Panini Grills Aren’t Just for Sandwiches

The word “panini” is actually a plural form of saying “panino”, which means “bread roll” in Italian. So in a literal translation, the panini grill is a grill for bread rolls. That is mostly right – but there is so much more to create with a panini grill. From breakfast to late-night snacks, this countertop cooking appliance proves to be a durable and versatile addition to any kitchen with limited space.

A commercial panini grill, also known as a sandwich grill, panini maker or panini press, fits perfectly on countertop areas. It’s because of this that bars, small restaurants and cafes find this piece of equipment beneficial. This small piece of cooking equipment can cook everything from wraps, burritos, vegetables, burgers and toasted sandwiches. Operating via heated top and bottom plates, the panini maker works by forming a press that grills items simultaneously on both sides.

wpg250-waring-panini-grill-inset1

The Waring WPG250 Panini Grill

Panini press plates are usually made from cast iron or aluminum and are either smooth or grooved in construction. Grooved plates provide the distinct grill marks for an added visual appeal and work well with meats, vegetables, fish and sandwiches. Smooth plates are typically easier to clean and are a great option for burritos, wraps and sandwiches. Split-top panini grills are also available for producing a larger volume of items at once.

Let’s take a look at some inspiring recipe ideas for your commercial panini maker:

Fresh Tortilla Chips and Guacamole

With the help from a blender and a cutting board, you can make fresh guacamole and tortilla chips without a fryer or full commercial kitchen. What’s better, you can make batches of chips and guacamole ahead of time for happy hour crowds or late-night revelers.

Inspiration: Grilled Tortilla Chips and Grilled Guacamole Recipe

Grilled Cheese and You Name It

Grilled cheese sandwiches have a low food cost and add value to a menu for food and beverage businesses with limited space and hungry customers. These sandwiches can be made fast and can be customized for variety. Offer different types of cheeses, meats and spreads to bring a truly unique dining experience to your customers.

Inspiration: Grilled Ham and Cheese with Strawberry and Wine Jam

Stuffed French Toast On-the-Go

Do you see a large commuter crowd travel by your café or coffee bar? Why not offer something hot and sweet that they can tote along on the way to the desk. With a little preparation before the rush, you can boost profits and sweeten up the morning of under-caffeinated customers with stuffed French toast panini sandwiches.

Inspiration: Stuffed French Toast Breakfast Panini Sandwich

Offer a Fresh and Healthy Lunch Option

Vegetarians and meat eaters alike can enjoy these easy to make grilled vegetables and mozzarella panini sandwiches on their next lunch break. With the help of a split-top commercial panini grill, you can grill vegetables and complete sandwiches at the same time. Keep the line moving and the cash register chiming with this quick and easy recipe.

Inspiration: Grilled Vegetable and Mozzarella Panini 

Learn more about what type of commercial panini grill is right for your restaurant by contacting one our superior sales specialists.

What is Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code?

IRS Section 179Most business owners think the IRS’ Section 179 tax deduction is some mysterious or complicated tax code. It really isn’t, we promise.

What Is Section 179?

Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if you buy a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct the entire purchase price from your gross income. It’s an incentive created by the U.S. government to encourage businesses to buy equipment more easily and invest in themselves quicker.

Section 179 allows businesses who finance their equipment purchases to write off full equipment costs in the year they buy it rather than capitalizing costs over the useful life of the equipment and waiting years to receive deductions.

For 2018, the maximum deduction you may elect to take for a year is $1 million. However, the equipment must be purchased and already in use by Dec. 31 of the tax year.

How It Works

So, let’s say you bought a $10,000 piece of equipment for your business. Under normal depreciation rules, you would only receive a portion of the cost in deductions each year over its useful life. Now, under Section 179, you can deduct the entire $10,000 from net income in the first year you own it. So, assuming a 35% tax bracket, that’s a tax savings of $3,500. That savings lowers the cost of your $10,000 purchase to $6,500!

What to do with the savings

Financing allows you to have cash on hand for emergencies or unforeseen business costs. The amount that you can write off in taxes can exceed profits, which allows you to finance more equipment and reinvest in your business!

