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Third Party (On Demand) Delivery is a popular topic of discussion these days. Restaurants are experiencing 44% + of their sales being off-premise orders and 25% of those orders being delivery. It’s important to set your establishment up for success with food delivery, whether you’re taking the third party route, or delivering on your own. Pay attention to your food offering, food/product costs, operations, and especially the disposable packaging used to deliver meals. 

To have a successful delivery program, you’ll need to ensure the customer is having the best possible experience when ordering your food. You may not have control once it leaves your building over the timing of arrival, but assessing your disposable selections for your menu options can make a major difference in your customers’ experiences.

We realized that with this wave of third party (on demand) delivery, there really wasn’t a lot of research and insight on what packaging matches well with food! We took it on ourselves to become subject matter experts in the world of disposables and packaging, and ordered in over 20 deliveries from various restaurants in the Boulder, Colorado region from third party delivery companies. Timing, and delivery experience aside, we were assessing the disposable offering, including presentation, temperature of the food, and overall quality of the food. The fact is that sometimes delivery in general, whether its 3rd party or self-managed can take up to 40 minutes to arrive at the customer’s requested location. And that’s totally okay – as long as you have the right disposables for your food selection. We assessed how different disposables impacted the food, and used it to create our recommended food/disposable pairing map below!

Did you know? Disposables like Styrofoam or non-vented plastics can be detrimental to the quality of your food product. Products like these hold the steam inside, making fried foods soggy, and overcooking product. These types of products can even cook your foods further, meaning your medium cooked burger can quickly become medium-well! Check out our disposables pairing guide below for recommended disposable types with common food options.

The post Increase Restaurant Sales by Properly Packaging Your To-Go Meals appeared first on Backburner Blog by eTundra.com.

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The post Protected: Sugar Cookie Recipe for High Altitude Baking appeared first on Backburner Blog by eTundra.com.

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Becoming more sustainable doesn’t have to be a burden. Here are 5 easy ways to reduce waste in your restaurant.

KARAT EARTH – KE-C9330W – 7 3/4 IN GIANT WRAPPED PAPER STRAWS

1. Serve straws on request (and make it compostable)
If anyone was ever to point to the largest environmental issue facing restaurateurs in 2018 it’s straws. Plastic straws have long been known to make their way into our oceans (and sadly, into the noses of our sea turtles) but it was just recently that businesses have made headlines in their commitment to phase out straws from their dining rooms. For most people, straws are an unnecessary addition to glasses—we’re simply conditioned to drink with them because we have been drinking from them for so long. That said, straws still pose an important tool for special needs individuals and children.

So what’s the answer?

Keep straws available and serve on request only. In many cases you’ll find customers are happy to go without. If they’re not, offer a compostable straw option. That way you can satisfy guest needs while also keeping these bad buggers out of our landfills and oceans. Also another perk? It’s known that people drink more with a straw, so you may see a nice reduction in your beverage costs.

CARDINAL – C2705 – 1 LITER CARAFE

2. Put carafes of water on the table
Like most things in life, your water bill rates will only increase over time. While you may not be able to control that, you can control the amount of water you use. Not only do water carafes reduce the amount of visits you need to make to your tables, but it also reduces the amount of wasted water not drunk by customers once their glasses were topped off. Keep full carafes ready at your bus station to quickly swap out empty ones tableside. By minimizing the amount of fresh, clean water that goes down the drain.

3. Invest in inventory management software
Food waste is the number one issue facing restaurants. One contributor of food waste is ordering too much of what you need. As a result, food goes bad before you’re able to do anything with it. Sharpen your purchasing by investing in a good inventory management software. With real-time inventory tracking, you’ll be able to track trends over time and see what moves faster than other items, surface popular menu items due to seasonality, etc. Keeping a low inventory means you’ll not only be buying less, but it’ll make for less waste, theft and spoilage. Plus, new mobile apps help you easily reconcile invoices for better accuracy and reduction of discrepancies.

4. Reuse your scraps
Waste—whether it’s compost or landfill-bound—costs you money. Save money on what’s getting tossed into the bin by reusing it in other menu items. Scraps are perfect for building rich stocks that can be used as a base for sauces, soups, stews and so much more. As you get more comfortable with reusing typically wasted product, you may find yourself getting more comfortable in nose-to-tail butchery. Bringing in whole animals in-house (and using every part of it) can save you costs and encourage creative new menu additions.

