Restaurant Education

New! Low Price Guarantee from Burkett!

Low Price GuaranteeIf you find a lower price from another authorized Foodservice Distributor for the product you want, we’ll match their price (including delivery fees) before your order! Here’s how it works:

1. Get A Quote! Provide us with a quote that includes the cost of shipping or other delivery fees. URLs, emails, and written quotes are all acceptable.

2. Contact Us! Call our sales department at 855-292-8295 or email us at sales@basequipment.com to submit your request.

What do you need? Keep the following things readily available:

Item Name and Number
Name of Competitor
Quote of Price + Shipping

Click here to Learn More!

10 Tips for Managing Your Fryer Oil

fryer oil managerI recently read an article by Rob Slattery of Restaurant Hospitality that listed 10 tips for effectively managing oil. The article was informative and concise (yay!) and the sort of thing our readers need to know. Allow me to pass along the pertinent pointers.

Managing fryer oil as an asset is as important as choosing the right commercial fryer, or selecting the correct oil formula. Fryer oil is a critical component of food flavor, and a costly one. How can you ensure you’re managing it correctly? Follow the 10 steps listed below, and you can deter oil degradation, reduce costs and deliver consistently quality food to your customers.

1. Choose decision-makers wisely. Generally, kitchen managers are the best judges of when oil should be discarded. Less-experienced restaurant workers may be tempted to throw away used oil too soon. Automated oil management systems have lockout functionality, which requires a key to dispose and thus can be better controlled.

2. Don’t just count the days. When deciding whether to discard used oil, consider the general quality of food coming out of the fryer, including taste, aroma, color and texture. It’s best to manage oil on a “vat-by-vat” basis, as opposed to revolving around a day of the week or crew convenience.

3. Know your chemistry. Oil expands as it’s heated. So check oil levels in vats on a regular basis and top-off as needed. However, do not overfill the vats.

4. Monitor temperatures. One main enemy of fryer oil is heat. Combined with oxygen in the air, heat accelerates oil breakdown and degrades food flavor. Be sure to turn off unneeded vats and use fire-up and shutdown schedules. It’s also important to check vat temperatures on a regular basis and regularly recalibrate thermostats, if needed.

5. Filter regularly. Filter oil on a daily basis. Never underestimate the importance of filtering cooking oil. One missed day can reduce oil’s fry life significantly and negatively impact food quality.

6. Filter before you throw. Before disposing used oil, filter it. Premature oil disposal can take dollars off the bottom line.

7. Size matters. It’s important to ensure the correct filter paper or pad size is used, as well as guaranteeing the filter box screen and weights hold the paper or pad firmly in place so crumbs are unable to bypass it.

8. Steer clear of water. When placing food into the fryer, never empty frozen products into baskets over vats. The ice that comes in contact with frying oil attacks fat molecules and imparts a smoky flavor. Also ensure the filter box is thoroughly dry before inserting the filter paper or pad.

9. Eliminate soap. Soap used to clean fryers is also an enemy of cooking oil. It can react with oil to degrade food flavor and color and also causes oil to smoke. When cleaning filter boxes do not use degreasers or soap, spray with hot water only.

10. When possible, upgrade your approach. Consider leveraging an automated oil management and filtration tracking solution. This will allow for easy monitoring of oil activity performance and identify problem areas that may be diminishing food quality and consistency and negatively impacting your bottom line.

New! Equipment Leasing from Burkett Restaurant Equipment

LeasingBurkett is now offering our customers the opportunity to get the equipment you need, for an affordable monthly price. We’ve partnered with LEASEstation to offer financing on all of our new equipment. Applying is easy and there’s no obligation.

Why should you lease?

The Payments are Affordable – Choose from a variety of payment terms to ensure the best fit for your business. Terms range from 24 to 60 months. We also offer Variable Payments that can be matched to seasonal cash flow variations and other budget limitations.

It’s 100% Tax Deductible – An IRS Tax Code allows your business to deduct the full purchase price for the equipment you’re financing in the current tax year. You essentially get a year of equipment tax free!