If you’ve been thinking about making that major purchase, take advantage and do it today, 2018 is almost over!

Ready to get started? Still have more questions? Follow this link to email, chat, call, or visit one of the superior sales solutions specialists at our Perrysburg, OH headquarters.

Extended Warranty Offers Valuable Peace of Mind

You bought your shiny new piece of restaurant equipment. You pass on the warranty. Waste of money, you think to yourself. Besides, most manufacturers have a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor. That ought to cover it, right?

No matter how durable the equipment, no matter how well versed your employees are in its use, it’s bound to happen, something can or will go wrong.

It should come as no surprise, of course, that most problems occur after the first year is over and the standard warranty has expired. Then you’re stuck dealing with the inevitable problems surrounding costly repairs. Who do you call? Who’s reliable? Who’s cheap? How quick can they be there? Time is money.

Most manufacturers limit their warranty periods to one year. Be ready for whatever happens, whenever it happens. As an Authorized Consumer Priority Service Dealer, Burkett Restaurant Equipment & Supplies can help extend your warranty by 4 years after the manufacturer’s warranty. That’s a total of five years of being worry free. It’s the cheapest and easiest way to protect your purchase.

CPS Protection Plans are an extension of manufacturers’ written warranties and include:

  1. 100% Parts & Labor Coverage
  2. Zero Deductibles or Service Fees
  3. Buy risk-free, cancel anytime
  4. Fast and Simple Registration

Consumer Priority Service partners with Burkett Restaurant Equipment & Supplies to offer customers unparalleled product coverage at prices that make sense. Burkett and CPS are proud to offer customers premium warranty coverage. With no deductibles or hidden fees, you can count on Consumer Priority Service to take care of all your equipment purchases from Burkett.

Our partnership with CPS gives you superior protection for total peace of mind. And no matter how expensive your item is, for a business owner, there is nothing more valuable than peace of mind.

What’s a Ramekin and What Size Do You Need?

Ramekins are those handsome dishes that are typically used for baking and serving menu items such as soufflés, crème brûlée, puddings and other single-serve delectables. They are traditionally made from porcelain and feature fluted sides.

RamekinsThe term ramekin also refers to smaller dishes of the same shape that can be used to serve condiments or sauces. These ramekins can be made from any number of materials, from metal to plastic, as they are not intended for use in the oven.

In addition to baking and serving food items, ramekins also make for attractive household decorations that can be used to hold anything from tea lights to office supplies. Ramekins come in many sizes to help you attain the look you want to achieve.

So, what size ramekin do you need? Here is a breakdown of the different sizes, and what they are used for.

1 to 2 ounce ramekins

Small ramekins in the 1 to 2 ounce range are typically used for condiment sides, such as ketchup or mayo. These little dishes are also great for teeny appetizers like mixed olives.

For household decorators, these small ramekins can be used for tea candles, paper clips, or tiny bouquets.

3 to 5 ounce ramekins

3 to 5 ounce ramekins are still on the small side, though they can be used for items other than condiments. Ramekins of this size are great for mini-desserts or for sample platters.

6 ounce ramekins

If you are only going to stock up on one size, a 6-ounce ramekin is probably the best all-purpose option. These are great for single serving desserts.

7 to 9 ounce ramekins

These larger ramekins are great for lunch-sized pot pies and other small portion meals. They can also be used to make custards, molten lava cake and other desserts for two.

These also make great pet food bowls, and are typically cheaper than anything you’ll find in a pet store.

Other considerations

Besides calculating the capacity you’ll need, when choosing your ramekins you should also consider surface area. For dishes such as crème brûlée, in which the burnt surface is often considered the tastiest part, you’ll want a low, wide ramekin with a lot of surface area.

Selecting the Right Food Tray for Your Business

Choosing the right food service tray for your restaurant or cafeteria may seem easy enough, but once you dive into the world of options it can be a little overwhelming. With a variety of sizes, styles, materials and colors available, how can you be sure that you are investing in a tray that will do your business good?

To answer that question we did the research for you. Let’s take a look at how to select the right tray for your business and your budget.

