Category Archives: Tip of the Day Tuesday

Get quick, valuable tips for your foodservice operation! New tip every Tuesday.

Tip of the Day: Sanitizing Methods

There are two common forms of sanitizing systems for dishwashers: High Temperature Sanitizing and Chemical Sanitizing. The Differences?

High Temperature Sanitizing Machines

High temperatures sanitizing dishwashing machines use heat to sanitize dishes and glassware. These machines require a booster heater to raise the temperature of the final rinse to 180°. Some machines require the separate purchase of a booster heater.

Unlike the Low Temperature Chemical Sanitizing machines, these do not require regular purchasing of chemicals, however, they typically use slightly more energy than a chemical sanitizing machine.

Chemical Sanitizing (Low Temperature) Machines

These machines use a chemical bath to sanitize dishes and glassware, thus requiring a monthly purchase of chemicals. However, these machines reduce water heating energy costs.

They are usually less effective when washing grease-laden wares as opposed to high temperature units, and dishes may not dry as effectively if humidity in the dish room is too high.

 

Check out our buying guide for more information, and visit our site to browse all of our dishwashers and accessories!

Increase Speed of Service and Efficiency in Your Restaurant

An unexpected rush, being short staffed or a menu item that slows down speed of service each time it is ordered.  There are many of reasons why customers may wait longer than they want to be seated, get their meals or get the check.  While you cannot have a plan in place for every possible situation, you can use these tips to minimize the negative impacts of slow service!

Increased Speed of Service: Restaurant Best Practices

Before you can critique how fast or slow your speed of service is, you need to define what great service is at your restaurant.  According to foodwoolf.com, restaurant owners should “get clear on what great service looks like for your restaurant and write it down”.  Once you have established what level of service you expect, you can work on ways to do it better and faster. This is an important and often skipped, first step.

Once you have your service levels defined, it is important that you provide your team with the proper equipment.  Simple things like making sure you have enough silverware, dishes and basic inventory items all the way up to making sure your cooking equipment, dishwashers and refrigeration are working properly and have the proper capacity for your needs.  This can all shave time off of everyday tasks and have a large impact on your speed of service.

Now that you know your service targets and your equipment is operational, it’s time to spend some time on the human side. According to delaget.com, restaurant owners should “prioritize training” and “schedule the right people for the right roles”.  The more comfortable people are with your systems and processes, the more accurately they will perform, which in turn increases your speed of service.  A training program should include the following:

  1. Practice in the POS system
  2. Role playing and menu overview
  3. Time job shadowing a more experienced team member.

Conclusion:

There are many factors that impact the speed of service at your restaurant, and not all can be planned for.  However, if you take some time and implement the tips above you will find your speed of service won’t suffer when you get an unexpected rush or find yourself short staffed!

Coffee Brewers

Tuesday Tip: Coffee Brewers

Coffee brewers come in a variety of types and features, meaning there is no need to short your establishment or over-buy. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind when shopping for a coffee brewer.

How much coffee do you serve?

Before making a decision on a brewer, you must first determine how much coffee your establishment serves on a daily basis. For instance, if you serve a lot of coffee throughout the day, look into higher capacity, automatic brewers. However, if you only serve small amounts of coffee or only need a brewer for an office or breakroom, look into smaller capacity, pour over brewers.

Pour Over or Automatic

  • Pour over coffee brewers are great for serving coffee in low volumes. They require water to be poured in, but since they don’t require water lines, many are portable.
  • Automatic coffee brewers are best for establishments that serve large amounts of coffee. They require a water connection which enables a constant supply of coffee.

Brew Capacity

Brewing capacities range from a few liters to over five gallons. Some vendors list capacities by cups, while others list by liters and gallons. To decide an optimal brewing capacity, think of how much coffee your establishment goes through in an hour.

Brewing Vessels
Decanter

Decanters

  • Great for individual serving or to hold smaller capacities of coffee
  • Pair well with brewers that include warming plates, which allow the decanters to retain heat for extended periods of time
  • Many can be customized with colored handles and lids to help distinguish between regular, decaf, or flavored coffees (Typically, a black or brown handle/lid represents regular coffee and orange represents decaf.)
Airpot

Airpots

  • Brewers that pour into airpots are great for larger capacities that need to retain a hot temperature for long periods of time
  • Great for a variety of self-serving establishments from convenience stores to catering events
Thermal Carafe

Thermal Carafes

  • Great for individual serving or to hold smaller capacities of coffee
  • Durable and aesthetically pleasing
  • Can be set out for longer periods of time without needing to be placed on a hot plate as they have longer temperature retention
Profile
In-line Brewer

In-line

In-line brewers are ideal for narrow settings where height isn’t an issue. They are linear in shape and typically hold decanters on the top and the base of the unit.

