Tundra Restaurant Supply is the leading distributor of food service equipment, supplies and parts to innovative restaurant concepts. In this blof you will find latest restaurant news, resources, recipes & more.
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:
A post shared by Celia (@golitterless) on Jan 12, 2018 at 9:28am PST
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?
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.
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!”
A post shared by The Regional (@theregionalfood) on Apr 2, 2018 at 8:23am PDT
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.
A post shared by Arc Cardinal (@arccardinal) on Jan 10, 2018 at 8:18am PST
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 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!
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.
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” 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Think you’ve got the tastiest sandwich on the block? Prove it! Share your winning sandwich recipe for a chance to win this new GX14IS Grill Express Sandwich Grill from Star Manufacturing®—a prize package worth more than $1,000!
Get commercial-grade performance at an affordable price with Star Manufacturing®’s Grill Express sandwich grills! Featuring cast iron platens for long-lasting durability, this sandwich grill heats quickly and evenly. You’ll also love the added versatility that comes with smooth plates; use this grill for wraps, quesadillas and more!
AMERICAN METALCRAFT – MELPOT14 – 14 OZ MELAMINE TERRA COTTA POT
1. Mix Textures
Hand-hammered metal paired with warm wood or quirky accents like melamine “terra cotta” pots can make your patio shine. Perfect for small plates, apps and other seasonal favorites, there are lots of new clever serveware pieces that can make all the difference between a $7 and a $9 plate!
THUNDER GROUP – PLTHMT008C – 8 OZ. POLYCARBONATE MARTINI GLASS
2. Go Melamine
Patios are subjected to the elements, which means that an unexpected gust of wind or hailstorm (it happens!) may suddenly sweep through your dining space and wreak havoc to your table settings. Spare yourself the mess (and expense) of broken glass and chinaware by equipping your patio with virtually indestructible melamine. Featured in a variety of realistic materials like stone, wood, and even passing convincingly for glass and china, today’s melamine is a stylish update to your patio. Bonus—it’s also dishwasher safe!
If you think that indoor restaurant furniture takes a beating, put it outside. Not only does your furniture need to stand up to the daily wear and tear of diners, but it is also subjected to the elements like rain and the scorching sun which can fade and break down materials. Take care to shop commercial-grade furniture designed for the outdoors from retailers like Grosfillex, whose materials and construction guarantee that your furniture will last season after season.
Umbrellas serve a dual purpose, with the obvious one being shade. The sun can be brutal, particularly during those hot, dry days in the middle of summer. Equip your patio with plenty of umbrellas that shade diners from the sun and give them a reprieve from the heat. Umbrellas are also a great way to let people know that you’re open for business, perfect for tourists and others new to the area who haven’t visited you before.
CARDINAL – FJ003 – 1/2 L BYSTRO GRANDE CARAFE
5. Water Carafes
Keeping water glasses full during hot summer days are even more challenging when you’re schlepping further from the kitchen to the diners. Chilled water carafes are a great way to keep water on hand for thirsty guests without having to visit their table every 10 minutes.
As one of the heavy hitters in your commercial kitchen, you want to make sure that your range hits all the checkmarks you need when it comes to performance and long-lasting durability. And did you know that manufacturers also make ranges highly customizable? Sold as a stand-alone or modular unit, ranges can be configured to suit your unique needs. Read on to learn more.
The Top Much of the action is happening on the top of your range, so make sure you’re equipped properly! With ranges, you can select from a variety of different cooking equipment to suit your specific needs. Your menu will likely dictate the type of cooking methods you’ll require, so review what you want to make and read on about your range options below:
Boil, fry sauté—the options are endless! Chances are you’ll have at least two burners on your range, but consider if you require more.
Smooth Griddle This hot, flat surface is just what you need for a busy breakfast service featuring loads of pancakes, eggs and more. Take your griddle into lunch and get the perfect sear on your burger patties each and every time.