Get More for Your Money – Leasing your equipment minimizes initial costs and allows you to earn profits from your new equipment faster.

Keep Lines of Credit Open – Keep potential lines of credit open for financial emergencies and use leasing to help build your credentials with any bank.

Avoid Bank Restrictions – Leases do not include blanket liens, restrictive covenants, rate escalator clauses, “call anytime” provisions, compensating balance requirements, or many of the other surprises related to traditional lending arrangements.

Financial Reporting Advantages – We can structure leases to meet FASB requirements for “off balance sheet” accounting.

If equipment leasing sounds like the right solution for you, applying is easy. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Learn more at http://www.basequipment.com/Equipment-Leasing-a/343.htm. Click “Apply Now” and fill out the credit application. You can be approved today!
  2. You will receive a verification call from LEASEstation to review your financing package tailored just for you.
  3. LEASEstation will email your lease documents directly to you where you can sign and return – ALL ONLINE. You’ll never have to chase a fax or overnight documents.
  4. You’re done and your equipment will soon be shipping to you!

Battle Back Winter with a Promotion

Blizzard Stops BusWinter is here…with a vengeance. Usually, winter in the foodservice industry means one thing: an increase in business. People are cooped up as the days get shorter and daylight wanes away. Eager to escape the cabin fever setting in, many find themselves at a local bar, restaurant, or coffee shop. Combine this with the return of football season and the holidays, and most in the foodservice industry will realize an uptick in business in the coming months.

However, this winter seems particularly harsh with most of the U.S. experiencing temperatures below freezing this week. This bleak weather can have a major impact on your business. Many restaurant owners will experience a sales decrease as a result of people less likely to go out in snow and ice. How can you fight back? The key is to increase foot traffic to your store, regardless of the conditions outside. The best way to do that is through promotions.

Have to close early one day? Offer your customers crummy weather coupons. Did the temperature drop particularly low? Offer delivery service so your customers can enjoy your fare from the comfort of their own homes. When you focus your message through promotion and start to drive foot traffic in, you beat the weather and keep up your revenue flow no matter what is going on outside. Give it a try and let us know how it works out!

Tips for Cooking with Convection Ovens

convection ovenConvection ovens are a common staple in commercial and professional kitchens. However, if you’ve purchased a new oven for your home in the past 10 years, chances are you have a convection setting too. There is also a big chance that you’ve never used that setting.

Despite rarely being mentioned in recipes, convection ovens are known for cooking food faster and more evenly thanks to the internal fan that circulates hot air around your food. They are also more energy efficient, meaning your convection oven will cook many meals more evenly and up to 20 percent faster while using lower temperatures. For many chefs – both professional and at home – knee deep in planning holiday menus, this news is like a beacon of light!

The key for anyone new to cooking with convection ovens is that they often require adjustments to either time or temperature—and sometimes both. If you’re trying to figure out how best to cook with your convection oven, we have you covered. Here’s some helpful advice, most manufacturers of convection ovens recommend dropping the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and to start checking the dish when three-quarters of the normal cooking time has passed.

If you’re baking, take caution. The fan can sometimes splatter batters from pies, cakes and quick breads. That doesn’t mean bakeries should discredit convection ovens. Your baked goods will all be flakier, lighter, and loftier since butter releases steam almost immediately allowing your dough to rise higher. For cookies, take advantage of all available shelf space by baking with several trays at once. Because the fan disperses heat throughout the inside of the oven, you won’t have to rotate them as often as you would with a standard radiant oven. Follow these general rules and carefully monitor your first few attempts at cooking with convection heat. Before you know it, you’ll have a sense of how your convection oven cooks and what, if any, other adjustments should be made.

Interested in purchasing a convection oven for your home or business? Burkett Restaurant Equipment offers a range of options for you to shop from, including full size convection ovenshalf size convection ovens, and light duty counter-top ovens for our residential customers. Follow the links to our site where you can find more information and chat with an equipment expert.

