Category Archives: Holidays

Use Cres Cor Mobile Heating Equipment Anywhere – Even Zombie Weddings!

As a family owned company, Cres Cor has been making moves on the mobile food service industry since 1936! Cres Cor’s line of cook and hold, holding cabinets, and meal delivery carts will keep catering running smoothly and your guests happy…even if they’re the “death” of the party! Check out the video below for more!

How to Prepare for the Valentine’s Day Rush

The second busiest day of the year for restaurants is quickly approaching – are you prepared? Valentine’s day is one of the most popular days to dine out, and causes many headaches for restaurants alike. How can your operation avoid those headaches and complications? Keep reading to find out!

National Restaurant Association has estimated that 70 million people will dine out on Valentine’s Day, and this year the holiday falls on a Friday which greatly increases the amount of traffic that will walk in your door.

The NRA reported that younger adults were more likely to dine out for Valentine’s Day compared to older adults. “33 percent of 18-34 year-olds and 39 percent of 35-44 year-olds say they plan to dine out for a Valentine’s Day meal, compared with 27 percent of those 55 and older,” states the article. How do customers decide where to enjoy their meal? “42 percent say they pick their favorite restaurant or their companion’s favorite restaurant for their special meal. Twenty-one percent select a restaurant with a romantic atmosphere, followed by restaurants that offer special menus or promotions (13 percent), restaurants picked by their companion (12 percent) and a restaurant they haven’t been to before (11 percent).”

How to Prepare

Now that you know your restaurant will be packed come Friday, the 14th, make sure you utilize these tips so you don’t have a holiday headache.

Most people that choose to dine out on Valentine’s Day come in pairs or couples, so seating arrangements become difficult if you have a lot of four-tops. You can prepare for these two-person parties but estimate how many two-tops you expect. You can use data from the previous year as your secret weapon.

flowers

“What a restaurateur should do is estimate the percentage of parties that will come in as parties of two and multiple the number of seats in the restaurant by that percentage,” explains Sherri Kimes, a Cornell University professor of serves operations management. “That will give the number of seats that should be provided at two-tops.” Now if you need to calculate the number of tables, simply divide that number by two.

This article from Nation’s Restaurant News suggests that you gather as many two-top tables as possible, weather that means moving around tables, borrowing or renting them. While Valentine’s Day is the second busiest holiday, it takes more flexibility for tables and seating because of so many couples. With Mother’s Day, the demand is for larger parties and bigger tables.

Of course, reservations will always help the dining flow. This way you can make sure you have enough two-tops, and know in advance how packed your restaurant will be. Quick marketing tip: if you end up having a few tables not make it out, post your availability on social media. Customers can see that while everywhere else may seem busy, you have a spot just waiting to serve them up an enjoyable Valentine’s Day experience.

Sweetening Up the Profit

A huge perk to Valentine’s Day is that customers are dining out and looking for something special. Anyone can go out to eat on a given day and get a good experience, but for Valentine’s Day people want to see some changes that really make for a wonderful holiday. This is certainly a holiday where you can charge a little bit more and have a prix fixe menu because of the extra “oomph” to the dining experience.

There’s a big potential for upselling for Valentine’s Day services. When you take reservations, you have the chance to ask a few extra questions like suggesting to add flowers for your date, a personal message printed on their menu, celebratory beverages or desserts, or entertainment or music. These things make the customer feel extra special and proves you’ll go the long way for them.

Servers can upsell on select menu items because customers will be more apt to spending a little bit more than they normally do when they visit your restaurant. Customers will want to add on appetizers or desserts because this isn’t their typical visit and they want to add on things that they might not on a normal occasion.

Quick Service Promotions

QSR Magazine reports that fast-food brands should offer more upscale or Valentine’s Day-themed items to compete with full-service restaurants. “Offering appetizers, small plates, and sides may be yet another way to increase check average at [quick serves] on Valentine’s Day,” says Lizzy Freier, editor for foodservice consulting firm Technomic. “Full-service restaurants have already begun to leverage interest in downsized portions and mix-and-match by introducing new small-plate offerings…and it is something we could eventually see trickling down to quick serves.”

chocolatesEvery year White Castle holds its annual Valentine’s Day dinner in all of its stores for the 20th year in a row. Guests can make reservations and receive a white-tablecloth dinner with tableside service and a special menu to order from. The event became so notorious and popular for White Castle, that they extended the dinner hours from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Limited-time products are especially popular among quick serve restaurants to get more foot traffic in the door during the Valentine’s Day season. Dunkin’ Donuts released a special heart-shaped Cookie Dough Donut with cookie-dough buttercream filling, and a heart-shaped Brownie Batter Donut with chocolate brownie batter and buttercream-flavored filling.