Low Profile Brewer

Low Profile

Low profile brewers work well in low height environments where the unit’s width isn’t an issue. They typically hold decanters in front of and next to the unit, which makes them ideal in a horizontal setting.

Hot Water Faucet
Blender

Many establishments need the ability to access hot water immediately for items such as tea or oatmeal. This is where many coffee brewers serve another purpose and have a built-in hot water faucet.

Features

Different brewers have different features which may help make a brewer be the perfect fit for your establishment:

  • Auto shut-off
  • Energy saver mode great for idle periods
  • Ready-to-brew light and thermostats help operator determine when to start brewing based on water temperature
  • Automatic brewers with pour over capability
  • Dual-head brewing great for making regular and decaf simultaneously
  • Cord and plug allow brewer to be portable (Note: depending on the type of business you run, larger quantities of coffee are most likely to come from a hard-wired machine.)

Ready to shop?

Browse Central Restaurant’s wide variety of coffee brewers here!

Tuesday Tip: Temperatures for Storing and Serving Wine

When it comes to wine, one of the most asked questions is in regards to temperature. Serving wines at the wrong temperature can mute some of the flavors of the wine, denying the customer of the full potential of the wine. Avoid this by following these guidelines from Wine Spectator:

  • There are two temperatures you should worry about: Storage temperature and Serving temperature.
  • Ideal storage temperature for both reds and whites is between 45°F and 65°F, with 55°F being the “perfect temperature.” This allows some wines to age and develop a richer body.
  • Serving temperature will depend on the wine.
    • Light dry white wines, rosés, and sparkling wines should be served at 40°F to 50°F to preserve their freshness and fruitiness
    • Full-bodied white wines and light, fruity reds should be served at 50°F to 60°F.
    • Full-bodied red wines and Ports should be served at 60°F to 65°F, just cooler than room temperature.

For restaurants and bars, an easy way to accurately store wine at the correct temperatures would be to invest in a wine refrigerator. There are models offering single or dual temps, in a variety of capacity options. This can also be a home option as well, but only if you keep enough wines around to warrant it. The benefits of wine refrigerators are that they keep a consistent temperature, dual temp models allow you to keep both reds and whites in the same place at different temperatures!

Photo via Visual hunt

 

Plastic Food Pans

Tuesday Tips: Plastic Food Containers – What’s the Difference?

Easily taken for granted, plastic food containers are a staple supply in any food service operation and it’s beneficial to take the time to become familiar with the main types, materials and sizes. By paying attention to these attributes, you could save money in both the cost of the container and also in the reduction of food waste through a more efficient operation.

When shopping for plastic food containers, it is important to know which type of container you need and what the container is made of before making a decision.

Types

Food Pan
“Food Pan” food containers: The workhorse of plastic food containers
  • Come in sizes designed to fit in food wells, transports, chafers
  • Available in various materials that allow for a large temperature range
  • Can go from prep, refrigeration, cooking, warming and serving
  • Lids available for different applications—serving, storing, holding temperature
Food Storage Box
Food Storage Boxes: Designed for bulk storage
  • Largest capacity
  • Stackable design for efficient storage
  • Sliding lids available for one handed operation
  • Good for replacing the original packaging after receiving
Food Storage Containers
Food Storage Containers: Smaller shapes and sizes suited for food rotation
  • Smaller sizes allow for batch prep work and quick retrieval from refrigeration
  • Round shape for easier stirring and mixing
  • Square shape for more efficient use in storage space
  • Lids designed to preserve food integrity

Construction

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate $$

  • High impact resistance and rigid construction
  • Clear construction for great visibility
  • Highly stain resistant
  • Average temperature range of -40°F to +212°F
  • More expensive than Polypropylene or Polyethylene

High Heat Polycarbonate

High Heat Polycarbonate Plastic $$

  • High impact resistance and rigid construction
  • Usually in see-through Amber or solid Black construction
  • Average temperature range of -40°F to +375°F
  • More expensive than Polypropylene or Polyethylene

