Tag Archives: restaurant

Dining with your Dog: Bone Appétit

During these dog days of summer, owners don’t want to keep their pampered pooch locked up at home. They want to spend time with them in the great outdoors. After a long walk in the park or through the city, more and more dog owners are looking to grab a bite to eat with their canine companions. Luckily, more restaurants are embracing this trend and offering appropriate kibble for both man AND his best friend.

Easy Ways to Attract Fido and their Money Spending Owners

Want to cash in on this business? Start with your outdoor dining space as most health departments will frown upon non-certified service dogs inside your establishments. This may limit your canine customers to seasonal visits when your outdoor spaces are usable. Also, some local health departments may impose restrictions on animals even if they are kept outside or in areas away from general food preparation. There are no federal laws dealing with animals inside food establishments, but state laws may vary.

A Doggie Diner at Canal Bistro in Indianapolis. Photo by Julia Eiszner.

A Doggie Diner at Canal Bistro in Indianapolis. Photo by Julia Eiszner.

Whether you advertise as being dog friendly, or simply don’t turn away dogs with their human companions, make sure you have organized policies. Potential situations can arise ranging from excited or aggressive barking to dogs that just don’t know how to excuse themselves and visit the facilities. Make sure your service staff clearly knows your handle these situations, including appeasing other customers who don’t agree with your dog friendly policies. Stress the importance of proper hand-washing after interacting or petting one of your canine customers.

Most dog friendly establishments will offer well-behaved dogs a complimentary bowl of water. Consider using disposable or dedicated dog bowls for this purpose and wash them by hand or separately from your normal dishware for added food safety. Other restaurants may decide to create dog friendly versions of their human dishes or offer snacks from local dog bakeries. When serving food specifically for the canine set, be especially careful in the ingredients as some common spices may be potentially harmful to a dog.

The ‘Secret Menus’ for Dogs

You might not know it, but major chains have already embraced the dog trend with secret (and not so secret) dog menus. Foodbeast compiled a list of these ‘secret doggie menus‘ in March of 2015. Their list included the Puppuccino from Starbucks (a small cup filled with whipped cream), the Pup Patty from In-N-Out Burger (a simple unseasoned patty with no salt), and the specially made Doggie Cupcakes from Sprinkles (a sugar-free cupcake topped with a yogurt frosting). It’s worth the read for some clever ideas!

Going ‘Dog Friendly’? Let Everyone know!

Indiana Restaurants at BringFido.com

BringFido.com compiles lists of dog friendly restaurants, hotels and attractions.

When dog lovers need help choosing a dog friendly restaurant, hotel or attraction – many visit bringfido.com! The website was started in 2005 by dog lover Melissa Halliburton as a clearinghouse for user submitted information on dog policies and dog friendly offerings at over 25,000 worldwide hotels and thousands of restaurants. Users can search by location each location is user rated on a scale of 1 to 5 bones.

A search of Central Restaurant’s home base of Indianapolis showed 25 dog friendly restaurants that included some of the city’s best known names. Some restaurants were listed as welcoming dogs to their outside patios, while other users provided information like “provided a water bowl.”

The website provides an easy way for users or restaurateurs to submit an establishment too. After submitting basic information like the name, location, type of cuisine and a description of the restaurant, Bring Fido immediately posts the listing on their site which allows other users to rate and review it.

With thousands of visitors looking for dog answers every day, a simple listing could significantly boost your business. Don’t forget to prominently feature your dog dining policies on your website and social media profiles as well!

Shop Central for Your Supplies

We want to be the restaurateur’s best friend. We have over 65,000 items available for purchase on our CentralRestaurant.com as well as competitive prices. Need a little help? Our team of Product Consultants will be as loyal as your childhood puppy with answers to your questions, expert advice and any assistance you may need to open or grow your business. Contact them via phone at 800-521-1277 or start an online chat right now.

Extremely cute featured image courtesy 1000s of internet sites.

Keeping Your Tiniest Customer Happy

Are you really doing all you could to keep your tiniest customer happy? Even though they might not be the ones footing the bill, in many families, toddlers have the most power in deciding which restaurant will earn the family’s patronage. If they are not happy (and therefore screaming or causing a scene), then neither is the rest of the family, the restaurant staff or the other patrons.

The Child Development Institute, a California organization whose mission is to be a clearinghouse for “information, products and services related to child development”, created a list of seven ways to keep toddlers busy and entertained in a restaurant. We’ve grouped these ‘parent tips’ into two categories so we can look at how your family restaurant win over the toddler crowd.

Maintain the Family Environment

Kidsitter 597-018

The Kidsitter™ Multi-use High Chair shows you are committed to kids!

