Category Archives: Bar, Catering and Restaurant Guides

Blend with KitchenAid

Since 1919, KitchenAid has made everything from cutlery, coffee makers, and cooktops. So if you need to cook, bake, brew, or blend- KitchenAid is your go to!

Commercial Series Blender

The KitchenAid Commercial Series Blender KSBC1B0CU keeps you blending all day! This 3.5 HP motor blends a margarita in 22 seconds. The Commercial Series Blender also features a 60-oz BPA-free jar, that has beveled corners to allow for a clean pour from three sides. A patented asymmetric stainless steel blade, that blends on four different planes to create a dynamic vortex for smooth and consistent results. The die-cast metal motor base withstands rough conditions. This blender also features a 3-year warranty.

Ready to buy?

Shop KitchenAid’s line of Commercial products with Central, today! Have questions? Call 800-215-9293 to speak to one of our knowledgeable product consultants!

Handling Glassware – Dos and Donts

What do you think the No. 1 reason glassware breaks? (Or dinnerware, for that matter).

Being dropped? No.

Clanking against another object? No, but close.

Ready for it?

Not having enough. Yep, that’s right.  Too few items, or even “just enough” might seem okay, but in reality, it could hurt you in the long run. Think of it in terms of shoes. If you only have two pairs you wear all the time, they’ll wear more quickly.

Order the Proper Amount of Glassware

In general, for your glassware and dinnerware, at least two items per seat is optimal. This differs operation for operation though. If there’s an item being used often in several different ways, consider ordering about five per seat.  This gives the items enough time to cool down.

Don't stack glasswareEvery Clank Adds Up

Each little bit of contact on a glass adds up and eventually leads it to break. This can come from stacking cups that technically shouldn’t be stacked, clanking them together or clanking a beer glass on the tap for show.

“When glassware expands and contracts with heat and temperature changes, it suffers from blows,” explains Dave Coggins, a retired kiln technician.  “So it will someday fail.  It could even be from a whack really hard.”

Many times restaurant owners advise their employees not to stack (if glassware isn’t stackable), clank, etc. However, when things get hectic, employees just do whatever they can to get things done quickly.

To tell if a glass is starting to wear, there will be a white ring in the entire inside of a glass.  That’s wear surface area has rubbed away, and the longer the glass is worn down that way, thermal shock will eventually occur.

Thermal Shock

“You must let glasses cool enough before using them again,” Coggins said. “When a glass is new and pristine, with no body checks (microchips), they’re designed to handle a 100°F temperature swing. But once it has checks, it won’t necessarily take that big of a swing anymore from a hot environment to cold, or vice versa.  So coming out of a an 180°F environment and immediately putting in iced tea and only cooling to 140°F, you’ll get a break from a body check.”

When a glass experiences a sudden change in temperature, thermal shock can occur. Glass holds its temperature, and when a rapid change occurs suddenly, enough stress on the glass can occur and cause breakage. With thermal shock, the thicker a glass, the stronger it is against mechanical abuse/clanking.  Thinner glasses are more resistant to thermal shock. “That’s one of the reasons why when the sidewalls are thinner than the base, they’ll separate from each other when introduced against thermal shock.  The base is contracting,” Coggins said.

To reduce the risk of thermal shock, here are a few things to avoid:

  • Do not put a glass that has held ice directly into the dishwasher without letting it settle back to room temperature first
  • Similarly, when you remove a load from the dishwasher, give the glassware time to readjust before sending them directly back into service
  • Avoid putting cold water or ice into a hot glass

To see if there are any chips, put the glass over anything dark. If you see anything that looks like little white specs, the glass may be susceptible to thermal shock in the future. Each small chip is a scape point and is where thermal shock will separate the glass.

Mechanical Shock

Mechanical shock is another common reason for breakage. This is the direct result of contact with another object, like a spoon, beer tap, another glass, or dinnerware. This can cause minuscule abrasions, invisible to the eye, yet weakening the glass. Over time it becomes more susceptible to breakage from impact or thermal shock.