ECO-PRODUCTS – EP-HC81 – 8 IN X 8 IN SUGARCANE CLAMSHELLS

5. Replace those takeout containers
Single-use containers are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to unnecessary waste. By their very nature, these items are used just then tossed into the landfill. But with new innovations like compostable products and products made from recycled content, takeout containers don’t have to be the blight on your sustainability efforts. The best part? As these eco-friendly containers become more popular, you’ll find more competitive prices and a larger variety of container types to suit your menu.

The post 5 Ways to Cut Waste in the Restaurant appeared first on Backburner Blog by eTundra.com.

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Take the guesswork out of cooking with this powerful thermometer that’s small enough to fit right in your pocket. Enter for your chance to win a new P250FW Pocketherm thermometer from Comark until August 31st! Equipped with an audible alarm and flashing LEDs to indicate critical HACCP zones, chefs can rely on quick, accurate readouts each and every time. Featuring a BioCote antimicrobial protection and a 1,000 hour battery life, this thermometer belongs in every commercial kitchen.

Enter now for your chance to win! Hurry, contest ends August 31st.

The post Enter for your chance to win a new digital thermometer! appeared first on Backburner Blog by eTundra.com.

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One of the unsung heroes in any commercial kitchen is the humble catering cart. Also known as a “utility cart,” these carts help you cover a lot of ground with ease. Designed to move heavy loads with minimal trouble, caterers and event planners alike often keep a few catering carts nearby—particularly those who work in hotels or large convention areas.

UPDATE INTERNATIONAL – BC-2416LGZ – 32 IN X 16 1/4 IN GRAY UTILITY CART

What Material?
Most catering carts are metal or plastic, and sometimes feature a combination of the two. Both options are durable, though once a metal cart becomes dented it can look unsightly in the dining area. Plastic carts, however, aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing either, and though molded-in handles are durable, the fixed height could pose posture issues for workers.

FCP90411 – Focus Foodservice – 90411 – 15 1/2 in x 24 in Stainless Steel Utility Cart FOCUS FOODSERVICE – 90411 – 15 1/2 IN X 24 IN STAINLESS STEEL UTILITY CART

How Many Shelves?
When it comes to carts, more shelves isn’t always better. With each shelf you have, vertical clearance is lost. Consider the types of items you commonly transport to decide how many shelves you need. You might find that two shelves is more than adequate for the type of product you regularly move.

CAMBRO – EPP400110 – 90.9 QT BLACK INSULATED CAM GOBOX

Transporting Hot Food, Cold Food or Both?
For those who need insulated options, consider if you need to transport hot food, cold food or both. The most important thing with transporting food is keeping it out of the danger zone (the temperature range between 40° F and 140° F). Many catering carts are equipped to hold either hot or cold food, but there are some models that are equipped with separate cabinets so that you can safely move both hot and cold foods simultaneously. Manufacturers like Cambro also sell ThermoBarriers® which split a single cabinet into two holding zones.

CHG – CMT1-4PBB – 1/2 IN THREADED STEM CASTER W/ 4 IN WHEEL & BRAKE

Replacement Parts?
I’d wager a guess that the first thing to break on your cart is a caster. Carts are only helpful when all four casters are in working order, so pick yourself up a spare set of casters and keep them handy when you need to replace on the fly. Pro tip: When ordering casters, consider if you require brakes, want swivel or fixed, or require non-marking casters to avoid unsightly marks to your hardwood. Questions? Give us a call at 888-388-6372 and we can help you order the right set.

The post Types of Catering Carts appeared first on Backburner Blog by eTundra.com.

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You probably already know the value of an active Instagram account, but you might find yourself asking—what should I post about? Recently an owner of a restaurant that specializes in hot dogs lamented to me, “There are only so many pictures of hot dogs we can put out there before people get sick of them!”

And it’s true—there ARE only so many pictures of hot dogs you can put out there. Monotony is a silent killer when it comes to social media engagement.

