GYB Trends and Tips

10 Tips to Ensure You’re Purchasing the Right Restaurant Equipment

It’s a restaurateurs worst nightmare. You’ve spent months (perhaps years) preparing for your grand opening. You’ve selected the theme of your restaurant,  picked the perfect location for success, and created a killer menu. While these are all vital steps in opening a restaurant, many owners overlook the importance of selecting the correct equipment. This oversight can lead to failed inspections and delays in your opening.  Here are 10 ways to make sure that you do not fall into this situation.

1- Talk to Your Local Health Inspector! Have a firm understanding of  the laws in your area and purchase accordingly. “Customers always ask if a particular item needs to be under a hood- they shouldn’t be asking us. They need to ask their local health inspector because it depends on where they are located and what specific health laws need to be obeyed.” – Felicia Mysinger, Bi-lingual Sales Consultant.

2- Talk to a Consultant! By communicating your needs and your business specifications your Consultant will verify that the equipment is the correct size and has the correct connection requirements. You may know what you WANT, but do you know what you NEED? That’s where a Consultant will come in and walk you through the steps to ensure a perfect transaction.

3- Follow the Instructions! If the instructions say “Professional Installation is Required” please heed this. So often we find out that equipment has been damaged making the warranty void because an owner thinks they can save a few dollars by installing the equipment themselves. (This also means do not hire an unlicensed handy man!)

4- Consider Your Usage!  While sometimes a lower priced product is just a lower price product, often it is a light duty piece of equipment that was never intended to withstand the rigors of a demanding restaurant kitchen. A product that may be a bit more expensive, on the other hand will generally be of comprised of better quality components and offer longer warranties. Know your usage and purchase accordingly.

5- Inspect Your Delivery! Would you take possession of a car without inspecting it for damages first? Of course not! We hope you’re doing the same when you accept a True® Refrigerator from a freight company. It is extremely important that you OPEN THE PACKAGE and inspect the product for package- don’t just inspect the outside of it. According to the policies of many carriers, once you sign for your shipment you are releasing them from all liability pertaining to the delivery of the package. So PAY ATTENTION and don’t feel rushed by the deliverer to just sign off without inspecting first. You can also ask your Consultant about insuring your shipment that will protect you from concealed damage (damages that you cannot see but occur as a result of the shipping)

6- Know Your Utility Requirements– Electric, Gas or Propane! Before you order a Range or Walk-In Cooler, ask your building contractor what voltage and phase your building has. It may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we get asked “Should I purchase a gas or electric unit?” The right question though is- “Does your building have a gas or electric supply?”

7- Understand the Function of the Equipment! An ice bin is not the same as an ice machine. The former holds ice and the latter makes ice. It’s small assumptions like this that can cost a restaurateur big bucks in the long run, so read the product description and ask your Consultant for more information if you are still unsure. Make sure the product is capable of holding the necessary capacity. Remember, it is always better that the equipment has a larger capacity than a smaller one.

8- To Warranty or Not to Warranty! Warranties are important but do not assume that anything that can go wrong with a product will be covered. Read the fine print, follow instructions, and take the proper steps to ensure that if there is a problem with your product it can be covered by the warranty. Generally a manufacture offers a one-year warranty but you can upgrade to a long-term one that will cover the product for up to 5 years.

9- SPACE! Please review the spec sheet and measure the space where you will place the product. A fraction of an inch is all it takes to keep it from perfectly fitting. Another thing to consider is, do you have room for the equipment? You may want a new Espresso Machine for your Italian Bistro, but where will it go? You can do one of two things: Pick a product then designate a space for it OR Designate a space and then pick out a product that will fit.

10- Accessories! Accessories! Accessories! What accessories will you need to optimize the functionality of the equipment. For example when purchasing a griddle, you should also purchase a Nemco Grill Scrapper to help you clean it. It is a very large scrapper and therefore will cover a larger surface area than your standard grill scrapers. This simple accessory will give you a quicker turn over and therefore allowing you to make more money!  If you are purchasing a new Fryer, it is also recommended that you purchase a new gas hose to go with it. Specifically a “quick disconnect.” It is a simple accessory that is preferred by health inspectors in order to improve the functionality and cleanliness of the product.

We  hope you will consider these 10 factors before purchasing restaurant equipment. They should help mitigate the risks of having to make a product exchange or return. After all, the last thing you want is to delay your opening because you need to reconfigure your kitchen.

Did we miss any important tips? Don’t keep them to yourself! Share your comments below please!

GYB Trend: Should Your Restaurant Get Its Groupon?

We’re sure you’ve heard a lot of talk these days about the growth and influence of Groupon, but is it worth it for your business?

