Restaurant Education

How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances or Equipment

Stainless Steel Work TableThere is a reason stainless steel is the preferred material for restaurant equipment. Stainless steel is durable and easy to clean, which are two key ingredients for an efficient commercial kitchen. Plus, some grades of stainless steel (like the kind used in commercial work tables and stands) resist bacteria and can be used as a food contact surface. However, if stainless steel restaurant equipment is not properly cleaned and maintained, it can corrode just like any other metal.

What Makes Stainless Steel Stainless?  

All stainless steel surfaces have a thin layer of chromium on the outside. The chromium layer chemically reacts with air to create a slick, hard surface that resists stains and corrosion. Anything that damages or interferes with that chromium/air interaction (like dirt, oil or scratches) will cause stainless steel to stain, corrode or rust. That’s why, especially in restaurants, frequent cleaning is necessary.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Restaurant Equipment  

Unlike other stain-resistant coatings that can wear away after repeated cleaning, the chromium layer will never wear away on stainless steel, so you can never clean stainless steel too much. Follow these cleaning tips to properly clean your stainless steel restaurant equipment:

  • Use a wet cloth and mild detergent. Oftentimes, the best cleaning solutions for stainless steel restaurant equipment is a damp bar towel, but, if you need to use a cleaning agent, add a mild detergent to the wash water.
  • Wipe in the direction of the finish. Some stainless steel surfaces have a brushed finish or grain. When cleaning, go with the grain, because scrubbing across the grain can damage the finish.
  • Use baking soda for baked-on grease. When water and detergent are not enough, add water to baking soda to make a paste to clean more difficult stains. You can also use a commercial cream cleanser, as long as it is non-abrasive.
  • Wipe up spills immediately. Spilled food, especially acidic food, can damage the protective chromium layer if left too long, so wipe spills with a damp cloth as soon as possible. Doing this will also make it easier to clean later, because the food will not be dried or baked on.
  • Glass DetergentUse glass cleaner to remove fingerprints. Oil from fingerprints can etch or tarnish stainless steel, especially mirror-polished finishes. Wherever the stainless steel is visible, use a glass cleaner to remove fingerprints at the end of the day, before the finish is permanently damaged.
  • Rinse the surface after cleaning. Any residual soap or detergent can be harmful if left for a long period of time, so rinse your stainless steel restaurant equipment with clean water and a damp cloth after cleaning it.
  • Dry immediately. Water spots from hard water can also damage a stainless steel finish. Simply dry the surface after cleaning to prevent water spots from forming.
Things to Avoid When Cleaning Stainless Steel Restaurant Equipment  

When cleaning your stainless steel restaurant equipment, there are a few precautions to keep in mind.

  • Chlorine does more harm than good. Chlorine, or cleaners containing chlorine, will definitely kill any bacteria on the stainless steel surface, but it will also break down the protective chromium layer. Instead, use an ammonia-based solution if you need more bacteria-killing power.
  • Never use rough abrasive sponges and steel wool. Abrasive cleaning tools, like Brillo pads and steel wool, will scratch the stainless steel and cause it to rust. Only use brushes and pads made from nylon, soft plastic or any other soft flexible material when more scrubbing power is needed.
  • Only use stainless steel cleaners as a last resort. Stainless steel cleaners or polishes should only be used if the surface does become scratched or stained, because it is an actual coating meant to repair damage. If the steel is undamaged, polish is unnecessary. The polish can help remove the stain and protect the scratched areas from corrosion.

Food Processors, Taco Baskets Make Mexican Food Prep Grate

For customers dining in restaurants, it’s all about time. How quickly can the drinks come out? What about appetizers? In Mexican restaurants particularly, how quickly before the chips and salsa arrives so customers can start snacking. And how quickly can you refill those bowls?

You might be saying to yourself I only have so much manpower. How quickly can I dice tomatoes and onions for my salsa or cheese for my queso? The answer to that question is continuous feed food processors that save time, money, and ingredients all at once!