Size 

Consider the design of the front and back of the house areas, and consider the type of customer you are serving.

Answer the following questions to select the right size tray:

Will the tray’s style, shape and size fit my storage and service areas?

Will small children or customers with disabilities be using the tray?

What size tray will fit in the dish rack and can it pass through a conveyor dishmachine?

Compartment Tray

Compartment Tray

Style

Compartment trays are great for kitchens such as those in prisons, hospitals and elementary schools, where specific portion sizes are served.

Flat trays, or fast food trays, are great options for food service operators offering a variety of plated dishes. That makes them perfect for quick-serve restaurants, fast casual restaurants, buffet style restaurants, corporate lunch programs and secondary to college-level school cafeterias.

Trapezoid shaped trays are ideal for food service operators looking to get the most tabletop  space and increase seating capacity. This is a great choice for food courts, room service, hospitals  and schools.

Meal delivery trays are compartmentalized and keep portioned food from sliding around or spilling off the tray during transport.

Camtray Insert Trays 2

Insert Tray

Tray inserts are great for prepared food that is going to sit in hold or cold warming units before being delivered.

Material 

Available in fiberglass or plastic construction, food trays are built for durability and constant use. Fiberglass trays are typically available in flat and trapezoid styles, while plastic trays offer flat, trapezoid, compartment, inserts and meal delivery trays.

Color

Whether you use a color code for various cafeteria programs or simply want to match a color scheme within your restaurants design, there is a true rainbow of hues are available in all styles and sizes.

The right food service tray will enhance your operation’s goals and will cater to the experience you wish to provide the diners in your establishment.

Top 10 Restaurant Marketing Tips for Holidays and Special Occasions

People consider birthdays, anniversaries and holidays to be special occasions worthy of a little extra spending. You need to convince customers that your restaurant should be the recipient of those dollars. Follow these tips to attract customers for holidays and special occasions.

1. Send holiday greetings

A simple card sending best wishes for Valentine’s Day, Independence Day or the holiday season is a good way to remind customers about your restaurant at different times of the year. The card should seem like a greeting rather than a promotional message. Your customers will feel special and may keep you in mind for their celebration plans. At the bottom of the card, you could mention your holiday promotion, but keep it simple and enticing. For example, you could say, “One free glass of champagne for couples who dine with us on New Year’s Eve.”

2. Offer a birthday gift

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than half of Americans eat out on their birthday. To encourage them to keep your restaurant in mind for their special day, send customers in your database a birthday card that includes a voucher for a free gift of some kind, like a free birthday dessert.

3. Sell gift certificates

Gift certificates are the perfect way to capitalize on special occasions throughout the year and during the holiday season. About 25% of gift certificates are never actually used, which turns that sale into pure profit. You should display your gift certificates in a prominent place near the point of sale or the entrance, and you can also sell them on your restaurant website.

4. Put on a special holiday promotion

You could offer a special meal for two on Valentine’s Day, a free glass of champagne on Christmas Eve, free taxi rides on New Year’s Eve, etc. Just make sure not to offer a discount. For the holidays, people are willing to spend, so instead of a discount, offer extra service or a free item. Do not lower prices; instead, add a bit of value.

5. Throw a holiday party

Nothing captures the spirit of the holidays like a good party. Throw a Mardi Gras or Carnival party, a New Year’s countdown, a freaky Halloween party or even a romantic Valentine’s Day dance. Make sure that your food and drinks are a main focus of the party, and also provide special entertainment with music, movies or performers. Advertise your party through flyers, direct marketing campaigns and the local newspaper.

6. Use seasonal decorating

On Valentine’s Day, put roses and candles on the table. On New Year’s Eve, decorate with sparkly garlands and clocks for the countdown. For the first of November, you can add Day of the Dead decorations to your festive atmosphere. Changing the decorations in your restaurant occasionally will keep your design up-to-date with the season and add a fresh quality to the dining experience of your most loyal customers. Just make sure your holiday decorations do not clash with your design concept.

