Tag Archives: Tuesday Tips

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!

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

Tuesday Tip: Online Only Products

Did you know that Central offers hundreds of thousands of products? Our team is dedicated to offering a wide variety of quality products in order to make your kitchen successful. New products are constantly being added to our online only selection – keep your eye on our homepage for the newest vendor selections!

Browse here to see great products from True, Winco, Tomlinson, Walco, World Kitchen, Witt, and more!

Tuesday Tip: How Clean Is Your Water?

How Clean is Your Water?

Water is used in practically every aspect of the kitchen, including food preparation, warewashing, beverage service, basic cleaning and even some cooking functions. Normal tap water contains a number of suspended and dissolved solids, such as chlorine, bacteria, sediment, chemicals and other harmful elements. These solids can cause water to look cloudy, smell badly or taste funny, and can also affect any menu item that is prepared, washed or cooked with water!

One way to help remove these solids from water is with the use of water filters. While there are other treatment options available, water filters are the least expensive and the easiest to implement and maintain. Most importantly, they are effective—water filters offer the last line of defense between the body and the more than 2,100 known toxins that may be present in tap water!

Avoid This!

Brewer Without Water FilterBrewer With Water Filter

Here you can see the difference a water filter can make. Photos, courtesy of Bunn-O-Matic® Corporation in Springfield, IL, show a laboratory coffee hot-water reservoir after 7,000 brews (3,500 gallons or 134,247 liters) without and with a water filter.

How Can Water Filters Benefit My Commercial Kitchen?

Extend the life of your restaurant equipment

The chemicals and other impurities found in tap water can build up and corrode the metal parts of your kitchen equipment, which can increase downtime and eventually even cause the machine to stop functioning completely. Less build up means that the interior moveable parts can function in the full range they were intended to when designed.

Increase the efficiency of your restaurant equipment

Just a few thousandths of an inch of scale formation can reduce the energy efficiency of your equipment by 25% or more! In addition, scale formation can lower production times and levels, as well as prevent the machine from performing correctly. Commercial Water filters help to decrease the amount of scale buildup and keep your unit running as efficiently as possible.

Improved taste, smell and clarity of water

Because water filters block out solids, the resulting water is more clear, has a better taste and doesn’t smell badly. Using filtered water in food and drink preparation can enhance the overall flavor and aroma of the menu item. With filtered water, your diners can consume your creations without worrying about poor water quality ruining the taste!

Reduce service and maintenance costs

Maintenance calls are costly! Prevent the damage that scale formation and other deposits cause to your machines by using a water filter. While maintenance costs can be a painful hit to your expenses, full replacement of the equipment is even worse! When scale formation builds up too much, even a professional cannot reverse the damages and full replacement is the only solution.

Which Types of Restaurant Equipment Can Benefit From Water Filters?

Ice Machines

Without a water filter, you risk any of the following:

  • Scale buildup on evaporator plates can significantly increase maintenance costs
  • Excess sediment particles can clog distribution tubes and solenoid valves
  • Excess chlorine residual can cause chlorine smell and corrosion in ice bins
  • Sediment and abrasive hard particles wears down and shortens the life of pumps, valves, o-rings and seals

All Ice Machine Filters

Coffee Makers

Without a water filter, you risk any of the following:

  • Scale buildup on sensors and heating coils can significantly increase maintenance costs
  • Excess sediment can clog spray head in brew basket
  • Excess chlorine and organic residual cause bitter-tasting beverages

All Coffee Maker Filters

Steamers and Combi Ovens

Without a water filter, you risk any of the following:

  • Increased chlorine-induced corrosion
  • Limescale formation in high temperature steam application
  • Lower energy efficiency
  • Decreased life and performance of the steamer due to dirt and rust particle build-up

All Steamer/Combi Oven Filters

Tuesday Tips: Hand Dryers

Choosing the right hand dryer can provide cost savings and promote sustainability at your foodservice operation. What are the advantages of switching to an electric dryer?
Read up on these helpful hints to help you choose the right one for you!

Cost Savings

Did you know that converting from paper towels to hand dryers represents a roughly 95% cost savings? Dryers require less attention than paper towel dispensers, which saves on labor and maintenance. The energy costs of using a hand dryer add up to only pennies per day compared to paper towel cost. Use a cost savings, such as the Xlerator Cost Savings Calculator, to calculate how much money you can save by installing hand dryers! On average, customers can enjoy a 90-95% cost savings by making the switch.

