Can You Still Yell ‘Opa’ if You Break a Glass?

May is quickly approaching, which means Mother’s Day is just around the corner!  You know mom wants to celebrate her special day with some adult beverages.  Maybe some mimosas with brunch or wine with dinner?  Your job as a restaurant/caterer is to make sure that you are prepared with enough stemware/glassware to appease mom’s order.  Glassware breaks weekly at most establishments so it is important to prepare ahead of time. 

Since you know you will have to buy more eventually anyways, why not buy a larger amount of glassware at once and save on future shipping costs?  For a limited time, you can purchase five or more cases of any variety of Libbey Glassware and receive 5% off your total Libbey glass purchase!  Choose from a large variety of stemware, decanters, bar glasses, shot glass, etc.  Mix and match to your hearts content.

Oh, and in answer to the question above regarding the yelling of “Opa” – of course you can!!

Libbey Glassware

Glassware and Decanters

Clean Your Establishment’s Carpet Without Any Added Noise Distractions

Happy Earth Day weekend!  What better way to celebrate Earth Day then a good down and dirty cleaning?   After all, no one wants to eat at a dirty restaurant so it’s imperative that your floors are clean.  Now that the weather is warmer, people are spending more time outdoors and therefore tracking more mud and dirt with them when they go inside.  I love the environment just as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean that I want the carpet in my dining room to have dirt crusted into it!  There are health department codes after all!

Vacuuming can be loud and you don’t want to be forced to have to vacuum while you have guests dining.  It’s just not the most appetizing thing to watch while you’re eating.  Carpet sweepers are a great way to avoid the loud vacuum noise for spot checking when someone spills something.  The Huskee Carpet Sweepers from Continental Manufacturing are very quiet and perfect for use while customers are eating because they are not distracting and they don’t have to be plugged in while in use.  

Huskee Carpet Sweepers from Continental Manufacturing

Huskee Floor Carpet Sweeper

What Better Time Then Mother’s Day for Some Musical Chairs?

 Today’s post is everybody’s favorite wedding topic!  Get your head out of the gutter, I’m talking about chairs!!

Most catered events such as Easter, Mother’s Day or weddings in general involve some sort of sit down meal.  Most people feel that if you are going to have a sit down meal, it would be appropriate to supply chairs as well.  I know we all love squatting to strengthen our quads, but generally, a fancy brunch or evening event is not the time to get in a workout.

Some people choose to rent chairs and tables, but in all honesty, when you rent you don’t really know what you are getting.  Besides that, odds are you are involved in an establishment that will use said chairs again in the near future so why go through the additional hassle?

If you are looking for some multi-purpose chairs, check out the Maywood Stacking Chairs.  They are classy and sophisticated, but still can be packed nicely in storage space.  They Max Chairs are also great for using with chair covers on those special days, while the Chiavari Chairs are elegant all on their own and are offered in both basic and metallic colors.

After all, what event isn’t complete without a solid game of musical chairs?! (That’s a joke…)

Maywood Stacking Chairs

Maywood MMAXWH - Max Chair, stacking, resin, permarez finish, whiteMaywood MMAXCHWHT - Max Chiavari Stacking Chair, resin, white

A Quick Way to Heat Up Food On The Go

How can you not be a fan of the microwave oven?  It’s a huge convenience when you are catering events and you just need to heat up something quickly.  Often times you cater events where you don’t have access to any type of cooking equipment or kitchen, and therefore must prepare everything ahead of time.  However most catered meals generally involve some sort of hot food.  You don’t want to serve that hot food cold so you will need some type of portable heating source.  Since you can’t really bring a six burner induction range with you (not exactly travel friendly), one way to work around this dilemma is to bring a compact commercial microwave oven as a source of last minute heating.