Krispy Kreme normally has their heart-shaped sprinkle Heart doughnut, and a Chocolate Iced Heart Doughnut. They added X- and O- shaped “Kiss” and “Hug” doughnuts new for this year in hopes to drive in more traffic.

Many quick serve companies are offering select products for $2.14, while others are offering a free dessert or appetizer if they purchase two of any item on February 14th.

Whether you’re a full-serve or quick-serve restaurant, there are many ways to be prepared for Valentine’s Day. Make sure you take account for most guests dining in pairs, while also bringing something special to the table to make diners really enjoy their experience.

Tackle Turkey in Your Combi Oven This Thanksgiving!

It’s turkey time! If your restaurant or food service operation is serving Thanksgiving dinner this year, making sure you have a delicious, flavorful bird is an absolute must. Better yet, if you have a combi oven from Convotherm, not only can you roast a turkey, you can smoke it as well!

Chef Ash from our friends at Zink Marketing has made a handy video, showing you a simple, easy to use way to make smoked turkey in your combi this Thanksgiving. And if you don’t have a combi oven, then you can find them at Central! Shop now for our selection of Convotherm combi ovens.

Tuesday Tip: Revisit Common Food Safety Practices this Fourth of July Holiday!

Happy Fourth of July!

As we celebrate our nation’s independence over this holiday, it is common for restaurants to experience increased volume. As Restaurant.org points out, it is always important to follow proper food safety, but this increased traffic provides an opportunity to revisit some basics. Here are a few quick food safety tips via Restaurant.org.

  1. Keep food out of the temperature danger zone

With this increase in volume, there is a tendency to bring out large quantities of ingredients to make prep time quicker. However, it’s important to make sure these ingredients don’t fall below the danger temperature mark. To avoid this, only pull out limited quantities. Shop our large selection of food prep thermometers here.

  1. Double-check sanitizer concentration levels

Any surface in which food comes into contact with must be cleaned and sanitized. When there’s need for quick table turns, this sometimes gets overlooked. Assign someone on the shift to check sanitizer levels every hour. Shop cleaning supplies here.

  1. Wash your hands

This may seem obvious, but it is the most important element of good food safety, and the easiest way to reduce the risk of cross contamination. The faster we work, the less inclined we are to slow down for handwashing. Keep all sinks stocked with soap and reinforce this importance with your staff. Shop soap and restroom supplies here.

10 Recipes For A Top-Notch 4th of July

It’s almost that time of year again! Time to celebrate another birthday of the one and only U-S-of-A! The 4th of July is spent with family, friends, fireworks, and of course lots and lots of food. We took a vote, and we are all in favor of eating all of the desserts. All of them.

So, in the spirit of the holiday, we gathered some of the best lookin’ desserts, drinks, and snacks that we could find to help you celebrate our freedom. (Note: red, white and blue is a definite theme in these delicious recipes and we LOVE it!)

In need of some equipment and supplies for your restaurant or home to make some treats? We have you covered! From bakery equipment and supplies, and cake decorating supplies to cooking utensils and food prep bowl, Central has what you need!

  1. Red Velvet Cupcakes

2. 4th of July Firecracker Jell-O Cups

3. Red, White and Blue M&M’s Cookie Bar

4. Patriotic Oreo Pops

5. Triple Berry Frozen Smoothies

6. Patriotic Popsicles

7. 4th of July Brownie Bites

8. American Flag S’mores Dip

9. Red, White and Blue Strawberry Shortcake

10. Paula Deen’s Apple Pie

Because can you celebrate America without Apple pie? I mean really.

 

 

Featured image from Cute Food For Kids

 

Cinco de Mayo: The Essentials for Prepping the Perfect, Tequila-fueled Fiesta!

Hola, amigos! Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and it’s time to start planning how to top last year! May 5th is a huge opportunity for restaurants and bars to bring in business, especially as the warmer weather is rolling in. Here are some suggestions we have to throwing the ultimate fiesta!

First, know your history!

Get in the spirit by brushing up on Mexican culture.

Many people believe Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. In fact, Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates Mexico’s win over France in the Battle of Puebla during the French-Mexican War in 1862 (their Independence Day from Spain is celebrated on September 16!). Though a fairly minor holiday in Mexico, it has evolved into a full-blown celebration of Mexican heritage in America.

Stock up on guac!

