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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.

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.

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.

Veggies A Perfect Low Carb, High Margin Pasta Alternative

Starting in Italy and spreading across every continent, pasta has been a staple at dinner tables for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. But in the 21st century, there is a growing trend that shows no sign of slowing down. Some think it’s a bit fusilli. Some would call it the impasta pasta. But for establishments looking to cater to the growing demand for low-carb and gluten-free pasta alternatives, vegetable noodles are where it’s at.

When it comes to making pasta out of vegetables, the Nemco Vegetable Noodler is in a class by itself. It can help you capitalize on the low-carb craze as the one and only zucchini-noodle machine that can deliver the commercial-grade speed and performance durability you need! Quickly turn zucchini and other firm veggies into a low-carb, high-margin pasta replacement.

The 55050AN-P is the only NSF-approved (What is NSF, anyway?) commercial grade device of its kind on the market. The Easy Vegetable Noodler lives up to its name in numerous ways—maximizing your profit potential on every low-carb,  gluten-free, spaghetti-noodle order. Most zucchini noodle makers are only available at the consumer retail level but Nemco’s Easy Vegetable Noodler is specifically built for commercial kitchens.

The Nemco Easy Vegetable Noodler is:
Easy to load: Cut the ends off of a zucchini, summer squash, sweet potato  or other similar firm veggie, mount one end on the drive plate and slide the face plate up flush against the other end.
  • Easy to use: The Noodler is securely mounted to the counter, perfectly  balanced, and specially equipped with an extremely smooth drive mechanism. So, cranking out mounds of noodles, even at high speed, takes little to no effort.
  • Easy to clean: Spin a few wing nuts and remove from the base mount.  Just like that, the Noodler is prepped for a thorough wash down in the sink.
  • Sound, simple mechanical design-operation minimizes potential for maintenance issues and makes troubleshooting a virtual no-brainer.
  • Sand-cast aluminum construction withstands anything the commercial kitchen, yes, even yours, can dish out.

Watch the Nemco Easy Vegetable Noodler in action above, and for all your pasta cooking and serving needs, make us your one stop shop and discover why, at Burkett, the pastabilities are endless!

Cloudy to Clear: Filtered Water Makes The Best Ice

Ice cubes in a glassWe’ve all been there. You’re at a restaurant and the server brings you your favorite beverage in a glass with ice. But as soon as it arrives, you can tell. Each ice cube in the glass seems a little cloudy, a little foggy, it may even have a taste or smell. It is not the usual clarity you are used to seeing.

What causes this cloudiness? Buildup. Anytime you see a cloudy ice cube, you should inform the restaurant manager that it might be a sign for either a new commercial ice machine or a new water filter. Think of ice as food. As with every other food, safe and proper preparation are the only ways to guarantee a healthy, tasty product. Installing an inline filtration system on your commercial ice machine’s water supply assures that residual bacteria, accumulated minerals and other contaminants are removed from the water.

Which Filtration System Should You Buy?

Commercial water filtration systems use one to three filters to totally clean your incoming water. The number you need depends on the size of your commercial ice machine. Ice filters need to be changed every 6 months. Failure to change the filter will cause your machine to work harder and wear it out faster. Ice-O-Matic, for example, offers a free extended warranty if you agree to change the water filter every six months.

The Dirt on Ice Contaminants

Ice is subject to a variety of contaminants. The most common occur when a machine is poorly maintained or the water supply has dissolved minerals or residual chlorine.

  • Mineral Deposits: Municipal water companies only remove contaminants that are harmful to human health. Many dissolved minerals are not harmful, therefore are not removed. Mineral laden water results in ice that appears cloudy and can make a drink smell and taste unappealing.
  • Slime Build-Up: Slime build-up can result from a poorly maintained ice machine. Ice made from a slimy machine will appear cloudy with a slight yellow, green or red tint and can cause illness, especially in those with weakened immune systems.
  • Chlorination: Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine to water in order to treat it and kill harmful germs. Residual chlorine remains in the water supply giving the water an unappealing taste.