The Compact Commercial Microwave Oven from Panasonic has a key touchpad with 10 different programmable memory buttons.  These ten memory pads have the capacity to hold up to 20 different “quick pick” programmable options!  This microwave oven offers 6 different power levels so you can do everything from defrost to cook.  This stainless steel microwave comes with a door handle rather then a button to easily open the see through oven door. Fun fact: the door hinges alone are tested 400,000 times – that’s not a number you joke about!  

Compact Commercial Microwave Oven from Panasonic

Panasonic NE-1054F - Compact Commercial Microwave Oven- 1,000 Watts

 

What Kind of Feel Do You Want Your Buffet To Have?

We are approaching Spring, which means Easter, Mother’s Day, Wedding Season and other days where buffets just seem like a great idea!  True, you can throw a few plates on a counter, put some plastic forks in them, and call it a buffet, but do you really want to be remembered for the crappy buffet and minimal effort you put into your event?  That is a rhetorical question in case you are wondering…

When it comes to spicing up your buffet, you have a lot of different options.  Now you don’t want any parched or dehydrated guests so let’s start with the drinks.  Nothing ruins a buffet more then a trip in an ambulance…  As far as beverages go, you should first be aware of your audience and what time of day it is so you know whether you should serve alcohol, soda, juice, water, etc.  Juice Dispensers are a great option because they eliminate some of your wait staff needs.

It may sound trivial, but you should also consider the atmosphere and hospitable feel that your buffet will give off.  For example, do you want a relaxed environment with bamboo platters, a fancy environment with chafing dishes or griddle serving pans, or a rustic feel where food is served straight from cast iron pans? 

American Metalcraft has some great buffet items for you to choose from to help you determine the look and feel of the atmosphere you want.  I’ve highlighted a couple of my favorite American Metalcraft Buffet Items so make sure to check them out!

American Metalcraft Buffet Items

 

Nothing More Gross Then Someone Sneezing/Breathing All Over Your Food…

It’s a Leap Year!  Are you going to celebrate?  Maybe your establishment is hosting a special buffet for the big day?  Or maybe you didn’t even realize it was a Leap Year and you just like to host buffets in general.

Regardless of your reason for having a buffet, it’s a good idea to have Sneeze Guards cover your buffet food.  Sneeze Guards are a pretty self explanatory concept.  They keep germs out of the food (ie: people sneezing all over something – ew gross…), yet still allow people to access the dishes and serve themselves.  If you are an establishment that often changes your buffet or do a lot of catering, a portable buffet sneeze guard is a great option.  The Portable Buffet Sneeze Guards from Buffet Enhancements are a great option because they can fold and make storage a cinch.  They also come in a variety of sizes, yet still remain in most price ranges.

Portable Buffet Sneeze Guards from Buffet Enhancements

Sneeze Guards

What’s a Tortilla Chip Without Guacamole?!

 What better way to celebrate the Mardi Gras season the tortilla chips?  For some reason, they always go hand in hand (well in addition to beer).  If you’re going to eat tortilla chips though, you are not going to want them to be cold.  Since most restaurants prepare their chips ahead of time, it’s important to make sure that they are still served warm and fresh tasting.  No one wants a stale chip after all.

A great way to keep your chips warm without overcooking or burning them is with a chip warmer.  The 22 Gallon Chip Warmer from Vulcan is made of stainless steel, comes with a removable heating module for easy cleaning, and can maintain the ideal 140 degrees F – 190 degrees F.

Don’t forget the salsa and guacamole!

Delicious Guacamole Recipe:

  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 1/2 Onion, minced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 Serrano Chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs Fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp Coarse salt
  • 1/2 Ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
  • Black pepper for seasoning

22 Gallon Chip Warmer from Vulcan

Vulcan VCD22 - Chip Warmer- 22 gallon capacity

Why Purchase a Flaker Ice Machine?

 Happy almost Valentines Day! In honor of Valentines Day, we thought we’d change up the ice machine topic just a bit.  We tend to talk about cuber ice machines a lot, but today I thought we’d change it up a bit and discuss flaker ice machines!  I know change can be hard to deal with, but don’t worry, we will make your transition for the day as seamless as possible ;).  

