Category: Restaurant Reviews

10 Tips: Bounce Back from a Bad Restaurant Review

Ever get a bad review on Yelp or Urbanspoon? Have a patron leave play by play tweets about poor service? Get slammed by a local restaurant reviewer? Negative press can escalate quickly with social media. The Local Consumer Review Survey in 2012 reported that approximately 72% of consumers surveyed said they would trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Thankfully, as a restaurant owner, you can respond and make amends to disgruntled customers and save your reputation.

Below we’ve listed 10 tips for bouncing back from a bad restaurant review.

  1. Fix the Problem: It’s important to take the initial steps to fix the issue at hand. Give yourself and your business the street cred you deserve by fixing the problem before you respond to any bad press and negative reviews.
  2. Get on the Same Page: Keep all of your employees in the loop. Waitstaff, chefs, and managers should know exactly how to handle questions regarding bad press. If you prefer that they defer any questions to management or a designated spokesperson, communicate that with them. Also, do your best to ensure your employees are not making matters worse by propagating the rumors.
  3. Respond Immediately: Ignorance isn’t always bliss. Prolonging your response decreases the opportunity to recover your reputation. Respond quickly and via the same media (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.) as the customer’s original review.
  4. Apologize: Don’t argue – if you’ve made a mistake, own it and apologize.
  5. Encourage Discussion: As much as you want to move beyond this PR disaster, be open to discussion and encourage it. Give yourself the opportunity to drive the conversation and reinforce your business’ good qualities.
  6. Reinforce Your Original Brand Concept: Despite temporarily being connected with the negative review, increase marketing to reinforce your restaurant’s merits and positive selling points.
  7. Step up Your Philanthropy: Being a community contributor on a consistent basis will eventually overcome any negative press. Be a good neighbor, and then brag about it. Sponsoring a food drive? Utilize social and local media to vocalize your contributions.
  8. Re-Focus Your Marketing: If you’re consistently getting bad reviews about your burgers, you might want to re-focus your marketing strategy from “World’s Best Burgers” to something new. Avoid promoting anything that is currently the center of controversy.
  9. Learn from Your Mistakes: You can’t predict when or why a customer will leave a bad review, but there’s a good chance that it resulted from a flaw in the way you run your business. Fix the problem, but learn from this mistake – be ready to make changes to avoid it in the future.
  10. Humanize Your Business: Utilize social media, video, and review pages to respond with sincerity. Don’t be afraid to add humor, but be real, concise, and empathetic – it’s a great chance to right a wrong and earn a customer for life.

How to Properly Use an Immersion Blender

An Immersion Blender is definitely not hard to use. With that said, we’ve dealt with our fair share of Immersion Blender malfunctions that could have been easily avoided.  Immersion blenders are priceless pieces in a kitchen and it is worth while investing in a good unit that with proper usage, will last.

  • The most common problem we see is people who use a “butter churning” method (up and down) when using an immersion blender which actually ruins the motor and significantly reduces the RPM.
  • The immersion blenders need to be put in the pot or mixing bowl at a 45 degree angle not straight down. The reason for this is that the blades act by pushing air into the product and rotating it through the blades which emulsifies the product.
  • The “Butter Churning Method” will make even the most prestigious Immersion Blender fail within the first 20 seconds of use because it is unable to acquire enough air to push through the blades causing damage to the motor. You will only get up to a 6 month use of the Immersion Blender using the “Butter Churning Method,” where as you will get a couple years of use out of it when using it properly.
  • One last but important tip is to allow the mixture you are blending to cool slightly depending on the material of the shaft.

Restaurant Review: Grumpy’s

logoIt’s no secret that Toledo has its fair share of restaurants. The city has become a test market for franchises like Taco Bell, yet local restaurateurs are not intimidated by the city’s reputation. We have burger joints and sandwich shops, authentic Thai, Lebanese, Vietnamese and Mexican restaurants. Any type of food that you desire the Glass City most likely has it. However, while many restaurants sprout up each year, and others shut their doors, it is truly inspirational to see a restaurant survive the tests of time. Intensely popular and insanely addictive Grumpy’s in Downtown Toledo has done an excellent job of luring in hungry customers for 27 years!