7. Host a holiday fundraiser

People feel generous during the holiday season. You can show them that you do, too, by hosting a special holiday fundraiser. You could put on a food drive or give a percentage of sales to a certain charity. Write up a press-release about it, and make sure to mention the fundraiser on any advertising materials that you use near the holidays.

8. Be politically correct

Do not risk alienating customers during the holiday season. Train all servers to say “Happy Holidays,” rather than “Merry Christmas.” Unless you know that your customer base subscribes to a certain religion, use only secular holiday decorations and slogans.

9. Put on a unique holiday stunt

You could transform your establishment into a haunted restaurant for Halloween, have all of your servers dress as Santa or elves for Christmas, hide eggs in your restaurant for customers to find on Easter, or send an employee to hit the streets dressed as a giant turkey for Thanksgiving. When it comes to crazy holiday stunts, do not limit your creativity.

10. Advertise for the holidays

Consider advertising in more unique or specific mediums for the holidays. For example, you could advertise in the program at a local drama theater for Valentine’s Day, or in programs for the Nutcracker ballet or school holiday concerts for the winter season. Consider creating a float for the parade and distributing flyers or coupons for Mardi Gras or Independence Day. On Thanksgiving, try advertising in the “food” section of local papers. Before Halloween, distribute flyers with details about your costume contest or Halloween promotion. Also make sure to mention your takeout or delivery services, since people may throw parties or be too busy to cook around the holiday.

Choosing and Using Steak Weights in the Kitchen

Steak weights are used to speed up the grilling time for thick cuts of meat without ruining the quality of the product. The steak weight, sometimes called a steak press, is particularly useful for well-done orders as it keeps service times moving at a reasonable pace.
How a Steak Weight Works

Simple to use, the steak weight is a useful tool for steakhouses, neighborhood grills, home use and any other food service operation serving up steaks and hamburgers on a regular basis. To use, simply place a steak weight on top of grilling meat. The force of the weight pushes down on the steak, while the weight itself retains the heat coming off of the grill and the meat itself. This heat is transferred back to the meat and assists in speeding up the cooking process. Steak weights also contribute to equal heat distribution for an evenly cooked steak or burger.

Cast Iron Steak Weight

Cast Iron Steak Weight

Cast Iron vs. Aluminum: Steak weights are made with one of two materials, cast iron or aluminum. Cast iron is best for cooks who will be using the steak weight on a regular basis. Although cast iron and aluminum are both excellent heat conductors, cast iron retains the most heat and will be most effective in speedy situations. Cast iron is also very durable and will endure heavy use. Aluminum steak weights are perfect for occasional use. Aluminum will heat up and cool down very quickly, but it is not as durable as cast iron and may start to show signs of wear after heavy use.

Safe Handling Tips

Prevent cross-contamination and flavor transfer by washing your steak weight after each use. To clean, operators can use one of two methods, although one is more thorough and highly recommended.

1. Recommended Cleaning Method: Allow the steak weight to cool off and clean off the surface with hot water and a stiff brush. Do not use a grill brush to clean off the steak weight as this is too abrasive, especially for cast iron steak weights.

2. Cleaning in a Hurry: Place the steak weight face down on the grill. The leftover residue on the surface of the steak weight will do one of two things: burn into a crust on the weight or it will burn to a crisp and will fall off of the weight. If the residue burns onto the weight, take a grill scraper and scrape everything off. It should flake off easily.

Remember to use an oven mitt or thick towel when handling a steak weight on the grill as the area around the handle will get very, very hot.

To keep steaks and burgers flying off the grill in busy restaurants, it is recommended to purchase a few steak weights to keep in rotation. Whether you have the occasional well-done order or if you have a high demand for very cooked meat, a steak weight proves itself an asset in any kitchen that grills up meat on a regular basis.

7 Common Misses When Cleaning Restaurant Kitchens

The easiest way to keep all of your equipment working in tip-top form is to clean, and clean often. There are the obvious hot spots to wipe down, but there are many more that are missed. Keep food poisoning, equipment breakdowns and unsightly work areas out of your business with this comprehensive checklist of seven spots commonly missed while cleaning restaurant kitchens.