Anyways…Unlike cube ice, flake ice is great for using to aid food storage in coolers, plastic bags for seafood, etc.  For example, when people order fresh seafood such as shrimp, mussels, crab, lobster (anything in the shellfish family really) from a seafood counter, it is generally served on ice.  The best type of ice to serve these items with is flaked ice because it allows for the largest amount of surface area to be covered in ice in order to chill the food rather then freeze it.  Flaked ice is also great for chilling other restaurant supplies and even medical supplies.

The 213 lb. Flaker Ice Machine and Bin from Ice-O-Matic can prepare up to 400 lbs of ice, and store up to 213 lbs to use later.  This stainless steel machine is great for smaller establishments, and comes with a variety of space saving solutions.  

213 lb. Flaker Ice Machine and Bin from Ice-O-Matic

Ice-O-Matic EF250A38S - 213 lb. Flaker Ice Machine and Bin

Manitowoc vs Scotsman Ice Machine Super Bowl

 It’s almost Super Bowl Sunday!  Which team will you be rooting for?  Do you have enough drinks and food to go around? You may have enough drinks, but do you have enough ice to keep all of those drinks cold?

Restaurant Source is having our own version of the Super Bowl: Manitowoc vs Scotsman Ice Machines!  Choose from a variety of ice machines and bins from your preferred vendor. Don’t know which vendor you prefer?  Check out the information below to determine which machine suits your needs the best, rather then just basing it on which vendor name you like better…

Scotsman and Manitowoc are the two largest commercial ice machine manufacturers.  They both produce dependable, efficient, and durable models, so how do you choose between them?

Manitowocis best known for its ease of repair.  No machine is perfect, and is therefore bound to break down at some point.  The evaporator plate is the most important component of any ice maker.  If this breaks, you want to make sure that it is easy to get to for repairs.  Manitowocice machines have an easily accessible evaporator.  Manitowoc plates are coated with nickel whereas Scotsman evaporator plates are coated with tin.  Many restaurant owners tend to prefer the nickel coated evaporators.

On the other hand, Manitowoc machines are much easier to clean (yes, you HAVE to clean any ice machine you purchase). These machines have a cleaning process that takes less then 30 minutes to finish.

Regardless of which factor is most important to you, you will be making a good investment with both Scotsman or Manitowoc machines.  This two vendors/teams should make for a good Super Ice Bowl matchup!

Manitowoc vs Scotsman Ice Machines


Key Points to Consider When Shopping for a Commercial Refrigerator/Freezer

 Unless you run an outdoor kitchen in Antarctica or are a conservative Amish (in which case you probably don’t have a computer so you wouldn’t be reading this), you probably need some sort of refrigeration unit to keep your inventory from spoiling. 

Luckily, you can choose from a variety of chilling mechanisms including walk-in refrigerators/coolers, undercounter refrigerators, bottle/plate chillers, and reach-in refrigerators, etc.  Walk-in’s are perfect for storing a large amount of prep ingredients and prepared food at once (almost every restaurant regardless of size has one of these as well as a walk-in freezer).  Undercounter refrigerators are smaller and tend to come with a prep table of some sort above them.  These are great for storing ingredients such as garnishes or breakable things that you may want readily available so you don’t have to worry about carrying them around the kitchen (ie: eggs). They are also a great way to maximize prep kitchen space.  Bottle/plate chillers are perfect for storing your bottles and plates in order to ensure your cold drinks are actually still cold by the time they get to the table.

Reach-in refrigerators are the most versatile because they can be placed anywhere and allow you to see your food at face level.  Reach-in’s are also great for storing smaller amounts of prepared items so they won’t get lost in your walk-in. Some establishments choose to separate their more perishable or delicate ingredients in to their reach-in rather then there walk-in.  It also helps to divide up your refrigeration space so that the doors are not being opened as often and therefore allow you to conserve colder temperatures inside your refrigerators because the air is not constantly escaping out.

