Wouldn’t it be a nightmare to have the food hygiene inspectors find pests like mice, cockroaches, bugs or moths in your kitchen? It can not only lead to disgruntled customers walking out of your hotels and restaurants but also shrink your possibility of doing business. It is natural for food storage and preparation areas to attract pest. They are also known as pantry pests which include a variety of beetles and moths which permeate food such as rice, grain, beans, nuts pulses, dried fruits, meat and cheese in the kitchen and pantries.
A kitchen has all that it takes for the pests to thrive – food, moisture, heat and shelter. If left unchecked they can proliferate without end. If you are trying to save money on pest control measures it can increase the cost of business in the longer run. It will not increase the cost of replacing damaged stock but also lead to the loss of reputation.
Step 1 – Restrict Potential Entries for Pests – It is important to seal the cracks and crevices in the kitchen to make sure that there are no openings for pests. Professional advice can always be acquired to know the potential entries and neglected points through which pests can penetrate your kitchen.
Step 2–ThoroughInspection of the Hotspots – Finding larvae in the stored food or packaging is common. Moths are fond of grain-based products like flour, cereal, and pasta where they can thrive vigorously as it provides them the favorable condition. Larvae tuck itself in the edges of cans and jars, unopened packages and sealed cans. It is better to get rid of infested foods and wiping off the sealed cans with concentrated vinegar. For a safe extermination it is important to hire a commercial pest control service as professionals can increase the effect of a pest control treatment as they are aware of the source of infestation.
Step 3 – Declutter – This is a mandatory procedure to keep your pantry and kitchen free from pests. Vacuum the shelves to get rid of remaining moths and cocoons. A 50-50 solution of white vinegar and warm water can kill the remaining eggs. By adding peppermint oil to vinegar and cleaning the shelves you can prevent the infestations of pantry moths, spiders, cockroaches, mice and ants.
It is unsafe to keep the infested items indoors as it can spread all over the kitchen if left unchecked.
Step 4 – Proper Storage – Use air-tight containers like mason jars and Tupperware because they keep your food fresh and prevents pantry pests from lurking around. Make sure you wash and dry the containers once they are empty before returning them to your clean pantry. This ensures that you are not overlooking any signs of infestation or hidden eggs.
These steps are a great way to prevent pests from taking over your kitchen and pantry. If you find your kitchen infested already you may want to call a pest control professional who will be able to get rid of the infestation and since it is a matter of hygiene of food substances any potential threat of pests should be investigated and taken out. It’s crucial to detect issues early on as it can help save a lot of inconvenience down the road.
Central Restaurant Products carries a variety of products to help with pest control. Browse Central’s selectionhere.
When people find their homes and offices infested with pests, it is not uncommon for them to panic. Raymond Web has taken upon him the task to educate people on pest prevention and control strategies helping them keep their surroundings healthy, safe and pest-free. Being the digital marketing manager for Take Care Termite and Pest Control, in Tracy, CA, he has in-depth understanding of people and their pain points due to pests, which he efficiently uses in his content to educate people and add value to their lives.
The following article is a Guest Blog written by Ann Holtzapple with Vulcan Equipment. Be sure to check out Central’s selection of Vulcan equipment on our website for the best prices!
How Restaurants can Cut Costs
Restaurant operators are constantly looking for ways to cut costs. Easier said than done, you say? Think again. Setting aside a little time each day to focus on these six strategies will have a major impact on your bottom line.
1. Measure Everything—Including Waste
Create a science of precision in your kitchen by carefully measuring every ingredient, and equally every ounce that is wasted. According to FoodSave.org, businesses in the food and hospitality sectors throw away nearly $15,000 in food waste every year. Conduct a waste audit to determine exactly what is being wasted, and how much. After three days, measure the results and create an action plan to reduce food waste and adjust your orders accordingly. It’s a win for the environment, and your checkbook.