1. The Ice Machine

There is a reason this is number one on the list. A lot of food service workers, managers included, forget that ice is food, and consumption can lead to food poisoning if the product is contaminated. Regularly cleaning the ice machine and ice storage bin will assure a healthy, contaminant-free product.

2. Underneath and Behind Equipment

It is easy to forget about kitchen areas that are not visible, but the whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind principle does not hold in commercial kitchens. Bacteria and vermin will be attracted to food scraps no matter where they hide. It’s also important to note that health inspectors will check underneath every piece of equipment to see if the area is clean. Keep it neat and tidy everywhere, every day and keep violations and vermin out of your kitchen.

3. The Dumpster Area

Everybody knows that rodents and disease love garbage. In fact, a messy dumpster area acts as an attractive buffet for bacteria, flies and vermin. Combat this issue with a clean garbage area. Start by making sure all of the dumpster lids close fully and stay closed. Next, instruct your staff to keep the area around the dumpster clean. This includes hosing down the dumpster’s exterior and making sure that all trash is deposited into the container. No waste should be left in open containers or on the ground.  A clean dumpster area will also cut back on foul odors that could potentially hurt business.

4. Refrigeration Coils

When a refrigerator’s coils are dirty it has to work harder to keep the unit cool, which can result in uneven internal temperatures. If the temperature fluctuates too much, the food can spoil. Have your employees wheel out the refrigerator once a month to dust the coils and keep the back of the unit clean and in good working order.

5. The Meat Slicer

The top slicer blade is likely getting all the cleaning love. But it’s important to keep the bottom side of the blade just as clean. This area comes in contact with food and can harbor bacteria. Therefore, it is important to remind employees to clean both sides of the meat slicer blade every day and in between different cuts of meat.

6. Beverage Dispenser Heads

Mold, bacteria and fruit flies love sugar almost as much as they love warmth and moisture. The nozzles and dispenser heads of a beverage dispenser will have residual sugar on them at the end of the day. Make it a daily habit to remove and hand wash the nozzles during closing clean-up duties. This will prevent bacteria from taking up residence over night.

7. Splashes on the Walls

Got a little fryer oil or tomato sauce splatter on the wall? Wipe it off as soon as possible! Bacteria can grow on these splatters and splashes, and, depending on the area, fruit flies or other pests may be attracted to the stuck-on residue. For the easiest remedy, instruct employees to wipe down walls as soon as the splash occurs. This way the food does not become dried on and harder to clean at the end of the night.

Burkett Named Industry Excellence Awards Winner

We Are BurkettFoodservice Equipment Reports magazine has recognized Burkett Restaurant Equipment & Supplies as one of seven national recipients of the prestigious Management Excellence Award in its 2019 Industry Excellence Awards.

Management Excellence Awards are among the most prestigious in the foodservice industry. The award recognizes excellence in the management of unit and facilities development, design, Equipment & Supplies purchasing and maintenance functions in commercial and noncommercial foodservice operations; in the delivery and performance of E&S functions and services by E&S dealers and distributors; and in the delivery of services by foodservice consulting firms and service agencies.

Candidates are nominated and selected by advisory boards made up primarily of leading equipment and supplies manufacturers. Burkett won the Small Dealer category, competing among those companies with less than $40 million in annual revenue.

“A wise man once said no pain no gain,” Burkett President Jameel Burkett said. “These last few years have not always been easy as we built our infrastructure to grow Burkett, but our future is bright, and this industrywide recognition further validates that we are doing the right things.”

This is the first time the company has ever won the award. Recipients will be honored at FER’s Industry Awards Gala on May 19, 2019 during the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.

“I am truly honored that Foodservice Equipment Reports magazine has chosen Burkett Restaurant Equipment & Supplies as one of its 2019 Management Excellence Award recipients.” Burkett said. “This is an example of what can happen when you have a great team that shares the same vision and works hard every single day. I am also thankful for all the great customer friends and vendor partners that we work with. We are truly blessed and humbled in receiving this award. Congratulations to our entire Burkett Team!”

Read the full FER article and find out about all 18 Industry Excellence Awards winners by clicking on this link.

