Category: GYB Trends and Tips

10 Tips to Ensure You’re Purchasing the Right Restaurant Equipment

It’s a restaurateurs worst nightmare. You’ve spent months (perhaps years) preparing for your grand opening. You’ve selected the theme of your restaurant, picked the perfect location for success, and created a killer menu. While these are all vital steps in opening a restaurant, many owners overlook the importance of selecting the correct equipment. This oversight can lead to failed inspections and delays in your opening.  Here are 10 ways to make sure that you do not fall into this situation.

1- Talk to Your Local Health Inspector! Have a firm understanding of  the laws in your area and purchase accordingly. Customers always ask if a particular item needs to be under a hood- they shouldn’t be asking us. They need to ask their local health inspector because it depends on where they are located and what specific health laws need to be obeyed.

2- Talk to a Consultant! By communicating your needs and your business specifications your Consultant will verify that the equipment is the correct size and has the correct connection requirements. You may know what you WANT, but do you know what you NEED? That’s where a Consultant will come in and walk you through the steps to ensure a perfect transaction.

3- Follow the Instructions! If the instructions say “Professional Installation is Required” please heed this. So often we find out that equipment has been damaged making the warranty void because an owner thinks they can save a few dollars by installing the equipment themselves. (This also means do not hire an unlicensed handy man!)

4- Consider Your Usage!  While sometimes a lower priced product is just a lower price product, often it is a light duty piece of equipment that was never intended to withstand the rigors of a demanding restaurant kitchen. A product that may be a bit more expensive, on the other hand will generally be of comprised of better quality components and offer longer warranties. Know your usage and purchase accordingly.

5- Inspect Your Delivery! Would you take possession of a car without inspecting it for damages first? Of course not! We hope you’re doing the same when you accept a True® Refrigerator from a freight company. It is extremely important that you OPEN THE PACKAGE and inspect the product for package- don’t just inspect the outside of it. According to the policies of many carriers, once you sign for your shipment you are releasing them from all liability pertaining to the delivery of the package. So PAY ATTENTION and don’t feel rushed by the deliverer to just sign off without inspecting first. You can also ask your Consultant about insuring your shipment that will protect you from concealed damage (damages that you cannot see but occur as a result of the shipping)

6- Know Your Utility Requirements– Electric, Gas or Propane! Before you order a Range or Walk-In Cooler, ask your building contractor what voltage and phase your building has. It may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we get asked “Should I purchase a gas or electric unit?” The right question though is- “Does your building have a gas or electric supply?”

7- Understand the Function of the Equipment! An ice bin is not the same as an ice machine. The former holds ice and the latter makes ice. It’s small assumptions like this that can cost a restaurateur big bucks in the long run, so read the product description and ask your Consultant for more information if you are still unsure. Make sure the product is capable of holding the necessary capacity. Remember, it is always better that the equipment has a larger capacity than a smaller one.

8- To Warranty or Not to Warranty! Warranties are important but do not assume that anything that can go wrong with a product will be covered. Read the fine print, follow instructions, and take the proper steps to ensure that if there is a problem with your product it can be covered by the warranty. Generally a manufacturer offers a one-year warranty but you can upgrade to a long-term one that will cover the product for up to 5 years.

9- SPACE! Please review the spec sheet and measure the space where you will place the product. A fraction of an inch is all it takes to keep it from perfectly fitting. Another thing to consider is, do you have room for the equipment? You may want a new Espresso Machine for your Italian Bistro, but where will it go? You can do one of two things: Pick a product then designate a space for it OR Designate a space and then pick out a product that will fit.

10- Accessories! Accessories! Accessories! What accessories will you need to optimize the functionality of the equipment. For example when purchasing a griddle, you should also purchase a grill scraper to help you clean it. It is a very large scraper and therefore will cover a larger surface area than your standard grill scrapers. This simple accessory will give you a quicker turn over and therefore allowing you to make more money!  If you are purchasing a new Fryer, it is also recommended that you purchase a new gas hose to go with it. Specifically a “quick disconnect.” It is a simple accessory that is preferred by health inspectors in order to improve the functionality and cleanliness of the product.

We  hope you will consider these 10 factors before purchasing restaurant equipment. They should help mitigate the risks of having to make a product exchange or return. After all, the last thing you want is to delay your opening because you need to reconfigure your kitchen.

Did we miss any important tips? Don’t keep them to yourself! Share your comments below please!

GYB Trend: Should Your Restaurant Get Its Groupon?