What to Watch For

Some common restaurant mishaps to try to avoid are:

  • Bouqueting glassware

    “Bouqueting”

    Putting silverware in glasses

  • Banging the feet of stemware together on overhead racks
  • “Bouqueting” or lacing too many pieces of stemware between fingers
  • Clanking the bowls of wine or martini glasses together
  • Smacking the lip of a beer glass against the tap

Tips Moving Forward

  1. Order plenty of glassware.  A Central product consultant can assist with ordering the right amount.
  2. Cool cool cool.  This ties in with the rule to always order plenty of glassware.  Do not use a glass immediately after it’s been through through the dishwasher.  Same goes vice versa.  Don’t immediately throw a glass into the dishwasher just after having served a cold beverage in it. It’s also good practice to pre-heat a glass with hot water prior to pouring hot drinks.
  3. A quiet kitchen is a good kitchen. The less clanking of glassware, the longer it will last.
  4. Avoid stacking non-stackables, “bouqueting,”  or throwing in silverware in to glassware
  5. When stacking, it’s better to lay them all on their side instead of stacking on top.  There is less force this way when laid sideways.
  6. Always use a plastic scoop for ice, never using the glass itself.
  7. Always handle gently and immediately remove abraded, cracked, or chipped glassware from service.
  8. Not all glass racks are the same. The right one depends on the type of glassware you’re using. Stemmed glass racks are different than tumbler racks. Shop all glass racks here.
  9. Avoid stacking glassware.
  10. Read this helpful hint guide to prolonging your glassware for more tips and tricks.

Get Your Bar Ready for the Super Bowl

We’re just two weeks away from Super Bowl 52, and chances are your bar or pub will be the place to be for many pigskin-loving patrons. Of course everyone is going to want people to choose their establishment, so you’ll want to make sure your business stands out. Here are a few ideas to try!

Giveaways

Nothing grabs the attention of a customer more than the potential of winning free stuff. “I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WIN A MONTH’S SUPPLY OF CHEESE PUFFS!” Create some giveaways or raffles for your customers. You can reach out to local businesses to see if they want to help sponsor your prizes, which allows for a nice cross-promotion for you both. Another option is to reach out to liquor distributors and offer samples of their beers or liquors. Again, the goal is to get the customer in the door, and freebies are pretty hard to pass up.

Themed Menus

Photo Credit: traveloriented/Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Photo Credit: traveloriented/Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another fun thing you can do is create a special menu for the big game. Tailgate food is a great idea to consider, whether it’s hot dogs, wings, burgers, you name it. You could even set up a buffet and charge a flat rate for your customers to eat from it as opposed to your a la carte menu.

Have fun with your menu items! You can create fun themed dishes to feed your diners. Once the teams have been decided, create a menu around the team names or players (for example, “Belichick-en wings”).

In-Game Promotions

Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

During the game, keep things lively by creating promotions that tie into the game. For example, offer a certain drink special during the first quarter only. Maybe serve free popcorn at halftime. Or after the game, whichever team wins, one of their themed appetizers is offered at half price the rest of the night. Keep your customers engaged and willing to stay and spend their money at your place with these in-game promotions.

 

 

Top photo credit: hertelkyle via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Get to Know Types of Beer Glasses

With the craft beer craze showing no sign of slowing down, it is a good idea to know the different types of beer glasses.  Beer glassware is more than a way to convey beer to your mouth, some glassware is designed for a specific purpose.  So, if you plan to hop on (no pun intended) the craft beer bandwagon, it is wise to use glassware that enhances your beer experience.  As such, we have compiled the most common types of beer glasses and their distinguishing characteristics.

Types of Beer Glasses – Common Types and Characteristics

  1. Pint Glasses – Are the most common type of beer vessel in the United States and are commonly used in restaurants.  As its name implies, this glass holds a pint (16 oz.) of beer and is a suitable choice for Ales, IPAs, Lagers, and Stouts.
  2. Beer Mugs – Mugs are sturdy, come in many sizes, and the thicker glass acts as an insulator keeping your beer cold longer.  Also, the handle does more than give you something to hold onto, it keeps your hand from warming your beer.
  3. Steins – Steins and mugs have similar shapes and handles, but there are differences.  The biggest distinction is the hinged lid that protects your beer from bugs, dirt and etc.  But, a less common distinction is that steins can and are made out of different materials like silver, stone, and wood.
  4. Tulip Glasses –  Tulip glasses enhance the aroma, flavor, and head of your beer.  Generally used with hoppy or malty beers, these glasses have a small stem with a foot and an outward curving lip atop the bowl.  Much like a snifter, the bowl at the bottom lets you swirl your beer around in a classy manner.

Now that you know a bit more about some common types of beer glasses, it’s time to hit your local pub and show off that knowledge!  Want to enjoy your drinks at home?  Central has you covered with a wide range of glassware to choose from.  Visit our website, live chat, or call        1-800-215-9293 to speak with a product consultant today!  Cheers!

Restaurant Technology: What’s Coming?