2. Hold Vendors Accountable
Don’t feel pigeonholed into working with the same vendor if you notice your costs slowly creeping up. While it’s important to develop and maintain close relationships with all your vendors, it’s also imperative to know when to shop around. Put together a list of the top 50 items you purchase from a vendor and take it to bid. Find out not only who is willing to give the right price for product, but also who’s going to work with you long-term and forge a relationship beneficial to both parties. Sit down and review your business with them once a quarter, and set objectives to measure success.
3. Share the Numbers
In order for all parties to be committed, each stakeholder must fully understand the numbers. Instead of hiding the balance sheet, share it with your Chef and Managers so they are aware and personally vested in the cost-cutting operation. Knowledge is power, and once everyone has an understanding of the P&Ls, they also have a responsibility in helping achieve budget.
4. Make Everything From Scratch
While it may seem more cost-effective to purchase some items premade, this isn’t always the case. It’s much cheaper to buy staple items in bulk—flour, milk and sugar—and in turn make bread, soups and desserts from scratch. This model also brings the luxury of mixing up menu items and specials because you aren’t committed to one, premade item. Not to mention achieving the added benefit of elevated flavor and freshness by cooking from scratch.
5. Use ENERGY STAR Qualified Equipment
Do an energy audit and analyze your utility bills. Most likely, you could be saving a vast amount of money on gas and electric simply by using ENERGY STAR qualified cooking equipment. There are a wide range of products available, and even savings calculators that can help you determine just how much money you’ll be saving. Some of the numbers are staggering. For example, a new counter top steamer that just came out last year can reduce water usage up to 90% and energy usage by 50%.
5. Time Management
Scheduling the appropriate amount of people without being over or under-staffed can be tricky, and neither have positive outcomes. Taking the time to calculate how long every task takes will give you a clear picture of who is needed to complete a successful service. Also take into consideration how many reservations are on the books and prep work that still needs to be completed. This type of careful planning will pay off in the long-run.
Following these strategies will help you minimize costs without sacrificing the integrity of your food. It’s never too late to start saving, and starting with streamlining your operations will provide a clear path to success.
Central and Vulcan
For the best Vulcan equipment solution, be sure to visit our website or contact a product consultant at 800-215-9293.
On September 15th I arrived in Stuttgart, Germany where both the TAKKT group (the company that owns Central) as well as our largest sister company, KAISER+KRAFT are located.
With their mission to provide “Alles für die Firma” (everything for the business), KAISER+KRAFT is the leading B2B supplier of everything from office chairs and desks to shelving systems and warehouse equipment. Founded in 1945, they are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year! You can view their product assortment in English on the KAISER+KRAFT UK website.
Located in the Southwest of Germany, Stuttgart is the sixth largest city in the country. Situated in a low valley surrounded by forests and vineyards, it is an ideal location for breathtaking views like this one.
View of Stuttgart from Alte Weinsteige (a traditional wine-growing section of the city)
Stuttgart is also sometimes referred to as the Cradle of the Automobile, in reference to the invention of the first internal combustion engine by Karl Benz in 1879. It is the home to automobile powerhouses such as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Daimler AG.
The home of Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart can be found on Mercedes Street (easy enough, right?)
An additional cultural highlight I got to experience this past weekend was the Cannstatter Volksfest (or Wasen to the locals). It’s an annual beer festival second only to the Munich Oktoberfest in size, but featuring a lot more rides. It starts one week after the Oktoberfest every year, and draws about 4 million visitors from all across the world.
The Cannstatter Wasen Festival 2015 in Stuttgart, Germany
I’m looking forward to sharing all of the amazing ideas from this internship with my colleagues back home at Central in just a few weeks. If you have any questions about our company’s German ties, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2009 Central was acquired by TAKKT AG, the leading B2B direct marketing company for business equipment in North America and Europe. Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, the TAKKT group is made up of companies in over 25 countries, supplying a range of everything from commercial kitchen equipment and office furniture to packaging materials and supplies.
Last year I began a two year internship with Central Restaurant Products as a marketing analyst. My internship program offered the opportunity to spend 3 months working in Germany and exchanging ideas with our TAKKT sister companies.
At the beginning of August, I began a 6 week assignment at ratioform in Pliening, Germany (just 12 miles outside of Munich).