Combination Open Burner and Smooth Griddle Get the best of both worlds with an open burner and griddle combination! Featured in a variety of sizes, you can opt for a little more griddle, or a few more burners, to suit your unique needs.
Plancha On the outside a plancha looks like any other griddle, but beneath its surface you’ll find that a plancha is equipped with a circular burner. That means that the middle of the grill is the hottest area while the outer edges remain cooler, giving the cook a bit more control on cooking temperatures and times.
French Top Another take on the griddle is a French top, recognizable by a circular cast iron ring. There are only two temperatures for French tops (on and off), so they’re perfect for simmering and holding temperatures. Keep in mind that French tops require regular seasoning.
Charbroiler When you want hot, direct flames for burgers, steak, fish and more, opt for a charbroiler. It’s basically a grill for the commercial kitchen, and customers will love seeing those iconic grill marks on their food.
Broiler, Salamander or Cheesemelter You might see a broiler, salamander or cheesemelter on the end of the range outfitted with a smooth griddle on top. These handy additions are great for finishing off dishes like lasagna, French onion soup and much more!
Down Below Even though you’ll spend most of your time cooking up to, don’t neglect your space down below! Set yourself up for success with the right combination to increase your speed and efficiency in the kitchen.
Standard or Convection Oven? While standard ovens feature a stationary heat source, convection ovens are equipped with a fan to circulate hot air which results in faster cooking times and consistent heating without fear of hot spots.
Cabinet Base Perfect for kitchens tight on space, open cabinet bases are ideal for additional storage of pots, pans and other supplies.
Refrigerator or Freezer Base Keep filets, toppings, frozen burger patties and more in your refrigerator or freezer base! With ingredients close by, cooks on the line can stay on the line for a more efficient kitchen.
There are a lot of different types of sinks in the back and front of house—all of which require a different type of faucet to suit your needs. It’s true that faucets range in both quality and versatility, so with a little planning ahead (and maybe slightly higher initial cost), you can protect yourself from costly plumbing calls later. Read on to find out the best way to equip these common types of sinks found in your back of house.
Sink Type: 3 Compartment Sink
Use: Pre-rinse unit with Add on Faucet/Wall Bracket
If you don’t have a dishwasher, chances are you use a 3-compartment sink to adequately wash, sanitize and rinse your dishes, glassware, cutlery and more. Used in small kitchens as well as bar areas, your health inspector will check to make sure you’re using an adequate sanitizer solution that meets manufacturer standards to adequately kill all bacteria from the surface.
While a pre-rinse hose is necessary for spraying off food and other debris left on your dishes, you’ll also need a faucet to fill your basins with water. Look for pre-rinse units that come with an add-on faucet with wall bracket and be sure that you measure the spout size required to reach all the bays on your sink.
Finally, because most municipalities do not allow you to attach to the main water line for sanitizer solutions, consider shopping for a faucet that accommodates an accessory Tee (like this one from T&S Brass). This simple item not only makes it easy to integrate chemical injectors like sanitizing solution in your 3 compartment sink, but it can also protect your warranty. The addition of this accessory could save you hundreds on plumbing jobs that requires access to an additional water source!
Sink Type: Dish Table Use: Pre-rinse faucet
Great for rinsing stuck-on food before hitting the dishwasher, a dish table needs just a simple pre-rinse unit to get the job done. And since there’s nothing to fill, there’s no need for an add-on faucet here! When shopping for pre-rinse units, be aware of the flow rate required by your municipality. Certain areas under water restrictions might require the additional purchase of an aerator or lower GPM spray valve to reduce the flow rate.
Sink Type: Hand Sink Use: Wall mount or deck mount faucet
Let’s be frank, hand sinks are typically equipped with lower-quality, “throwaway” faucets that might fail within a year. Before installing a new hand sink, consider investing in a higher quality wall mount or deck mount faucet that’ll last you a lifetime. Not only will it save you the cost of a new faucet itself, but replacing the faucet on these sinks require full removal from the wall and incur higher labor charges from your plumber—can you say cha-ching?
