Monthly Archives: August 2018

More Accolades for Inside the Five Brewing Co.

Inside the Five Brewing Co.Fresh off their victory as the People’s Choice Award winner (and Judges’ Choice runner up!) at the Burger Bash earlier this month, Burkett customer Inside the Five Brewing Company earned a 4-star review in today’s edition of The (Toledo) Blade.

Burger Bash goers were treated to the IT5 burger while The Blade’s Bill of Fare sampled everything from burgers to saison-glazed salmon to bacon-wrapped jalapeno. And, of course, the brewpub’s “ever-changing list of microbrews pair well with the fare.”

The restaurant is in its first year and is owned by Chris Morris and Brandon Fields, two former NFL players who met during their time playing at Michigan State. Hence the clever name. Chris also went to high school with Burkett Business Development Manager Travis Lusky, which helped make Burkett his equipment dealer of choice. Read the full review by The Blade here and learn more about Inside the Five history and offerings by checking out their website here.

Top Ten Tips for Commercial Range Safety

cooking commercial rangeCommercial ranges are staple pieces of equipment in many commercial restaurants. Before operating any commercial range, be familiar with all safety precautions located in the manufacturer’s operating manual. Below are our top ten suggestions for burn prevention, fire safety, and general equipment safety.

10. Keep the range clean.

Residual grease and food particles may catch fire and quickly get out of control.

9. Be aware of hot surfaces.

Take care when cooking and avoid burns from hot surfaces or flames.

8. Keep protective equipment handy.

Keep pot holders and oven mitts handy. These are perfect for handling hot containers, pots, pans, and generally following safety precautions.

7. Never leave a hot range unattended.

It is important to monitor and be in control of the heat and the product being heated at all times while operating the equipment.

6. Be careful of equipment tipping over.

Ranges with light-gauge steel are often lighter and may tip easily, causing injury.

5. Never store items on top of a range.

Even if the range is off, never cover or clutter the range top. This creates a fire hazard.

4. Keep flammable items away.

Flammable liquids or chemicals should not be stored on or near surface of the range nor on the floors surrounding the range.

3. Keep the floors clean.

Be sure to clean up any grease or water spills on the floor near the range. This eliminates the possibility of slipping and falling onto hot surfaces.

2. Follow maintenance guidelines.

Know how to care for the commercial range. Replace the range when the overall structure is compromised due to warping, broken components or potential gas leak.

1. Be aware of gas leakage.

The flame emitting from a burner ought to be steady, quiet, and blue in color. A sputtering yellow flame may be problematic and require a certified technician’s help.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Restaurant Servers

Everyone knows what it’s like to go into a restaurant and have a bad experience. You have to wait 20 minutes before placing your drink order. You have to ask twice for a glass of water and on top of it all you were treated rudely. But aside from these obvious mistakes and oversights, what can a successful server do to rise above mediocrity and provide a great restaurant experience for the guests?

Restaurant ServerHere are seven tips on how to be an excellent server:

