Tag Archives: Food service

Food Service News Week in Brief: July 4

Food Service News

Looking for the latest food service news? Check out the latest news stories, plus this week’s blog and promotions from Central for the week of June 30 through July 4.

  1. National Restaurant Association: In-need students benefit from equipment donation
  2. Nation’s Restaurant News: Restaurant sales, traffic score with World Cup
  3. Popular Science: Glasses that make beer taste better
  4. Guardian: Sous vide: the chefs’ secret coming to your kitchen
  5. Eater: Food truck explosion injures 12 in Philadelphia
  6. QSR Magazine: NRA launches sustainability newsletter
  7. Restaurant Hospitality: 5 menu trends and what’s driving them
  8. HuffPost Food: New ‘Doritos Loaded’ snacks are here, hold on to your taste buds
  9. NPR’s The Salt: ‘Frobot’ creator: taking frozen yogurt where it’s never been before
  10. Foodbeast: Disney World launching ‘Food Truck Land’ for Summer 2014

Central’s Blog Posts

Current Promotions

Visit CentralRestaurant.com to view these promotions!

True Refrigeration

food service news

Time is running out! Now through July 6, get the lowest prices and free shipping on all True Refrigeration! Same day shipping is available on orders placed before 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Shop now!

Manitowoc Ice Machines

Enjoy free shipping on Manitowoc ice machines! Top products in stock and ready to ship today. Shop now!

Cleveland

Hot summer deals can be found with Cleveland equipment. Take advantage of new low prices and free shipping. Shop now!

Central Exclusive Outdoor Furniture

Is your outdoor patio ready? Central offers an array of outdoor furniture to get your restaurant ready for summer! Shop now!

Central Exclusive Cutlery

Receive 20% off exclusive cutlery from Central! Shop now!

To keep up with the latest, subscribe to Central’s email list and get exclusive benefits such as discounts, new product alerts and early access to our clearance list. Don’t forget to sign up and request your free copy of our latest catalog! 

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, or recommend us on Google+ for other daily foodservice news throughout the week. Also, be sure to check out our Pinterest boards and watch videos on our YouTube 

 

Food Service News Week in Brief: May 2

Food Service News

Looking for the latest food service news? Check out the latest news stories, plus this week’s blog and promotions from Central for the week of April 28 through May 2.

  1. Foodservice Equipment & Supplies: College Foodservice Trends: Destination Dining with On-Campus Restaurants
  2. Restaurant.org: RPI Rises to 10-month High in March
  3. QSR Magazine: More Pork Per Fork
  4. QSR Magazine: Report: Consumers Not Willing to Pay Extra for Condiments
  5. Restaurant Business: Hardly Uniform: Fresh Thinking About Restaurant Attire
  6. Restaurant Hospitality: 3 Critical Steps to Minimizing Alcohol Liability Risk
  7. QSR Magazine: 2014 NRA Show Guide
  8. Restaurant.org: Senator: Key Health Care Change is Win-Win
  9. Restaurant Business: Inside Panera 2.0
  10. Eater: The 38 Essential Coffee Shops Across America

Central’s Blog Posts

Current Promotions

Visit CentralRestaurant.com to view these promotions!

World Tableware and Libbey Glassware

May 2014 Catalog Ships Tuesday, May 6

May 2014 Catalog Ships Tuesday, May 6

New lower prices on World Tableware and Libbey glassware.  Shop now.

Manitowoc NEO Ice

Manitowoc NEO undercounter ice machines with free shipping. Order a 120V version before 5 p.m. EST for shipping today. Shop now.

San Jamar

Save up to 20% on San Jamar Saf-T-Grip & Cut-N-Carry Boards. Shop now.

To keep up with the latest, subscribe to Central’s email list and get exclusive benefits such as discounts, new product alerts and early access to our clearance list. Don’t forget to sign up and request your free copy of our latest catalog! 

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, or recommend us on Google+ for other daily foodservice news throughout the week. Also, be sure to check out our Pinterest boards and watch videos on our YouTube 

 

Tackling the Food Waste Challenge: New Toolkit Offers Best Practices for Reducing Food Waste to Landfills

One of the major challenges in restaurants is food waste. A study by BSR indicated that approximately 80 billion pounds of food is discarded in US landfills each year. They also estimated that restaurants and institutional facilities accounted for around 48% of that number. For restaurant owners, food waste means lost profit. Environmentally, wasted food in landfills is hazardous, as that food releases methane gas as it decomposes. Not to mention,  a lot of this wasted food was safe enough that it could have been donated to food pantries to feed those in need. This is where the Food Waste Reduction Alliance comes in.