Do you find yourself struggling to keep your feed fresh? Here are 10 Instagram-worthy moments you can post about:

1. Reducing Food Waste


Sustainability is a hot topic nowadays with good reason—as much as 40% of all food produced in the U.S. goes straight to the landfill. If you’re taking steps to reduce food waste in your restaurant, brag about it! For example, show how you use carrot tops and onion peels for stock, or how those extra snippets of parsley stems get repurposed in your smoothies. And if you’re not already doing these things, should you be?

2. Promote a 3 Bin System

Managing your food waste goes hand-in-hand with landfill diversion programs. As more municipalities offer composting services, consider jumping on that wagon and promoting it. Customers like to eat at restaurants that support their own eco-friendly goals, and they’ll appreciate seeing your compost, recycle and landfill bins in the front and back of house. You can even download these ready-to-print Landfill This, Recycle This and Compost This signs for each of your bins!

3. Organized Walk-In

Give customers a glimpse into your back of house, that area where everyone’s food is made but rarely seen. If your walk in is organized with everything stored in airtight containers and in their place, snap a picture of it! Not only should you aspire to keep that space clean, but it shows customers that you take food safety seriously and have nothing to hide.

4. Happy Customers

A post shared by Illegal Petes (@illegalpetes) on Dec 30, 2017 at 3:21pm PST

Got a few regulars that you know by name, or hosting a baby shower? Whatever the occasion, ask your customers if they wouldn’t mind having their picture on your Instagram feed. Pictures of happy customers will encourage new customers to give your restaurant a try.

5. Nonprofits or Schools You Support

A post shared by PizzaRev (@pizzarev) on Aug 30, 2017 at 11:32am PDT

I’d contest that being a part of a strong community is the backbone to any restaurant’s success. Engage with your community by partnering with local PTAs and other organizations for a little cross-promotion and feel good warm and fuzzies.

6. Chef Feature

A post shared by Old Major (@oldmajordenver) on Feb 12, 2018 at 9:32am PST

We’re in the age of the celebrity chef—so own it! Though most chefs prefer being in the kitchen cooking than out front in the spotlight a small feature about the chef helps to personalize the dining experience for customers. You can highlight the chef’s cooking philosophies, background, etc.!

7. Purveyors You’re Proud to Work With

A post shared by The Kitchen (@thekitchen) on Apr 1, 2018 at 7:08am PDT

Do you source responsibly raised meats, or did your tomato supplier just bring you the most luscious, mouth-watering tomatoes of the season? Talk about it! Customers not only care about menu transparency, but they’re willing to pay a little bit more for quality ingredients. Give your purveyors a bit of love and tell your customers why it’s important to you to partner with local farmers and ranchers.

8. Interesting Facts About Ingredients

Part of being a chef is introducing customers to new ingredients; remember when kale was just a garnish? Feature a photo of an ingredient you use in the restaurant and include a fun factoid about it. Like, “Did you know garlic has great anti-viral properties? Take comfort in knowing that indulging in our housemade spaghetti sauce will not only keep vampires at bay, but stomach bugs too!”

9. Networking

Should you promote other businesses on your channel? Absolutely! Many successful restaurants have learned that when you’re in the industry it’s less competition and more collaboration. Collaborate with local chefs and give them a shout out on your channel. Chances are that they’ll give you a shout out to you in return to their followers, and it could be the spark to discuss new opportunities.

10. The Food!

It’s still Instagram—so don’t forget to still include pictures of the food! Whether you post a sneak-peek of a new menu addition, or a popular customer favorite, foodies and customers alike want to see what you’re cooking up.

The post 10 Things to Instagram About In Your Restaurant appeared first on Backburner Blog by eTundra.com.

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The job market is tough, I don’t need to tell you that. Between rising labor costs and a noticeably thin labor pool, it can be difficult to source (and retain) good talent. Next to food costs, turnover is one of the highest expenses businesses face. The amount of hours spent to source and train employees can seriously drain your bottom line. So how do you combat that?

Offer perks that make people want to stay.

Admittedly perks alone won’t keep employees at your business; other considerations like providing a safe and harassment-free workplace, being a good leader, etc. will weigh heavily on that decision. However, if you’re already doing that (which is the bare minimum), consider what additional perks you can offer to employees to sweeten the deal. Providing health insurance is one of the best benefits you can extend to all of your employees, from dishwasher to server to chef. But it’s also extremely costly. While you might not be able to provide full coverage to employees, there are other benefits you can offer that will keep people happy, increase retention, and reduce your costs.

