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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.

Top Commercial Ice Machines for Healthcare Facilities

In a healthcare facility, ice is used for specific tasks including post-operative use, dietary needs and treatment to reduce swelling and inflammation. For each of these tasks, ice needs to be readily available within an easy to use and easy to maintain unit. Let’s take a look at the best ice machines for healthcare facilities.

Residential Care, Hospitals and Doctor’s Offices: Countertop Nugget Ice Machine and Dispenser

For busy doctor’s offices or hallways within hospitals and residential care facilities, nothing beats the convenience of dependable countertop ice machines and dispensers. With this type of commercial ice machine within reach, medical staff can retrieve ice quickly and within close proximity to treatment areas.

Nugget ice is ideal for healthcare facilities as it is easy to chew, easy to mold and slow to melt, making it the best choice for dietary needs and ice packs. The dispenser mechanism speeds up the process for retrieving ice and minimizes the risk of cross-contamination. Ideally, healthcare facilities should look for countertop ice machine dispensers with touch-free controls. This type of control dispenses ice when a cup or other receptacle is sensed under the chute. Some dispensing ice machines are constructed with a built-in water dispenser as well.

Burkett Recommends: The Scotsman 260 Lb Air Cooled Nugget Style Wall Mount Ice Machine/Dispenser

Emergency Rooms and Laboratories: Undercounter Ice Machines

An Undercounter Ice Machine is a self-contained ice maker with an attached storage bin. This type of ice machine is designed to fit under countertop areas and provide quick access to ice without getting in the way of the fast-paced environment of an emergency room. Undercounter ice machines are also ideal for laboratories as they leave valuable countertop areas free for charts and documents.

Undercounter ice machines are available for every style of ice. However, flake, nugget and cube ice are most often used in ER’s and laboratory settings. Flake ice is perfect for sculpting into therapeutic ice molds, cube ice is very slow to melt and nugget ice offers a chewable texture for patients. When shopping for an undercounter ice machine, be sure to measure the total space available, which includes height, depth and width. Also, consider how the bin door opens.

Ice-O-Matic ICEU150HA Burkett Recommends: The Ice-O-Matic 185 Lb Self-Contained Half Cube Ice Machine

Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine: Flake Ice Machine and Bin Combination

Flake ice is perfect for filling or molding ice packs for therapeutic use. Shopping for a flake ice machine and a separate bin can be confusing and time-consuming. We suggest purchasing an ice machine and bin combination unit that is already matched up and ready to install. The full-size floor model combination units are perfect for physical therapy and sports medicine clinics as they provide a large volume of ice on a daily basis.

When shopping for a combination flake ice machine and storage bin unit, be sure to note the daily yield of ice produced as well as the bin’s total storage capacity.

Burkett Recommends: The Manitowoc 205 Lb Flake Ice Machine with Storage Bin

Find the right ice machine for your healthcare facility and keep your patients happy and healthy. With the right specifications in place, you can have a quiet, efficient and dependable ice machine for years to come.

Burkett is now a proud sponsor of the U.S. Pizza Team

Burkett knows pizza like dough knows marinara, like cheese knows pepperoni, like, well, you get the idea, Burkett knows pizza really well.
We also know a winning team when we see one.
That’s why we are excited to announce that we are now sponsors of the U.S. Pizza Team.
You might ask yourself, wait, the United States has a pizza team?
The short answer is yes!
The long answer is that the U.S. Pizza Team was founded in 2000 with the goal of bringing competition and excitement to the pizza industry. Since its formation, the U.S. Pizza Team has participated in international events all over the globe, highlighted by the World Pizza Championship in Parma, Italy. Ranging from culinary masters to dough tossing phenoms, the Pizza Team renews the passion of those in the industry year after year.
“USPT brings together America’s best pizza professionals, who are awesome ambassadors of our great country and this great industry,” said Jameel Burkett, the company’s president. “We’re proud to partner with the U.S. Pizza Team and look forward to years of continued success.”
The team is captained by Michael LaMarca, owner of Master Pizza.
Members of the U.S. Pizza Team, as well as Burkett and thousands of others in the pizza industry will be part of the International Pizza Expo, March 19-22 in Las Vegas.
Check out the video below to see members of the USPT in action at the Mid-America Restaurant Expo earlier this year.

Burkett 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Pro Chef in Your Life

Whether they’ve been naughty or nice this year, every pro chef in your life wants something just a cut above your everyday kitchen appliances and utensils for the holidays.

Not everyone wants to open a restaurant or can run a commercial kitchen but we all know someone always trying to channel their inner pro chef. At Burkett, we cater to the prosumer as well as we do the restaurateur. Find the perfect gift for your home chef with our 2017 holiday gift guide.

Vitamix Vita-Prep 3This list is just a few of our favorite items but by no means is it complete. Share some of your favorites in the comments and check out our full lineup of commercial grade restaurant equipment at www.Burkett.com.

Vitamix: Vita-Prep 3 Food Blender

Vitamix manufactures world-class blenders and the Vita-Prep 3 is no exception. With a 3-horsepower variable speed motor, this unit will make prep time fly with its excellent grinding, chopping and pureeing capabilities.

Waring: Panini Supremo

This workhorse features a whole 11″ grooved cooking surface, allowing ample room for multiple items. It also has a brushed stainless steel body construction and removable drip tray. The hinged, auto-balancing top plate can suit foods and sandwiches up to 3″ thick.