Located at 34 S. Huron, just a few short steps from 5/3 Field and the Erie Street Market, Grumpy’s is the ultimate lunch spot for any business person looking to escape the confines of the office. Their menu is extensive to say the least- from thin crust homemade pizzas to fresh cut salads, grilled burgers, piping hot soups, and killer sandwiches. While it is a favorite for lunch, Grumpy’s also has delicious breakfast options like Eggs Benedict Pizza, Steel cut Oatmeal, and World Class Morning Buns. Get your caffeine fix with their “Custom Roasted Coffee [that] will kick you in the pants!” Everything is made by Aunt Jenny- Grumpy’s lead chef for 27 years.

Grumpys-insideWe sat down with co-owner Dustin for what was supposed to be a brief interview that turned into quite the conversation about the history of Grumpy’s, how he took ownership with his 2 aunts, and the supplies he just can’t live with out.

Grumpy’s is an interesting name. What’s the origin?
It was my grandfather’s nickname. He wasn’t what you would call the friendliest guy. Some customers loved his attitude, others not so much. But the name stuck.

How do you select where you will purchase your meats, vegetables and produce?
We order from a variety of places depending on availability. We love shopping at farmer’s markets whenever possible. What’s most important is the quality of the vegetables and meats we need.

How do you select the equipment and supplies in your kitchen?
Quality as well as price. We moved to our current location about 12 years ago and had our entire kitchen redone. So when something needs to be replaced now we usually go back to that particular manufacturer, since it was able to withstand the rigors of our kitchen for at least 12 years. When shopping for supplies, customer service is key. I like to come in to Burkett’s and look around at different products and get some ideas. It’s nice to be able to do that.

What is the most used item in your kitchen?
The griddle! We use it for lots of our menu items like burgers and chicken breasts.

What is the one item would you be devastated to lose?
The red coffee grinder on the coffee bar. That would be horrible. It’s so old- it’s been here since my grandfather owned the place. It’s got to be at least 20 years old. Definitely irreplaceable.

Other than Grumpy’s of course, where is your favorite restaurant to eat at?
Well I eat here a lot! But outside of Grumpy’s I love the Beirut, Mac & Tong’s, and San Marco’s. They all have great food.

Grumpys-garbage-saladWhat is the most popular dish on your menu?
The Garbage Salad. It’s like a burger version of a salad. It has a salty sweet poppy seed Dressing, croutons, raisins, bacon, and cheese. Their burgers are also very popular. According to the Toledo Blade, “I’d argue that Grumpy’s sandwiches rank among the best in town, starting with the restaurant’s incredible hamburgers. Odd that a place best known for its salads and lunch sandwiches would offer what I consider the best burger in Toledo, but Grumpy’s pulls it off.”

How did you come up with your menu?
The menu is a product of being open for over 25 years. A lot of the new items are based on the kitchens creativity and then whether or not our customers respond well to them. We add a new dish every few months. Many of our sandwiches are named after customers who invented them.

How has Grumpy’s been able to succeed in a franchise heavy market like Toledo for over 25 years?
We’re consistent like a franchise. Aunt Jenny’s been in the kitchen cooking the same dishes with the same consistency since the beginning. Customers expect to come in every week and order their favorite dish and for it to taste the same each time. Our goal is for hungry patron’s to know that eating at Grumpy’s is a no-brainer!

What advice do you have for a new restaurateur opening a restaurant in a franchise heavy city?
Know the customers you have and the customers you want. You’re not going to appeal to the whole city so work hard on appealing to your desired audience. For example, our customers are mainly business professionals and lawyers so we offer them delivery and catering service as well.

What would you like to see the city do to help local restaurateurs such as yourself succeed?
Continue to foster the “local concept” through organizations like Toledo Choose Local. Making Toledo a destination spot because of the restaurants we have. There are some very unique restaurants here that people would encourage people to visit Toledo for a weekend just to eat there. One example is Tony Packo’s on the east side. That place has some amazing history. There are buns on the walls signed by famous people who have eaten there. Very cool place.

What city events is Grumpy’s involved in?
I’m personally involved in Toledo Choose Local. We are members of the Toledo chamber of Commerce, the Warehouse District, and the Museum of Art. Grumpy’s is also a Business Council Member for the Toledo Museum of Art. We participate in Taste of the Nation as well.

