Category Archives: Restaurant Equipment

Food Trends are Toast!

oil painting of peanut butter on toast

Peanut Butter on Toast No. 3
5″ x 7″, oil on board
by Rosemary Lucy Consentino

Publications from San Francisco to London have called it so it must be true: the next big thing is toast. Artisanal toast. Since it’s selling at $3 to $4 per slice, it might just be the next big thing to boost your profit margin.

Think of toast as a vehicle for other delicious things and the possibilities become endless. Slice it Texas-sized or extra-thin and top it with freshly-churned butter, grandma’s homemade preserves, local honey, soft cheese and savory herbs. Cinnamon and sugar. Nutella.

Italy has been doing bruschetta and crostini topped with everything from tomatoes to prosciutto for thousands of years.

Of course, there’s an endless variety of breads for toasting! Basic white bread. Sprouted bread. Whole grain bread. Sweet cake-like breads. Breakfast breads with dried fruit already baked in. Toast is an American comfort food in its simplest form and it fits current consumer passions for handcrafted and highly-nutritious eats. Plus it’s portable and easy for snacking.

As a hip new menu item, toast has gotten a lot of criticism but, in reality, toast fits into every time of day and goes with everything from espresso to dinner. It’s easy to make and an easy investment. Even the smallest food service business can find the budget and counter space for a vertical toaster or toaster oven. When every guest acknowledges the greatness of toast, upgrade to a conveyor toaster that can toast dozens of slices in no time at all.

Make Your Restaurant More Energy Efficient

Refrigerators

refrigerator-uses-energy
Your faithful refrigerator is one of the hardest-working appliances in your home. It never gets a rest. If you get up in the middle of the night craving some tasty leftovers from that night’s dinner, the fridge has you covered. The Department of Energy estimates that 14 percent of a given household’s energy-usage can be credited to the home’s refrigerator. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can to maximize your refrigerator’s potential. There’s no way around the fact that it costs money to keep your food nice and fresh, but make sure you don’t spend a penny more than you have to.

Make sure the seals around the door are airtight

The seals around your refrigerator door are supposed to be airtight in order to maximize energy usage. If the seals are in any way loose, the refrigerator will not be able to maintain its set temperature. It will start fighting an uphill battle to keep cool. This battle will leave you with a more expensive energy bill at the end of the month, and also put more wear and tear on your refrigerator.

If you aren’t sure whether you have a leaky seal, check for condensation around the door (there shouldn’t be any). To be doubly sure, grab a flashlight, turn it on, and place it inside your refrigerator. Make sure it’s pointed out toward your kitchen. Shut the refrigerator door and look for any spots of light around the door seal. If any light escapes at all, this means your door seal is not airtight and should be replaced.

Unplug any secondary refrigerators

If you’re like most people, you own more than one refrigerator. Most likely, you keep the second one in the garage. Though you rarely keep more than a six-pack of beer and a few extra bottles of ginger ale in there, that doesn’t stop you from keeping the appliance plugged in at all times. You want your beer and ginger ale to be nice and cold for when their big moment comes. But now that you have a better understanding of how much energy refrigerators actually draw, you know that this is terribly wasteful behavior.

Unless the spare refrigerator is jam-packed with all kinds of perishable food, you should unplug that thing right now. It’s wasteful of electricity to operate a whole refrigerator for the benefit of only a handful of nonessential items. Even though the unit’s only 20 percent full, that doesn’t mean that at the end of the month you’ll only have to pay 20 percent for the electricity bill.

Open the refrigerator door as little as possible

t can get to be a habit, especially in the summer, to keep the refrigerator door open for minutes at a time while you decide what it is you want to eat. Sometimes you open the refrigerator with no real plan whatsoever. It’s just nice to have a rush of cold air run through your hair. But every time you open your refrigerator, letting cool air escape into the room, you’re giving your diligent appliance a lot of extra work to do. It takes much less energy for your refrigerator to maintain a set temperature than to play catch-up every time you leave the door open.

Get into the habit of deciding what items you want before opening the refrigerator door. This way you’ll be far less likely to linger in the hypnotic glow of the fridge interior.

Once you realize just how much energy your refrigerator is drawing from your house, you might even get the urge to lose the appliance altogether and replace it with an old fashioned ice box. There’s no need to go there. It’s easy to make your refrigerator more energy efficient, and that translates to more money in your pocket at the end of each month.

Chili's Rolling Out Pizzas, Flatbreads, Mexican

You may know them more for their Big Mouth Burgers and their “can’t get it out of your head” Baby Back Ribs commercials, but Chili’s has begun tackling three new territories this spring, as a set of pizzas have hit their lunch and dinner combo menu, new Mexican dishes are being tested, and flatbread sandwiches will start in May, Nation’s Restaurant News reports.

The four pizzas that you can order are

  • Southwest Chicken Pizza (“Topped with chile-rubbed grilled chicken, chipotle pesto, cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey and pepper Jack, green & red bell peppers, red onion and house-made pico de gallo. [This dish contains nuts.]“)
  • Taco Pizza (“Topped with seasoned ground beef, salsa, cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey and pepper Jack, red onion and cilantro with a drizzle of cumin-lime sour cream and house-made pico de gallo.”)
  • Pepperoni Pizza (“Topped with mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Parmesan and classic pepperoni.”)
  • Five-Cheese Pizza (“Topped with cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey and pepper Jack, Parmesan, diced tomatoes and green onions.”)

The pizzas are available on their $6 Lunch Break Combo menu and their $20 Dinner For 2 menu, and are focused in a new series of commercials. Chili’s is banking on their low-protein cost to be profit movers for the company.

The flatbread sandwiches will be coming in May, and have tested well with women. In addition to these, Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas and a Tex-Mex Combo Plate are currently being tested. If they are successful, they’d likely join the chain nationwide.

Rolling out new pizza dishes seems to be the highlight of many companies right now, with both Little Caesers and Pizza Hut launching new dishes. Could the big guys taking these pizza chances be a sign that you should start trying your own?