We’re sure you’ve heard a lot of talk these days about the growth and influence of Groupon, but is it worth it for your business? Groupon-Logo

Groupon is a website that offers deal-of-the-day promotions from different businesses (restaurants, salons, bowling alleys, bookstores, etc…) specifically catered for 100’s of cities in the United States, as well as abroad. Here’s how it works:

  1. At midnight a Groupon is offered for 24-72 hours (deals on Friday are generally available through the weekend) in the city that your business is located
  2. If a certain number of people sign up for the offer, the deal becomes available to all, otherwise no one gets the deal that day.
  3. In return, Groupon then receives a cut of the deal from the retailers.

Like any marketing technique there are positives and negatives associated with enrolling your business in the Groupon offers. Let’s take a quick look at a few of those risks and benefits before deciding on whether or not your business should get its Groupon. The negatives include,

  1. A successful deal could temporarily swamp your business with too many customers. This could leave customers unsatisfied, or that there won’t be enough product to meet the demand. There have been many stories of nail salons being understaffed and sushi restaurants that run out of rice on a overly busy Saturday night. These scenarios could make these potential repeating customers into one-time disappointed customers.
  2. The Groupon is discounted by at least 50%. Then Groupon receives 50% of the sale, leaving you with only 25% of what you would usually make on a product or service.
  3. Because Groupon’s are offered daily and many competing websites have popped up- some people will not return to the business without a deal. Customers begin to think, “Why eat at business X, without a deal when business Z is offering a deal?,” or that they would rather wait until you offer a Groupon deal before they come in.
  4. You will not receive your new clients contact information (i.e. Email, phone number, mailing address)

On the other hand there are plenty of positive reasons for your business to get its Groupon:

  1. Groupon does all the advertising for you and you only pay if and when you attract purchasers.
  2. For the most part, you are guaranteed a rush of new customers.
  3. Groupon users typically spend more than the value of their original Groupon (I can personally attest that I have spent more than the Groupon’s value EVERY time I redeem it)
  4. Thousands of Groupon subscribers will receive an email about your business- some will buy some will not, but EVERYONE will see it.

When you consider the risks and benefits of Groupon, the benefits definitely outweigh the risks. Here are two tips to make your Groupon experience a successful one:

  1. The value of the Groupon should not cover 100% of the cost of the meal. If the average bill for 2 diners at your establishment is $28- offer a $20 deal for $10. You lose a portion of the first $20 to the advertising, but the rest is yours to keep.
  2. Put a limit. If your business cannot handle 1000 patrons, limit the number of Groupon’s you are offering. Limited Quantity Groupon’s are also highly desirable. Since the buyer does not know the preset quantity, they are more likely to make an impulse buy so they do not miss out on the deal.
  3. Encourage these new clients to LIKE your Facebook and Twitter pages to keep them up-to-date on other promotions and info about your business.

In the end, it’s great advertising, just be aware of the risks to make sure you optimize your experience.

Has your business participated in Groupon? Tell us about your experience and what tips you have for other business owners.

GYB Trend: 2011 Restaurant Trends and How They Can Benefit Your Business

As the final days of 2010 dwindle, it is the perfect opportunity to analyze future trends in restaurant growth and development. Just about every food related website, magazine, and firm have compiled lists highlighting their predictions for 2011. Some of the trends can be easily incorporated into your existing business, while others may require a bit of creativity to do so.

Here, I present a limited list of all of those predictions and how you can incorporate them into your existing business:

1- Pies: You heard right, the prediction is that pies will make a big splash in the entrepreneurial world, in the same way that cupcake shops have for the last few years. For example, Hill Country Chicken in New York introduced a “Pie Hour” where they showcase a variety of pies. Dig up your family recipes and start introducing pies at your restaurant or cafe. Do your family and friends rave about your homemade pies? Consider taking that plunge and opening a storefront bakery specializing in pies. Fresh and innovative ingredients, reliable equipment, and great publicity are a surefire recipe for success! Because come on, everyone loves pie!

2- Mom and Pop Shops- These are the kind of shops that you go to and you see the family working everyday. While it can be time-consuming and exhausting, your constant presence helps to build a rapport with your customers that make them want to come back not only to experience your great food, but to see you. Not to mention, when your working at your business, it means you do not have to pay for another employee. Many restaurants and cafes around the country survive as well as excel on this principle.

3- One Ingredient Recipes- Take an ingredient: hot dogs, pizza dough, or whatever you love and take it to the next level. Get creative with one ingredient and discover how many different ways you can serve it up! Think Food Network’s Iron Chef America. One ingredient, Five dishes.

