Monthly Archives: August 2012

Keep Pests Out of Your Restaurant

EEEEKS! No one wants to admit it, but many restaurant kitchens have a few pests crawling around- even if you’ve never seen them. Ants, cockroaches, maggots, and even mice crawling in the refrigerator, near the ice bin, and in between the stove and cabinets. Once they’ve infiltrated the kitchen, it’s extremely difficult to get rid of them. So follow these steps to keep the crawling critters out of your restaurant.

Use an Air Curtain… This is especially good for keeping out insects. Made to be flush with the ceiling, and available heated or unheated, they can be installed at the front and back entrances of your restaurant, as well as the drive-thru window (if you have one). An added bonus of Heated Air Curtains are they help with your heat and cool temperatures.

Powdered Cinnamon… Looking for an economical and environmentally friendly way to keep ants at bay? Sprinkle powdered cinnamon  around any openings, including doors, windows, and vents, to repel them. While cinnamon is not deadly to them, it is a powerful and natural deterrent.

Check for Openings and Cracks, Then Seal Them… Mice can squeeze through a 1/4″ opening so make sure to fill any foundation cracks, gaps in the walls and holes around utility pipes with steel wool sealed with caulking so the mice can’t chew through it as soon as you see them.

Clean! Clean! Clean!… We cannot stress this enough. A dirty, cluttered restaurant is like an open invitation for bacteria ridden pests and rodents.

  • Place garbage in sealed tightly sealed cans outside. You can even tie down garbage cans with bungee cords for added protection.
  • If there is no clutter, there is no where for mice and insects to hide and so that you can easily inspect for infestation.
  • Clean food and drink spills as soon as the occur.
  • Keep sink drains dry and free of food debris.

Storage Containers… Use tightly-sealed Ingredient Bins to store dry ingredients like rice, sugar, and crackers. Mice can easily chew through cardboard and ants can crawl through the cracks of boxes, but with sealed plastic containers, pests have no way of getting in- just make sure you seal it closed EVERY time you open it.

Screen Windows and Doors…  Commercial kitchens are hot, which means employees are tempted to prop open windows and doors to allow the heat to escape. The only problem, is unscreened openings also become an entrance area for small insects. Use a 16″ mesh screen on all windows and a tight fitting screen door to help keep out even the smallest insects.

Inspect Your Deliveries.. Pests are often brought in by people, including your vendors. Check deliveries before placing items into your dry storage area and reject infested shipments.

Education… Educate everyone of your employees on the dangers and risks of insects and rodents. Have a check list and tips near exterior doors, walk-in coolers, and food storage areas reminding employees what to do to ensure a pest-free kitchen.

The White Box Test… Ok, so let’s say you suspect that you might have a pest problem. What do you do now? The Health Department recommends an interesting, but effective method to determine if there are critters crawling around your kitchen and pantry. Move all dry ingredients to the center of the room. Paint a 12″ thick white box around the ingredients. If you have ants, you will see them crawling around and if you have mice, you will see mice droppings on the white box.

Pest Control Services… Well the pests are there and you need them out now before they further destroy your inventory and appear in a customers dish. Call a licensed and professional pest control service. Do not attempt to deal with the problem on your own, as it will be more effective to hire a company.

  • Applications should be limited to ‘crack & crevice’ or ‘spot’ (2 sq. ft.) treatments.
  • If you use foggers (“bomb”) or wider area sprays, you MUST remove all exposed food items and cover food preparation surfaces and equipment.
  • After treatment, wash down all surfaces.

Rodent Traps… If you do have a rodent problem, you first need to secure your establishment and locate where they are entering the building from. Once you’ve done this, then you can set up traps to catch the rodents living in your restaurant. There are two types of traps you can use:

  • Mechanical traps like live traps or lethal snap traps
  • Sticky traps or glue boards.

Check traps regularly and remove and dispose of captured rodents immediately.

We hope these tips are helpful in keeping your restaurant free and clear of insects and rodents. Share with us how you keep your kitchen pest and rodent free in the comment section below.

Walk-In Coolers Buying Guide

Walk-In Coolers are an essential piece of equipment for larger commercial kitchens. In essence, a walk-in cooler is a very large refrigerator that is large enough to walk into (also called a vault). Perfect for storing ingredients that need to be kept cold, walk-in refrigeration has ample room and the ability to walk in to it means that you can store even the bulkiest items and organize everything at the optimal temperature. Prior to entering the foodservice industry, I’m pretty sure you’ve never had a reason to think about or research the ins and outs of walk-in coolers. Keep in mind, that when using a walk-in cooler, food temperature will not drop as quickly as it would in a blast chiller. For example, Norlake walk-in coolers and freezers will hold food temperatures at +35°F., -10°F., -20°F.