The CDI’s first suggestion tells their readers to ‘choose a family-friendly restaurant‘ – a place where a moderate amount of family noise and activity is expected. If you want to be a family restaurant, show your customers that you welcome the whole family. Create a wholesome looking exterior and interior free of questionable decor. How about your seating arrangements? Many parents will judge your ‘family environment’ by the type and quality of your children s seating. Do you offer the basic plastic booster seat, or have you invested in a more upscale option like the Kidsitter that we profiled in June? Don’t forget your restroom. What’s your baby changing option? You don’t want to think of the alternative.

How about your children’s menu? The CDI tells parents to choose restaurants that serve simple food options that toddlers will enjoy. While  “fast food” type meals are not always the healthiest –  they admit that for the occasional dinner out, finger foods like chicken nuggets and hot dogs will usually ensure their toddler will enjoy themselves.

The next tip tells parents to order their children’s meal at the same time the adults order their drinks. Toddlers sometimes have problems dealing with the down time before their food arrives. By ordering their food early, the toddler will be occupied with eating while the rest of the family is waiting for their meals. Do your servers offer this option?

Keep them Entertained


Still, there will be dead time before and after the meal, and the toddlers will insist on attention. The CDI provides several tips to parents on ways to keep them entertained. If space allows, a family restaurant could consider investing in some play equipment. A full-fledged McDonald’s PlayPlace is not necessary. The CDI says to look for restaurants that offer something as simple as an area with “blocks or other toys for children to play with.” Central even offers a selection of child-height activity tables that can be placed in a corner or waiting area.

No space for toys? The CDI suggests a simple walk around the restaurant to burn off some toddler energy. Is your dining room layout too cramped for a little exercise?

The last two suggestions offer ways to keep toddlers entertained at the table. From little ‘bags of toys’ like crayons and coloring books to educational place-mats, these are little items that can keep children of all ages content and occupied.

Pulling It All Together

Of course, even after providing the right dining environment and offering all the child amenities, the task of keeping a toddler occupied and content at your restaurant lies with the parents and there may be times when you or your staff need to get involved on behalf of your other customers. Remember to approach the situation calmly and look for ways to smooth the situation. Offer additional activities or ask parental permission to serve the child a complementary scoop of ice cream or other treat to keep them happy. Even with a temperamental toddler, there is still opportunity to earn a repeat customer.

Cover image Photo credit: Lars Plougmann / Flikr.com / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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 

 

10 Helpful Tips For Your Restaurant

Owning a restaurant can be difficult – you need to know a lot about your facility to have a successful business.  Central has compiled some helpful tips that range from dining room apparel to cleaning supplies to keep your restaurant in tip top shape.

Dining Room

  • Don’t Know What Size Gloves To Order? Gloves need to fit properly in order to ensure proper sanitary and safety conditions. To measure, wrap a tape measure around the widest part of your palm. This measurement is closest to your actual glove size shown in the chart on this link.
  • Keep Your Liquor Pourers Clean! Pourers allow a smooth flow of liquid out of a bottle by providing a path for air to enter the bottle. Liquid will not come out of the bottle if the air vent is blocked. You need to clean your pourers so that sugar cannot build up inside the vents. For information on the dos and don’ts of pourer cleaning, click here!
  • Are Your Bar Glasses Crystal Clear? Everyone wants a nice-looking, freshly cleaned glass when they order a drink at a restaurant, so make sure yours are sparkling! Glass washers are designed to fit in any bar sink and are best used with a three compartment sink. The first compartment contains the washer, luke warm water and liquid detergent. The second compartment should have clean water while the third should have clean water with a sanitizer.
  • Easily Turn Any Table Into A Showpiece! Looking to turn your table from boring to wow-worthy? Consider an ice sculpture! Ice sculpture models that are filled with tap water will turn out bright white. Simply fill the mold with water and freeze it for 48 to 72 hours. Cut away the mold starting at the base. Sculptures lasts for about four to five hours at room temperature, and last longer in cooler temperatures!
  • Think Ahead, So Your Chafers Are Ready When  You Are When you’re catering a big event, your worst fear is unappealing, cold food! Don’t let this happen to you! Ensure warm food by heating water in your chafer before dropping in your hot food pans about 20 minutes before you’re supposed to serve. Don’t forget to light the fuel either!
  • How Many Bar Glasses Do You Need? Estimating how many glasses you need for your restaurant can be a chore, so take the guess-work out of it and use our handy chart!
  • Ordering The Correct Glass Rack Size  It’s important to remember to choose a glass rack that has a greater compartment size than the maximum diameter of your glass. Also, select a rack that has a higher height than your glass.