Water is clear and ice cubes should be, too. With the right attention and care of your commercial ice machine, you can guarantee crystal clear cubes in your drinks every time.

How to Make a Successful Street Food Business in 3 Easy Steps

Whether it’s a stand, a truck, or a pop-up shop, the street food business is rolling. Whether as a side hobby or a full time job, there’s no reason you can’t get in on the action. And it can all be done in three easy steps. Yes, really!

Step One: Do your research

You will need to know what’s what when it comes to financing your operation, getting the proper permits and choosing the right location. Keep the following information in mind when getting your business started:

  • Financing: Though a food truck business will be significantly easier to finance than a brick-and-mortar establishment, you will still need to invest a good chunk of change into your food truck. Consider what kind of equipment you’ll need, and whether you’ll be able to make everything on-site or if you will need use of a kitchen. A great option for cash-strapped entrepreneurs is to rent or buy a used truck.
  • Permits: Sometimes you’ll need them, sometimes you won’t. It depends on what city you choose, and you will have to make sure that you aren’t breaking any rules or you could get slapped with a hefty fine. Here are the types of permits/licenses that you might need:
  1. Vending license: Most cities require that you obtain a vending or business license in order to start your business. There are some rare exceptions, such as in Florida where you do not need a license to sell pre-packaged food.
  2. Zoning permit: A zoning permit may be necessary depending on your location and how long you plan to be parked. If you plan to park with a group of trucks, sometimes a special zoning permit is needed for this as well.
  3. Health inspection: You will need to have your truck inspected by the health department to ensure that you are in compliance with local health laws.
  • Location: You’ll want to look into the existing market research on your city to find whether it is a good idea to open up a food truck business there. Cities like Los Angeles and New York are already fairly saturated with food trucks, so if possible it might be a better strategy to choose a mid-sized city where there is not as much competition. If you do decide to brave the streets of the big cities, make sure that your menu offers something unique and exciting to attract customers.
  • Parking: Most cities will have regulations that prevent parking in certain commercial districts or within a certain distance from brick-and-mortar establishments. Check the rules regarding parking near public parks and in residential districts in order to avoid tickets and run-ins with law enforcement. Choose a parking spot that works for your demographic. You might want to set up shop in a fixed location or, as is popular, let your Twitter followers know where you’ll be from day to day. It is also a good idea to talk to local business owners about setting up shop in their parking lots, which could help draw a decent lunch crowd and introduce your product to new customers.

Step Two: Make it a snack-tivity

Food isn’t just something to eat, it’s something to do. This is a tenet to keep in mind, especially if you want to appeal to millennials, who can get bored easily. This demographic is accustomed to a constant flux of information and when that flow stops they look around and ask, “Now what?” Tap into that sentiment, provide a few moments of entertainment for your customers and you’ll hit gold. How? Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer something fresh and new: You should have an original or specialized menu idea that sets you apart and draws attention. This is especially important if you are in a city that already has a number of other mobile vendors. Trucks that use organic, locally-sourced ingredients are popular, as are trucks that cater to the multi-ethnic sensibilities of the millennial generation. This is the recipe for success for Kogi, the Los Angeles-based Korean barbeque taco truck. Kogi has almost 150,000 followers on Twitter and attracts customers willing to wait in line for 45 minutes before getting their food. You can also post a special online daily, weekly, or however often your menu choices change. Keep it fresh and you’ll keep them coming back for more.
  • Change your location: Your customers, once they know how delicious your unique menu offerings are, will be excited to see what exotic new location you’ll be parking in each day. Utilize Facebook and Twitter to let them know where to find you. Perhaps you’ll bring them to a part of town they’ve never been to before, and perhaps they will discover something else that’s new and exciting while they’re trying out your new daily special.
  • Make friends with other food trucks: If you can arrange to park together, you will find that you can draw quite a crowd. Play music, hand out blankets for picnics, put your laptop on a chair and play episodes of a popular show that your target audience likes every Wednesday. Be creative! If you are less like a food court and more like a travelling party, customers will be more than willing to line up and wait.