Food processors are designed to slice, shred, chop, Julienne or do any other slicing task you can think of very quickly. When selecting the unit to suit your needs, you will want to consider the capacity, horsepower and the plates that are included. There are different container capacities for different needs, so if you plan to slice an entire bag of potatoes non-stop, you will want to get one with the largest capacity you can find. Another option to look for is a diversion chute. Rather than just slicing into the attached container, some models have a side chute that allows you to place a bowl or pan next to the unit and shred away. Horsepower is another specification to consider when looking for a food processor. This value tells you how “strong” the unit is, and the higher the number the more powerful it is. Establishments that will only be using the unit a couple of hours a day should only need something with 1 horsepower or less. Larger establishments that will be processing food all day long should look for something with a higher horsepower rating. A final consideration is the number and type of slicing discs that are included. Assess your specific slicing needs and check the product description for which discs come with the unit. If you cannot find the discs you need, additional discs can be acquired.

With brands you can trust like Berkel, Hobart, Robot Coupe (like the one in the video below), and Waring, these continuous feed processors make food preparation a cinch.

Enough About Appetizers, Let’s Talk Tacos

Now that we’ve addressed appetizers, what about those crispy, crunchy hard shell tacos and tostadas? Whether tostada shells, taco salad bowls, or classic hard shell tacos, taco baskets are a simple and easy way to fry tortilla shells into taco shapes for added freshness and crunchiness to your customers’ orders. And when you’re ready to serve them, taco serving racks, or taco taxis, are the perfect way to add a little flair to the presentation on the plate as well as making it easier for customers to manage the messy meal.

Tacos on a plate

Taco taxi on a plate for more manageable consumption.

Tacos are a crowd favorite and for good reason. Hard or soft, chicken, veggie, pork or beef, at home, in restaurants, at food trucks, and everywhere in between, we Americans consumed more than 4.5 billion tacos last year!

If you think that’s a lot of tacos, well, it is. If you think that there should be a celebration, well, there is.

Between Mexican Mondays and Taco Tuesdays, this centuries-old staple is always celebrated but on Oct. 4 it gets its own special day.

#NationalTacoDay celebrates the sandwich — that’s not up for debate, by the way, the word taco is the Spanish equivalent of the English word for sandwich – that is an essential part of the $40 billion Mexican restaurant industry.

Burkett account executives and representatives have plenty of experience working with some of the best Mexican restaurants across the country. They know what works, what doesn’t, what’s trending up and what’s trending down. Whether a startup or long-established business, call 800-828-8564 or log on to our Mexican Restaurant Business Type page and let us help you get to the next level.

Brush Up on Food Safety Skills for Food Safety Month

September is National Food Safety Education month. With cold and flu season approaching, the beginning of a new school year and general changes around the kitchen, it’s a perfect time for restaurants, bars, cafeterias and other food service establishments to refresh safety skills and brush up on the local health code requirements.

Clean the Right Way

This may seem like a no-brainer, but cleaning is one of the most important things to do to prevent the spread of germs and illness-causing bacteria. Cleaning involves cleaning your hands, your utensils and food surfaces, and also your fruits and vegetables.

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water. Wash after touching any part of your body, after sneezing or coughing, before and after handing food, and after handling money.
  • Wash food preparation surfaces and utensils right away after using. The best way to fully sanitize is to use a diluted bleach solution, which kills 99% of bacteria on contact.
  • Washing PepppersWash all produce, including fruits and veggies (but not meats, poultry, or eggs). Use a clean scrub brush and wash with clean running water, even if you plan to slice or peel the produce. Pat dry and enjoy!

Prevent Cross Contamination

Prevent contamination by potential allergens, bacteria and other harmful substances by keeping foods properly separated during every stage of storage, preparation and service. Be sure that raw foods are stored separately from cooked foods. If possible, use separate cutting boards to prepare different types of foods.

Cook Foods to Safe Temperatures

When you cook foods, the only way to ensure that any residual bacteria in the food is eradicated is by heating the food to 140°F or higher. This effectively raises the temperature out of the food “Danger Zone” (between 40°F and 140°F). Once cooked, keep the food hot using a chafing dish or food warmer. Foods become more susceptible to bacterial growth once the temperatures dip back down into the Danger Zone.