Food Preparation

  • Advantages Of Cooking With Steam  Steam cooking has been around for thousands of years, and has many benefits. Here are some of the advantages: 1. “Steam-cooked foods look much brighter and fresher than those foods cooked by other methods. 2. Steam cooking saves energy. 3. Steam cooking retains more nutrients in the food. For example, a food that is steam-cooked loses 40% of its original amount of Vitamin C. A food that is boiled loses 70%. 5. Foods are more tender at the end of cooking. 6. You can use less fat additives when cooking with steam because you won’t need to use oils to keep food from sticking.” This information about cooking with steam is from our helpful link, located here.

Refrigeration

  • Choosing The Best Ice Machine For Your Needs Ice machines are essential to any business in the foodservice industry. It’s important to choose the correct one to ensure you’re getting the most out of your machine. First, you must choose between air cooled and water cooled machines. Air cooled machines remove the heat from the water and into the air surrounding the machine. Water cooled machines remove the heat from the water by moving that heat into waste water. These machines are quieter, but use more water than air cooled ones. Click here for a chart that helps you choose what level of ice production you’ll need for your business.

Sanitation 

  • Installing Your Grease Interceptor & What Size You Need A grease interceptor should be installed as close to the fixture it is servicing as possible. An interceptor is crucial because it prevents grease from accumulating in the piping. Consult a professional for help with installation. A helpful calculation  can determine the correct size for your kitchen.

Buying for your restaurant can be a hard task. Choosing the right equipment is essential to a profitable business, yet it can be complicated. Central has also put together buying guides to help you make the best informed decision you can.

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: December 7

Looking for some of the week’s top information for the foodservice industry? Check out these 10 stories, plus this week’s promotion from Central for the week of December 3-7.

Top 10 Foodservice Industry Stories

Mobile Cuisine: Food Truck Industry To Grow From 615M to 2.7M In 5 Years

Foodbeast: Eau de Pizza Hut Smells Like ‘Freshly Baked, Hand-Tossed Dough’

The Consumerist: Doritos Locos Tacos Are Apparently The Most Successful Thing Ever

HuffPost Food: Empire Builders 2012

Nation’s Restaurant News: Holiday Party Outlook Good for Restaurants

CNBC: Restaurants Try To Eat Into Holiday Retail Sales

New York Daily News: Dubai Restaurant Discourages Food Waste With Pay-By-Weight Dining Plans

EATER: Survey–Anti-Obamacare Threats Hurt Restaurant Chains

New York Post: Green Applebee’s in Harlem

National Restaurant Association: Restaurant Performance Index Feel to Lowest Level in 14 Months

This Week’s Promotion from Central

Value Series: Post Shelving

Our latest catalog features Central’s Value Series. See full details and shop straight from our blog.

Subscribe to Central’s email list and get subscriber-only benefits such as special discounts, new product alerts and even early access to our clearance list.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter 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 channel.

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: November 30

Looking for some of the week’s top information for the foodservice industry? Check out these 10 stories, plus this week’s promotion from Central for the week of November 26-30.

Top 10 Foodservice Industry Stories

Nation’s Restaurant News: Thanksgiving Sales Indicate Strong Holiday Season

HuffPost Food: Starbucks’ Most Expensive Coffee Ever is $7 A Cup

National Restaurant Association: Congress Must Fix Broken Swipe-Fee System, NRA’s DeFife Says

Convenience Store News: Foodservice Becomes C-Stores’ Most Profitable Category

USA Today: Palm Scanners Get Thumbs Up in Schools, Hospitals

National Restaurant Association: SBA Offers Rebuilding Info, Loans to Hurricane Victims

HuffPost Impact: How Wage Workers Will Survive the Side Effects of ObamaCare

QSR: The Fifth Meal–Is Brunch the Next Big Daypart?

Nation’s Restaurant News: Restaurant Gift Card Competition Ramps Up

NPR: N.Y. Fast-Food Workers Strike For Better Wages

Recipe of the Week

This week’s recipe comes from restaurant owner and Central customer, Luke Patterson.  Patterson owns the restaraunts Lukes Joint and The Other Place in Arcata, Calif.  He also has a food cart named The Other Cart.  He sent us his recipe for Blazing Bobcat Salsa, which stemmed from their third annual salsa competition.

Click here and check out the recipe.  Enjoy!

This Week’s Promotion from Central

Value Series Crowd Control

Value Series: Crowd Control

Our latest catalog features Central’s Value Series. See full details and shop straight from our blog.

Subscribe to Central’s email list and get subscriber-only benefits such as special discounts, new product alerts and even early access to our clearance list.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter 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 channel.

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: November 23

Looking for some of the week’s top information for the foodservice industry? Check out these 10 stories, plus this week’s promotion from Central for the week of November 19-23.