5 Tips for Renegotiating Your Lease

publishing contractThinking your foodservice establishment could use a little extra money every month? Maybe you’re looking for a financial boost for remodeling or investing in new restaurant equipment and supplies. It’s not unreasonable to look to a lease renegotiation with your landlord as the answer.  There is a broad spectrum of reasons for re-evaluating your lease, including financial distress, property remodeling, or just looking to extend your current agreement. Lease renegotiation is more common now than in the past, and it’s possible for smaller chains and independent facilities. Right now, landlords are more willing to be flexible considering the low interest rates for refinancing and the attractiveness of property upgrades to other potential tenants.  Here are five tips for successfully renegotiating your lease:

  1. Review your lease, the marketplace and competition for similar tenants and stores. What are others paying in the same market for similar space? Is there competition in the same center or lots of vacancies?
  2. Be willing to share your financials with the landlord, especially if you’re asking for help because you’re struggling.
  3. Be confident with your redevelopment plans—structurally, operationally and through marketing—before asking the landlord to participate. There’s nothing that will strain a relationship more than to throw good money after existing problems and not change anything.
  4. Hire a professional to help. You’ve already got a full-time job running your restaurant, bar, or cafe and having a third party in the middle creates a sense of urgency and importance.
  5. Come with an open mind and be willing to give something up. Both parties have to feel like they are getting some benefits from the new deal.

New Label Regulation for Gluten-Free Foods

GlutenFor those who suffer from gluten intolerance or are among the estimated 3 million Americans suffering from celiac disease – or preparing food for someone afflicted with this chronic illness – there is a new tool that will make food shopping easier. In August 2013, FDA announced a regulation that defines and standardizes the term “gluten-free” for food labeling.  The new definition ensures that gluten-free claims on products are consistent and standardized across the food industry.

  1. Why “Gluten-Free” Labeling is Important: Gluten is a protein found naturally in wheat, rye, barley, and crossbreeds of these grains. It gives breads and other grain products their shape, strength, and texture. But when someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, his/her body’s natural defense system triggers antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. This limits the ability to absorb nutrients, and can lead to other very serious health problems, too.
  2. Definition of “Gluten-Free”: FDA has set a gluten limit of less than 20 parts per million (ppm) for foods that carry the label “gluten-free.” This level is the lowest that can be reliably detected in foods, and most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten. The regulation also requires foods labeled “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” or “without gluten” to meet the definition for “gluten-free.”
  3. Timing for Label Compliance: Many foods that were labeled as “gluten-free” prior to the new regulation may already meet the new federal definition. Otherwise, manufacturers have until August of 2014 to make whatever changes are needed in the formulation or labeling of their foods bearing a gluten-free claim in order to legally market them in the United States.

Lead in Drinking Water Act: What You Need to Know before January

water safetyThe use of lead in drinking water pipes has been restricted since the 1920s but in a few short months a new law will be in effect for restaurants, bars, and other foodservice establishments. If you haven’t considered the impact of these new regulations on your business, there is no better time than September’s “National Food Safety Month” to prepare yourself and your patrons.

For several decades, scientists have warned about the exposure to lead and its effect on health. While concentrations of lead in drinking water are not typically derived from natural sources, one of the most common causes of lead concentration in water is contamination from the corrosion of water supply pipes and plumbing fixtures.

As a result, the United States began restricting lead use in water pipes due to public health concerns. In 1974, The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed to regulate the nation’s public drinking water supply. As originally implemented, the SDWA required public water systems to minimize lead concentrations by controlling the corrosion that resulted in lead leaching from water system infrastructure. This could be achieved via careful management of the water’s mineral content, acidity, temperature, and proper maintenance and replacement of a water system’s piping. However, these actions did little to remedy the original source of the lead found in drinking water.

Since the signing of the initial act, there have been several amendments. This includes a1986 amendment that mandated that all pipes, solders, pipe fittings, and plumbing fixtures used in the installation or repair of any public water system, or any residential or nonresidential facility that provides water for human consumption be lead free. By August of 2001, plumbing fittings and fixtures were limited to no more than 4.0% lead.