  1. Know the menu. When a customer asks you a question, they want a concise and instantaneous answer. To do this, you need to do your homework. Taste all of the dishes and beverages on the menu and if allergy or other dietary restrictions prevent you from doing this, ask a coworker for information and take notes. Always be able to provide menu information when it is requested. Customers expect you to know more about the menu than they do, and appreciate a bit of guiding to make the choice for their preferences.
  2. Know how to pace a meal. You can’t control every aspect of a meal’s pace, after all if the kitchen hasn’t finished making it you can’t deliver it. However, you can ensure that guests get their drinks in a timely manner and that they don’t receive their entrée right on top of their appetizers. Resist clearing plates before everyone has finished, many patrons feel rushed when this happens. The customer should not be aware of how you set the pace, and if done properly they will leave feeling contented and relaxed by the end of the meal.
  3. Be attentive, but not intrusive. A server must know how to strike the right balance when attending to a table’s needs. Customers feel uncomfortable when they have to chase a server down for any reason, and they feel equally awkward when lingering servers hover around tables with water pitchers. Use your eyes and ears to notice when a customer needs something, but otherwise let your customers have their space.
  4. Be perceptive. If you’re going to be a good server, you must have a knack for reading people. Some groups will appreciate a few jokes and a little chit-chat; others will want you to make yourself as invisible as possible. Some will want everything to move quickly; others would prefer not to feel rushed. Look for body language and listen for verbal cues and cater to each customer’s preferred dining style.
  5. Be adaptable. In addition to being able to adapt to the different personalities of your guests, you will need to adapt to situations as they arise. Although a server cannot control everything that happens in the restaurant, a smart server knows that quick thinking makes up for most unforeseen problems. Did the kitchen forget to leave out the onions from a guest’s salad? Offer a free drink or appetizer while they wait for the replacement to arrive. This will ensure the guest is still happy when it comes time to pay the bill.
  6. Keep your cool. Sometimes the kitchen makes mistakes. When this happens, a successful server should be able to keep a calm and collected demeanor throughout the ordeal. The key is to not allow the issue to affect the service of an entire section. You can’t win them all, but when things go wrong it is essential to not let them grow worse.
  7. Be courteous. Seems obvious, right? But what about if a customer is already upset when you approach the table for the first time? The quickest and truest remedy to this is using a few friendly words. For example, on an extremely busy night customers are likely to arrive at their table overly hungry, out of patience and looking for fast gratification. Approach the table with a smile and acknowledge their disparagement with a simple  “I’m sorry about the wait” and move on to collecting drink and appetizer orders.

Above all, customers want to feel that you actually care about their dining experience. Keep hospitality in the forefront of your actions and aim to create an exceptional experience for each and every guest.

Burkett Lends Helping Hand to Local Organization

Mom's House ToledoMom’s House, a non-profit childcare center in Toledo, OH that helps low-income, single moms graduate from high school, technical school and college, was recently burglarized and suffered more than $10,000 worth of damages.

The organization strives to positively influence the lives of two generations through education for both parent and child

Among the items stolen were appliances in the organization’s kitchen.

When Burkett Account Executive Nathan Beucler heard about the news, he said he knew he had to do something.

“Being that the burglars stole commercial cooking equipment, I knew I could help, so I reached out to our vendors that night.”

Panasonic 1054FSesco Food Service Equipment immediately responded to Nathan’s request and agreed to help donate a Panasonic 1054F commercial grade microwave.

“We are happy to help out an organization in their time of need, especially one like Mom’s House that means so much to their community,” said Ken Barr, territory manager at Sesco.

Although damages and losses totaled more than $10,000, Mom’s House Executive Director Christina Rodriguez said insurance claims only covered about 30-40% of the cost for the commercial kitchen appliances due to their age.

“Burkett has been amazing to us,” Rodriguez said. “They made the process so easy. That means the world to us because our bottom line and our budget are critical to us as a nonprofit. Every little bit helps.”

Burkett annually gives away more than $10,000 in monies, goods, and services to charities around the region.

“Mom’s House is a great charitable organization that does a good thing for families,” Beucler said. “I felt that I could try to give back, whether it be free products, discounted products and/or personalized service and delivery of what they needed.”

Rodriguez said she was impressed by the donation and even more so by Beucler personally delivering and installing the microwave at Mom’s House.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child, well, it also takes a village to support us so that we can better serve families and help raise children,” Rodriguez said. “Burkett is part of our village and we really appreciate it.”

How to Make a Successful Street Food Business in 3 Easy Steps

Whether it’s a stand, a truck, or a pop-up shop, the street food business is rolling. Whether as a side hobby or a full time job, there’s no reason you can’t get in on the action. And it can all be done in three easy steps. Yes, really!

