Monthly Archives: June 2013

Restaurant Education: Preparing Your Restaurant for High Voltage Appliances

High_VoltageWith the exception of a clothes dryer or oven, most household appliances only require 120 electrical volts, whereas commercial restaurant equipment and appliances run at higher voltages (208 volts to 240 volts).  If you’re opening a new foodservice establishment, or remodeling your existing restaurant, coffee shop, or bar, you will be buying equipment and acting as a middle man between your electrician and your equipment dealer. Read on to understand the basics you’ll need to understand to be comfortable talking directly to your electrician and ensuring your establishment is properly wired.

Standard 120 Volt household appliances generally have the same standard plugs on the ends of their power cords, and those plugs can be plugged into any standard household outlet. This is not true of high voltage commercial appliances. There are different kinds of plugs and different kinds of outlets for high voltage appliances.

Most people realize the plug on the end of your appliance’s power cord needs to fit the outlet. For this reason, many commercial appliances are shipped without a plug at the end of the power cord. The person doing the installation first looks at the outlet, and then provides a compatible plug which they put on the end of the power cord as part of the installation procedure.

The main reason for having different plugs is to ensure that the appliance does not exceed the current limit of the wiring in the wall. For high voltage outlets, you will typically see 20 Ampere sockets, 30 Ampere sockets.

Make sure that the circuit that your electrician installs will comfortably handle the current that your appliance will pull. Consider putting in a 30 Ampere circuit for a 20 Ampere appliance to ensure you’re not regularly tripping the circuit breaker. If you intend to plug more than one appliance into the same circuit, make sure you add up the currents from all of the appliances (this should be available on the equipment’s spec sheet). Ask your electrician to install a circuit that can handle the total current.

Finally, look for plugs that lock into the socket. This will prevent the plug from being dislodged accidentally. Some zoning boards will require this as a “safety feature.” They are concerned that if someone trips over the cord, the plug will get pulled out, and there could be a small spark that would cause any nearby volatile gasses to explode.

Restaurant Ed: Avoid a Bad Health Inspection

Here’s something I realized this weekend, some people will go to the ends of the earth to avoid a restaurant that has received a poor health inspection rating. Regardless if the restaurant has improved the situation that has caused the poor rating in the first place, they want no part of it. That seems unfair to me, but not everyone has restaurant industry experience to soften them. In fact, a friend recently argued to me that we should expect “A” ratings from every restaurant.

That says a lot about how important it is to strive for the best rating during a health inspection. With that in mind, I compiled a list of the most common violations and how to avoid them. Keep these in mind when you’re preparing for a health inspection or doing a self-inspection of your establishment.A rating

Follow the steps below to practice A-grade food safety and keep your customers safe from food-borne illness.

Be sure employees are trained in basic food safety and supervised by someone who has a food protection certificate.

  1. Arrange work schedules so that a supervisor with a food protection certificate is on duty whenever your restaurant is receiving or preparing food, or is open to the public.
  2. Train supervisors to use the Self-Inspection Worksheet to regularly evaluate and improve the restaurant’s condition and employees’ food safety practices.
  3. Provide food safety training for all employees who handle food .

Hold food at the proper temperature.

  1. Review Health Department rules for temperature- holding requirements.
  2. Be sure equipment used to hold hot and cold food is working properly.
  3. Use thermometers to monitor the temperature of foods in hot or cold storage.
  4. Track food taken from hot or cold storage, and record how long it is out.

Control conditions that promote pests.

  1. Seal all cracks, crevices and holes in walls, cabinets and doors to prevent rodents, cockroaches and flies from entering.
  2. Install rodent-proof door sweeps on outside doors.
  3. Store food and garbage in pest-proof containers.
  4. Clean grease, oil and food particles from all surfaces and equipment, including the floor underneath.
  5. Keep range hoods clean and grease-free.
  6. Contract with a pest control professional licensed to work in restaurants.

Protect food from contamination during storage, preparation, transportation and display.

  1. Keep food covered until served.
  2. Keep food separated by temperature and type. Avoid cross-contamination by separating potentially hazardous foods (like raw poultry) from ready-to-eat items (like salad mix).

Maintain all food surfaces.