Technology is evolving faster and faster each year.  If you are not keeping up with the latest, your restaurant could suffer.  Read on to discover the restaurant technology that is trending in 2017 and the potential benefits of getting on board!

Restaurant Technology: What are the Potential Benefits?

Digital Menu Boards

According to restaurantbusinessonline.com, digital menu boards are finding their way into more and more restaurants.  There are many good reasons to use these new digital boards, including:

  1. Digital menu boards are appealing to the eye.  Restaurants can use high resolution images of their offerings, and entice customers to buy.
  2. Provides the ability to update all the menu boards simultaneously with changes going live immediately.
  3. Offers more flexibility to showcase regular or limited time/seasonal offerings.

Kiosks

Also from restaurantbusinessonline.com, ordering kiosks are becoming more and more popular in fast and fast-casual restaurants.  This trend does not show any signs of slowing as customers recognize the benefits as well.  Among the top benefits are:

  1. Reduction in labor costs.  No need to have a staff member take orders or run a cash register.
  2. Offer customers a better ordering experience.  Guests are able to customize their orders and there is less risk of miscommunication.  Order accuracy can be improved.
  3. Higher check averages due to ability to customize and upselling opportunities.
  4. “Frequency lift”- people come more often because the experience has been made easier

Online and Mobile Ordering

Online and mobile ordering is gaining traction according to an article by toasttab.com.  Today’s customers seek convenience wherever they can find it, and many are finding it here.  See why below:

  1. Customers can see all of the menu options at once
  2. Bill is immediately updated as items are added and removed
  3. Free up staff members to take care of more crucial tasks
  4. Provides the ability to for customers to place their order from anywhere at any time.
  5. Better channel for upselling than the phone.  Photos of food items are more enticing.

Mobile Apps and Payment

Along with online and mobile ordering, mobile apps and payment are becoming more popular as people try to save time, according to toasttab.com.  The top benefits are listed below:

  1.  Mobile apps tend to be more user-intuitive than online ordering pages
  2.  App-based loyalty programs are more engaging and do not get lost like the old stamp cards of the past
  3. Good channel to notify customers about new deals, coupons, menu items, events, and etc..
  4. Allows for a convenient way for customers to place and cancel reservations.  Does not take up staff time
  5. Mobile payment is faster than paying in cash and way faster than the chip cards
  6. Mobile card readers on the tables speed up payment process and free up tables

Now that you know the latest restaurant technology and benefits, its time to get on board! But, before you jump headlong into any of these new technologies, consider the following from restobiz.com: “Since new features and technology are evolving so quickly, restaurant owners should choose technology that is regularly updated at no additional charge and that can be integrated with other programs such as accounting or scheduling”  You don’t want your technology choices to paint you into a corner!

Catering Special Events

Simply put, a caterer is a company that prepares and provides meals for special events. These events can vary greatly, but it is important for all events to have the right equipment to keep food save and to be prepared for all circumstances.

What Events Need Caterers?

Caterers are needed for all kinds of events from weddings, galas, business lunches, birthday parties, award banquets, and everything in between! The needs of each event will vary, but keep your mind open to the potential opportunities as a caterer.

What Equipment and Supplies Does A Caterer Need?

  • Food Pan Carts and Carriers

    • Used to transport food from the place it is cooked to the location of the event while keeping the food at safe temperatures. A wide variety of sizes and construction are available

  • Insulated Beverage Carriers

    • Keep drinks to temperature in the background, ready to be put into beverage dispensers or to be served individually.

  • Iced Beverage Bins

    • Does your client want to keep canned or bottled drinks out for guests to easily grab a drink? Check out our iced beverage bins in a variety sizes and styles!

  • Chafing Dishes

    • Chafing dishes are crucial for buffet style catering. These will keep the foods at safe temperatures and tasting good through the whole event. Styles and shapes can range, so be sure to know what your targeted market is looking for!

While not an exhaustive list, the above will cover most needs a caterer will run into. Looking for something specific? Browse today on our website! Or, do you want a friendly product consultant to help walk you through the process of making sure you hit everything on the list? Give us a call at 800.215.9293!

Summertime Eats, Drinks, and Fun! Celebrate in Style!

It’s the time of year when consumers finally crawl out of their winter-long hibernation and begin the hunt for good food and fun times. It’s finally summer – the season synonymous with warmer weather, longer days and nights full of festive excitement. So why not make of the most of it? Here are some suggestions for enjoying this season.

Up your patio game

Who doesn’t love sitting outside on a seventy-degree night, a cold one in hand, bonding with close friends? If you’ve got the space, use it.