Step One: Do your research

You will need to know what’s what when it comes to financing your operation, getting the proper permits and choosing the right location. Keep the following information in mind when getting your business started:

  • Financing: Though a food truck business will be significantly easier to finance than a brick-and-mortar establishment, you will still need to invest a good chunk of change into your food truck. Consider what kind of equipment you’ll need, and whether you’ll be able to make everything on-site or if you will need use of a kitchen. A great option for cash-strapped entrepreneurs is to rent or buy a used truck.
  • Permits: Sometimes you’ll need them, sometimes you won’t. It depends on what city you choose, and you will have to make sure that you aren’t breaking any rules or you could get slapped with a hefty fine. Here are the types of permits/licenses that you might need:
  1. Vending license: Most cities require that you obtain a vending or business license in order to start your business. There are some rare exceptions, such as in Florida where you do not need a license to sell pre-packaged food.
  2. Zoning permit: A zoning permit may be necessary depending on your location and how long you plan to be parked. If you plan to park with a group of trucks, sometimes a special zoning permit is needed for this as well.
  3. Health inspection: You will need to have your truck inspected by the health department to ensure that you are in compliance with local health laws.
  • Location: You’ll want to look into the existing market research on your city to find whether it is a good idea to open up a food truck business there. Cities like Los Angeles and New York are already fairly saturated with food trucks, so if possible it might be a better strategy to choose a mid-sized city where there is not as much competition. If you do decide to brave the streets of the big cities, make sure that your menu offers something unique and exciting to attract customers.
  • Parking: Most cities will have regulations that prevent parking in certain commercial districts or within a certain distance from brick-and-mortar establishments. Check the rules regarding parking near public parks and in residential districts in order to avoid tickets and run-ins with law enforcement. Choose a parking spot that works for your demographic. You might want to set up shop in a fixed location or, as is popular, let your Twitter followers know where you’ll be from day to day. It is also a good idea to talk to local business owners about setting up shop in their parking lots, which could help draw a decent lunch crowd and introduce your product to new customers.

Step Two: Make it a snack-tivity

Food isn’t just something to eat, it’s something to do. This is a tenet to keep in mind, especially if you want to appeal to millennials, who can get bored easily. This demographic is accustomed to a constant flux of information and when that flow stops they look around and ask, “Now what?” Tap into that sentiment, provide a few moments of entertainment for your customers and you’ll hit gold. How? Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer something fresh and new: You should have an original or specialized menu idea that sets you apart and draws attention. This is especially important if you are in a city that already has a number of other mobile vendors. Trucks that use organic, locally-sourced ingredients are popular, as are trucks that cater to the multi-ethnic sensibilities of the millennial generation. This is the recipe for success for Kogi, the Los Angeles-based Korean barbeque taco truck. Kogi has almost 150,000 followers on Twitter and attracts customers willing to wait in line for 45 minutes before getting their food. You can also post a special online daily, weekly, or however often your menu choices change. Keep it fresh and you’ll keep them coming back for more.
  • Change your location: Your customers, once they know how delicious your unique menu offerings are, will be excited to see what exotic new location you’ll be parking in each day. Utilize Facebook and Twitter to let them know where to find you. Perhaps you’ll bring them to a part of town they’ve never been to before, and perhaps they will discover something else that’s new and exciting while they’re trying out your new daily special.
  • Make friends with other food trucks: If you can arrange to park together, you will find that you can draw quite a crowd. Play music, hand out blankets for picnics, put your laptop on a chair and play episodes of a popular show that your target audience likes every Wednesday. Be creative! If you are less like a food court and more like a travelling party, customers will be more than willing to line up and wait.

Step Three: Branch out

No one says the only way to make money with a food truck is by selling food out of it. If you have a brick-and-mortar establishment, adding a food truck can help boost sales and increase visibility. Whatever your situation, there are plenty of profitable ways to use your food truck:

  • Bring your product to events: Many food truck businesses see increased sales by catering office lunches, bar/bat mitzvahs and even weddings. Heck, you can even stage your own events. How about a scavenger hunt that leads your customers to the truck’s latest location? Food truck patrons have shown that they are willing to put in the extra effort if there is an exciting reward waiting for them.
  • Sell more than just lunch: Have a special sauce that your customers just can’t get enough of? Try selling it online or at a local grocery store. Loyal patrons also might enjoy a t-shirt or a tote bag, especially if your truck sports a snazzy design.

When it comes to the modern food truck, the sky really is the limit. With some delicious food and little creativity you are sure to draw a crowd and see your profits soar.

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