By the way- Just in case you can’t get to Grumpy’s for breakfast or lunch they do occasionally hold dinner services. On Valentine’s Day, they’ll be open and accepting a limited number of reservations. Visit their Facebook Page for more information on the Valentine’s Dinner as well as what’s happening there.

Mon-Fri / 8 am- 2:00 pm
34 S. Huron, Toledo Ohio, 43604
Phone (419) 241-6728 / Fax (419) 241-6716
Twitter: @GrumpysDeli

Restaurant Review: San Marcos Supermarket

Toledo definitely has its fair share of Mexican restaurants. Who would have thought that a supermarket in downtown Toledo would set the benchmark for Mexican culinary expertise in this Midwestern city? The idea to try out San Marcos stemmed from my husband complaining that my tacos and enchiladas were not as delicious as I had always assumed they were. Apparently, he ate at a little place called San Marcos Supermarket, where he savored the best Mexican food outside of Mexico (perhaps in the world). So, when Indoor Sales Bilingual Consultant Felicia Mysinger suggested that we feature San Marcos Supermarket as Burkett Restaurant Equipment’s restaurant of the month, I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about it!

San Marcos first opened a supermarket in Adrian, Michigan. Six years ago, the owners decided to open another store in Toledo to cater to the growing Latino community. They are located on Broadway in downtown Toledo, but don’t look for a huge grocery store or boldly painted building. The store is situated in an innocuous white  building with

The menu is simple and short which is awesome- Tacos, Caldos (soups), Quesadillas, Tostadas, Tamales, Burrtios, and Tortas which are served with your choice of steak, beef tongue, pork, pork skin, beef intestine, chicken, or ground beef (they also have vegetarian- just ask for it). San Marcos knows what they are good at making and they have made it their specialty as opposed to many other restaurants who seem to be Jack of All Trades, Masters of None.

I am amazed by the simplicity and freshness of their ingredients. No dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, or salsa to mask the true taste of the taco. On the contrary, the tacos are served with your choice of meat, onion, corn, and cilantro all on a homemade double corn tortilla and garnished with a slice of lime. I tried the carne asada (steak) and pollo (chicken) tacos on my first visit with an “Old-Style Mexican” Coca-Cola (made with sugar as opposed to high fructose corn syrup and served in a nostalgic glass bottle). Honestly, I could have easily eaten 3 more tacos had I not been so stuffed by the two that I ordered. One bite and I was hooked. I knew I had to come back to satisfy my taco craving and soon. Alas, seven long days later, Felicia and I returned for lunch once again. This time, I chose to sink my teeth into the Barbacoa (ground beef) and Vegetarian tacos and washed them down with fresh melon juice. I was hungry and thankfully when my food I arrived I was not let down. The cuisine was amazing, the waitstaff was attentive and knowledgeable about the menu items, and it was really cool to watch the chefs in the open kitchen working so hard and diligently. The next time I go in (which will probably be next week, and the week after, and the week after that…. you get my drift) I’ll order the quesadilla, burrito, and cheese tamale. I promised Felicia I would try the Horchata juice with my next meal. Horchata is ice cold cinnamon rice milk and a very popular natural refreshment in Latin America and Spain, but hard to find in Midwest America. The owner of San Marcos, Anna’s favorite dish is the tacos with lengua (beef tongue). I don’t know if I’ll be brave enough to ever try that one, but if you are a culinary dare devil you should give it a try!

Twenty-two reviewers on Yelp gave San Marcos a rating of either 4 or 5 stars which is quite a feat for any restaurant. One reviewer said it best, “Make no mistake, these are the best tacos around.” Three weeks ago, San Marcos expanded the restaurant portion of their store providing ample seating for the bustling lunch crowd. After lunch, I suggest you browse their grocery store. The grocery store portion of the building offer authentic Mexican foodstuff and produce at incredibly inexpensive prices. As I walked out, completely stuffed, I noticed they had lemon-lime seasoned Lays potato chips- definitely have to try that too! Better yet, I think I’ll walk around the grocery BEFORE I have lunch.

By the way, San Marcos also offers take-out order and caters! (Perfect for your next business lunch or dinner party!)