RestaurantSource.com is having a HUGE sale on the G20010 Traulsen 2 Section Reach-In Refrigerator and the G22010 Traulsen 2 Section Reach-In Freezer.  These ENERGY STAR approved stainless steel model has six shelves and the capacity to hold 46 cubic ft of items.  Plus, FREE SHIPPING!

Traulsen 2 Door Refrigerator and/or Freezer

2 Door Reach-In Refrigerator

Party with Party Pack Dinnerware

 I don’t know about you, but to me, there is just something so welcoming about walking into a restaurant with colorful décor.  It makes you feel right at home. Colorful plates add a nice change from the all white plates that most restaurants use.  Some restaurants choose to use a few matching colors, whereas others go with a variety of colored plates.

Dinnerware may seem like a trivial matter, but in reality, if your restaurant stands out just by using accent colored plates, customers are more likely to remember your restaurant in the future because it had something different then the basic ceramic white plates that most other restaurants use. The Party Packs from Diversified Ceramics come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are perfect for side dishes, desserts, sauces, individual casseroles, etc.  I think that the Fry Pan Server Party Packs are really fun!  They are a great way to prepare individual casseroles to serve to your customers.  They make plating easy and the colored plates help make it even more appealing.  The Welsh Rarebits are great for pasta side dishes such as Macaroni and Cheese or pasta salad.  Check out the full Party Pack line!

Party Packs from Diversified Ceramics

Party Packs

You Have to Serve Your Customer’s Drinks in SOME Sort of Container, Why Not a Glass?

 Obviously you have to have some sort of container to put your liquids in while drinking.  You don’t want to sit at the table and just pass the bottle of soda around to everyone to drink out of whenever they are thirsty now, do you?  To avoid this potential germ fest, make sure you invest in plenty of glassware.

If you are looking for some high quality glassware that will not only last a long time, but is also affordable, check out Libbey Glassware.  Libbey manufactures a large variety of great glassware options, but you may want to move fast before all of their prices increase this February!  Obviously you don’t want to serve wine in beer mugs, water in wine glasses, soda in martini glasses, etc.  Make sure your bar is prepared to serve all different types of drinks in glasses that are not broken or scratched.

Choose from all different kinds of glassware, pitchers, and other glass items from Restaurant Source and save an ADDITIONAL 5% off the old 2011 prices until 1/13/2012.

Libbey Glassware

Start Out The New Year With Clean Dishes!

 I hope everyone had a good holiday weekend and is gearing up for the new year!  Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to clean up!  All of those dirty dishes can be overwhelming if you have to wash them by hand.  To make this daunting task a lot more manageable, make sure you are using a dish washer to sanitize your dishes.

If you have a high volume commercial restaurant, you will most likely have a person who operates the dish pit in order to scrub all the grime/residue off of your dishes. In order to sanitize all of these dishes after they are washed, you will also need a commercial dish machine. Even if you are not a high volume establishment, but you do enough dishes that a three compartment sink is not enough, you will still need a dish machine. An easy to use dish machine is ideal in this situation since you don’t employee an actual person to wash your dishes and operate the machinery.

Often times, dish pits are tight on space, therefore making an undercounter dish machine ideal.  The Avenger Low Temperature Undercounter Dishwasher from Jackson is great because it operates at a lower temperature, and it is ENERGY STAR approved. It also fits easily into the space underneath your sinks/counters so you don’t have to worry about additional dish room space. 

This low temp model is made of stainless steel and has space for 24 racks of dishes, allowing it to wash up to 600 dishes or 864 glasses per hour! It only uses 1.2 gallons of water per rack, making your water bill cheaper in the long run (and we all know how much I like saving money). This model has a built in detergent and rinse pump so your employees don’t have to worry about adding extra liquid. The simple controls and push button start is easy for anyone to operate regardless of what language they speak.  The cycle only takes two minutes, and the unique timer also allows the machine to be customized for extended cycle times should you need additional washing.  Sanitizing dishes doesn’t get much easier then this, just rinse and load…Free shipping too!