An aerial view of the Ratioform headquarters located in Pliening, Germany
Ratioform is Germany’s market leader for packaging, shipping and warehouse supplies and their business structure is similar to Central’s in that we both have an extensive print catalog as well as an online shop. We both strive to provide exceptional service and support to our customers with the help of strong internal sales and customer support teams. When I return home I hope to implement some of the strategies and ideas I have gained from my time at Ratioform to improve the online experience for Central’s customers.
Since a 3 month trip can’t be all work and no play, I have spent my weekends exploring. Munich is located in Bavaria, Southern Germany and is most famous across the world for the Oktoberfest; and although I can’t wait to go to my first Oktoberfest later this month, the city has so much more to offer. Below is a view of the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Dear Lady), where the twin towers are one of the most distinctive landmarks in the city skyline.
A bird’s eye view of the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady (Frauenkirche) in Munich.
Munich is located near the Alps, Europe’s most extensive mountain range system (think: Sound of Music…) so on my first weekend, I traveled two hours South to obtain this breathtaking view from the Alps near Berchtesgaden, Germany.
The Alps near Berchtesgaden, Germany.
Stay tuned for part II of my adventure abroad for Central, where I will be spending a few weeks working with Kaiser & Kraft and Certeo, two other TAKKT companies located near the group’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany!
Blog written by Autumn Faust, Product Data Coordinator at Central
With the Olympic opening ceremonies just around the corner, millions around the world are preparing to cheer on their home countries. London has just a little more to prepare for as they are hosting the 2012 Olympic Games. This will be their third time hosting; their last time being in 1948.
Due to the economic climate and post World-War II rationing, the usual extravaganza the Games bring was noticeably missing. Consequently, those Games became known as the “Austerity Games.” This year’s Olympics may not be serving as an equalizer after years of World War, but London is facing another challenge.
Considered the largest, peace-time catering operation in the world, they now have their chance to showcase to the world their local fare. Not only will all eyes be on London, but all taste buds as well.
The 2012 London Olympic bid promised a “memorable occasion that will make a positive impact before, during and beyond the main event.” This must encompass what food is served and how it is served during the Games.
It is estimated 14 million meals at over 40 locations will be served during the Olympics. This creates an immense challenge to deliver award winning food while keeping true to London’s sustainability promise.
Simply a tastier, healthier and greener Games.
Five themes with various objectives and commitments were outlined to help the food establishments of London adhere to the city’s promise.
Ensure exemplary standards of food safety and hygiene at all Games venues
Develop and apply robust traceability procedures
Manage the risk of targeted, malicious contamination of food supply
Choice and Balance
Ensure there is a diverse range of food and beverage for all customers, catering for all dietary and cultural requirements, that are high quality, value for money and accessible
Provide access to free drinking water at all Games venues
Provide a range of healthy and nutritious options for all customer groups
Effective use of vending services
Food Sourcing and Supply Chains
Support the delivery of safe food across the Games
Ensure food and beverage products are sourced with regard to high benchmark and aspirational environmental, ethical and animal welfare standards
Support a broad supply chain including smaller scale, British, regional and local enterprises
Optimize supply of catering equipment
Maximize energy and water efficiency of catering equipment
Zero waste direct to landfill during Games time
70% waste reused, recycled
Minimize carbon emissions
Skills and Education
100% catering staff to receive minimum ‘Games’ training
Use games as a live case study for students
Target host boroughs for recruitment into hospitality training
Encourage and support innovative partnerships between catering and organizations and colleges
The Games provide an unparalleled opportunity to showcase the substantial and diverse hospitality career opportunities available
Develop quality credit framework to formulate sustainable catering study module
London was announced as the winning bid for hosting the Games in 2005. Seven years of hard work and planning will come together beginning this Friday, July 27. With the limited amount of time the Olympics run, there is only one chance to get the food right. While we’ll be cheering on our American athletes, we’ll definitely be rooting for London to “wow” the world with their 2012 Food Vision.
