When watching Kitchen Nightmares, from an outside perspective, it’s easy to see why restaurants go wrong. However, when your in the thick of it, it can be difficult to examine your own faults. While there are many unique situations that lead to a restaurant under-performing, after watching several seasons of Kitchen Nightmares (purely for research purposes, of course), I’ve made a short list of what every restaurant owner can learn from the show. Read the rest of this entry »
With the “pink slime” fiasco, it’s a good time to re-evaluate ingredient lists. There is the occasional restaurant that buys from local farms, but it’s not always easy to get the steady stream of quality products this way. The truth is that whether it’s meat or poultry, fish or veggies, restaurant owners typically buy from a limited number of suppliers. But where are the suppliers getting it from?
Perhaps an example of how food gets from source-to-plate through a supplier, let’s take, just as an example, Sysco. They carry national brands, but much of their business comes from their own brands. Their seafood division, named “Portico Seafood,” is one of the largest operating seafood purveyors in the world. It advertises that it offers “quality, consistency, traceability, integrity, and competitiveness.” Is this true? It is true they trace their products back to their source by modern tracking methods, and they are working toward greater sustainability.
Other larger suppliers are working to compete in the arena of sustainability, organic, and locally-grown foods. If you are not sure where your products are coming from, the prudent thing is to ask – they should know. If they don’t know, it may be time to switch vendors.
One of the surest ways to know where your food supply is stemming from is to buy locally and physically visit the farm or fishery that your food is coming from. It’s the single-best way to know what you are serving your customers. However, as noted before, buying purely locally can lead to supply issues; if there’s a bad season, or you want food that is out-of-season locally served year-round, buying from a supplier may be your only option.
There is also the issue of what your customer wants. Does organic matter to them? Sustainability? Don’t try to greenwash your restaurant if the customer is only considering value. Even if you must buy at a bargain, it still doesn’t preclude you from shopping around when it comes to suppliers. The more you know about your food, the better you will feel serving it to your customers, and the more your customers will thank you in the end for a delicious, quality product.
Argyle Campbell, president and CEO of Cambro, talks about Food Safety and Cambro’s StoreSafe® program.
Food safety is a primary concern for every foodservice professional. For more than 60 years, Cambro foodservice equipment and supplies have earned the trust and loyalty of customers and public health professionals alike because their products are designed with food safety in mind.
Cambro’s owner and CEO, Argyle Campbell shares his company’s focus on food safety.
Q: What is StoreSafe and how does it relate to Food Safety?
AC: StoreSafe is our commitment to food safety. It’s at the heart of everything we do—from product design and testing to manufacturing and educating our representatives and customers about safe handling practices. StoreSafe identifies Cambro products that help foodservice operators meet food safety guidelines. But it’s so much more than that. It’s also about safe materials. With so many imports available, our customers look to us for FDA-approved materials that are made in NSF-listed manufacturing facilities.
Q: What is your level of experience as it relates to food safety?
AC: First of all, let me clarify that we are not claiming to have the level of expertise of a health inspector, food scientist, or public health official. We understand intelligent product design and the correlation it has with food safety. So while we may not be food experts, we are experts in how our products help support food safety and we want to be as transparent as possible when it comes to this issue.
Q: Do you feel operators and consumers are more concerned about food safety now than in past years?
AC: Yes. Consumers and operators are forgiving of many things. One thing they are not forgiving of is food safety issues. We understand that when a foodservice operator uses our products, they trust them to perform. That trust is based on consistent performance over the years.
Q: What key message do you want the audience to walk away with?
AC: Food safety is first and foremost about protecting lives, but it also is about protecting your brand. Food safety never takes a day off. If you are dealing with a food safety issue, it’s already too late. The whole basis of StoreSafe is to try and look at the food safety issue from a proactive standpoint, and not just a reactive standpoint. It’s doing the right thing, not only for the customer, but also doing the right thing for your brand.
Sure, your kitchen equipment can handle the day-to-day tasks of a restaurant and the rigors of a fast paced food service operation, but can it handle a true torture test? What do you do with a piece of equipment that simply won’t perform or falls short of your expectations?
Here at Restaurant Equipment World, we pride ourselves on offering the best quality equipment at he lowest possible prices. It sounds a little sales-y, but its absolutely true. We take that same mentality and apply it to the hundreds of pieces of used and consignment restaurant equipment that we currently carry, holding each piece up to the highest of standards for quality, performance, durability, and reliability.
So what exactly happens when we find out that a used piece of equipment doesn’t measure up? Click on the video above and find out for yourself.
and the restaurant industry is changing right along with it. Nearly ever new piece of major equipment sold has a computer chip in it somewhere, for starters. This has led to better regulated temperatures and cooking times; now delicate food offerings can be offered at a better consistency.
This trend isn’t regulated to just food, either. Coca-Cola has been steadily marketing it’s Freestyle Coca-Cola machines, and are soon going to launch a nation-wide campaign centered around the new-ish device. For those not in the loop, the new machine can crank out 125 unique drinks out of a single spout, thanks to ditching the traditional bag-in-a-box design, adding RDIF tags, and an innovative touch-screen. In fact, Coca-Cola recently added 19 drinks to the existing 106-drink lineup in anticipation of their 125th Anniversary. So, did a serviceman come out and update the machines? Did they add new syrups? Nope, it was all done in an automatic software update via the internet. It’s been touted as the next-generation soda machine, doing to traditional soda fountains what soda fountains did to soda jerks.
Watch this robot use a Free-Style dispenser
So, there’s a lot of hype, but is it really that big of a deal? In early August, Firehouse Subs, the fast-growing chain, announced plans to implement these new Coca-Cola Freestyle soda machines in every last one of their stores. That’s a pretty big investment. As a side note, as Coca-Cola controls something like 60% of the soda market, they probably have enough money to pull off some hefty customer satisfaction surveys. But then again, they also thought New Coke was a good idea. And yet again, they probably learned from that mistake.
What does this all mean? Is there truly anything special about this cacophony of carbonated concoctions?
Let me find that out for you. I just noticed that one of these Pininfarina-designed beasts (yes, really, the company best-known for it’s Ferrari designs, including the Daytona, F40, and 599 GTB) has been installed nearby, and I’ll be sure to report back when I try it. Peach Fanta is first on my list, followed by Orange Coke.
Obviously, this machine is exclusive to Coca-Cola, and Restaurant Equipment World does not sell it. Although we never enjoy watching your business go elsewhere, you can contact your local Coca-Cola representative about getting one for your establishment. With that being said, the Scotsman Prodigy C0322 and C0522 ice machines are definitely sold by us, and they are completely compatible with the new Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. So if you happen to get one, remember who let you know about it.