Step Three: Branch out

No one says the only way to make money with a food truck is by selling food out of it. If you have a brick-and-mortar establishment, adding a food truck can help boost sales and increase visibility. Whatever your situation, there are plenty of profitable ways to use your food truck:

  • Bring your product to events: Many food truck businesses see increased sales by catering office lunches, bar/bat mitzvahs and even weddings. Heck, you can even stage your own events. How about a scavenger hunt that leads your customers to the truck’s latest location? Food truck patrons have shown that they are willing to put in the extra effort if there is an exciting reward waiting for them.
  • Sell more than just lunch: Have a special sauce that your customers just can’t get enough of? Try selling it online or at a local grocery store. Loyal patrons also might enjoy a t-shirt or a tote bag, especially if your truck sports a snazzy design.

When it comes to the modern food truck, the sky really is the limit. With some delicious food and little creativity you are sure to draw a crowd and see your profits soar.

Top Commercial Ice Machines for Healthcare Facilities

In a healthcare facility, ice is used for specific tasks including post-operative use, dietary needs and treatment to reduce swelling and inflammation. For each of these tasks, ice needs to be readily available within an easy to use and easy to maintain unit. Let’s take a look at the best ice machines for healthcare facilities.

Residential Care, Hospitals and Doctor’s Offices: Countertop Nugget Ice Machine and Dispenser

For busy doctor’s offices or hallways within hospitals and residential care facilities, nothing beats the convenience of dependable countertop ice machines and dispensers. With this type of commercial ice machine within reach, medical staff can retrieve ice quickly and within close proximity to treatment areas.

Nugget ice is ideal for healthcare facilities as it is easy to chew, easy to mold and slow to melt, making it the best choice for dietary needs and ice packs. The dispenser mechanism speeds up the process for retrieving ice and minimizes the risk of cross-contamination. Ideally, healthcare facilities should look for countertop ice machine dispensers with touch-free controls. This type of control dispenses ice when a cup or other receptacle is sensed under the chute. Some dispensing ice machines are constructed with a built-in water dispenser as well.

Burkett Recommends: The Scotsman 260 Lb Air Cooled Nugget Style Wall Mount Ice Machine/Dispenser

Emergency Rooms and Laboratories: Undercounter Ice Machines

An Undercounter Ice Machine is a self-contained ice maker with an attached storage bin. This type of ice machine is designed to fit under countertop areas and provide quick access to ice without getting in the way of the fast-paced environment of an emergency room. Undercounter ice machines are also ideal for laboratories as they leave valuable countertop areas free for charts and documents.

Undercounter ice machines are available for every style of ice. However, flake, nugget and cube ice are most often used in ER’s and laboratory settings. Flake ice is perfect for sculpting into therapeutic ice molds, cube ice is very slow to melt and nugget ice offers a chewable texture for patients. When shopping for an undercounter ice machine, be sure to measure the total space available, which includes height, depth and width. Also, consider how the bin door opens.

Ice-O-Matic ICEU150HA Burkett Recommends: The Ice-O-Matic 185 Lb Self-Contained Half Cube Ice Machine

Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine: Flake Ice Machine and Bin Combination

Flake ice is perfect for filling or molding ice packs for therapeutic use. Shopping for a flake ice machine and a separate bin can be confusing and time-consuming. We suggest purchasing an ice machine and bin combination unit that is already matched up and ready to install. The full-size floor model combination units are perfect for physical therapy and sports medicine clinics as they provide a large volume of ice on a daily basis.

When shopping for a combination flake ice machine and storage bin unit, be sure to note the daily yield of ice produced as well as the bin’s total storage capacity.

Burkett Recommends: The Manitowoc 205 Lb Flake Ice Machine with Storage Bin

Find the right ice machine for your healthcare facility and keep your patients happy and healthy. With the right specifications in place, you can have a quiet, efficient and dependable ice machine for years to come.