Polypropylene

Polypropylene $

  • Impact resistant and sturdy construction. More flexible than Polycarbonate and high heat but not quite as flexible as Polyethylene
  • Translucent in appearance, but can be colored for different applications
  • Average temperature range of 0°F to +230°F (not ideal for freezing)
  • Recyclable, microwaveable and dishwasher safe
  • Less expensive than Polycarbonate or High Heat Polycarbonate Plastic

Polyethylene

Polyethylene $

  • Impact resistant and sturdy construction, most flexible
  • Usually white in color, but can be colored for different applications
  • Recyclable and dishwasher safe
  • Average temperature range of -40°F to +180°F (not ideal for cooking)
  • Less expensive than Polycarbonate or High Polycarbonate Plastic

Tip of the Day Tuesday: Why You Should Shop Energy Star Qualified Products

Every piece of equipment you purchase comes with two costs to consider: the cost of unit, and cost to operate. Energy Star qualifications are applicable to nearly every equipment product line, from refrigeration, to ovens, from commercial use, to residential. The Energy Star label means that item incorporates advanced technology that utilizes less energy – sometimes up to 50% less than the standard appliance. This greatly reduces the operational cost throughout the life of your product.

Energy Star products save energy, money, and more environmentally friendly than conventional models, reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses and air pollutants. The main benefits include:

  • Lower utility bills
  • Improved quality and durability
  • Enhanced performance

Central Products is proud to offer a wide selection of such Energy Star certified products. Learn more here.

Tuesday Tip: Maintain Your Grill

Ahhhh, summertime.  The days are longer, hotter, and packed full of activity; and one of the top summer activities is BBQ!  All of that summertime fun can come grinding to a halt if your grill is not in working order.  But fear not, this can all be avoided if you regularly maintain your grill.  Since there are more things that can go wrong on a gas grill, the maintenance tips provided here are for gas grills.  So read on and make sure your next BBQ is the best it can be!

Maintain Your Grill- Routine Gas Grill Maintenance Tips:

According to artofmanliness.com there are not a lot of complicated things that need to be done to maintain your grill.  Follow these simple steps and your grill will be primed and ready!

  1. Check for propane leaks.  This is as simple as rubbing soapy water along the gas line and connectors.  You will need the propane turned on to do this.  If any bubbles appear, you have a propane leak and will need to tighten your connections or replace the gas line altogether.
  2. Keep it covered! This is the easiest way to keep your grill from rusting, becoming exceedingly dirty, or just being exposed to harsh weather conditions.
  3. Keep it Clean! After each use, and while it is still hot, brush the grates with a sturdy grill brush.  After it has cooled, you can also wipe the exterior with some window cleaner.  In addition to this, a deeper cleaning should be performed once or twice a year, depending on how much you grill.

Maintain Your Grill- Deep Cleaning Tips

You’ve done a good job of keeping up with your routine maintenance, but inevitably you will need to perform deep cleaning once or twice a year.  Not sure how to begin?  planitdiy.com shows us the steps to performing a deep cleaning below.

  1. Turn off the gas and disconnect the propane tank.
  2. Remove cooking grates and burner cover bars.
  3. If your grates and/or burner bars are exceedingly rusted or pitted, it is time to replace them.  If they are in good shape, simply soak them in warm water and scrub them with a scouring pad.
  4. Remove the warming rack, replace if needed.  If not, clean in similar fashion to the grates and burner bars.
  5. Inspect the burners.  Either replace them if they are worn out, or clean them.  Make sure the burner holes are not clogged with debris.  If they are, simply poke through with a small pointy tool.
  6. Scrape inside of the grill and the hood with a putty knife.  This will get rid of that tough, built-up residue.
  7. Once it is all scraped, hit it with degreaser and let it stand for 10-15 minutes.  Rinse it out and repeat if necessary.  Let it dry completely before using.
  8. If there are any buttons or functions that no longer work, those need to be replaced.
  9. Lastly, put your grill back together and get cooking!

 

Tip of the Day: Ice Machine Volume Guide

Ice machines are one of the most important pieces of equipment you can have in your establishment. Even more important is making sure your ice machine can handle the demands of your business. Take a look at these volume guides from our Ice Machines Buying Guide. These guides will give an estimate of how much ice is used based on glass and capacity, as well as foodservice location.

If you still need help on which ice machine is right for you, speak to one of our expert product consultants online or call 800-215-9293. To shop through our huge assortment of ice machines, click here!