Groupon is a website that offers deal-of-the-day promotions from different businesses (restaurants, salons, bowling alleys, bookstores, etc…) specifically catered for 100’s of cities in the United States, as well as abroad. Here’s how it works:

  1. At midnight a Groupon is offered for 24-72 hours (deals on Friday are generally available through the weekend) in the city that your business is located
  2. If a certain number of people sign up for the offer, the deal becomes available to all, otherwise no one gets the deal that day.
  3. In return, Groupon then receives a cut of the deal from the retailers.

Like any marketing technique there are positives and negatives associated with enrolling your business in the Groupon offers. Let’s take a quick look at a few of those risks and benefits before deciding on whether or not your business should get its Groupon. The negatives include,

  1. A successful deal could temporarily swamp your business with too many customers. This could leave customers unsatisfied, or that there won’t be enough product to meet the demand. There have been many stories of nail salons being understaffed and sushi restaurants that run out of rice on a overly busy Saturday night. These scenarios could make these potential repeating customers into one-time disappointed customers.
  2. The Groupon is discounted by at least 50%. Then Groupon receives 50% of the sale, leaving you with only 25% of what you would usually make on a product or service.
  3. Because Groupon’s are offered daily and many competing websites have popped up- some people will not return to the business without a deal. Customers begin to think, “Why eat at business X, without a deal when business Z is offering a deal?,” or that they would rather wait until you offer a Groupon deal before they come in.
  4. You will not receive your new clients contact information (i.e. Email, phone number, mailing address)

On the other hand there are plenty of positive reasons for your business to get its Groupon:

  1. Groupon does all the advertising for you and you only pay if and when you attract purchasers.
  2. For the most part, you are guaranteed a rush of new customers.
  3. Groupon users typically spend more than the value of their original Groupon (I can personally attest that I have spent more than the Groupon’s value EVERY time I redeem it)
  4. Thousands of Groupon subscribers will receive an email about your business- some will buy some will not, but EVERYONE will see it.

When you consider the risks and benefits of Groupon, the benefits definitely outweigh the risks. Here are two tips to make your Groupon experience a successful one:

  1. The value of the Groupon should not cover 100% of the cost of the meal. If the average bill for 2 diners at your establishment is $28- offer a $20 deal for $10. You lose a portion of the first $20 to the advertising, but the rest is yours to keep.
  2. Put a limit. If your business cannot handle 1000 patrons, limit the number of Groupon’s you are offering. Limited Quantity Groupon’s are also highly desirable. Since the buyer does not know the preset quantity, they are more likely to make an impulse buy so they do not miss out on the deal.
  3. Encourage these new clients to LIKE your Facebook and Twitter pages to keep them up-to-date on other promotions and info about your business.

In the end, it’s great advertising, just be aware of the risks to make sure you optimize your experience.

Has your business participated in Groupon? Tell us about your experience and what tips you have for other business owners.

GYB Trend: 2011 Restaurant Trends and How They Can Benefit Your Business

As the final days of 2010 dwindle, it is the perfect opportunity to analyze future trends in restaurant growth and development. Just about every food related website, magazine, and firm have compiled lists highlighting their predicitons for 2011. Some of the trends can be easily incorporated into your existing business, while others may require a bit of creativity to do so.

Here, I present a limited list of all of those predictions and how you can incorporate them into your existing business:

1- Pies: You heard right, the prediction is that pies will make a big splash in the entrepreneurial world, in the same way that cupcake shops have for the last few years. For example, Hill Country Chicken in New York introduced a “Pie Hour” where they showcase a variety of pies. Dig up your family recipes and start introducing pies at your restaurant or cafe. Do your family and friends rave about your homemade pies? Consider taking that plunge and opening a storefront bakery specializing in pies. Fresh and innovative ingredients, reliable equipment, and great publicity are a surefire recipe for success! Because come on, everyone loves pie!

2- Mom and Pop Shops- These are the kind of shops that you go to and you see the family working everyday. While it can be time-consuming and exhausting, your constant presence helps to build a rapport with your customers that make them want to come back not only to experience your great food, but to see you. Not to mention, when your working at your business, it means you do not have to pay for another employee. Many restaurants and cafes around the country survive as well as excel on this principle.

3- One Ingredient Recipes- Take an ingredient: hot dogs, pizza dough, or whatever you love and take it to the next level. Get creative with one ingredient and discover how many different ways you can serve it up! Think Food Network’s Iron Chef America. One ingredient, Five dishes.

4- Multi-Purpose Spaces- It is expected that many owners will incorporate shopping into their restaurants. Do you have a large restaurant with open space? Encourage a small business, that compliments your business to set up shop inside your store. Do you know an online boutique owner? By collaborating, you can both take advantage of one location (including it’s operating costs) and each other’s customers. Open a small Asian market in your sushi restaurant, or Latin market in your Latino restaurant. Those are just two examples of multi-purposing your business. Think creative!!