Chill Perishable Foods

Chilling perishables in a properly functioning refrigerator or freezer ensures that food is, once again, kept out of the Danger Zone. Be sure frozen food is stored at or below 0°F, and refrigerated foods are kept below 40°F. Never thaw frozen foods or marinate them on the counter. When serving food, be sure to refrigerate any leftovers within two hours. When in doubt, throw out any questionable refrigerated foods.

RestaurantCommunicate with Your Employees

Your staff members are your allies when it comes to safety and sanitation, and their compliance and understanding is crucial to your restaurant or food service operation’s success. Communicate the importance of food safety and sanitation with your team, including the reasons why it is important. Once your staff understands how doing things the wrong way can actually prove harmful to your customers, your business and your reputation, making safety a team effort is less of a struggle.

Whether you run a restaurant, a school cafeteria or your own catering business, educate yourself and follow proper food safety procedures this month and all throughout the year.

Top 10 Tips for Opening Your Own Pizza Shop

A slice of pizza with gooey cheesePizza! Who doesn’t love pizza?! It’s the perfect food for nearly any occasion and that’s why it’s a beloved choice of so many diners eating in, carrying out or ordering delivery. With right recipe, for pizza and profits, you can open up your own pizza place and grab your own slice of this popular, and still-growing in popularity, food choice.

Top ten tips for pizza shop success

  1. Make good pizza. Seems fairly obvious, right? No matter how good everything else is, if the product doesn’t stack up your customers won’t last long. The first and most important thing you need when starting a pizza business is good pizza. A lot of people who go into the restaurant business have already tinkered around in their home kitchens or have an old family recipe that has been passed down for generations. For those who do not have such a solid foundation, there are several basic pizza types that you can choose to offer.
  2. Decide between franchising and going independent. More than half of all pizzerias in the United States are independently owned or small chains. Staying independent means that you have complete control over your business and your brand, which some people prefer. However, franchises already have brand awareness and have already solved some of the problems that new restaurant owners run into.
  3. Overestimate your startup costs. A lot of new restaurant owners underestimate how much it costs to open a restaurant. In order to plan for unforeseen expenses, adding an additional 15% to 25% to your budget will help you get through the crucial first year.
  4. Offer delivery and/or carryout. The fact of the matter is, a lot of people enjoy the convenience of being able to place a phone call and have a hot pizza delivered to their door in under an hour. With over 1 billion pizzas being delivered each year in the United States, having some sort of pizza delivery or carryout option will assure that you are not turning away customers that want to eat at home but do not want to cook anything themselves.
  5. Offer more than just pizza. Very few restaurants survive by offering a limited menu. Many pizza shops offer calzones, pasta or other Italian favorites to cater to individuals who are in the mood for tomato sauce and comfort food, but not necessarily pizza.
  6. Lock in commodity prices. Cheese and flour are the most heavily used ingredients in the pizza industry. Unfortunately, the prices for these basic ingredients can fluctuate greatly on a daily basis, which can affect your bottom line. To better control your costs, you can contract with a food supplier to lock in a price for cheese, flour or other commodities so your prices are not subject to the whims of the stock market.
  7. Control your portions. Portion control is crucial to controlling overall ingredient costs, reducing waste and providing a uniform product. Use food scales to measure dough ingredients, flat bottom ladles for saucing a pizza and measuring cups for your other toppings to ensure that you are not losing money by putting too many mushrooms on a pizza.
  8. Cater to the masses. If you provide delivery at your pizzeria, then catering should be easy to implement. Schools, offices or any event that needs to feed a lot of people can easily be catered by a pizza shop. For most parties, you can expect to serve two or three slices of pizza per person. You will also want to include some of your other menu items on the catering menu, at a discounted price.
  9. Insure your delivery driver. Restaurants are required to carry insurance against loss of their business, worker’s compensation and basic liability insurance. Establishments that provide delivery services will need to carry additional liability insurance to cover their drivers when they are on the clock.
  10. Be wary of discounting. Pizzeria customers are accustomed to the coupons that come on their pizza box. Coupons and discounts are a good way to bring customers in the door, especially during difficult economic times, but those discounts will eat into your bottom line. Also, if you discount too much for too long, it can erode your brand value. If you feel the need to discount, only do it for a limited time to protect your brand and your bottom line.