  1. Clean and sanitize all food-preparation surfaces after each use; remove caked-on food.
  2. Repair or replace deeply-grooved cutting boards and chipped or broken surfaces so they can be properly sanitized.

Maintain all non-food surfaces.

  1. Review Health Department rules on acceptable materials; surfaces should be smooth and cleanable.
  2. Keep all surfaces clean.

Maintain all plumbing and check it frequently.

  1. Monitor all plumbing fixtures and make needed repairs immediately.
  2. Be sure plumbing is fitted with approved devices (valves, anti-siphonage pieces, vacuum breakers) to prevent backflow.
  3. Clean and maintain grease traps.

We recommend consulting with your entire kitchen staff about these issues, and make sure to highlight the importance of a sanitary (and safe!) working environment. 

How To: Using a Kitchen Scale

food scaleConsider me in the food scale fan club. You’ll always find me touting their copious attributes. Kitchen Scales will change your life!

I imagine most commercial kitchens are well versed in kitchen scale usage, but for all of you residential chefs, lets erase your fears that cooking with measured weights is a difficult or time consuming task.

Kitchen scales have always played a predominant part in my life. My mom, who taught me how to cook, was forever baking delectable treats in our kitchen and pulling out her trusty scale to get the job done. She was also a jazzercise/fad diet fanatic and often used her kitchen scale to enforce portion control.

Baking a cake? Stop dreading the subsequent clean-up, because you’ll only be using one bowl and one spoon. Ah, imagine not having to search through three drawers (yes, we have 3 drawers of kitchen essentials that I cannot live without) looking for that missing ¾ measuring cup…seriously, where is my ¾ measuring cup?

Perhaps you’re experimenting with gluten-free recipes and you’ve realized that many recipes are written in measured weights. Do not be daunted by this! Kitchen scales are simple to use.

The key is to zero out the scale every time you add an ingredient. If you have a digital kitchen scale, you simply hit the On/Clear button, this will zero out your weight. On a dial scale, you can turn the knob back to the zero mark. *If your kitchen scale is a family heirloom from the Roman Empire, or you’re a Mathlete and predisposed to balanced scales, this actually will be an arduous process.

Now, on to adding your ingredients; slowly add in the first ingredient until it reached the weight you need. Zero out the weight again, and add your second ingredient until you reach the desired weight. Now, zero it out again, and so on. Simple, right? You’ll have mastered the kitchen scale in minutes! Wondering why you haven’t tried it sooner? Me too.

Now, throw away all three sets of those measuring spoons and cups you have stuffed in some drawer and log onto Burkett Restaurant Equipment to purchase your new favorite kitchen tool.

Burkett Colleague Connect

Have you ever had a boss that you really, really liked? I’m lucky enough to be in that position right now. For this month’s edition of Burkett Colleague Connect, I interviewed my manager, Josh Baltzell, our Director of Marketing & Ecommerce. Keep reading to learn a little more about Josh and the impact he’s making on Burkett’s Marketing Department.

1.     How long have you worked for Burkett Restaurant Equipment?JBaltzell

I’ve been with Burkett since October of 2012. It’s been an amazing experience getting to know the whole team. Everyone is so young and opinionated and full of energy!

2.     Why did you get into marketing and ecommerce?

I am a very technical guy, but I started out wanting to do graphic design. That’s what got me doing web work using Classic ASP and ASP.NET early in my career. There’s no place like the web for combining my love of making things beautiful and also functional. I enjoy getting involved in everything from graphics (possibly to our graphic designer’s chagrin), to web coding, to the tracking and reporting that modern marketing requires.

The first ecommerce websites I ever worked with were internal systems for ordering custom printed marketing materials for Fortune 500 companies. That was the most complicated ordering process I have seen to date! I wrote the code myself from scratch. That is probably the best (or maybe worst) way to get in to ecommerce. After that experience I feel that I know where the complexities are in either original code, or in the various ecommerce platforms that are available out there.

3.     How would you describe Burkett’s culture in three words?

Holy foodservice knowledge!

Just kidding.

Fast. Changing. Growing.

4.     What are our biggest marketing challenges at Burkett Restaurant Equipment?

Marketing a Business-to-Business company can be a challenge. Most advertising or marketing possibilities on the web are geared toward consumers. Since we sell so much restaurant equipment, it can be hard to hone our marketing to just hit those that are actually interested in commercial equipment.