Now you have the chance to “pack your knives and go” wherever you want! With this 7-piece knife roll set from Victorinox®, you’ll be equipped to tackle any task in the kitchen. This professional cutlery set includes: a 3 1⁄4 inch paring knife, an 8 inch chef knife, a 9 inch offset bread knife, a 10 inch hollow edge slicing knife and a 9 inch sharpening steel all housed within an 9-pocket Cordura knife roll. Stamped out of high carbon stainless steel and featuring Victorinox®’s exclusive Fibrox handles for maximum stability, these knives are also dishwasher safe and slip-resistant! Hurry! Contest ends May 23, 2018!
I love Spring recipes. Maybe it’s because by this time of year I’m eager to spend time in the sun and eat something other than winter squash.
The sight of spring’s first vegetables like delicate pea tendrils, crisp lettuces and greens like arugula, green garlic, asparagus and more can be used in a variety of fresh dishes that’ll make customer palates soar.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes in the spring:
Pesto is incredibly versatile because you can make it with almost any kind of greens and nuts. This time of year you’ll find turnip greens, arugula, frisée, kale and much more. All of these greens make excellent pestos with nuanced flavors that range from delicate to sharp. The recipe is basic, and feel free to swap out the greens and nuts with whatever you prefer:
2 hearty handfuls of greens
¼ nuts (like pine nuts, walnuts, etc)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ grated parmesan
salt to taste
Perfect pesto relies on following a proper process, otherwise you greens might turn brown or your oil won’t emulsify.
Add the greens and nuts into a food process fitted with a blade attachment and blend together until it’s finely minced. Then, pulse and add the oil in a slow, steady stream to adequately incorporate the oil into your mixture. Finish with grated parmesan and a final chop to blend.
So easy and so delicious! Pair your pesto with pasta, or try it as a topping for roasted tomatoes and breadcrumbs. You can also add pesto to ground turkey for delicious pesto turkey burgers!
GREEN GARLIC PUREE
Green garlic isn’t something you can find year round, so I like to make the most of it when I can. Green garlic is just like your regular garlic, except it hasn’t fully matured; that means that your green garlic bulbs will vary in size and not feature any clove separation. Green garlic imparts a softer, delicate flavor making it the perfect accompaniments to pasta, mashed potatoes, frittatas and much more. What’s more, green garlic is often the result of farmers naturally thinning their crops, so you can not only enjoy this special springtime addition but you can also help your local farmers!
Make a purée out of your green garlic to create a delicious condiment that can be used on everything from fish to pasta and vegetables. Some like to add additional greens like spinach or kale to the purée for added body. I basically just add whatever I have on hand, but here is a rough guideline to help you out
1 bunch green garlic
1 bunch green onion
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Sauté the white parts of the green garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Meanwhile, blanch the green parts (and any other additional greens) in boiling water. Once tender, then immediately plunge into an ice bath to maintain that bright, green color. Add the blanched greens, sautéed garlic and salt to taste in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.
ROASTED BEET RAVIOLI
Beets are one of those “love ‘em” or “hate ‘em” vegetables. Once I discovered there was more to the root vegetable than the canned variety found in sad looking salad bars, I started to grow quite fond of them. When roasted with a little olive oil and salt, beets take on a deliciously sweet and earthy flavor that pairs well with preserved lemon and cheese.
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
¾ cup goat cheese
1 tablespoon preserved lemon
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
First: Roast the Beets
There are several methods to roasting beets. Usually I just take the beets and coat with olive oil, a little salt, and wrap each on in its own foil packet. Once the beets can easily be pierced with a fork, remove from the oven. Once cool, peel.