5- Fried Vegetables- Everyone knows that Americans struggle to eat their vegetables- except one- FRENCH FRIES! Put a potato on a plate, and it can be just another bland vegetable, but deep fry it and now you’re talking! Why just stop there? If your company already has a deep fryer, add cauliflour, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, green beans…. to your menu (Don’t have a deep fryer? Check out Burkett Restaurant Equipment for current promotions on Star Deep Fryers.

6- Value Dining- We’ve all seen the ads on TV and in our local paper,
Two Meals+One Appetizer=$20 and people are frequentng these restaurants in exceedingly high numbers. This trend can be easily incorporated at your restaurant. Pick 4-5 appetizers and 4-5 entrees that people can combine for an affordable price.

7- Children’s Nutrition- Fried Food, microwaved pasta, dethawed pizza seem to be the featured foods on just about every restaurant’s children’s menu. Simply stated- It’s junk food that you would never order for yourself, but order it for your kids. Offer more healthy options!

8- Social Media and Technology– Social media has become one of the most effective and easiest ways to reach a broad range of customers instantly. Not tech-savvy? Get in touch with a social media agency that can offer inexpensive service for your business. Look for an agency that knows and understands your target customers and who will give you one-on-one in person attention. A Social Media Agency could acquire a 1000 followers for your local restaurant, but if they all live in Timbuktoo, what was the point of your social media campaign? Your failure to innovate with social media, could be your business’s biggest blunder this year.

9- Smaller Portions for Smaller Prices- This is my favoirte one. Have you ever gone to a pasta restaurant and for about $16, you get enough pasta to feed a family of four? Yet, this serving is for one person. Cut your portions in half, your customers pocketbook, and waistline will appreciate it! I guarantee, your half portion is still more than enough to feed one diner. No one goes to a restaurant, thinking, Great! Im going to visit ABC Restaurant because they offer HUGE portions.

10- Locally grown produce- Okay, this can be a bit pricey if not done right, so combine it with Trend #9. Have you ever tasted a fresh grown tomato? Not the kind of tomato that was picked on Monday, packaged on Tuesday and delivered to your business on Thursday. I’m talking about picked on Monday, packaged on Monday, and delivered to you on Monday. This fresh taste can not be duplicated. Serve half the portion of pasta for $5 less and use fresh locally grown tomatoes. Plant cucumbers and tomatoes in your backyard and herbs in pots on your window sill. An easier option, drive down the country road on a summer day and load up on locally produced fruit and vegetables or link up with a local farm for fresh eggs. Remember, it’s quality over quantity.

Have you always thought of opening your own business but don’t know where to start? 2011 is clearly the year of taking that leap. The recession has left many creative people with real culinary ability without jobs. Are you one of those people? Or are you just sick of your mundane 9 to 5? While it can be a thrilling, it is a scary experience, but the staff here at Burkett Restaurant Equipment have the knowledge, experience, and desire to help you launch that dream and see it succeed.

Read more 2011 Trends:
Pies Top 2011 Trend List
Top Ten Restaurant Trends of 2011
Chefs Predict Restaurant Trends for 2011: The Lacavore Issue

Turned on by switchTup~ Turn Your Business On!

Saving Money For Your Restaurant w/ EnergyStar

My wife and I went to our favorite restaurant the other day and noticed quite a few vacant seats. After being seated we saw the owner, who we knew quite well and asked why he had this many open seats when he is normally full this time of day. His answer was what we have heard quite a bit and that was ‘The Economy’. He was thinking of closing a few extra hours a week to save expenses but then he might lose business. I suggested he cut cost with out cutting hours or staff.

I suggested he look into the web site www.energystar.gov . One of the easiest and least costly is to check your pre-rinse spray valve. By using a 1.6 gallon per minute pre rinse spray valve you can save $300 to $350 a year in water, gas and sewer cost annually. Most pre rinse valves can release up to 3 to 4 gallons of hot water per minute, just imagine if this valve leaks from morning to night when not in use! Other ways to reduce energy consumption is to turn down or turn off equipment in the down time. Items such as conveyor toasters, heat lamps and food warmers are using electricity even though they are not being used! Start a program in your establishment where you periodically check gaskets on refrigeration, seals on food warming cabinets, clean filters on refrigeration, clean coils on refrigeration equipment.

Just by doing these low cost simple steps you can save hundreds of dollars a year Next week we will look at other ways to save and some equipment items to help you save as well.

Jerry Kraushaar is a leading chef and sales consultant for Burkett Restaurant Equipment.