Burkett is now a proud sponsor of the U.S. Pizza Team

Burkett knows pizza like dough knows marinara, like cheese knows pepperoni, like, well, you get the idea, Burkett knows pizza really well.
We also know a winning team when we see one.
That’s why we are excited to announce that we are now sponsors of the U.S. Pizza Team.
You might ask yourself, wait, the United States has a pizza team?
The short answer is yes!
The long answer is that the U.S. Pizza Team was founded in 2000 with the goal of bringing competition and excitement to the pizza industry. Since its formation, the U.S. Pizza Team has participated in international events all over the globe, highlighted by the World Pizza Championship in Parma, Italy. Ranging from culinary masters to dough tossing phenoms, the Pizza Team renews the passion of those in the industry year after year.
“USPT brings together America’s best pizza professionals, who are awesome ambassadors of our great country and this great industry,” said Jameel Burkett, the company’s president. “We’re proud to partner with the U.S. Pizza Team and look forward to years of continued success.”
The team is captained by Michael LaMarca, owner of Master Pizza.
Members of the U.S. Pizza Team, as well as Burkett and thousands of others in the pizza industry will be part of the International Pizza Expo, March 19-22 in Las Vegas.
Check out the video below to see members of the USPT in action at the Mid-America Restaurant Expo earlier this year.

Burkett 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Pro Chefs

Whether they’ve been naughty or nice this year, every pro chef in your life wants something just a cut above your everyday kitchen appliances and utensils for the holidays.

Not everyone wants to open a restaurant or can run a commercial kitchen but we all know someone always trying to channel their inner pro chef. At Burkett, we cater to the prosumer as well as we do the restaurateur. Find the perfect gift for your home chef with our 2017 holiday gift guide.

Vitamix Vita-Prep 3This list is just a few of our favorite items but by no means is it complete. Share some of your favorites in the comments and check out our full lineup of commercial grade restaurant equipment at www.Burkett.com.

Vitamix Vita-Prep 3 Food Blender

Vitamix manufactures world-class blenders and the Vita-Prep 3 is no exception. With a 3-horsepower variable speed motor, this unit will make prep time fly with its excellent grinding, chopping and pureeing capabilities.

Waring Panini Supremo

This workhorse features a whole 11″ grooved cooking surface, allowing ample room for multiple items. It also has a brushed stainless steel body construction and removable drip tray. The hinged, auto-balancing top plate can suit foods and sandwiches up to 3″ thick.

Cambro Clear Food Storage Container

This Food Storage Container is perfect to prep for dishes or save leftovers. It is clear and is stain & odor resistant, and polycarbonate constructed. This model holds up to 4 quarts but we have lots of different capacity containers available.

Victorinox KnivesVictorinox 11 Piece Knife Set

Help them step up their cutlery game with this 11 piece set that includes paring, boning, chefs, bread, and slicer knives as well as the sharpener and the elegant wooden block for a beautiful display on any kitchen counter.

So, go ahead, spoil the pro chef in your life and watch it become the gift that keeps on giving every time they create a wonderful dish and invite you to the table for the delicious concoctions.

Marco’s Pizza CEO Butorac earns ‘Golden’ distinction from NRN

Marco’s Pizza was recently named Top 5 Fastest Growing Chains by Nation’s Restaurant News. So it’s no surprise that the organization named the chain’s CEO, Jack Butorac, as a 2017 of recipient of NRN’s Golden Chain Award, celebrating the best in the restaurant business.

“For more than a decade, Jack Butorac has led Toldeo, Ohio-based Marco’s Pizza to some of the strongest growth in the restaurant industry,” NRN said. “The chain has been featured on NRN’s Top 100 growth list in 2017 and 2016. In the Latest Year, the 770-unit chain grew sales by 17.1 percent. Butorac brought franchising rights to the chain in 2004, growing the franchises through the recession by running a loan-guarantee program called Marco’s Assurance.”

Golden Chain Awards recognize restaurant executives for outstanding leadership, strong company performance, career achievements, and contributions to the industry and communities served. We couldn’t agree more with what Butorac and the Marco’s team have achieved! Congratulations!

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