1. Make it Easier to Get to Work

Not only is it getting more expensive to secure restaurant space, it’s also become more expensive for your employees to live. Between living and transportation expenses, help ease the burden on employees by offering a free bus pass or a monthly stipend to make it a little easier for them to get to work. It might also make them show up on time too!

2. Free Shift Meal

This should be a no brainer, but in an attempt to reduce costs amidst rising pressures like high rents and labor costs, shift meals might face the chopping block. And if you can, try not to discount the shift meal. A discounted meal might help you get closer to cost, but employees won’t find much of the value in it anyways if a portion of their paycheck is going back to you for the meal. Suck up the cost and give them a free meal. Not only will it make for happier employees, but they’ll have the energy to keep that positivity going throughout their entire shift!

3. Childcare

Like healthcare, childcare is an extremely heavy financial burden that many employees carry. Offering a stipend to contribute to childcare costs will earn the loyalty of many parents who struggle with the expense. Plus, you may also come to find that employees will be less likely to bail on shifts because they’ll have the extra coverage they need.

4. Close for 1 Day and Have a Party

You’ve heard the feel good press of businesses closing their doors completely on Thanksgiving or Christmas. It might not be feasible for you to close on a big holiday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a look at the other 300 or so days of the year to give staff a well-deserved break—and party. Show your employees you appreciate them by kicking back with some food, drinks, and maybe a fun activity like a ropes course or bowling.

5. Plan a Daily Group Activity

Retention is one of the biggest challenges in the restaurant business, mostly due to the fact that the labor pool is young and the hours aren’t always ideal. Building camaraderie with all of your employees gets easier with a planned, daily activity. Whether it’s going for a hike, volunteering at a shelter nearby, close the restaurant for 2 hours and round up everyone from the front to back of house for some serious bonding.

The post Employee Perks appeared first on Backburner Blog by eTundra.com.

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I’m going to be up front with you, I am a late adopter when it comes to trends. Translation? I’m the girl that gets into skinny jeans just as everyone starts wearing gauchos again. So when I discover a new trend it’s almost guaranteed that that trend is on its way out.

I love these things as much of the next person, but like food trends, I think we’re all looking for the next big thing.

Are these trends at risk of being played out? You decide.

The Speakeasy

False Idol | Credit Thrillist

The “speakeasy” was a prohibition-era bar set up to serve alcohol in secret. Nowadays it’s become an excuse to charge $15 for a craft cocktail all because you walked behind a bookshelf. Some of today’s speakeasys are more hidden than others, with some even requiring passwords for entry that change on the daily. Admittedly, I will always be down for visiting any tiki-inspired speakeasy.

Family-Style Meals

Theoretically, I’m having family-style meals every day at home. The last thing I want is another family-style meal when I go out. Why? For me, restaurants are about indulging and being selfish—that’s why I pay 2-3 times more for a glass of wine at a restaurant than I do at home. Sharing is great and all, but sometimes I just want to order my own plate without compromising.

Secret Menus

In-N-Out’s Not-So-Secret Menu | Credit The Odyssey

 These “not-so-secret” menus are popular with fast food chains like In-N-Out (who will tell you it’s not a secret, just a way customers like their menu items prepared). I’m not sure why restaurants choose to have a secret menu other than to say they have a secret menu. If you want to let people order something, just put it on the menu.

Food Halls

Avanti Food & Beverage | Credit Avanti F&B

 In all seriousness, isn’t a food hall just a glorified food court? Those 30+ will remember food courts, often situated in the center of a mall with foggy skylights and raised “islands” bordered in tile that housed an array of palm trees and ivy (fake or otherwise). Admittedly, the food halls of today feature tastier (and more expensive) options than the food courts of the 80’s and 90’s.

Limited Time Offers

Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino | Credit Starbucks

 From Unicorn Frappuccinos to Nacho Fries, the allure of these limited time offers (LTOs) often meet at the intersection of short supply coupled with outrageous ingredients. Though fun at first, LTOs aren’t always sustainable for businesses. Each new LTO is designed to top the last one, and it won’t be long before consumers become less engaged as they’re conditioned to expect a new LTO regularly.

The post Played Out Trends appeared first on Backburner Blog by eTundra.com.

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