunger is an international organization that delivers programs in some 40 countries, specializing in emergency situations of war, conflict, and natural disasters and longer-term assistance to people in distress.

Database Manager Jake Dahlman, who is also in charge of donor stewardship, said they cannot accept donations of food or equipment, but that many restaurants give back to their organization by offering a portion of their proceeds. For instance, Cafe’ Joul in New York City donates $1 from each sale of one best-selling starter and one best-selling dessert.

Anyone interested in making a donation can do so via the website, or they may contact Dahlman directly via email.

Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. According to the website, the organization’s mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and to engage the country in the fight to end hunger.

Feeding America’s Hungry Children is involved in a many food programs, including distributing emergency food boxes during the holidays, providing nutritious, vitamin-rich, fresh fruits and vegetables and helping underfed children through member agency programs.

The Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) is the oldest and largest organization in the United States representing those who provide meal services to people in need.

In addition to vehicles and monetary contributions, the organization also has a tremendous need for cookware and kitchen equipment to prepare the meals they provide. Monetary donations can be made via the website, and inquiries can be made by locating one of the 5,000 regional program offices nationwide or contact MOWAA via Email.

Another way that restaurants get involved with charities is by offering free gift cards. Jeanette Sawi, owner of Santorini Greek Kitchen in Indianapolis, said they partner with a number of local organizations including Indiana Youth Group and Second Helpings.

Central Restaurant Products has a Knowledge Base of resources for restaurants, including information on how to get involved with a local or national charity organization. Please visit CentralRestaurant.com/givingback for details.

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Is your bar up to par?

Morning folks! Just in time for the holidays, our fantastic copywriter has put together a compendium of resources for bartenders and restaurant operators…so without further ado, here it is – the only bar guide you’ll ever need.

On average, restaurants typically derive between 12% to 25% of their sales from alcoholic drinks. Take into consideration that drinks do not require as many ingredients or as much prep time as food, and you can see that your bar could potentially be a very profitable area of your restaurant! This collection of tips, trends and recipe suggestions will help you get your bar up to par—and help you to earn the largest profit margins possible.

Is your bar stocked with the top selling spirits?

More than 800 restaurant owners and operators were asked to list the three most-ordered alcohols in their bars in 2008. Don’t risk disappointing customers because you weren’t fully stocked with these popular spirits:

  • 90% Vodka
  • 42% Rum
  • 35% Tequila
  • 25% Bourbon
  • 23% Scotch
  • 21% Gin
  • 18% Flavored Vodka
  • 18% Whiskey

Once you’re fully stocked, be sure you use your menu or tabletop signs to advertise the liquors you offer. In a study conducted by R&I Magazine, consumers revealed that they would have ordered an alcoholic drink if they had known it was available.

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Shaken, not stirred…martini essentials

Do you have what it takes to make a martini? Some say gin, some say vodka. No matter what alcohol you choose, be sure you have these essentials to make martinis of any kind:

martini glassstrainer
cocktail shakerjigger

Make a mojito!

Made with white rum, a mojito is a classic cocktail that combines sweetness, refreshing citrus and mint flavors.

Original Mojito — Supplies you’ll need:
bar glasswarecocktail muddler
jiggerlime squeezer

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 part white rum
  • 3 parts club soda
  • 12 mint leaves
  • ½ lime
  • ½ part Sugar

Directions: Place 12 mint leaves, ½ part sugar and ½ lime in glass. Muddle well with a pestle. Add white rum, top off with club soda, stir well and garnish with sprigs of mint or a lime wheel.

Myth or reality: The perfect margarita

With so many different ways to make a margarita, is there really such thing as a perfect margarita? Whether it’s frozen or on the rocks, made with limes or with strawberries, with or without salt, how you make the perfect margarita is totally up to you—or your customer. If you have all the right tools, your margarita will be perfect every time.

Supplies you’ll need:
margarita glassbar blender
shot glassglass rimmer
lime squeezercocktail shaker

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 6 oz. tequila
  • 6 oz. Triple Sec
  • 2 oz. Rose’s lime juice
  • Fresh limes

Directions: Fill blender with first three ingredients and turn on. Add ice gradually and blend until the consistency is thick and smooth (similar to that of a milkshake). Cut lime in quarters; use one quarter to squeeze lime juice around rim of glass and then cover with salt. Pour drink into glass and garnish with lime wedge.


It’s all about the glassware

It’s important to have the appropriate glass for each type of alcoholic beverage you serve. Using the right glass shows off the drink, and can act as an enticing advertisement to other patrons that have yet to order. There’s also a practical reason for using the right glass—each glass was designed specifically for each type of drink served. For example, because a martini is served without ice, martini glasses generally have long stems to keep the cocktail away from the drinker’s warm hands. Use the following list to find the appropriate glass for each cocktail you serve:

beer glassbrandy snifterchampagne glass

margarita glassmartini glasstropical daiquiri glass

shot glasswhiskey glassred wine glass

white wine glasswine glass


Don’t forget the wine!

Not sure if you should offer wine on your menu? Compared to other alcoholic beverages, wine can be much easier and quicker to serve. To serve a glass of wine, you only need to pour the proper serving amount in the glass, eliminating time-consuming tasks like adding ice, measuring liquors, shaking cocktails and adding garnish.

Not only can you benefit from quick, easy service of wine, buy you can also benefit from increased sales and profits. According to a study by R&I Magazine, 21% of consumers are ordering more wine this year than last year!

If you plan to offer wine, be sure you have these essentials:

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What’s on tap? Beer tips & tricks

Similar to wine, beer is an easy add to your menu because serving is so simple. According to a study by R & I Magazine, more than 25% of adults say they order beer away from home at least once a week, meaning it is also profitable to offer beer.

Draft beer dispensers are great for full-service bars. They can quickly fill multiple servings of beer and reduce the amount of waste from bottles and cans. Not sure about serving draft beer? Use bottle coolers to serve individual bottles of beer and cut down on the amount of glasses you need to wash each night!

If you plan to offer beer, be sure to have these essentials:

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The latest industry news & trends

Nightclub & Bar: The Best in Bar Management

R&I Beverage Briefing

NRN Standards & Pours

NRN Beverage Feature

Central Restaurant Products Bar Equipment & Supplies

Day 11 + Day 12 Giveaway Winners

Congrats to our last two prize winners of the Winter Wonderland Daily Giveaway!

Winner of the Roll Top Chafer: Gerald W., Moscow, ID

Winner of the Radiance Hot Plate: Lynn P., Lodge, SC

Thanks again to everyone who entered! For those of you who didn’t win, we hope to do another giveaway again in a few months. We couldn’t believe what a great response we got from our customers, and we also really appreciate our vendors who pitched in to offer such great prizes.

We’re neck-deep in production of our 2010 Master Catalog, which hits mailboxes in January. Can’t reveal too much right now but more details will be coming soon! What I can tell you: the book is going to have thousands of awesome new products!

In the meantime, check out our Year End Savings Event – save up to 25% on more than 100 items – shop online or by calling us at 800-881-4985. This offer ends 12/31/09.

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