4- Multi-Purpose Spaces- It is expected that many owners will incorporate shopping into their restaurants. Do you have a large restaurant with open space? Encourage a small business, that compliments your business to set up shop inside your store. Do you know an online boutique owner? By collaborating, you can both take advantage of one location (including it’s operating costs) and each other’s customers. Open a small Asian market in your sushi restaurant, or Latin market in your Latino restaurant. Those are just two examples of multi-purposing your business. Think creative!!

5- Fried Vegetables- Everyone knows that Americans struggle to eat their vegetables- except one- FRENCH FRIES! Put a potato on a plate, and it can be just another bland vegetable, but deep fry it and now you’re talking! Why just stop there? If your company already has a deep fryer, add cauliflour, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, green beans…. to your menu (Don’t have a deep fryer? Check out for current promotions on commercial fryers.

6- Value Dining- We’ve all seen the ads on TV and in our local paper,
Two Meals+One Appetizer=$20 and people are frequenting these restaurants in exceedingly high numbers. This trend can be easily incorporated at your restaurant. Pick 4-5 appetizers and 4-5 entrees that people can combine for an affordable price.

7- Children’s Nutrition- Fried Food, microwaved pasta, thawed pizza seem to be the featured foods on just about every restaurant’s children’s menu. Simply stated- It’s junk food that you would never order for yourself, but order it for your kids. Offer more healthy options!

8- Social Media and Technology- Social media has become one of the most effective and easiest ways to reach a broad range of customers instantly. Not tech-savvy? Get in touch with a social media agency that can offer inexpensive service for your business. Look for an agency that knows and understands your target customers and who will give you one-on-one in person attention. A Social Media Agency could acquire a 1000 followers for your local restaurant, but if they all live in Timbuktoo, what was the point of your social media campaign? Your failure to innovate with social media, could be your business’s biggest blunder this year.

9- Smaller Portions for Smaller Prices- This is my favorite one. Have you ever gone to a pasta restaurant and for about $16, you get enough pasta to feed a family of four? Yet, this serving is for one person. Cut your portions in half, your customers pocketbook, and waistline will appreciate it! I guarantee, your half portion is still more than enough to feed one diner. No one goes to a restaurant, thinking, Great! I’m going to visit ABC Restaurant because they offer HUGE portions.

10- Locally grown produce- Okay, this can be a bit pricey if not done right, so combine it with Trend #9. Have you ever tasted a fresh grown tomato? Not the kind of tomato that was picked on Monday, packaged on Tuesday and delivered to your business on Thursday. I’m talking about picked on Monday, packaged on Monday, and delivered to you on Monday. This fresh taste can not be duplicated. Serve half the portion of pasta for $5 less and use fresh locally grown tomatoes. Plant cucumbers and tomatoes in your backyard and herbs in pots on your window sill. An easier option, drive down the country road on a summer day and load up on locally produced fruit and vegetables or link up with a local farm for fresh eggs. Remember, it’s quality over quantity.

Have you always thought of opening your own business but don’t know where to start? 2011 is clearly the year of taking that leap. The recession has left many creative people with real culinary ability without jobs. Are you one of those people? Or are you just sick of your mundane 9 to 5? While it can be a thrilling, it is a scary experience, but the staff here at Burkett Restaurant Equipment have the knowledge, experience, and desire to help you launch that dream and see it succeed.

Read more 2011 Trends: Top Ten Restaurant Trends of 2011

Saving Money For Your Restaurant w/ EnergyStar

After walking into your favorite restaurant you notice a few vacant seats. After being seated you see the owner,  and ask why he had this many open seats when he is normally full this time of day. His answer was what we have heard quite a bit and that was “The Economy”. He was thinking of closing a few extra hours a week to save expenses but then he might lose business. Owners struggle with this choice everyday as to cutting hours, staff or closing early to ensure they are maintaining profitability.

A good suggestion to any business owner would be to look at the web site . One of the easiest and least costly is to check your pre-rinse spray valve. By using a 1.6 gallon per minute pre-rinse spray valve you can save $300 to $350 a year in water, gas and sewer cost annually. Most pre-rinse valves can release up to 3 to 4 gallons of hot water per minute, just imagine if this valve leaks from morning to night when not in use! Other ways to reduce energy consumption is to turn down or turn off equipment in the down time. Items such as conveyor toasters, heat lamps and food warmers are using electricity even though they are not being used! Start a program in your establishment where you periodically check gaskets on refrigeration, seals on food warming cabinets, clean filters on refrigeration, clean coils on refrigeration equipment.

Just by doing these low cost simple steps you can save hundreds of dollars a year.

For additional information visit us at or reach out to one our trusted sales reps for help.

Are You Stocked On Holiday Buffet Supplies?

The Holidays are almost upon us and with it comes the prospect of holiday parties and buffets. Some items you may want to check on are your chafing dishes.