This commercial walk-in cooler buying guide includes a brief questionnaire that will assist you in selecting the right equipment for your needs.

What are you using the walk-in cooler for?

Selecting the right walk-in depends on what you will be using it for. Here are a few examples:

  • For beer or beverages…. You want a cooler unit that will hold beverages at a lower temperature than food items.
  • For food… The walk-in cooler must be able to hold the food at 38-40 degrees.

How cold should my walk-in cooler be?

  • Walk-in refrigerators are perfect for storing crisp lettuce, mayonnaise, meats, and other foods that needs to be stored between 28 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Walk-in freezers will keep meats, seafood, desserts and more icy cold by holding at below 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Should I choose an inside or outside walk-in unit?

A walk-in cooler can be placed inside or outside.

  • Indoor Walk-In Cooler – If the unit will be inside, select the coolest place in your establishment to set it up.
  • Outdoor Walk-In Cooler – It is important to decide where you will be placing the walk-In, as an outdoor box, will have a protective covering to protect from the elements.

Does the walk-in coolers compressor location matter?

  • Self-Contained Compressor – A compressor located on top or side of the cooler will need 6 inches of clearance from the top of the compressor to function properly and not burn out the compressor.
  • Remote Compressor – This compressor type sits on the roof of your building, basement, or the ground and a pre-charged tubing is used to push cold air through it.

Is my floor strong enough for a walk-in cooler?

Can your current floor hold a 1250+ pound walk-in cooler as well as the items inside of it without damaging the floor? If not, then you will need to have the floor reinforced. For example, if you will be using the walk-in as a keg cooler, it’s a good idea to reinforce the floors anyways due to the weight of the kegs getting wheeled across the floor, loaded, and unloaded multiple times each day.

  • If you are using the walk-in cooler to store produce, you may not need a reinforced floor.
  • You will always need a reinforced floor for a walk-in freezer unless the concrete floor is already insulated.

What do I need to know before buying a walk-in cooler?

Knowing a few configurations before calling us will help us to better assist you in selecting the right walk-in unit for your establishment.

  • What are your dimensions including height?
  • What is the door specification and how many doors will you need? A standard door is 34″ x 76″
  • Where do you want the door hinges?
  • Where will the refrigeration be… remote, side, top, or self-contained?
  • Will you need 208/220 or 115 voltages; single or 3-phase?

Work Table Buying Guide

You cannot prepare a magnificent dish in your kitchen if you do not have anywhere to prepare it. That’s why Work Tables are essential in any commercial kitchen as they provide your chefs with the space they need to mix, chop, and assemble signature dishes and meals.

Work Tables… Stationary Work Tables are an excellent way to provide extra work space for your chefs. Designed for heavy commercial use, Work Tables have stainless steel tops and adjustable shelves for extra storage, making them easy to clean as well as customizable.

Utility Carts…It is often necessary to be able to move equipment, ingredients, and supplies around your commercial kitchen or business. Since utility Carts come with wheels, they are perfect for moving items throughout your entire kitchen. Available in plastic or stainless steel for easy cleaning, and with a 700 pounds capacity, Utility Carts are a versatile and vital part of your kitchen.

Dolly with Push Handle…Move dishes, boxes, and deliveries with ease.

Shelf Utility Cart… Multiple shelves allow for extra room for moving foodstuff, plates, and portable small appliances.

Service Cart… Perfect for busing tables or room service deliveries.

Equipment Stands… Keep regularly used small appliances like Microwaves and Countertop Mixers within easy reach by utilizing a stationary or mobile Equipment Stand. They come in a variety of sizes- as small as 12″ all the way to a spacious 72″ surface. Most Equipment Stands are made from galvanized stainless steel which offers any kitchen a sturdy and durable space to place to place kitchen gadgets. Specialty Equipment Stands can also be purchased for specific equipment such as Grill Stands and steam kettle stands. Many of these stands are designed for certain equipment while others are meant to be used for products made by a specific manufacturers. These stands often provide the proper electrical hook-ups for products, or simply give the necessary support needed for a certain piece of equipment.

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