Tracking that marketing is also an area where we spend a lot of time. We are always looking for new ways to know how well our marketing is working.

5.     What are a few lessons from your previous marketing experience that you’re applying at Burkett today?

Omni-channel ordering consistency. That’s a fancy way of saying that every order we accept goes through our channels the same way.

At my previous jobs, ordering consistency could be considered “low-hanging fruit” because we only accepted web orders. However, Burkett is able to take orders via chat, email, phone, web, and in our showroom; we have to really put some thought in to how it works behind the scenes. Doing a great job with Omni-channel is one of the ways that I think we can give our customers an even better ordering experience.

6.     Do you consider yourself left brained (analytic) or right brained (creative)?

You’d probably have to ask my wife or coworkers that one. If it helps, I do the budget at home, but I also picked the paint colors and love taking photos with my Canon SLR.

7.     What is something about the Burkett environment that an outsider wouldn’t notice at first?

We love to chat! I thought the marketing room was so quiet when I first started, but then I realized that everyone socializes just like I do, over chat, texts, and emails. Never judge a book by its cover, or an office by its volume level.

Buying Guide: What to Do before Buying a Ventilation Hood

Are you opening a new restaurant? Maybe you’re re-modeling an existing establishment? A ventilation hood is an essential piece of commercial restaurant equipment that is required in all restaurants, hotels and other foodservice establishments. Vent fans, located inside the hood, pull in smoke, grease, oil, steam and odor; essentially leaving only clean air inside your kitchen.

Before you open your doors, your ventilation hood will need to be functioning and in good condition to meet various safety, food and health standards. In some cases, restaurant owners will need to adhere to both national and local codes and mandatory specifications for commercial kitchen equipment.

One of the first things to consider when buying a commercial ventilation hood is your fire code.  It is also important to determine the size and type of hood you’ll need. Most fire codes have specific requirements for commercial kitchens and concession stands. These will typically specify how much larger the ventilation hood should be than the cooking area it covers.

Before you start shopping, check the fire and safety codes in your area to ensure you purchase the correct piece of equipment that is sized to meet all the necessary cooking and fire suppression requirements and specifications. Keep in mind, national fire code in the US requires a minimum of a six inch overhang on all sides of your hood.

If your kitchen is designed so that your range, charbroiler and fryers are in the same area, one ventilation hood should be sufficient for the entire area. In addition, most kitchens will need a grease hood system to filter the grease vapors that are emitted while you’re cooking. Wall-type designs are common in commercial kitchens, and professional installers can do the job for you. Some would even offer to do regular maintenance and provide recommendations on how to properly maintain and use the equipment.

For those pizzeria owners out there, pizza ovens do not produce grease vapors, so a heat hood is all you’ll need. The same goes for areas that have dishwashers or steamers.

If you still have questions about which ventilation hood to purchase, call Burkett Restaurant Equipment at 419-720-8190. Whether you need a new ventilation hood or a custom ventilation hood, Burkett Restaurant Equipment will help you select the right piece of equipment for your foodservice establishment!

How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Walk-In Cooler

Summertime is approaching quickly and your commercial refrigerators and freezers will be working overtime. While walk-in coolers and Norlake walk-inwalk-in freezers can have very long service lives, there are a few telltale signs that a unit needs replacing.

With new and more energy efficient technologies continuously being developed , experts recommend that walk-ins be replaced after 15 years of service.

If the panel skins are deteriorating or separating from the foam, the walk-in most likely needs to be retired. Frost accumulates when warm air is allowed to enter the walk-in. If your walk-in is a new installation and the frost is forming along seam lines, you may have an air leak at the seam. Interior panel seams that have condensation or frost build up typically signify that the seal is allowing air to leak through. This can compromise holding temperatures and leave you needing a new unit.