San Marcos is located at 235 Broadway St Toledo, OH 43604. (419) 244-2373

Restaurant Review: Stella’s Restaurant & Bar

At Burkett Restaurant Equipment we are very grateful to our loyal customers. Every month, we select one of our many favorite restaurants to let our readers know a little more about a delicious place to eat. This month, we are spotlighting Stella’s Restaurant and Bar in the two-story Historic Centennial Building in uptown Perrysburg. The visual appeal of Stella’s, coupled with their innovative menu, live music on the weekends, and extensive wine and cocktail selection makes the dining experience at Stella’s complete.

Are you in the mood to sip on a delicious cocktail and nibble on Baked Brie en Croute with your friends on a Friday night? Stella’s first floor bar and cozy dining area offer the perfect atmosphere to do just that. The open view into the kitchen also lets you watch the amazing culinary team in action. It is a truly exhilarating feeling. If you desire a more quiet and intimate meal, follow the hand blown glass flowers along the oak staircase to the second floor for truly remarkable dining experience.

“Our larger second floor dining room overlooks Louisiana Avenue and is accented in deep red and black colors accompanied by rich red oak banisters and tables with padded oak chairs and carpeted floor.  Our third floor Mezzanine gives a fantastic view of the second floor and the cascading glass ménage descending from the ceiling.”~ Stella’s Restaurant & Bar

There is no question that we were obviously impressed with the decor, but a great restaurant is also defined by their innovative menu, attention to detail, and high quality ingredients. We were not let down. We were seated within a few minutes of our reservation and were quickly attended to by our waitress. After discussing our appetizer choice with our waitress and then with each other, we agreed to the Baked Brie en Croute. The warm creamy Brie cheese with cantaloupe wedges and crackers was a breath of fresh air on a cold winter’s day. After completing the Brie, our waitress brought out the fresh baked bread and herb infused butter- I seriously could have eaten a dozen of them! Since we love Brie, ordering the appetizer was rather easy. When it came to ordering our dinner on the other hand, we had a really hard time deciding from the many tantalizing options available. In the end, I had the Cedar Plank Walleye with Roasted Vegetables and my husband had the Petite New Yorker. I lost track of the number of times my husband put a bite of the steak in his mouth and exclaimed that the New Yorker was the best he’s ever had. Both entrees were cooked and seasoned to perfection. After the Brie, the bread and butter, the salad, and the Walleye with vegetables I wasn’t sure I still had room for dessert, but when I saw the creme brulee offered three ways I could not pass up on it! The three flavors of creme brulee change weekly. The day we were there, the options were mint, orange, and pineapple. While they made an odd combination, the creme brulee was perfectly executed and left us literally scrapping our dishes to get out every last lick of that heavenly goodness. We were thoroughly impressed with our meal.

To set the mood, live entertainment is provided Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, starting with light jazz instrumentals of saxophone, keyboard and guitar, combined later in the evening with live – and lively – vocals on the first floor.

Our dining experience at Stella’s was truly exquisite! We highly recommend checking out Stella’s Restaurant and Bar the next time you are in Northwest Ohio. Eating at Stella’s is like dining at an upscale restaurant in New York City but a little closer to home. They are open Monday thru Saturday at 11 am. While they are closed on Sunday, the entire restaurant is available for private parties. I can just imagine how beautiful a wedding would be there! For all you gentleman looking for a romantic place to take your significant other for Valentine’s Day- Stella’s will knock it out of the park for you- We guarantee it!

Guten Apetit!

Contact Information:

104 Louisiana Ave, Perrysburg, OH 43551


In honor of National Cupcake Day~ Restaurant Review: Cake in a Cup

In honor of National Cupcake Day, Burkett Restaurant Equipment is featuring a wonderful cupcake shop and faithful customer in Toledo, Ohio. Cake in a Cup is Toledo’s premiere cupcake cafe, offering more varieties of cupcakes each day than I even knew existed!

Friends, Laurie and Dana started Toledo’s first and only trendy cupcake cafe, Cake in a Cup in 2008. Their compilation of delicious recipes and motivation from friends and family was all they needed to start their own business. According to Laurie and Dana, “Unless you’ve opened a restaurant, it’s a whole new experience” and not an easy one. However Burkett stepped up to the plate and made this whole process simple and easy.

