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Meet the Makers: Covering Seating One Stitch at a Time

We are thrilled to bring you another installment of one of our favorite features from Old Dominion Furniture Co.: Meet the Makers!

Meet the Makers: RodneyToday, we are meeting Rodney, who heads up the Upholstery Department at Old Dominion Furniture Co.. To him, upholstery is an art form: “It is just like making a picture. You have to connect seams and patterns to create a flow between each part of the booth and all booths in a series. No two pieces are the same!”

And Rodney would know. He began working for Old Dominion Furniture Co. seven years ago as a laborer and now leads the team that installs fabric, vinyl and leather on all seating. Though his background was in the wood industry, upholstery has become his passion. He calls himself a “dedicated perfectionist” and loves structure, so his job overseeing all upholstery department details suits him well.

The close-knit relationship among the department are an added bonus.

“It feels like family here,” Rodney says. “We work as a team, and every day is an opportunity for us to learn something new.”

 

So what does the upholstery team do? The upholstery team at Old Dominion Furniture is hands-on and responsible for figuring out yardage, fabricating custom patterns, building the underlying structure of all seats and backs, as well as meticulously sewing each covering. Additionally, they expertly craft and apply finishing details like upholstered buttons, welt cord and nailhead trim. Rodney in action

Finally, they ensure that each piece is steamed, wrinkle-free and looking flawless before leaving the floor!

For us it is so wonderful to learn more about who is behind the beautiful furniture from Old Dominion Furniture Co., so stay tuned as we share more “Meet the Makers” in the future.

 

 

Serving Coffee and Breakfast During COVID-19

Serving coffee and breakfast during COVID-19Great coffee and a satisfying breakfast are among the most cherished amenities hotels offer. Serving coffee and breakfast during COVID-19 may look different now that many hotel operators have been forced to rethink the way they serve guests?

But, there is one thing that hoteliers agree on: Coffee and breakfast must stay. We just have to find a way to serve them differently now. In the article below originally published by our factory partners, Hamilton Beach Commercial, we’ll take a closer look at how hotels are adapting to this new reality.

Low-Touch In-Room Coffee Solutions 

In this new era for hospitality, the guestroom is a sanitized sanctuary. Hotel chains are instituting new ways to reassure guests that every frequently touched surface has been cleaned and is safe to touch. But what about making coffee?

There’s no way to make in-room coffee without touching something. But Hamilton Beach Commercial have designed the pod coffeemakers for guestrooms to minimize touch and maximize flavor. The secret is the recyclable brew basket that holds soft pods, both of which come individually wrapped. A guest would only need to touch the coffeemaker twice – once to add fresh water, and once to press the brew button.

Best of all, our pod coffeemakers brew outstanding in-room coffee. We designed the brew basket/pod holder to maximize coffee extraction, resulting in a stronger brew, even when using less coffee. (Here’s the science.) It’s also reusable and recyclable, pleasing green-minded guests.

 

Low-Touch Hotel Breakfast Strategies 

Some guest are accustomed to enjoying a hearty morning meal, so we can’t take that away from them. “They still want their breakfast, and you’ve got to be able to provide the breakfast,” Anthony Melchiorri, a hospitality consultant and host of “Hotel Impossible” on the Travel Channel, told The Washington Post.

But take heart: You don’t have to figure it out all at once. Many hotel chains are offering grab-and-go options temporarily while they devise safer ways to serve full breakfasts. Possibilities include extending breakfast hours, staggering seatings and requiring reservations. Some brands are offering loyalty members extra points in lieu of breakfast, or credits to use at an on-site restaurant.

Hotels that have kept a buffet setup seem to be limiting the selection to packaged items and fruit: oranges, bananas, instant oatmeal, baked goods, etc., observes One Mile at a Time. Self-serve coffee and juice remain.

What of iconic offerings like the make-your-own waffles at Hampton Inn? The brand is “exploring ways to gradually bring back the made-to-order breakfast, although it may be with an attendant versus DIY, to make sure we can maintain consistent standards of cleanliness,” said Phil Cordell, parent company Hilton’s global head of new brand development.

What to do now?

Now is the time for you to take stock of your foodservice equipment and determine, how you can use it in a safe an effective manner to serve breakfast. Key pieces include:

  • No-touch coffee urns: All of Hamilton Beach Commercial’s coffee urns feature touchless dispensing. A guest or server only has to press a cup against the dispenser. These urns are easy to sanitize, inside and out, and both the stainless steel and aluminum finishes present a polished appearance.
  • Commercial rice cookers: Available in three sizes, our commercial rice cookers cook staples like oatmeal, grits and porridge to perfection. Food can be held at the correct temperature for up to four hours.
  • Chamber vacuum sealers and immersion circulators: Sous vide cooking isn’t just for catering and fine dining. It’s the perfect way to prepare French toast, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, cured salmon and even bacon (really!). This style of preparation is well suited to room service and long serving windows, because food can be held at a safe, serving-ready temperature for several hours. Learn more about the PrimaVacTM line of vacuum sealers and the AcuVideTM 1000 Immersion Circulator.