Guacamole can be so much more than avocados and salt. We recommend playing around with recipes to create a signature concoction that stands apart from the rest! Experiment with fresh spices like cilantro and basil. Remember, the two main ingredients need to be freshness and originality. And don’t forget to prepare in bulk!

To get you started, here’s a recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes:

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

Photo credit: austinevan via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Photo credit: austinevan via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

2 ripe avocados
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 Tbsp of fresh lime or lemon juice
2 Tbsp to ¼ cup of minced red onion or thinly sliced green onion
1-2 serrano chilies, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro (leaves and tender stems), finely chopped
A dash of freshly grated black pepper
½ ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Garnish with red radishes or jicama. Serve with tortilla chips.

Preparation

1. Cut avocado, remove flesh: Cut the avocados in half. Remove seed. Score the inside of the avocado with a blunt knife and scoop out the flesh with a spoon (learn how to cut and peel an avocado here). Place in bowl.

2.  Mash with a fork: Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado. (Don’t overdo it! The guacamole should be a little chunky.)

3.  Add salt, lime juice, and the rest: Sprinkle with salt and lime (or lemon) juice. The acid in the juice will provide some balance to the richness of the avocado and will help delay the avocados from turning brown. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, black pepper, and chilies. Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness, so start small and add to it to reach your desired degree of spiciness.

4. Cover with plastic and chill to store: Place plastic wrap on the surface to cover it and prevent air from reaching it. The oxygen in the air causes oxidation which will turn the guacamole brown. Refrigerate until ready to serve.Tip: Chilling tomatoes hurts their flavor, so if you want to add chopped tomatoes to your guacamole, do so just before serving.

This is just to get you started. Adjust as you see fit. Experiment! You might just create the next new trend! Here are some more guacamole recipes to get you started.

Sizzling Salsa That’ll Steal the Show

Like guacamole, a second necessity is salsa. There are hundreds of salsa recipes out there. Again, the key is originality. Make it your own! Try experimenting with this restaurant-style salsa courtesy of the Food Network by adding your own unique variations:

Prep time: 15 minutes

Inactive: 1 hour

Serves 12

Ingredients

2 10-oz cans diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes with juice
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves (adjust to taste)
¼ cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 whole jalapeño, quartered and sliced thin, with seeds and membrane
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
½ whole lime, juiced

Preparation

  1. Combine diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, cilantro, onions, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, salt, sugar and lime juice in a blender or food processor.
  2. Pulse until you get the salsa consistency you’d like.
  3. Test seasoning on tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Making Magnificent Margaritas

 

Photo by The Salted Rim

Photo by The Salted Rim

Time for the good the stuff. Like the aforementioned necessities, margaritas also have room for variation; from Texas, to Lime, to just about every other flavor known to man. What matters most is the ratio between ingredients, but there is certainly still room to experiment.

Try starting out with this recipe for a classic Texas margarita, courtesy of Epicurious:

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Sweet & Sour Mix

½ cup lime juice (approx. 4 limes)
½ cup lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons)
½ cup orange juice (approx. 2 oranges)
¼ cup agave nectar (or 1/3 cup granulated sugar)
½ cup water

The Margarita

4 parts sweet & sour mix (from above)
2 parts 100% agave tequila
1 part Cointreau

Preparation

Making Sweet & Sour Mix

  1. Stir agave nectar and water in bowl.
  1. Add in hand-squeezed lime, lemon and orange juices.

Note: if using granulated sugar, use hot water, then cool before mixing in with juices.

The mix can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.

Making the Margarita

  1. Mix 4 parts sweet & sour mix, 2 parts tequila and 1 part Cointreau.
  1. Serve on the rocks.

We recommend adding a dash of Grand Marnier. If you’re feeling adventurous, try pouring over crushed jalapeños!

Finalizing the Fiesta

Now that the essentials are in place, it’s time to put it all together to create a celebration your guests will never forget!

1. Dress the part! Don a sombrero and drape the Mexican flag around your shoulders.

2. Play the music! Hiring a mariachi band will definitely liven up the party. If that’s out of the question, check out this playlist to get things started.

3. Put up decorations such as red, white and green streamers; a piñata; or luminaries.

4. Food, food, food! Don’t stop at guacamole and salsa. Go all out with inspired entrees and desserts. Tacos are never a bad idea and who doesn’t love fried ice cream?! For more suggestions, check out these unique, Cinco de Mayo-inspired ideas.

IMG_0306

St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

Pour the green beer, St. Patty’s Day is almost here!