Food Waste Challenge

Photo by: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Photo by: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

The Food Waste Reduction Alliance is a joint collaboration between the Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Restaurant Association. Recently, they released a Best Practices Toolkit with the goal of increasing donations to food banks and decreasing the amount of food sent to landfills. This toolkit offers solutions and ideas for restaurants and institutions to begin reducing their food waste.

One of the solutions is to conduct a waste characterization assessment. This lets you establish what kind of material is being discarded, and allows you to see which areas can be improved by reducing, donating or recycling waste.

The toolkit also includes use by and sell by date practices. A lot of times, restaurants err on the side of caution and discard food based on use by dates, when a lot of times, that food could have been safe to donate to food banks. The FWRA suggests establishing a relationship with a trusted local food bank, and setting up date extension guidelines for donating food that may not be desirable for sale at full price, but can still be acceptable for donation under certain conditions of use.

Another goal of the Food Waste Challenge is to find creative uses to recycle food waste. A few solutions suggested is donating unusable food to local farmers for animal feed, recycling or donating used cooking oil for biofuel production, and donating organic wastes with high sugar content to help produce ethanol.

How to Get Started

Click here to view the toolkit in its entirety. It contains several helpful links and articles to help you get on the right track to reducing waste and saving money in the process.

In the meantime, shop online at CentralRestaurant.com and see our assortment of food storage pans and containers. Great prices and trusted brands to keep your food fresh longer.

5 Restaurant and Foodservice Industry Trends

The foodservice industry is constantly evolving.  One minute we’re focused on one thing, then six months down the road something new pops up.  In our 2011 “end of year” foodservice trends and predictions review, quite a few trends have really stuck such as mobile ordering devices, local food and double-sided menus (menus that separate healthy and unhealthy, such as McDonald’s recent “Favorites Under 400“).  Then there are other trends we haven’t heard much about such as plate shapes.

So as you can see, a lot can change in eight months.  Here are some of the latest trends, and we hope you will share what you are seeing in our comment section below.

Pop-Up Restaurants

Food trucks aren’t the only form of mobile food, pop-up restaurants are too.  A pop-up restaurant is a temporary dining experience that can be used for a chef to try out different menu items, a landlord wishing to rent out space during downtime or a dining experience for an event such as the pop-up Goodness, which lasted the duration of New York’s fashion week in February.

However Intuit doesn’t say pop-ups are anything new, because they have been around for quite a long time.  They are starting to show true staying power though.  Perhaps it’s because  it’s cheaper to start a pop-up than to open a restaurant, it’s a great way to test out an idea or maybe there is something to be said for the power of social media to draw customers.

Upscale Kids Menus

Quinoa, black bean and corn salad, stuffed zucchini boats, pesto pasta, apple oat balls and felafel wraps are just five of the 54 winning entries of the first Kids’ State Dinner hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama on August 20.  Just to reiterate, these ideas weren’t whipped up by professional chefs with years of experience, but just children.  With the new USDA guidelines for schools and an overall push for better eating habits, restaurants have started to pick up on revamping kids menus and provide out of the box menu ideas.  For instance Applebees offers a grilled chicken sandwich with a variety of sides (the side advertised being broccoli) and Ruby Tuesday offers kids chop steak with broccoli and white cheddar mashed potatoes.  These menus are much more advanced compared to the days of cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries and macaroni and cheese.

Gen Y Changing the Game

A recent Food Management article looked closely at Packaged Fact’s  “Collegiate Gen Y eating: Culinary Trend Mapping Report” and it appears that college-aged Gen Y’ers (18 to 22) are starting to define new trends in food.  According to Food Management, it’s because of the way they are exposed to new foods and they predict these trends will stay because the foodservice industry will have to adapt once all these students enter the workforce.

The report found students “are nutritionally minded, crave flavorful foods, look for comfort and indulgence and need speed and convenience.”  Some recent foods or trends that have been introduced in college foodservices have been going meatless, chickpeas, different fruits and vegetables, Asian cuisine, comfort foods (such as Italian or Mexican) and foods one can eat while on the go.

Awareness of Food Allergies and Diet Restrictions on Menus

This section isn’t necessarily a trend, but restaurants are starting to pay more attention to food allergies and dietary restrictions and take them more seriously.  Even as far back as a couple years ago, people weren’t thinking about gluten-free.  Today?  Several restaurants include gluten-free items on their menu.  But food allergy awareness extends further than the menu.  In the back of the house, restaurants have to ensure people with severe food allergies remain safe.  Many restaurants have put procedures in place while others are still learning and take food allergies on a case by case basis.  To help, manufacturers of foodservice products have begun to create products to help with food allergies, such as San Jamar’s Allergen Saf-T-Zone cutting boards.  Then when it comes to just health or dietary restrictions, restaurants are including nutritional information or helpful guides to help diners make informed choices on the food they eat.  For instance noting an entree is low calorie or low fat.  Others may let customers know an item has a low amount of sodium.