Take your restaurant to the next level by making the most of your outdoor area. Create an ambiance with tiki torches and low hanging, decorative lighting. An open flame and dim lights can really set the scene and create a memorable environment for your guests.

Bring in live music to fuel the night and deliver an experience. If space is an issue, go acoustic with a solo singer and guitar act. Or setup karaoke and watch the good times unfold. Keep in mind, good drink specials may come in handy for those guests who might need a little encouragement.

Be sure to check out our massive selection of outdoor furniture, including tables, seating and fencing.

Refresh with cool treats and sizzling selections

Food. The great seasonal equalizer.

Summertime offers an opportunity to switch up your menu and try something new. Go big. Be bold. Standout.

Some hot ticket dishes include fresh seafood, grilled chicken (or grilled anything) and a diverse selection of crisp salads. To get the ideas rolling, check out these unique recipes for a seared chicken with avocado salsa and a sesame ginger salmon salad, as well as delish.com’s entire list of 75 Insanely Easy Summer Dinner Ideas.

Fajitas are also a sizzlin’ summertime favorite. The trick is in the marinade. We recommend some combination of lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, cayenne and black pepper. SONY DSCBring in your choice meat (steak, chicken or shrimp), along with bright, colorful veggies, and let soak in a zip lock bag for at least two hours (or overnight for optimum flavor potential). Then grill up and serve sizzling.

You can also have some fun with lighter bites too. Summer is an excellent season for refreshing fruits like watermelon. Check out these 20 refreshing watermelon recipes including watermelon slushies, salsas and salads. And don’t be afraid to get nutty. Coconutty that is! Check out this recipe for piña colada popsicles sure to inspire a refreshingly good time.

For more ideas, be sure to follow our Summer Sensations, Scrumptious Salads and Cookout Inspiration boards on Pinterest!

Don’t forget the drinks!

Summer also provides great cocktail inspiration.

Mules are a current trend, and offer possibilities for your own unique spin. Start with this:

  1. Pour 1 ½ oz. of vodka and 4 oz. of ginger beer over ice in a copper mug
  2. Add 1/6 oz. of lime juice
  3. Stir
  4. Garnish with basil and a lime slice

Other variations include the Kentucky Mule (prepared with whiskey instead of vodka), and the Garden Mule (made with blueberries and cucumbers!). Here’s a whole list of unique mule concoctions!

Or go the more tropical route with this coconut rum punch!

  1. Mix together 1 cup coconut rum, 2 cups orange juice, 2 cups pineapple juice, and 2 cups ginger ale
  2. Pour over ice and add 1 cup grenadine or cherry syrup for a tropical hue
  3. Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherries

For you beer lovers, look for local cream ales or craft pilsners. They’re light, refreshing and will definitely hit the spot during the hotter days!

Host one big festival or summer event

Summer won’t last forever! Bring it all together for one, big blowout event your guests will never forget.

Let us know how you celebrate the summer in the comments section!

5 Ways to Win this Year’s March Madness Season

March Madness is almost here!

The first round kicks off March 15. Across the country, restaurants and bars are preparing to celebrate the annual college basketball tournament in style- from bracket contests, games, drink specials and more! So fill out your bracket and check out these ideas guaranteed to make your event a slam dunk!

1. Bracket contests are essential! 

Not only are they one of the most popular types of contests, they are a March Madness must! Keep an up to date bracket going on a large poster board and make your contest stand out by offering custom promotions like half-off appetizers or cheaper pints to those customers who win big!

Photo credit: Manchester Library via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Manchester Library via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

 

2. Nothing goes with basketball quite like beer!

Keep it flowing this season with good bucket and pitcher specials. And for those customers who aren’t beer fans, consider these basketball-themed cocktail recipes.

3. Have munchies on hand. 

Photo credit: heather_zidell via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Photo credit: heather_zidell via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

This is a great opportunity to let your creativity run free! From basketball shaped sliders, bean dip and tortilla chips, to Nutter Butter referees, there are tons of inventive, out-of-the-box things you can do with food! Here are some other suggestions to get the creative juices flowing.

4. What about games?

If space allows, setup cornhole tournaments to complement the game, or mount a small basketball hoop on a wall or door. Is space an issue? Basketball themed trivia is also a blast! Here are 21 fun facts about March Madness to get you started.

5. Dress the part!

Go all out with referee attire or jerseys from your favorite college team. Whistles and basketball keychains make great party favors also!

Doing anything unique this March Madness season? Let us know in the reply section below!

Be sure to visit the Central Restaurant Products website to stock up on equipment and supplies to make this and future events a success!