Energy Efficiency

Hand dryers not only reduce climate change impacts, they also reduce the use of non-renewable energy, impacts on ecosystems and emissions that damage human health. They reduce the amount of damage manufacturing, transportation, materials production and end of life cycle that contribute to carbon footprints.

Life Cycle

Hand dryers reduce climate change that impacts carbon footprint, and also reduce the use of non-renewable energy, impacts on the ecosystems and emissions that can damage human health.

Dishwashers

Auto vs. Push

Automatic and push button hand dryers are both great choices, but each one has select pros and cons. Automatic hand dryers are more hygienic, meaning you don’t have to touch any part of the dryer for it to turn on. They also have a higher energy savings cost because the user determines how long it runs for. Also, some models let you turn on/off heat for additional savings. Push button hand dryers are a popular choice because some believe that they aren’t as easy to vandalize. These units are typically lower in cost.

Finishes

Whether you want a modern or classic look, there are several finishes for you to choose from. Ranging from stainless steel to Chrome to classic Black, there is a hand dryer that will fit your restroom’s décor. Some vendors will even do custom labeling with logos and images.

Certifications

Looking to go green? You’ll notice these certifications on many hand dryer’s spec sheets throughout our website.

  • LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design)
  • GreenSpec®
  • Greener Product
  • Green Business Bureau
  • Green Restaurant Association

Ready to shop?

Browse our website for a wide variety of models or call one of our helpful product consultants for a personalized shopping experience at 800.215.9293!

Tuesday Tips: Shelving and Storage

Storage solutions is a key component in your food service application that is often overlooked. Efficient use of space can help maintain cleanliness, speed of service and ultimately the overall bottom line of the business. When considering the type of shelving needs for your storage area, it is best to choose the type and construction based on your application.

Type

Vented

Vented is the most popular type of shelving. Its open design takes advantage of the minimal surface area. Advantages indclude:

  • Good circulation for drying and temperature regulation
  • Lower weight allows for easier mobility
  • Shelf design allows for easier loading and unloading of productVented Shelf

Solid

The one-piece construction of solid shelves gives more surface area for storage. Advantages include:

  • Easy to clean surface
  • Ideal for messy areas like food prep and warewashing
  • Good for controlling spills and storing small itemsSolid Shelf

Construction

Shelving can be constructed from metal, polymer plastic or a hybrid of both.

Metal

The most common metal shelving is vented wire shelving consisting of epoxy coated or plated steel wire frame. Plating or coating the metal wires helps provide durability and corrosion and is usually a lower in price. Solid shelving is also available and the typical construction is a corrosion-resistant metal, such as stainless steel or aluminum. While epoxy-coated and s/s shelving is suitable for wet or humid areas, plated shelving should be considered for dry storage only

Polymer plastic

It is a more recent development that provides great corrosion resistance, light component weight and does not sacrifice capacity. Polymer plastic shelving is ideal for humid or moist storage areas. Typical polymer plastic models are more expensive than traditional wire shelving—but extra-long warranties help create long-term solutions.

Hybrid

Hybrid shelving combines the best of both worlds, by utilizing a metal structure and polymer components. This gives you added cleanability from polymer and the flexibility to mix up shelving components to match your application. Most shelving units that use both polymer components and metal components have a price range that falls into the middle.

Shelf Weight Capacity

Eash unit lists its shelf weight capacity. This applies to stationary units only. The shelf capacity on mobile units varies depending on the caster’s weight capacity.

Antimicrobial

Models are available with antimicrobial protection. This helps to defend against mold, bacteria and mildew growth.

Tip of the Day Tuesday: Try It Before You Buy It! Request a Free Sample

With thousands of items to choose from for your foodservice operation, Central understands that it can sometimes be hard to commit. We want you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase, and make sure you pick the product(s) right for your dining room. That’s why we encourage everyone to take advantage of free samples.

We offer free samples on hundreds of products from top brands like Libbey, Oneida, World Tableware, and more. Test out dinnerware, flatware, glassware, table covers, etc. to make sure they work in your operation before committing to a purchase. Simply click on the “Request a Free Sample” icon on eligible items. Peruse the eligible brands here.