Local and Sustainability

Consumers are really starting to care more about where their food comes from, how it’s grown, what the animals they may consume are eating, etc.  Over the last couple years there has been a rise in locally sourced food.  This rise went as high as restaurants going “hyper-local,” where they grow their own food.  It provides customers with a fresh product while keeping it in a community.

Then there is the other side of the spectrum where people and/or restaurants care about where their meat comes from and what the animal is eating.  There are some individuals that can tell a difference in taste between a grass fed cow and corn fed cow.  In a Forbes article, they said people “can now buy specialized breeds, meats raised on different diets, and those without antibiotics or hormones in just about every major city.”

What changes are you seeing in the foodservice industry? Restaurants, schools, etc.?  Please share below!

Super Bowl Foodservice Series Part 2: Food Trucks, Rescue and State-Wide Events

Monument Circle/Indianapolis Super Bowl Press Center

Welcome to the second part of our Super Bowl foodservice series. If you missed the first part, click here to see how downtown restaurants have been impacted by the 10 day extravaganza that leads up to the Super Bowl.

Aside from restaurants, mobile food will play a very important role during this year’s Super Bowl events.

While there will be mobile food sites all over, the city has created a special opportunity just for food trucks and have set aside space just for them on downtown Indianapolis’ Monument Circle.

The trucks will be out from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday Jan. 27 through Sunday Jan. 29 and Thursday Feb. 2 through Sunday Feb. 5.

The space is available in two shifts, 11 trucks in the first shift, then 12 trucks in the second.

Duos Indy food truck is one of the trucks that will park on Monument Circle.  Becky Hostetter, chef and a co-owner of Duos, said they are nervous and excited.

“For food trucks, we don’t really know how it will play out but we are planning on all goodness and light.”

Duos Indy/Duos Indy Facebook

One of the interesting aspects of their plans (as for many of the other food trucks and restaurants) has been the menu.

“We want to remain true to our brand and serve with speed, serve food that speaks to the guests and maintains integrity.”

The NY Slice is another truck to park on Monument Circle and said they have had to increase staff by 80 percent.  They have also produced a second truck with two serving windows and two brick ovens inside.

With hundreds of thousands coming to Indianapolis, restaurants, hotels, etc., have worked extremely hard to make sure everyone that walks through their doors gets a meal.  However, believe it or not, not all of the food is used.

That’s where local food rescue organizations like Second Helpings come in and rescue unused food and redistribute it to the hungry.

Ben Shine, communications and development manager at Second Helpings, said they were approached by the 1st & Green part of the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee to rescue food during this year’s Super Bowl events.

Souper Bowls/Second Helpings

He mentioned Super Bowl host committees started working with food rescue organizations three years ago at the Miami Super Bowl and that year alone rescued about 90,000 pounds of food.

Shine described rescued food as anything overstocked, over prepared or unused that has not yet been served to the public.  It also must have only been handled by safe food handlers.

He isn’t sure how much they will rescue, but knows they certainly will.  And as they are located in downtown Indianapolis, they have already developed relationships with several restaurants, hotels, etc., which will make the food rescue process much easier.

“There is not as big of a learning curve,” he said, as compared to cities where food rescuing isn’t common.  “Restaurants will know how to store and take care of the foods.”

Also, to kick off Second Helpings’ involvement with the Super Bowl, they have joined together with local artists and chefs for the event “Souper Bowls 2012,” which will be held on Saturday Jan. 28.

Souper Bowls/Second Helpings

Souper Bowls is a chance for the public to taste some of city’s best soups as well as meet with artists, chefs and members of the community to fight hunger in Central Indiana.

The events being held for the Super Bowl are endless–and extend far beyond Indianapolis’ downtown area near Lucas Oil Stadium where much of the action will take place.

OAKLEY’s Bistro is located on Indianapolis’ northwest side.  Despite being 15 to 30 minutes from downtown (depending on how traffic behaves), they have had to make several adjustments to accommodate guests.

“We have a few larger parties coming in, companies that are entertaining, but for the most part we expect our business to come from hotels in our immediate area when people are deciding where to eat,” said Chris Hopkins, manager at OAKLEY’S.

Normally, OAKLEY’s is closed on Sundays and Mondays but will have special hours to be open on Sunday Jan. 29 and Monday Jan. 30.  They will also be open on Super Bowl Sunday at 11 a.m. for a Champagne Brunch.