Second: Prepare Your Pasta Dough
Sure, you can make pasta the old fashioned way and build a little flour mound on the countertop, then carve out a small well and add your eggs there, slowly mixing everything together—but I don’t have time for that. Take it from me, stick everything in your food processor and give it a few pulses until the dough balls up on top of the blades. It’s fast, easy, and it’ll change your life. Plus, it’s easy to correct issues of the dough looks off. Too sticky? Add a touch of flour. Too crumbly? Add just a teaspoon to one tablespoon of water.
Take the dough out of the food processor and knead a few times on the counter. Let it rest for 30 minutes then roll out your pasta into flat sheets with the help of a pasta roller.
Third: Make a Filling
In a blender or food processor, add your beets, ricotta cheese, goat cheese, thyme, preserved lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until smooth.
Fourth: Make the Ravioli
There are lots of ways to make ravliolis. You can cut the dough into equal squares by hand, use a round cookie cutter, or opt for a ravioli stamp or tray to speed up the process. Lay one sheet down, spoon (or pipe) the filling into each section, then lay a sheet of pasta on top. Stamp or cut each ravioli and use your fingertips to seal the edges. Then, add to a pot of salted, boiling water. You’ll know they’re ready when they float to the top!
Dressing the cooked ravioli is easy. Keep it simple with a little olive oil and parmesan cheese, or make a browned butter sauce with thyme and shallot—get creative!
To discuss the U.S. food system is to wrestle a juggernaut. Full of rich complexities that are difficult to discern and dependencies that are too easy to overlook, one can’t help to feel like discussions fall into circular paths like a hamster on his wheel.
You might even say in one simple phrase, “The food system is broken.”
Part of the challenge to go local is that we are “recreating a food distribution stream from nothing” says Meyer. It’s simply easier to work with a single purveyor when it comes to your produce, protein and even supplies and equipment—but what can be said about quality or sustainable practices? Those are much harder to track in large-scale operations.
Many of those who want to go local simply don’t know where to start, because there’s no “how-to” guide in doing so. Finding local farms for the ingredients you need is challenging, and developing those relationships with smaller operations takes time. And depending on your geographic location, some foods just can’t be grown locally. In these situations you have to ask yourself, is it worth serving those juicy, heirloom tomatoes during a dark, cold December because your customer loves them? Lomax suggests that to succeed, you have to be flexible with your menus and adapt to seasonality. You can even use it as an opportunity to try new menu items or ingredients. De la Torre also suggests following the 2/3 rule, “Give them 2 things they’re comfortable about and jazz them with the 3rd.”
2. Going Local is Expensive
The rewards of going local means higher quality, fresher food that adhere to sustainability practices you support—but all of that comes at a price. The food might not need to travel as far, but local farmers face downward pressures of their own including years of historically low commodity prices, an aging demographic, and the high cost of labor.
Restaurateurs might relate to those challenges, but what about consumers?
Consumers have been conditioned by dollar menus which distort their perception of the true cost of food. Education on responsible and sustainable farming practices will be key to changing the way we think about food, which has been a longstanding pursuit of Daniel Asher (Chef and Partner of River and Woods, and Executive Chef/Founder of EcoChef Culinary Services). “$12 – $13 is the cost of an intelligent, mindful burger,” says Asher.
You may be surprised how much a customer is willing to pay for that arugula salad once they understand where and how it was grown, and why supporting the local economy is important. As a chef you have a platform—a menu—to educate customers on these important issues…and chances are, they’ll like you and your restaurant even more for it.
3. Going Local Means You Have to be Nimble
“If you don’t get sales, is it worth it?”
A pointed question to ask, but an important one. It’s tempting to be driven by price and convenience that comes with partnering with a large distributor. But when it comes to building a local food economy that supports local food for everyone, de la Torre reminds us, “No one remembers no smoking in bars. Right now, for one person it’s tough [to go local], but do it together and it’s a little better.”
Be nimble and work with farmers as a partner. When you share in the mutual risk with farmers, you can help alleviate some of the burden they face while also sharing in the rewards.