A few years back, public school speech pathologist Sarah Wu forgot to pack her lunch and decided to grab a meal in her school’s cafeteria along with the students. After seeing the “nutritious” meal that was being served to children every day, Wu was inspired to challenge herself to get involved and get the word out to others, especially parents that may not realize the lack of healthy foods their sons or daughters were being fed each day. In order to do this Wu ate school lunch every day in 2010 while anonymously blogging, tweeting and sharing photos of the meals under the pseudonym Mrs. Q.
Mrs. Q’s Fed up with Lunch blog caused quite a stir and while Wu did continually fear that at any time she could be ousted and possibly lose her job, she continued to share her thoughts on the state of school food. This persistence has paid off with national recognition of her efforts on outlets like Good Morning America and National Public Radio. This public acknowledgment went a step further on Wednesday, October 05, 2011 when Wu relinquished her anonymity as Mrs. Q in order to release a book about her experience called “Fed up with Lunch: How One Anonymous Teacher Revealed the Truth about School Lunches – And How We Can Change Them”.
And while Wu is now busier than ever, she will continue to blog, as she has since the challenge ended, about school lunch reform and to share the eating habits of her own family and her decision to eliminate gluten from her own diet. Because of this dedication to a healthier, more balanced diet, as well as her first hand knowledge of food allergies, we asked Wu to share with us her experience with dietary issues and how similar eating habits could play a part in school meals.
Central Restaurant Products: What was your diet like before the lunch project and looking back how did it affect your health?
Sarah Wu: I always thought of my diet as healthy. I made sure we ate balanced meals and planned dinner with a meat, a grain, and a veggie. But I wasn’t focused on ingredients or organics like I do now. We never ate fast food on a regular basis, but we did eat out quite a bit. My health was ok, but I have been suffering with IBS for almost ten years.
CRP: Without the school lunch project, do you think you would have looked into going gluten free? Why or why not?
SW: As I discuss very briefly in the book, I went gluten free for a couple of weeks about four years ago. In the book, I said that my brief voyage into gluten free living was because of my IBS. It was also because I was having difficulty getting pregnant and I was reading fertility books obsessively. One book mentioned going gluten free and drinking whole milk. I was desperate to get pregnant so I tried their recommendations. I felt really good (and I ended up getting pregnant that month) and did a little research online and found “Celiac disease.” Because my IBS was better, I thought I must have Celiac disease so I went to a GI doctor (gastroenterologist) for a test. The blood test was negative and the doctor told me, “You do not have a problem with wheat so go ahead and resume a normal diet.” Although I was relieved that I didn’t have an autoimmune disorder like Celiac, I was stumped because I felt oddly better without wheat. Since I trusted the doctor, I started eating wheat again.
I never would have questioned the doctor’s recommendations again because the test results were clear. Additionally my father is a doctor and we believe in medical science and technology.
It just so happened that when I was appearing anonymously on a food blogging conference in San Francisco in October 2010, I started talking to Alison St. Sure, who is a food blogger who has Celiac disease. We just started chatting and she mentioned her diagnosis. I told her something like, “That’s funny, a few years ago I thought I had Celiac disease, but my test was negative.” She said something then that changed my life, “You know just because you don’t have Celiac disease doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem with wheat. What the doctor should have said was that you could be gluten sensitive.” I was stunned. I decided that night that when the project was over I would try gluten free living again. CRP: What sources did you use to go gluten free?
CRP: What advice would you give to someone thinking about going gluten free?
SW: It’s important that someone who thinks that they have Celiac disease gets tested prior to going gluten free. If you are gluten free prior to the test, your body will stop producing the antibodies to wheat and those are what reveal a problem. Get tested and then try the diet. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease whose rates are doubling every 15 years. It is very troubling. Research the symptoms. Even if you don’t have Celiac disease, you may find a benefit to gluten free living like I had. I feel amazing and I’ll never go back.
Image from FedUpWithLunch.com
CRP: What benefits are there to going gluten free? What are the drawbacks?
SW: For someone like me, the benefits are incredible. My IBS is totally gone. I also have more energy. Many people who say they go gluten free mention having more energy. For me I think that having chronic digestive troubles drained my energy. Now my body can focus on other things, which makes me feel physically stronger.