March 17th is a huge day for bars and restaurants as consumers look to celebrate the Irish holiday with green flare and lots of beer. But beer isn’t the only way to get into the Irish spirit. Here are a few traditional (and not so traditional) recipes to unleash your inner leprechaun.

The Shamrock Shake

2 cups vanilla ice cream

1 ¼ cups milk

¼ teaspoon mint extract

9 drops green food coloring

Blend and top with whip cream, chocolate syrup and green, decorative sugar

This delicious, kid-friendly treat is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition for many, and sure to inspire the spirit of the holiday.

St. Michael’s Irish Americano

Warm up with this Irish Coffee fitted to the American palette.

1 ½ oz. espresso coffee

1 ½ oz. Irish whiskey

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 tablespoon heavy cream

6 oz. hot water

Top with whip cream

Irish Stew

A hearty classic. Every Irish household has their own version of this stew. Start with this, and add ingredients to suit your personal taste.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 lbs. boneless lamb shoulder cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black better to taste

1 large onion, sliced

2 carrots peeled and cut into large chunks

1 parsnip, peeled and cut into large chunks

4 cups water

3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 cup coarsely chopped leeks

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add lamb pieces and cook, stirring gently, until evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add onion, carrots, and parsnips and cook gently alongside meat for a few minute. Stir in water. Cover and bring to a boil before turning the heat down to low. Simmer for 1 hour or longer, depending on the cut of meat you used and if it’s tender yet.
  3. Stir in potatoes and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes before adding leeks and rosemary. Continue to simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender but still whole. Serve piping hot in bowls garnisheed with fresh parsley.

Guinness and Chocolate Cheesecake

Get that sweet tooth fix with this chocolatey Irish masterpiece.

Ingredients

1 cup crushed chocolate cookies

¼ cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons white sugar

¼ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

8 oz. cream cheese

1 cup white sugar

3 eggs

½ lb. semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 cup sour cream

1 pinch salt

¾ cup Irish stout beer (i.e. Guinness)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 oz. semisweet chocolate

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan with butter.
  2. Combine crushed cookies, butter, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and cocoa in a small bowl; mix and press into the bottom of pan.
  3. Place cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer on a low speed until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar and eggs while beating.
  4. Combine chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave until chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Beat chocolate in cream cheese mixture. Add sour cream, salt, beer and vanilla. Blend until smooth, then pour mixture over the crust. Place the pan into a large, deep baking dish. Fill the dish with water to cover the bottom half of the springform pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, then turn oven off and leave cheesecake there with the door slightly ajar for another 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, run knife along edge of cheesecake to loosen from pan, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  7. Melt semisweet chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Make chocolate clovers by dropping 3 small drops of the melted chocolate close to one another on waxed paper, drag a toothpick from between two dots outward to make the stem; chill until hardened. Arrange chocolate clovers on top of chilled cheesecake for decoration.

Click here to discover more Irish recipes to bring you luck on St. Patrick’s Day.

You may also like our blog on the history of St. Patrick’s Day.

New Year’s Eve Drinks Inspiration!

Picture being surrounded by friends, great food, beautiful decorations, and great times as you ring in the New Year. What’s missing? Great drinks! Try these 17 recipes at home and at your restaurant or bar for a special New Year’s treat to ring in 2017!

 

Looking for the perfect glasses for your delicious drinks? Browse Central’s vast selection here!

  1. Easy Tangerine Pomegranate Mimosas

via Smart Little Cookies

2. Spiced Chocolate Party Shots

via American Heritage Historic Chocolate

3. Champagne Punch

via A Spicy Perspective

4. Raspberry and Ginger Beer Champagne Cocktail

via Perpetually Hungry

5. Pomegranate Moscow Mule

via Delish

6. Blackberry Ombre Sparkler

via The Cookie Rookie

7. Grapefruit and Sage Champagne Cocktails

via Floating Kitchen

8. The Brooklyn Beauty

via The Crepes of Wrath

9. Limoncello Raspberry Prosecco Cooler

via The Comfort of Cooking

10. Vanilla Cranberry Mimosa

via Honey and Birch

11. Voveti Raspberry Champagne Float

via The Dairy of Adebutante

12. Pineapple Coconut Champagne Cocktail

via Pineapple and Coconut

13. Jack Frost Cocktail

via The Blond Cook

14. Cranberry Sauce Margarita

via Delish

15. Champagne Margaritas

via The Kitchen Is My Playground

16. Pear and Bubbles

via Spoon Fork Bacon

17. Cranberry Orange Coolers

via Jelly Toast Blog

 

We hope you have a great New Year’s Celebration! Be safe and let us know how you like your drinks!