Cake in a Cup lavish their customers with more than 30 different flavors of cupcakes, made in small batches to ensure that only the freshest cupcakes are served. Eight different cupcake flavors are whipped up each day and flavors are rotated daily to satisfy every palate type. Seasonal cupcakes like Pumpkin Chocolate Chip in the fall, Lemon Blueberry in the summer, and Devil Wears Prada Mint Edition in the winter are just a few of their specialty cupcake flavors! The most popular choice is Cookies and Cream- a chocolate cupcake with a full-sized Oreo inside, cookies and cream icing and a whole Oreo to top it off (is your mouth-watering yet?!) For all you plain Jane’s out there, Cake in a Cup also prepares a plain old Vanilla and Chocolate cupcakes which are delicious and leave you wanting more.

What goes great with a gourmet cupcake? An espresso! Don’t worry, Cake in a Cup has that covered with a full espresso bar to eloquently complement your cupcake. They also have milk to help wash down the sugary goodness.

We recommend that you pre-order your specialty cupcakes to make sure the flavors you want are still there when you arrive, because when they sell out of a flavor, that’s it! Also once their sold out of everything they close for the day. Call in your order- no reservation is too small! Don’t forget to order a dozen or two for your holiday festivities! You’ll be the hit of the party and ensure your invitation to every party from this point forward. Not to mention, your guests will definitely thank you!

Here’s a little tip from Laurie and Dana~ Take your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, stuff it with grape jelly, and top it off with Peanut Butter frosting and a dollop of grape jelly for homemade delicious PB&J Cupcakes. You can also just visit the great staff at Cake in a Cup for the freshest and prettiest specialty cupcakes you’ll ever devour!

Cake in a Cup is located at 6801 W. Central Ave (behind Tim Hortons and Next to Kyoto Ka). They are open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-7pm and Sunday 11am-4pm or until they sell out (and don’t forget- they sell out quick!!) Cake in a Cup also has Facebook Page with specials and promotions. You can contact them at 419-491-1104 If you’re in the Toledo area, go check them out, because at Cake in a Cup EVERY DAY is National Cupcake Day!

Local Businesses Growing Together

With a rough economy the last couple years it is good to hear stories of deserving local businesses growing together. Burkett Restaurant Equipment supplies restaurant equipment to Toledo-based Marco’s Pizza which recently opened their first international restaurant in the Caribbean. Check out this story from our local paper

Article published November 24, 2009
Toledo-based Marco’s Pizza goes international

You can’t yet order Caribbean jerk chicken on a Marco’s pizza, but you can order a Marco’s chicken pizza in the Caribbean.
Toledo-based Marco’s Pizza this month opened its first franchised store outside the United States – in Nassau, Bahamas – and has a commitment to open 30 more stores in the Caribbean over the next few years.

“It’s exciting. Growing is fun,” said Peter Wise, vice president for marketing at Marco’s Pizza, which is headquartered on Monroe Street.

The Bahamas store opened Nov. 16 in a small shopping center in a residential neighborhood, and business was booming, Mr. Wise said.

“Given the response that [the new store] saw this first full week of operations, there’s a huge demand.”

Growing rapidly since it was started in Toledo in 1978 by founder Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco, the chain has nearly 200 stores in 17 states, but international sales weren’t anywhere on the radar, Mr. Wise said.
Enter Terry Tsavoussis, a restaurant veteran who operates a number of Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurants in the Bahamas with his brother, Chris. The two brothers had opened and operated nearly a dozen Domino’s Pizza franchise stores on the Caribbean island between 1990 until they sold them all in 2000.

Nine years removed from slinging dough and spreading sauce, the brothers believed there were opportunities to make money making pizza again in Nassau, especially after competitors Papa John’s and Pizza Hut pulled out, Terry Tsavoussis said.

“There’s competition here, but it’s not as fierce as in other markets,” he said.

The brothers discovered the Marco’s brand in an advertisement in a restaurant magazine.

Mr. Tsavoussis said he “tried the product in Florida, and I was blown away. I know pizza, and it was great pizza.”

He said months of negotiations followed, focusing primarily on convincing the pizza chain’s management team that the Caribbean was a growth opportunity and that the logistics of delivering fresh ingredients to an island more than 100 miles off the Florida coast could be overcome.

As it is, Mr. Tsavoussis said his new store – and five more to be built in Nassau and Freeport over the next two years – will receive supplies from the mainland via shipping container from Florida, about a 12-hour trip.

He said the growth in the region is in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

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