Starting any new business can be a daunting task. New restaurants in particular face a steep uphill battle, because the majority of the concepts fail within the first three years. Luckily, you have chosen to provide food that 94% of the U.S. population enjoys eating, so as long as you educate yourself on starting a restaurant, you stand a fair chance of succeeding where man others have failed.

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.

No Tricks, All Treats: Halloween Very Busy Pizza Day

You would have guessed Super Bowl Sunday was the busiest pizza day of the year. But could you have guessed the second-busiest day?

According to a study by My Fitness Pal, Americans now order more pizza on Halloween than any other day of the year, aside from the aforementioned first Sunday in February that is. It’s the perfect quick meal before trick or treating and makes for an easy late dinner if you’re waiting until all the ghouls and goblins have come and gone.

It’s only fitting to pair the holiday with pizza as Halloween is the last day of October, otherwise known as National Pizza Month..

Pizza Places Prefer Burkett

At Burkett, we know pizza. Pizzerias are the most popular type of business we deal with. From new and used mixers to new and used conveyor ovens to pizza supplies, call our sales team, which delivers the best service anywhere, at 800.828.8564. Our knowledgeable staff can help answer any questions and help you figure out the best value for your establishment’s needs.

Customers expect consistently delicious, piping hot pizza every time and Burkett has all the equipment and supplies to make serving up savory slices a cinch. From delivery bags to trays and screens, from ovens to mixers, we carry everything you need to ensure that pizza is cooked to piping hot perfection and feeding hungry customers.

So whether it’s on the biggest pizza day (Super Bowl Sunday), the 2nd biggest (Halloween), or the smallest (Thanksgiving Day), let Burkett help keep you prepared to serve patrons your most perfect pizza pie!

Garland Gas Ranges offer a full range of options for any kitchen

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The gas range, as its name would imply, is one of the more versatile players in any commercial kitchen. From slow cook to a quick flash in the pan, this appliance must cover the full range of cooking needs.

With the versatility come choices. With or without an oven? With or without a griddle? How many burners are needed? There are plenty of questions to be asked and Garland full line of ranges is the answer to all of them.

Garland products invoke trends that provide easy paths to future success in any business. Their products are built to operational needs while also keeping in mind the push to drive customer traffic. What sets Garland apart from its competitors is the drive to understand operations from the kitchen to the table. They then work with a team of kitchen innovators to create industry-changing solutions.

garland-cooking-rangeGarland proudly presents its latest innovation, the award-winning Garland Restaurant Range Series. This state-of-the-art range allows chefs to concentrate on their culinary creativity and productivity instead of clean-up and maintenance.

Garland stoves and ranges are built to be ideal for any professional kitchen, regardless of physical size or volume production. Their gas ranges deliver quality performance while providing powerful versatility. Garland’s line of light, medium, and heavy-duty ranges all adopt power, precision, and efficiency as standard benefits. Their sturdy gas ranges are built to last with heavy-duty stainless steel construction, heavy duty cast iron top surfaces, and easy to use precision control knobs. They come in several sizes, ranging from four to ten burners, and even containing griddles and standard ovens.

Using Garland gas ranges will help support a wide variety of cooking needs with ease and superior quality. Check out the full line of Garland gas ranges available at Burkett Restaurant Equipment and, for a limited time, enjoy free shipping on almost all of them!

Steam Kettles vs. Tilting Skillets

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Are you considering a new steam kettle or tilting skillet for your restaurant but don’t know which is best for your business? Both options have a lot of pros. Take a look at the highlights below and contact one of Burkett Restaurant Equipment’s knowledgeable account representatives today!

Steam kettles are unique because they cook more quickly than standard stock pots. They are a good spot to heat soups, sauces, and pasta quickly. Cooking is achieved through the steam jacket- a welded space between the cooking surface and the steam source that holds steam and creates a larger cooking surface area. Therefore, steam heats evenly and every serving is the same as the next. Steam kettles come in two varieties- self-contained, in which the steam kettle has its own built-in steam source, and direct steam, where a separate boiler provides steam to the unit. We offer a large variety in steam kettles to suit any need, in varying sizes depending on how much food you are preparing.