Are You Stocked On Holiday Buffet Supplies?

The Holidays are almost upon us and with it comes the prospect of holiday parties and buffets. Some items you may want to check on are your chafing dishes. Chafing dishes can be as low as $38.95 up to one costing more than one thousand dollars. Usually these can be silver plated or have gold trim.

Other things to check on are serving spoons, tongs, and ladles. If you are planning on any buffets or brunches check out the gas table top burners which work well in an omelet station or we now have induction cookers that use most any aluminum clad bottom sauté pans. Keep in mind only certain pans will work and you will need a power source as well. If you are looking for different shapes, styles of serving plates or bowls, check out the new unique, yet cost effective product from International Tableware. If you are looking for a special item please give me a call and I will put my experience and knowledge to use to see if I can find it for you.

Jerry Kraushaar is a leading chef and sales consultant for Burkett Restaurant Equipment.

Economy Up? Time To Buy Those Smallwares For Your Restaurant.

Economy bottomed out? Business on the increase? Looking to have to hire more help?

Now is the time to look at the small things that you know you need but have put off buying. Look at your thermometers, every piece of refrigeration should have one in it even though there may be one on the outside of the unit.
Storage containers are another item to look at. When I was working in kitchens, we would use the cottage cheese and sour cream containers which were great for left over product. The five gallon potato bucket or the pickle bucket may be perfect for the large amount of chili or soup but the board of health says no! These containers were sanitized for the original product but in the board of health’s mind it is not an NSF approved storage container. We at Burkett Restaurant Equipment have a wide range of sizes and styles. From clear to translucent and from round to square. Give us a call, check us out on our web site or come in and browse our well stocked showroom.

Jerry Kraushaar is a leading chef and sales consultant for Burkett Restaurant Equipment.

Food Service For Hire?

We made it through the summer and by some indicators the economy is at least stable if not improving. Some economic indicators say that a sign of improvement is if food service is looking to hire new employees.

Some of the equipment purchases you may consider for improving efficiency are new refrigerated sandwich prep tables, new deep fryers and new ranges. All these item can actually lower your operating costs. Many are energy star rated which can mean a rebate in some areas for some items. Please check with your local power company to see what is applicable in your area.

With the new equipment your kitchen staff can get the food out faster and that means happier customers. We at Burkett Restaurant Equipment have many of these items in stock ready to be picked up or shipped out the same day or the next.

Jerry Kraushaar is a leading chef and sales consultant for Burkett Restaurant Equipment.

Order Taker Or Consultant?

It is so important to find the equipment you NEED not the equipment you WANT. According to Jerry Kraushaar, chef and restaurant equipment sales consultant: As a sales person in the food service equipment industry we come across a great deal of people that want to start a restaurant with very little knowledge or experience. They should seek out a professional who can listen to what they want to accomplish and then guide them through the process.

If a sales person just tries to “sell” them what makes him or her the most money, then in my opinion that person does not have the customers best interest at heart. A consultant should develop a relationship with the customer to the point that he or she becomes a partner with the customer and can tell the customer that the item they are looking at may not be the best piece of equipment for the job.

Not always do you need a top of the line piece of equipment to do the job. On the other hand the cheapest piece of equipment just to save money may not be the most cost effective way to go either. So remember do you want to deal with an order taker who has only his or hers interest at heart or someone who has the customers long term interest at heart.

Jerry Kraushaar is a leading sales consultant at Burkett Restaurant Equipment

Price Comparison Shopping

Whether your buying a new microwave for the home, or a new commercial refrigerator for the business there are various tools that you can use online to find the right item at the best price. Price comparison shopping has become one of the most popular ways to shop now, using shopping networks.

Shopping Networks
Shopping Networks let you search then compare products against other sellers.

  • Yahoo Shopping
  • Google Product Shopping
  • Bing Shopping
  • NexTag
  • Shopping.com
  • Pronto
  • Become.com
  • PriceGrabber
  • Smarter
  • Shopzilla
  • We here at Burkett Restaurant Equipment can be found in all of these shopping networks, feel free to check us out.

    New Dishware – The Simple Solution For a New Business Look

    The other day I was out eating at a local sports diner.   I happend to notice the dishware that was given to me and my guests were of different patterns.   It seems that businesses do not fully realize the impression they are leaving on patrons by serving food on old out-of-date or different patterned dishware.  New dishware is a simple way of creating a new look for any restaurant, bar, deli, bakery, pizzeria etc..  Next time you feel you may need new dishware your probably right.  Dishware is not costly and running low on dishware can happen easily in fast moving restaurants where dishware is easily broken.

    Feel free to check out www.BASequipment.com for a complete line of quality dishware at a very affordable price.

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