If the frost is around the door you likely have a leaking door gasket or wiper gasket on the bottom of the door. To determine this, go inside the freezer, have someone turn off the lights. If you see light, you have a leak at the gaskets that will need to be repaired. Door seals and sweep gaskets can be replaced. However, sagging doors that allow outside air into the walk-in cooler or freezer can cause ice buildup on the evaporator coil, compromising efficiency and eventually requiring the purchase of a new unit

Finally, if the frost is on the ceiling, particularly near the units evaporator coil, you may have a failed fan delay relay. The fan relay functions to delay the coil fans from restarting after a defrost cycle until the coil refreezes. If there is no delay the water on the fins of the coil will evaporate and turn to frost on the ceiling of the walk-in freezer. You’ll need a refrigeration tech to confirm the problem and replace the fan relay.

A Fun Father’s Day Cookout

Boozy BBQ ChickenIt’s fair to say that this post will have nothing to do with Restaurant Equipment, but it does have something to do with food. And that is something we all have in common.

Father’s Day is upon us. For me, that means celebrating the man in my life with meat and beer and spicy stuff. I’ve spent the last few nights pouring over Burkett’s Pinterest boards looking for the perfect recipes and DIY crafts for the children to make. Here’s a glimpse of what’s on our menu for this Father’s Day.

Boozy BBQ Chicken:

  • 1 Whole Chicken (roughly 3lbs)
  • ¾ Cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 12 oz can of beer (your choice)
  • ½ Cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1 juicy lemon

First thing’s first, open your beer and start drinking. Then warm your outdoor grill to medium heat.

Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl mix mustard, salt and pepper, then brush chicken with mustard mix.

When your beer is half empty, pour your ½ Cup of Italian Salad dressing and juice from half of the lemon into the can.

Put the can on a disposable baking sheet. Place upright chicken on the can like a stand, inserting the can into the cavity of the chicken.

Place baking sheet with beer and chicken on the preheated grill.

Cover and set your timer for 1 hour.

Carefully slice into the chicken to check for doneness. When the meat is no longer pink, take the chicken off the grill and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.

Slice chicken and serve.

I’m also throwing together some Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese using this recipe, but omitting the chicken. We’re big fans of mac and cheese in our house.

Finally, with the help of my trusted assistants pictured below, we’ll make peanut butter cup puppy chow. Using another simple recipe I found, I might be looking forward to this treat the most.


Peanut Butter Cup Puppy Chow:

8 cups Chex cereal

2 cups Reese’s Puffs cereal

16 oz. vanilla CandiQuik

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Reese’s)

1 bag Reese’s mini peanut butter cups (8 oz.)

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup mini Reese’s pieces

Combine the cereal in a bowl and set aside. Divide the powdered sugar into 2 big Ziploc bags and set aside. Place the CandiQuik in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Heat an additional minute, stirring every 30 seconds. Spoon the peanut butter into the melted chocolate and stir until smooth.

Pour the melted chocolate over the cereal and stir until coated. Toss the peanut butter cups with the cereal. Spoon the mixture into the two Ziploc bags evenly. Close and shake until thoroughly coated. Spread out on a parchment lined cookie sheet until set. Sprinkle with the Reese’s pieces

I’d love to hear what you have planned. Let us know!

Buying Guide: ENERGY STAR Restaurant Equipment

Did you know restaurants use five to seven times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings, such as offices and retail stores? High-volume quick service restaurants can even use up to 10 times more energy per square foot. By becoming more energy efficient, restaurants can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve their own financial bottom line.

So where do you start? An easy way to reduce your restaurant’s energy consumption is by purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified commercial restaurant equipment. Energy costs are continually increasing; investing in energy efficiency is the best way to protect your business against the rising price of energy consumption.

If you’re in the market for new restaurant equipment, and considering ENERGY STAR qualified appliances, it’s best to think in terms of life-cycle costs. This includes purchase price, annual energy costs, and other long-term costs typically associated with commercial equipment. While high efficiency restaurant equipment may require a larger investment up front, it can also significantly lower your utility bills, making up for that initial price difference.

Whether you’re cooking, refrigerating, or holding food there is significant energy savings associated with using ENERGY STAR qualified models in your commercial kitchen. ENERGY STAR qualifies commercial food service equipment in several restaurant equipment categories including:

The benefit of these qualified products is that they can save as much as 50 percent over their conventional counterparts. Ready to shop? Burkett Restaurant Equipment can supply you with best in class ENERGY STAR qualified equipment.

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