Tilting skillets are a great space saving unit for smaller restaurants as well as a versatile piece of equipment for larger ones. Tilting skillets allow you to cook soup in one space, scramble eggs, brown meat for chili, and then cook the chili. The tilting skillet is one of the most variable items we sell. Available in countertop or floor models, there is a model to fit your space requirements. They also come in hand-tilt models for the personalized feel or a steadier pour for soups, or power-tilt models for the larger batches of thicker items that are too heavy to pour by hand. A tilting skillet is one of the best things a restaurant can buy because of their versatility and convenience.

If you need help making the right choice for your business, give our friendly sales team a call at 844-788-4684.

Nine Big Benefits of Light Duty Deck Ovens

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deck oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light Duty Deck Ovens are great for commercial or even residential use, heating a simple pizza to serve a customer or to feed a family. Light duty models are much less intrusive on your space and energy costs, keeping floor space open in any size kitchen for other equipment.

Burkett Restaurant Equipment offers various pizza oven styles to fit your restaurant countertop requirements. We offer deck style, conveyor, and wire rack oven types. Pizza oven door styles include pull down doors, and drawer-style openings that allow for easy rack sliding and product loading and unloading. Our models range from 4,000 watts up to over 10,000 watts, with BTU options ranging from 40,000 BTU up to 150,000 BTU. Electric and gas models are available to meet your commercial kitchen’s specific electrical specifications.

Are you curious about some of the features and benefits of light duty deck ovens? See below for more information.

  • – High quality brushed stainless steel exterior
  • – Durable heating elements provide even heating performance throughout the oven.
  • – Wider oven opening provides more versatility than standard pizza ovens.
  • – Adjustable Temperature Control
  • – Easy set timer.
  • – Heavy duty chrome plated baking rack.
  • – Removable, stamped aluminized steel crumb tray for easy clean-up.
  • – Ergonomically designed and convenient space saving flip-up handle.
  • – Skid-resistant feet.

How to Sharpen Your Chef’s Knife

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Most chefs know that a sharp knife is a safe knife. That’s because a sharp knife requires significantly less pressure to be applied for it to do its job. Dull knives require more, making them more likely to slip and cause injury. Most chefs also know that a sharp knife is also an efficient knife that will help you improve your cooking and make your job in the kitchen a lot easier. Cutting jobs simply go much faster with sharper knives. Sharp commercial cutlery will also enable you to create more uniform cuts, which will aid in more even cooking and improve the taste of your dishes.

Honing vs. Sharpening

If you have a higher quality set of knives, you may have honing steel. That’s the long, abrasive steel rod with a handle that you see TV chefs running their knives across. The honing steel is a tool made to maintain the edge of blade, to keep it smooth and straight. It isn’t for sharpening and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for sharpening. Use it once every few cutting jobs to maintain the quality of the cutting edge.

Sharpening Your Kitchen Knives

If used with regularity, you should sharpen your blades about every 60 days, especially the most used ones like your chef’s knife. The best way to sharpen your knives is with a whetstone. There are other methods, especially sharpening machines, but they tend to grind away too much of the blades surface, which will greatly reduce the knives useful lifespan.

Five Steps to a Sharp Knife

A good set of well-maintained knives should last you a long time. Here are the five steps to caring for your blades.

  1. Lay the whetstone on a cutting board or non-slip counter top with the coarse side facing up
  2. Grasp the handle in one hand and hold the edge of the blade to the surface of the stone with the other at about a 22 ½ degree angle
  3. With medium pressure slide the blade forward and across the stone. Left to right or right to left will depend on whether you are right- or left-handed. Maintain both pressure and angle as you run the entire length of the blade across the stone. Do this 10 times on each side of the blade
  4. Flip the stone over so that the fine side is facing up and apply 10 similar strokes to each side of the blade
  5. Finally, apply five to eight strokes per side with a honing steel. Be sure to maintain the same 22 ½ degree angle used for sharpening

Rinse the blade under water and carefully (it’s sharp) dry with a soft cloth or towel. Your knives are now as sharp, or sharper, than when you first bought them.

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