Avenger Low Temperature Undercounter Dishwasher from Jackson

Jackson AVENGER LT - Avenger Undercounter Dishwasher- Low Temp

Red Wine vs White Wine Glasses

 Are you ready to get your drink on this holiday season?  Well, I like to think of the holidays as a sophisticated time, aka a great time to drink wine!  A lot of the fun in drinking wine though is the whole experience that comes along with it.  It’s just not the drinking, it but also the swirling of the liquid and the “tasting with your nose” concepts that make you feel so classy when participating.

When serving wine though, you don’t want to serve a bunch of mismatching glasses.  Wine is one of those things that if you are going to serve it, you want to serve it right.  Go big or go home I say.  If your wine glasses don’t match, your restaurant or catered event will look unprepared and lack that air of sophistication that you are aiming for.  Restaurant Source has highlighted a whole slew of Libbey wine glasses this holiday season including the Bristol Valley, Embassy, Citation, Vina, and Stemless lines so you can ensure that all of your glasses match.  You can choose from red wine or white wine glasses as well as shape, volume and whether you want your glasses to have a stem. 

A wine glass generally has three main parts: the base, the stem and the bowl.  Yes, there is a difference in red and white wine glasses.  You don’t want to serve your delicious wine in the wrong kind of glass and have your customers/guest correct you.  How embarrassing! Red wine glasses are generally wider in order to allow the wine to oxidize.  Oxidation occurs in red wine when oxygen comes into contact with the liquid, and therefore enhances the taste and aroma.   The wider glasses allow more of the wine to come into contact with the oxygen because the liquid itself has a larger exposed surface area.

While white wine glasses are similar, they are constructed to serve a different purpose.  The bowl of the glass is not as wide as red wine glasses because white wine is not meant to oxidize.  The more narrow bowls allow a smaller amount of surface area to come in contact with the air.  White wine glasses are also meant to be held by the stem so that your body temperature does not effect the chilled temperature of the wine.

Libbey Wine Glasses

Vina Wine Glasses

Largest Commercial Blender on the Market

 Every kitchen needs a blender for one thing or another.  It could be for your bar or it may just be for your back of the house prep needs.  Regardless of your purposes, commercial restaurants tend to need more heavy duty blenders then a blender you would use at home. 

Most blenders hold up to 48 oz, but the Waring 1 Gallon Blender holds up to one full gallon (just in case you couldn’t guess that by the product title), which is 128 ounces.  You no longer have to prepare multiple batches of blended sauces because this container is big enough to do it all at once, therefore making it a huge time saver (which is always a good thing in a prep kitchen)!  This Waring blender container is made of stainless steel and is extremely heavy duty.  It has three speed options and two handles.  Even though the container is made of stainless steel, you can still see through the clear polycarbonate lid from the top.  It’s perfect for making all of that homeade salsa or dip that your restaurant is so famous for!

Waring 1 Gallon Blender

Waring CB15 - 1 gal. Food Blender w/ S/S Container- 3 Speeds

Commercial Restaurant Ranges vs. Professional Style Ranges for the Home

 Ever wonder what the difference is between an actual commercial restaurant range and a professional style range for your home kitchen?  Although these two may look the same, there are differences in each that make it hard to justify substituting one for the other in either setting.

Commercial restaurant ranges are often less expensive then the home version of a restaurant style range.  Why you ask?  A commercial kitchen is made up of mainly stainless steel appliances, therefore there are no flammable materials around them like there would be in a home.  Commercial ranges require you to take slightly more precautions because they produce more heat into the surrounding area.  On the other hand, all home appliances are specially designed to be safely surrounded by wood cabinets, laminate countertops, etc.  These extra precautions that are involved in the home version of restaurant style ranges, require additional costs which is why they are more expensive.