The drawback is eating out. It can be hard to find a restaurant that understands what gluten can do to people like me. But I have found lots of restaurants, including major chains, have gluten free menus. All you have to do is ask.
CRP: How have you had to change your shopping routine since going gluten free?
SW: Now I read all labels. I’m aware of ingredients more than ever. Also we are eating more whole foods (fruits, veggies, meats) and those are naturally gluten free.
CRP: Are there any food item substitutes that just don’t measure up to the original? Any items you or your family miss having?
SW: I think it’s hard to find a perfect match for pasta that doesn’t contain gluten. I have been able to find equivalents to most things. It just takes time. When I feel bad it’s usually when we go out to dinner and we get a bread basket on the table. My son is able to wait for his food, but I just feel bad he has to miss out at certain restaurants.
CRP: What products have been easiest to switch from?
SW: Finding gluten free cereal and oatmeal is not hard. I think breakfast is pretty easy to make gluten free because eggs, bacon and OJ are gluten free (check individual brands).
CRP: What foods do you find yourself eating more often due to your change in diet?
SW: I think that my overall awareness of food has made me eat more fruits and veggies than before. I still eat too many cookies — some things never change!
CRP: How difficult do you think it would be for a school (yours or your son’s daycare for example) to go gluten free? What specific roadblocks do you see them running into? If money and administrative restraints were no issue, would you recommend schools going this route?
SW: I think it would be hard to meet the USDA requirements (each school lunch averages about two servings of grain) and not incorporate wheat. But if you look at school lunch, they are serving a ton of wheat –what happened to other grains? Rice? Corn? Quinoa? Spelt? Barley? Rye? I believe everything in moderation and people are consuming more wheat than ever before. Oddly, rates of Celiac disease have been doubling every 15 years. That might be a sign that people should each a more diverse diet.
If money and administrative costs were not a concern, I would advise schools to back off the overabundance of wheat. A varied diet is more wholesome.
CRP: How do you believe students would benefit from going gluten free?
SW: Well, 97% of people with Celiac disease have not been diagnosed. One in 133 people are living with Celiac disease and most of them don’t know it. This can lead to living with another chronic disease as people with undiagnosed Celiac disease are at risk of developing other ailments including cancer. I consider this to be an epidemic. So I think that if more students ate a varied diet, they might be able to notice a correlation between how they feel after they eat a gluten free meal versus a wheat-heavy meal.
In discussing Celiac disease, I make no mention of people like me who have some kind of undiagnosed gluten sensitivity. Who knows how many people there are who could benefit from eating less gluten.
Today we welcome a special guest blogger, Central Product Consultant Michael Williams. More information about Michael is included at the end of the blog.
As a successful chef, owner/operator and restaurant manager for over ten years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see the cost control methods of virtually every type of restaurant, inside and out.
One of the most pervasive industry-wide misconceptions I’ve seen, in large and small operations alike, is an obsessive focus on food cost, even at the cost of overall profitability. And almost as soon as I’ve said this, I hear the objection, “But… if my food costs are in line, I’m MAXIMIZING every penny, right?” Well…. not quite.
The truth is, while food cost is an important measure of cost management, it is more of a tool for waste reduction, than the maximizing of profit.
Average overall food cost goals vary widely from concept to concept and restaurant to restaurant (if you’re unlucky, even month to month), but the average restaurant strives for a goal somewhere between 28 and 33 percent.
If you’re already comfortable with your food cost percentage (which is, of course, the percentage of each sales dollar that goes directly toward purchasing the food product used to make that sale possible), then you must get comfortable with contribution margin as an equally essential figure for your continued success.
Contribution margin (abbreviated as CM for the sake of this article and my fingertips) is the actual dollar amount left over from each menu item, after you account for food cost.
If I sell a burger and fries for $8, and the cost of all food items on that plate (plate cost) is $2.50, then my food cost is 31.25 percent and my CM is $5.50.