There are around 20 other areas and cities, some as far as 45 miles outside of Indianapolis, declared as Super Celebration Sites.  Some sites are businesses while others are restaurants.

“Super Celebration sites are natural gathering places which provide opportunities for residents and visitors to get information about the many activities surrounding the Super Bowl,” their website said.

IN State Fair Host Committee Promotional Booth/Indianapolis Super Bowl Press Center

“The Super Celebration Site program is designed to connect Central Indiana regional communities hosting NFL fans and guests.  Each site has housing for NFL guests and fans, a concentration of restaurants and other hospitality amenities and a collaborative group to plan and organize programming.”

Becoming a city set to host the Super Bowl is a great opportunity to showcase what a city has to offer.  It’s a lot of work for all involved, but all the hard work pays off in both the short and long term.

Indianapolis sure has a lot to offer and it will be a great 10 days.  We’ll be sure to follow up with the restaurants and food trucks mentioned, as well as Second Helpings to see how all events pan out.

If you have anything to share about your Super Bowl experience, whether it’s this year in Indianapolis or a previous year, let us know! We’d love to hear about it.

North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) 2011 Trade Show

The North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers or NAFEM, is a trade organization that brings together food service suppliers and manufacturers and equips it’s members with everything from products to industry education.   Every two years NAFEM holds a  trade show to showcase the newest equipment and supplies in the food industry.  Last week was the 2011 NAFEM Show, held in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center.  Below is a recap from on all things NAFEM!

In refrigeration, the primary trend still seems to be energy efficiency.  For example, LED lighting is an option on many refrigeration lines now and is even becoming standard on some lines.  New Department of Energy requirements go into effect the second quarter of 2011, and most manufacturers seem to be ready for the changes.

Turbo Air’s booth at the show was full of exciting new refrigeration product launches, including ice cream dipping cabinets, prep units with drawers, and Premiere series reach-ins.  Manitowoc Ice had one of the biggest product launches of the show with their Indigo cube ice machines, with many energy saving features.

Cardinal Glassware introduced Zenix dinnerware, which is a fully tempered line of glass dinnerware.  It looks much like traditional china but has the durability of fully tempered glass with a moderate price point.

Hatco introduced heated zone merchandisers, which use “Spot On” technology to detect when products are on the shelf.  Super fast heat-up keeps the product warm; not having the entire unit on 100% of the time saves energy and money for the end user.

APW Wyott will launch their Champion line of steam tables in April.  These solidly constructed units have either hot or cold wells and come standard with poly cutting boards.  The tables have a lower price point than leading competitors and APW is expecting wide popularity with these.

Known for their forged knives, Wusthof is coming out with their first stamped series.  These knives have a poly handle, are NSF listed and come at a great price point.  Wusthof anticipates that this series of knives wll become a fixture in the commercial kitchen for everyday use.

In the area of beverage equipment and supplies, we learned that the trend right now is hot water products.  With the growing popularity of hot tea, oatmeal and pourover coffee service, the need for instantaneous hot water is in demand.  In fact, Bunn-O-Matic and Wilbur Curtis Company now offer hot water dispensers with “Oatmeal” backlighted graphics.  Service Ideas is also keeping up with the hot tea trend by offering contemporary tea pots, tea presses and tea infusers.

Melamine dinnerware continues to increase its presence in the foodservice industry.  Main melamine vendors – G.E.T., Carlisle, Elite Global Solutions – are seeing the growth in their dinnerware lines.  G.E.T. introduced SuperMel in Mardi Gras colors, while Carlisle launched their Dayton and Sierrus lines.  These new additions to the Central Restaurant Products catalog should help continue this growth.

CresCor introduced a new mobile holding cabinet that can be used for outdoor dining.  While electrical on the interior, the exterior uses propane tanks for heating and a solar panel to run the controls.  It has a heavy duty construction to stand up to the rugged outdoor terrain.

As for furniture, several manufacturers noted that unique seating styles seem to be the trend right now.  Low cost import products have become so prevalent in the market and these manufacturers have realized they can no longer compete.  Instead, they’re trying to set themselves apart from the imports and from their domestic competition by designing unique styles and offering more custom furniture options.

Furniture Imports debuted their booth-in-a-box at the show.  This unassembled booth (which saves on shipping costs) earned a spot in NAFEM’s What’s Hot, What’s Cool pavilion.

In addition to the exhibits, the NAFEM Show also offered several educational seminars that the category managers attended.  Some of the highlights included Tim Sanders’ presentation on Corporate Responsibility and Peter Sheahan’s seminar on Innovative Thinking.  The NAFEM all-industry celebration on Friday provided a “night out” with industry friends, and Huey Lewis and the News got the crowd rockin’ and pumped for the final day of the show.