Most recently, the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act signed by President Obama on January 4, 2011, reduces the amount of lead permissible in water meters to 0.25%. These new regulations will go into effect on January 4, 2014.

With a little over three months before federal regulatory requirements come into effect, many foodservice establishments are already converting to no-lead products to ensure proper inventory for 2014. Please note: if you’re located in California, Vermont or Maryland, your states have already passed comparable laws limiting lead content.

While replacing pipes and outfitting for new regulations is certainly an expense and may even require some serious renovation work, it is important not to overlook your plumbing fixtures. Regulations require that both plumbing and plumbing fixtures meet the new lead-free requirements. This includes updating old faucets and pre-rinse assemblies that do not meet the updated maximums. Taking these steps will help ensure uninterrupted customer service and contribute to the health and well-being of your guests.

Help Your Ice Machine Keep it’s Cool

ice o maticIt’s no secret warmer summer temperatures can impact foodservice equipment — including ice machines. Operators are sometimes unaware of the simple steps they can take to ensure machine efficiency during the hottest months of the year.

To guarantee maximum ice machine productivity during the dog days of summer, try these four tips:

  1. Proper Installation: Hire a factory-authorized service technician who understands installation requirements including maximizing airflow and reducing ambient temperatures in and around the machine.
  2. Machine Placement: Keep the machine in a temperature-controlled environment with at least six inches of clearance on either side of the machine.
  3. Regular Maintenance: Create a maintenance schedule and perform routine cleaning at least once every six months or more. Read our previous blog on how to clean and maintain your ice machine.

Commercial Cutlery Buying Guide

cleaverCutlery is an important commercial and home kitchen staple that can directly impact the preparation and presentation of food.  Ever start chopping away inside your kitchen and wonder if you’re using the right knife? You’ll typically see key points such as size, shape, blade and type of edge when specifying the appropriate knife for cooking and food prep. Here, we’ve taken it a step further by offering general descriptions to serve as a basic guide for the most common knife types.

Boning Knives

Boning knives have a sharp point and narrow blade. Typically available with blades ranging from 3″ to 8″ in length, boning knives are used in food preparation for separating and removing the bones from poultry, meat, and fish. Boning knives are not as thick as some of other popular kitchen knives, as this makes precision boning, especially in deep cuts and holes, much less difficult. A stiff boning knife is good for boning beef and pork, but a very flexible boning knife is preferred for poultry and fish.

Bread Knives

Bread knives are designed with serrated edges to cut soft bread and fruits like tomatoes without crushing them. Bread knives can have straight or slightly curved blades and range from 6-10 inches in length.

Butcher Knives

Butcher knives are designed especially for breaking through larger, tougher cuts of meat. A slip resistant, nylon or fibrox handle is ideal for slicing and dicing an assortment of meats, ensuring that the user maintains a firm grasp. Butcher knives have heavy, wide and slightly curved blades.

Carving Knives

With a thinner handle and wider blade than traditional slicing knives, these sturdy cutting tools are perfect for separating larger pieces of meat, such as poultry, roasts, and hams into thin, precise slices.

Chef’s Knives

Chef’s knives are ideal for everything from slicing meat to chopping and dicing fruits and veggies. Available in sizes ranging from 6 to 12 inches, chef’s knives are designed to perform a variety of tasks in busy kitchen. These versatile knives feature sharp, high carbon steel blades for more precise cutting, slicing and mincing.

Cleavers

Cleaver knives are ideal for slicing meats as well as chopping or mincing vegetables, and can even be used to crush bulbs of garlic or ginger. Cleavers feature large, stainless steel blades with wooden handles.

Churrasco Knives

Designed specifically for Brazilian steakhouses, churrasco knives are the perfect cutting tools for slicing large chunks of meat directly from spits onto the plates of hungry customers. Constructed almost as a mix between slicing and carving knives, these unique cutting tools are great for slicing through cooked meat at all different angles.

Paring Knives

Paring knives are used for small, intricate work like peeling and coring. A good paring knife typically measures between three and five inches on the blade.  Paring knives are designed to be an all-purpose knife, similar to a chef’s knife, but on a smaller scale.

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