On the other hand, if I also feature a sirloin steak with all the trimmings on the menu for $17 and plate cost is $9, then by conventional wisdom my food cost is an outrageous 52.9 percent! On the other hand my CM is $8.
Here is where a lot of operators misstep:
They would rather promote the burger to maintain their food cost goal and you can see why, at first. If I’m already struggling to make my food cost for the month, I’d sell the 31 percent burger over the almost 53 percent steak, right? Not quite.
Which one would I rather sell? Well I’d rather make $8 on one plate of food than $5.50, wouldn’t you? After all, you don’t pay your bills with food cost percentage; you pay them with actual money. In short, CM is a far more useful tool for determining which menu items are going to bring in the most money at the end of the day.
So, how can we apply this information? In three easy steps!
First: Find the current food cost and CM of every menu item you offer.
This is easy enough if your menu is already costed out. Simply subtract your cost of food from the sale price of each item and voila: Contribution margin! Don’t forget to include garnishes, optional condiments and a waste factor into every dish. After all, you may be selling them a hamburger and fries, but they’re taking ketchup, salt and pepper, too. Those pennies add up! If you’re unsure of your waste, add at least 3 percent of the total plate cost back as a waste factor to account for over-portioning and other profit killers. At an absolute minimum, you should be re-costing your menu every six months, because in these tough times, you can’t afford not to know where you’re spending your hard-earned money.
Second: Rank your menu by CM in each menu category (Starter, Entrée, Salad, Dessert, etc).
Once you know the items with the top CM in all categories, it becomes a lot easier to make off-the-cuff recommendations if a guest is looking for something new. You might be surprised to find that a lot of traditional favorites are also pulling in great margin!
Third: Feature and up-sell your guests on the category CM leaders you discovered above.
In addition to your standard wait staff competitions and guest recommendations, your new-found category CM leaders deserve prominent placement on table tents, nightly specials and most importantly, menu design and layout. By featuring a picture of these profitable items near the top of the page, or highlighting it with a special border or icon, you’ve taken a HUGE step in making your food service more money without any day to day effort.
Of course, as useful as contribution margin is for determining what to sell, it works best when used with your regular inventory and food costing procedures to make sure you’re actually achieving the amount of revenue you’ve planned on. So, just as you wouldn’t let your manager schedule a shift without servers, you shouldn’t rely on food cost without contribution margin to tell you if you’re actually making the most of your sales.
Michael Williams is an experienced foodservice manager who contributes to the Central Restaurant Products blog, while primarily serving as a one- on-one Product Consultant for our customers. For more menu engineering tips, general feedback or to seek an additional opinion on any foodservice plans, email him at email@example.com or call directly at 800-222-5107 x8439.
For our final Guest Writer blog entry featuring our employee’s memorable and extraordinary dining experiences from around the country, National Account Sales Manager Scott Ebbert shares with us Davidson’s Family Restaurant in Lakewood, NY.
Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This family owned diner has been open for 60 years and serves a variety of items such as fish, chicken, burgers, steak and homemade pies.
“They treat everyone like family,” Ebbert says.
Guests who visit Davidson’s are welcomed by its nautical feel. Fish caught from the ocean are hung as well as pictures of lighthouses.
“(It’s a) family diner,” Ebbert describes. “Orange booths, wood chairs and a nautical theme on the walls.”
Ebbert has been going to Davidson’s since he was a child. He and his family went there every Friday night and says the food is as good as it has ever been.
“I was there last in May of 2009.”
Out of the variety of menu items Davidson’s serves, there’s one thing Ebbert has to get every time.
“Whenever I go back for a visit, I have to have an order of the fried cod,” Ebbert says. “It’s cooked in a tempura batter. It is not greasy. I normally do not care for fish and this is the best stuff on Earth!”
He usually gets a side of coleslaw and fries with his order and says they have applesauce and salads as well.
We hope you have enjoyed our employee’s stories about memorable and extraordinary dining experiences around the country. Next week we will begin a series devoted to you, our customer, with all information you need to know regarding Central.
If you have any questions about anything Central related, please email Catalog/Web Content Coordinator, Tracey Rector, firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will cover your question.