Commercial ranges have a pilot burner that is always on, therefore causing more heat, whereas professional style ranges for your home often have electronic spark igniters that are only turned on when you use the range.  Home range burners have a lower BTU level which also keeps the heat level in the room in check.  The knobs on commercial ranges often get hotter then the knobs on professional style ranges for the home because there is no insulation in them, whereas the home version stove tends to be insulated and therefore stays cooler to the touch. 

All of this being said, the 6 Burner Vulcan 36” Gas Restaurant Range is a great commercial restaurant model option.  It also comes with bright red knobs that appeal more in a fully stocked stainless steel kitchen.

6 Burner Vulcan 36” Gas Restaurant Range

Vulcan V36-1 - 36" Economy Gas Restaurant Range- 6 Burners

Zenix Dinnerware is Virtually Unbreakable!!

 A good rule of thumb for a new restaurant is to purchase four times the number of dining room seats in dinnerware.  So if you have a 100 person capacity restaurant, you would purchase 400 dinner plates.

It is safe to say that most restaurants break about 20 – 25% of their plates at some point while in business.  Knowing this, restaurants purchase more dinnerware to begin with in order to plan ahead for the inevitable breakage.  Imagine if you didn’t have to worry about broken dishes.  You could save 25% on your dinnerware expenses!

If you want to save money when purchasing dinnerware (and why wouldn’t you), check out the Zenix Unbreakable Dinnerware from Cardinal.  This line of dinnerware is without a doubt virtually unbreakable.  You can throw it across the room, drop it on the hard floor, run into another person, etc and it won’t break!  If you don’t believe me, check out this video where we show steel balls being dropped onto Zenix plates without even leaving a scratch!

Now for a limited time, you can actually receive cash back for donating to charity this holiday season!  Donate your old dinnerware to a local charity, and replace it with Zenix.  Receive $1 for every plate you donate and replace with a Zenix model on behalf of Restaurant Source and Cardinal!  Just fill out and submit this form.  You can also call Restaurant Source at 1-800-765-0274 for donation place recommendations or if you need any further assistance.

Note: If you own a Greek restaurant that yells Opa! and breaks plates for show, don’t buy Zenix…

Zenix Unbreakable Dinnerware from Cardinal

Zenix Dinnerware Line

How Do You Burn Yourself with a Wet Dish Rag You Ask?

  Obviously you can’t just take a hot pan out the oven without any sort of protection between your skin and the pan (at least I hope that is obvious to you…).  Sure, you can use kitchen rags to grab your pans, and yes, they are convenient, but often times your dish rags get wet, and using a wet rag to take a hot sheet pan out of the oven is like shooting yourself in the foot.  It’s just asking for an injury…

A great way to prevent yourself from potential burns with wet rags is to use oven mitts.  After all, oven mitts are rarely mistaken for rags and used to wipe up wet spills.  Since you are constantly taking things out of the oven, you don’t want just any oven mitt.  You will need something heavy duty and durable.  The Brown Halco Kitchen Grip Oven Mitt allows for heat protection at up to 500°F, and is made of flexible, non porous material so it won’t absorb and hold liquid like that of a rag, therefore highly diminishing your chance of getting burned.

Brown Halco Kitchen Grip Oven Mitt

Browne Halco 5441802 - Kitchen Grip Oven Mitt

HAPPY CYBER MONDAY!!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and has a fully stocked refrigerator full of leftovers to make the Thanksgiving aftermath extra special!  Leftovers aren’t the only Thanksgiving tradition that takes place after Thanksgiving is over.  We can’t forget the famous (or infamous depending on your definition) Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales!

Restaurant Source already had a great Black Friday sale this past Friday, and now we are on to Cyber Monday today so make sure to check out the website today for huge savings! Save big on Cardinal Zenix products, New Age, Star, Pitco-Frialator, Toastmaster, Image Flatware, Prestige Glassware, Walco, and Browne-Halco.  Restaurant Source has decided to extend the Black Friday sale to be included in Cyber Monday as well, so you can also save big today on Scotsman, True, Turbo-Air and Delfield!