Cambro: Clear Food Storage Container

This Food Storage Container is perfect to prep for dishes or save leftovers. It is clear and is stain & odor resistant, and polycarbonate constructed. This model holds up to 4 quarts but we have lots of different capacity containers available.

Victorinox KnivesVictorinox: 11 Piece Knife Set

Help them step up their cutlery game with this 11 piece set that includes paring, boning, chefs, bread, and slicer knives as well as the sharpener and the elegant wooden block for a beautiful display on any kitchen counter.

So, go ahead, spoil the pro chef in your life and watch it become the gift that keeps on giving every time they create a wonderful dish and invite you to the table for the delicious concoctions.

Marco’s Pizza CEO Butorac earns ‘Golden’ distinction from NRN

Marco’s Pizza was recently named Top 5 Fastest Growing Chains by Nation’s Restaurant News. So it’s no surprise that the organization named the chain’s CEO, Jack Butorac, as a 2017 of recipient of NRN’s Golden Chain Award, celebrating the best in the restaurant business.

“For more than a decade, Jack Butorac has led Toldeo, Ohio-based Marco’s Pizza to some of the strongest growth in the restaurant industry,” NRN said. “The chain has been featured on NRN’s Top 100 growth list in 2017 and 2016. In the Latest Year, the 770-unit chain grew sales by 17.1 percent. Butorac brought franchising rights to the chain in 2004, growing the franchises through the recession by running a loan-guarantee program called Marco’s Assurance.”

Golden Chain Awards recognize restaurant executives for outstanding leadership, strong company performance, career achievements, and contributions to the industry and communities served. We couldn’t agree more with what Butorac and the Marco’s team have achieved! Congratulations!

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The Process: How Used Restaurant Equipment Becomes Burkett Certified Product

Forty years ago, it was used restaurant equipment that allowed us to get into this business and open our doors.

Today, you’ll find used restaurant equipment being sold anywhere and everywhere. Online, off market, in stores, in garages, the options are endless. Some are good, some are bad, some are in between. Most are basically a quick wipe down and sold as is.

Here at Burkett, it’s a little different. In 40 years of experience, we have evolved the process of how we treat and recondition used restaurant equipment.

We take used restaurant equipment very seriously and have an entire service team dedicated to that process. That team takes great pride in the rigorous work done to give new life to used restaurant equipment to make it Burkett Certified Product. We care about what we do because not only is it a reflection the individual technicians, it’s a refection of Burkett as a whole and its commitment to quality.

Burkett Certified Product is a unique 10-step reconditioning and testing process that restores previously used items by repairing or replacing any defective components, upgrading cosmetics, and giving you a quality, ready-to-go reconditioned item hassle free. Check out the video below and check out our full selection of Burkett Certified Product here. Our selection is always changing so be sure to check back often. Our commitment to quality, however, never changes.

Diners finding more unconventional items to pilfer at pubs, restaurants

The fact that things get stolen from restaurants by patrons should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. The alarming trend is the fact that just about anything is up for grabs in restaurants these days and not just the stuff that fits in an oversized coat or handbag either.

A recent report by Bloomberg found that everything from fancy plates to paintings to fruit trees — even a giant ceramic pig — was being taken without hesitation and somehow unnoticed. The cost of these items can get into the thousands. One Japanese restaurant in New York, which serves its fare on $500 plates, has had 65 of those plates stolen. Simple math tells us that that’s about $32,500 worth of tableware that is, poof, gone.

Have you had an experience with patrons who had sticky fingers? What does your establishment do to stay vigilant for these kinds of situations? Share your story in the comments below.

Balance Pan-Asian Grille, Marco’s named Top 100 Movers & Shakers

Balance Pan-Asian Grille founders honoredThis past weekend in Chicago, Fast Casual honored the brands and executives leading the restaurant industry in growth and innovation during its Top 100 Movers & Shakers gala.

California-based Blaze Pizza took home the top honors during the gala.

Also honored among those Top 76 brands was Balance Pan-Asian Grille, which came in at No. 33, and Marco’s Pizza, which rounded out the top honorees at No. 76. Balance co-founders Prakash Karamchandani and HoChan Jang, seen in the picture at left, were also honored among the Top 24 Executives award winners.

Burkett is proud to be the equipment provider of choice for both Balance and Marco’s and even more proud to see our fellow Toledo-based businesses shining on the national stage.

Congratulations to all the winners, read more about all of them here.

Top Tips for Managing Cash Flow, Financing Equipment

For many business owners, having cash flow is always top of mind. Leasing equipment minimizes upfront costs and allows you to earn profits from your new equipment while making monthly payments on it. Below are some tips on how to better manage cash flow, the benefits of leasing and some best practices. Click here to see leasing options from Burkett Restaurant Equipment & Supplies.

Cash Flow is King

New site, new experience: The best just got better at Burkett

So, you’re probably wondering where we’ve been lately.

We haven’t gone anywhere, we’ve just been, stop us if you’ve heard this before, we’ve been a little busy. At last, we have proof that we really were busy and we’re excited to show off our hard work.

The all new www.Burkett.comWe are proud to unveil an enhanced user experience on Burkett.com. Our new site now offers better visuals, better function and a seamless user experience from click to checkout.

Our customers are too busy running their own businesses and kitchens and this revamped site was designed with that in mind. Simpler interface. Improved photography and videos. A Burkett.com experience like never before.

Burkett. Exceptional service. Every customer. Every time.

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