How to Design a Perfect Restaurant Dining Room

Every restaurant’s dining room should be unique. It may not seem obvious, but the layout and organization of your dining room supports your branding and subtly influences your customers spending. So be sure that your dining room and seating layouts are strategically designed.

Dining Room Layout

Before designing the layout of your tables and seating, you first need to consider your space limitations and decide how many separate dining spaces you will to create.

If you have not yet decided on the architecture of your dining area or plan to renovate the existing architecture, you can divide your space up in the following ways:

  • Multiple main dining areas. You can create multiple dining rooms that flow into each other. Dividing up your dining areas with walls will make it easier to anchor tables. To add an individual charm to each space, you can design each room differently.
  • Open main dining area. You can use a single, large open dining space. Visually and acoustically, this will tend to add an edge of excitement to your dining room, since customers will be able to hear and see all other parties. This kind of space is ideal for floating tables, tables that are not near walls or other fixtures, but you can also add columns to create anchored seating, as well. The columns will have the added effect of enhancing the acoustics in the room.
  • Private dining rooms. You can close off a section or two with double doors, and designate that space as a private dining area. You can use one of the rooms as a smoking area, if local laws allow it. You can also rent out private dining rooms to large groups that want to hold private parties or meetings at your restaurant. If the rooms are not reserved, you can open the double doors and free up the space for walk-in customers.

Make sure each “area” you create will fit the number of tables and other furniture that you want in that space. If your dining room walls are already built and you will not be renovating them, you have to work with what you have. If you are set on having multiple dining areas but cannot afford to renovate your walls, you can use curtains, screens or partitions to create separate dining “rooms.”

Seating Layout

Once the architecture of your dining area is set in stone, follow these steps to create a seating layout:

  1. Draw a map of the dining area. Measure the area and draw up a blueprint of the space. Include walls, columns, partitions and any other obstructions in your blueprint. You will use the blueprint to lay out your seating, tables and any other furniture in your dining room.
  2. Determine the space between tables. For quick service, there can be less space, since waiters will not be moving much around the dining area. For a casual service restaurant, balance seating capacity with customer and server comfort. Consider the “feel” you hope to create. An “exciting,” casual atmosphere can be a little crowded. With a fine dining restaurant, tables should be spaced further apart to give the diners extra comfort and privacy.
  3. Think about party size. Depending on your restaurant type, you may be serving large parties. If you will be expecting large parties, you will need a couple of large tables. If you are not sure what size of parties you will serve, it is a good idea to create a flexible seating layout with extra two-person tables that can be put together or pulled apart to accommodate different party sizes.
  4. “Anchor” some of your seating. The large majority of people prefer to sit at a table that is “anchored” to a wall or a partition, rather than one that is floating in the middle of the room. Furthermore, people spend more money when they occupy anchored seating, although this is partly compensated for by the fact that they also linger longer after finishing their meals. Create seating anchored to the following:
    • Walls
    • Nooks
    • Partitions or screens
    • Columns
    • Curtains

    Booths encourage the highest spending per minute, while tables near a wall or corner also have a high spending-per-minute value. The worst kind of anchored seating to encourage spending is banquette-style seating, where a long bench is set against a wall to be used as the seat back.

  5. Strategically place floating tables. You can encourage high turnover with strategically placed floating tables. Guests spend less time lingering at tables near busy areas, like the kitchen or the exit, but they spend about the same average on their checks. Thus, the tables that are exposed to high traffic, the “bad” tables, are often the most profitable, earning more dollars-per-minute per customer. However, keep in mind that this will affect the customers’ memories of their dining experiences. While exposed, “floating” tables are often more profitable, they are less likely to encourage customers to come back again.

Studies of spending-per-minute at different table locations suggests that it is not necessary to go out of your way to get rid of all the “floating” tables. On the other hand, anchored tables are a key element in making diners feel comfortable and emotionally attached to your restaurant. In the end, the most profitable way to arrange tables is a mix of anchored tables and free-standing tables near high-traffic areas that can be mixed and matched to accommodate different party sizes.

1 2 3 37  Scroll to top