Top 10 Foodservice Industry Stories

Just in time for Thanksgiving! – FoodSafety.gov: Handle Leftovers With Care

Huffington Post: Art Ginsburg, TV’s Mr. Food, Dies at 81

Nation’s Restaurant News: Restaurants Divided On Mobile Payments Platforms

Huffington Post: The 10 Most Germ-Infested Areas In A Restaurant

Los Angeles Times: Schools Eat Up Challenge of New Federal Nutrition Standards

Nation’s Restaurant News: Chili’s Unveils Major Digital Campaign for Holidays

Food Safety News: Obama Administration: Food Safety Rules Coming ASAP

Huffington Post: Burger King Delivery: Chain Expands Service To New York City

Deseret News: Social Media Damage Control: Is The Customer Always Right?

Eater.com: Filthy Kitchens Exposed: Will Installing Hidden Cameras Help Restaurants Clean Up Their Act?

Recipe of the Week

This week’s Recipe of the Week comes from Central’s Tracey Rector. Tracey is allergic to peanuts and potatoes, so for this Thanksgiving she came up with a way to eat her own version of “mashed potatoes”. Here is her recipe for Baked Mashed Cauliflower:

Around 15 million Americans have a food allergy–and I happen to be one of them.   Peanuts and potatoes.  Thankfully they aren’t dangerous, just enough for me to have changed my diet.  I found out about the allergy about seven years ago, so it’s been seven years since I have had mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. (I’m totally okay with it though, you’d be amazed to know what you can live without when it doesn’t make you feel well.)

It wasn’t until this year I started experimenting with recipe swaps and I tested out different things with cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes. Of course, nothing beats a heaping pile of mashed potatoes, but I think I found the next best thing.  I recently stumbled on this recipe from Pride and Vegudice called “The Best Mashed Cauliflower” and it has been the best I’ve had yet. I made a few changes which is what I will share below, but be sure to pop over to their site and view the original version.

Ingredients

·         2 medium-sized heads of cauliflower, washed and chopped into florets (I actually used two 12 oz. bags of frozen cauliflower from my local Kroger)

·         2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

·         2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

·         1/4 tablespoon sea salt

·         2 dollops of light butter

Side note on the ingredients: Original recipe calls for fresh Black pepper to taste and any herbs–feel free to add in your own, I tweaked it and put in the light butter instead

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF
  2. Steam the cauliflower until it’s very tender
  3. Puree in a food processor until smooth (scrape down the sides when necessary)
  4. Add coconut oil, Parmesan cheese,  sea salt, butter and any herbs/pepper you would like to add
  5. Continue to puree until the texture you prefer (my preference is very smooth, so I pureed for a few minutes)
  6. Pour pureed cauliflower into a casserole dish
  7. Place in oven for 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown to give the top a thick texture

This Week’s Promotion from Central

Value Series Steam Table Pans!

Our November catalog features Central’s Value Series.  See full details and shop straight from our blog.

Subscribe to Central’s email list and get subscriber-only benefits such as special discounts, new product alerts and even early access to our clearance list.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter 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 channel.

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: November 16

Looking for some of the week’s top information for the foodservice industry? Check out these 10 stories, plus this week’s promotion from Central, for the week of November 12-16.

Top 10 Foodservice Industry Stories

NRN: McDonald’s USA ousts president Jan Fields after sales decline

Huffington Post: Peanut Butter Salmonella Recall: Sunland Knowingly Sold Possibly Contaminated Products For Years

QSR: Starbucks Announces Agreement to Acquire Teavana

Huffington Post: Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter Says Company Will Reduce Workers’ Hours In Response To Obamacare

QSR: ShopKeep Steps into Quick Service with POS System

Huffington Post: Hostess Brands Liquidation: Twinkie-Maker Seeks Court Permission To Liquidate

NRN: Burger King expands home delivery test to Houston

QSR: Baskin-Robbins Takes On Turkey Day with LTO Desserts

Huffington Post: Coffee Extinction In The Wild, Spurred By Climate Change, Could Occur By 2080, Study Says

NY Post: Oprah Winfrey Getting Into The Organic Food Business

Each Veterans Day, Central holds a special luncheon for all employees and invites those in the military to bring in their memorabilia. This year’s Veterans Day celebration was different than in years past as we recently installed a flag pole in our front green space. We raised the flag for the first time just before our luncheon in honor of our veterans and current military members. Check out the photo gallery here!

This Week’s Promotion from Central

Value Series Pizza Screens!

Our November catalog features Central’s Value Series.  See full details and shop straight from our blog.

Subscribe to Central’s email list and get subscriber-only benefits such as special discounts, new product alerts and even early access to our clearance list.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter 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 channel.