Other things to check on are serving spoons, tongs, and ladles. If you are planning on any buffets or brunches check out the gas table top burners which work well in an omelet station or we now have induction cookers that use most any aluminum clad bottom sauté pans. Keep in mind only certain pans will work and you will need a power source as well. If you are looking for different shapes, styles of serving plates or bowls, check out the new unique, yet cost effective products from International Tableware.

Check out all the tableware at and reach out to one of our trusted sales reps for more information.

Food Service For Hire?

We made it through the summer and by some indicators the economy is at least stable if not improving. Some economic indicators say that a sign of improvement is if food service is looking to hire new employees.

Some of the equipment purchases you may consider for improving efficiency are new refrigerated sandwich prep tables, new deep fryers and new ranges. All these item can actually lower your operating costs. Many are energy star rated which can mean a rebate in some areas for some items. Please check with your local power company to see what is applicable in your area.

With the new equipment your kitchen staff can get the food out faster and that means happier customers. We at Burkett Restaurant Equipment have many of these items in stock ready to be picked up or shipped out the same day or the next.

For more information check out or reach out to one of our trusted sales reps.

Look for Sales Consultants, Not Sales Order Takers

It is so important to find the equipment you NEED not the equipment you WANT. Many sales rep run across people on a daily basis that seek the dream of starting and owning a restaurant but have no prior knowledge or experience. The question then comes, how do you bridge the gap between the people who have the knowledge of the equipment and operation of restaurants to the people who desire to open and run a business with little knowledge or experience? The answer is simple, seeking out a professional who can listen to what the customer wants to accomplish to guide them through the process.

Thus, a sales rep job is to bridge that gap and form a relationship with that client to guide them along to ensure they are creating that partner like relationship. This relationship is built on trust and the job of the rep should be telling the customer whether or not the item they are seeking or looking at is the best piece of equipment for the job. If a sales person just tries to “sell” them what makes him or her the most money, then in my opinion that person does not have the customers best interest at heart.

Top of line equipment is not always necessary to get the job done. On the other hand the cheapest piece of equipment just to save money may not be the most cost-effective way to go either. Researching and asking questions to a trusted sales rep rather than just an order taker is what you need. Finding a consultant that works for you and has your interest and your long term success interest at heart.

For more information reach out to one of our trusted sales reps or visit us at

Price Comparison Shopping

Whether you’re buying a new microwave for the home, or a new commercial refrigerator for the business, there are various tools that you can use online to find the right item at the best price. Price comparison shopping has become one of the most popular ways to shop now, using shopping networks.

Shopping Networks
Shopping Networks let you search then compare products against other sellers.

We here at Burkett Restaurant Equipment can be found in all of these shopping networks. We’re also online at and at 800-828-8564, so feel free to check us out anytime.

New Dishware Freshens Up Look of Restaurants

Dinner plateThe other day I was out eating at a local sports bar. I happened to notice the dishware brought to our table was of different patterns. It seems that businesses do not fully realize the impression they are leaving on patrons by serving food on old mismatched, out-of-date dishware. Adding new dishware is a simple way of creating a new look for any restaurant, bar, deli, bakery, or pizzeria. Next time you feel you may need new dishware for your business, you’re probably right.  Dishware is not costly and running low on dishware regularly happens in fast-moving restaurants where plates and dishes are easily broken.

Check out Burkett and browse our complete line of quality dishware at a very affordable price.

Used Restaurant Equipment And Your Business

If looking to buy restaurant equipment, you may be considering the option to buy used. Know what you’re getting into before jumping in head first. Used restaurant equipment has many pros and cons. Let’s examine a few of these.

PROS: You save money! Used restaurant equipment can be nearly half the price of that same new product. More often than not, used restaurant equipment isn’t so old.  Many restaurants go out of business within the first two years leaving many used units available for sale.

CONS: Using used restaurant equipment can be a risky choice by some owners. Whether it be too old for your staff to figure out how to work it or simply old parts corrupting the unit to go bad. Used restaurant equipment may not look as good as a brand new unit. If your customers plan on seeing the unit on an everyday basis, such as merchandisers and display cases, you must be sure it is free from defects.

THINGS YOU CAN DO TO AVOID THE CONS:  Avoiding risky used restaurant equipment can be simple. Look for warranties on your used restaurant equipment. Is your equipment reconditioned or refurbished? If so your unit will last much longer than a normal piece of used restaurant equipment. You can often negotiate special pricing when dealing with used restaurant equipment.

Check out Burkett Restaurant Equipment’s website for a great selection of used restaurant equipment. All items are reconditioned and come with an industry-best 90-day parts and labor warranty!

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