 

Take heart: Hoteliers worldwide are facing the same challenges right now. We’re all in this together! Equipment Solutions and Hamilton Beach Commercial will continue supporting you with tips and strategies for surviving and thriving.

Top 3 Products for Facility Safety this Winter

The holidays and winter season is quickly approaching and we are always thinking about safety – from COVID-19, to cold & flu, to slip & fall prevention. That is why we are so thrilled that our factory partner NYCO offers the 3 products highlighted below to keep your facility safe and protected – especially during the cold season!

Trax Buster Ice Melt Film Dissolver

3 Products for Facility Safety

Trax-Buster is your go-to ice melt film dissolver to keep floors protected from caustic ice melt that gets tracked into your facility. Trax-Buster is in high demand, so now is a great time to stock up, before the winter brings in slush and snow.

Trax Buster has the following benefits:

  • neutralizes harmful ice melt residue
  • prolongs the life/beauty of hard floors and carpets
  • neutralizes salt residue on wood, concrete, metal and hydraulic lines

 

Sani-Spritz Spray – Effective in JUST 3 MINUTES!

3 Products for Facility Safety The Sani Spritz RTU kills the virus that causes COVID-19 in just three minutes! Additionally, the Influenza A virus that causes the flu, succumbs to this spray in just one minute! Shorter kill time means faster cleaning when performing disinfecting procedures. So, keep your facility and the people in it safe this winter with the Sani Spritz Spray RTU.

Sani-Spritz Spray is also approved for use on hard surfaces against emerging viral pathogens

 

 

 

Alco-Gel Plus Hand Sanitizer

3 Products for Facility Safety

Alco-Gel Plus Hand Sanitizer is able to kill 99.99% of common illness-causing germs. It is sold in 4×1 cases with 2 convenient hand pumps. You can conveniently place the Alco-Gel Plus anywhere in your facility with the hands-free automatic dispenser and dispenser stand. If you prefer, you can simply place it on the free-standing gallon dispenser stand. Alco-Gel Plus contains 75% Isopropyl Alcohol, as recommended by the FDA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions on these top 3 products for facility safety, please let us know!

How to Make the Most of a Ghost Kitchen

With the help of Hamilton Beach Commerical, today we are finding out how to make the most of a ghost kitchen.

Is a restaurant still a restaurant without tables, servers or diners? Well, it definitely is now!

More than half of U.S. operators have turned to ghost kitchens for some or all of their delivery orders, research by Technomic and the National Restaurant Association reveals. Before the pandemic, just 15% used a ghost kitchen — that is, a commercial kitchen that only makes food for delivery and/or takeout.Ghost-kitchen-prep

A ghost kitchen (or dark kitchen, or virtual kitchen) can boost a burgeoning delivery business, increase profit margins, cut staffing costs and help see restaurants through a slump in in-person dining. But the prospect of paying a lot for a brand-new facility may give restaurateurs pause.

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to start from scratch! Here are five ways to use the ghost-kitchen model that require minimal investment up front.

 

1. Using an existing restaurant kitchen as a ghost kitchen for a new brand 

Italian fast-casual chain Fazoli’s tested a delivery-only wing concept, Wingville, in early 2020. It used its own kitchens to launch the new online brand while keeping it separate from Fazoli’s core menu. While wings may seem a far cry from baked ziti and meatballs, they proved popular — and profitable. The pilot program boosted sales by nearly 11%, Restaurant Business reports. Seeing this success, Fazoli’s decided to bring the wings in-house at all locations, for dine-in, takeout and delivery.

The appeal of wings is that they’re simple to make and require little upfront investment. Fazoli’s had to add fryers to all of its kitchens, but saw its ROI realized in about four months. Not only that, but the new fryers are allowing the company to add new menu items.

Thinking about doing something similar? Consider how a new piece of equipment can help you launch a new line or boost take-out tickets. Examples:

 

2. Joining forces with other brands in a single ghost kitchen 

Here’s a fresh approach: One kitchen, many menus. BBQ Holdings, which owns four brands, was concerned about underworked staff and falling revenue. So the kitchens of its Granite City locations, in addition to making their sliders and flatbreads, started preparing Famous Dave’s barbecue for delivery only. Then, nine Famous Dave’s locations began serving as ghost kitchens for Hayward’s Hen House, a delivery-only chicken concept.

Cross-training staff and purchasing equipment required an initial investment of $50,000 per location, Jeff Crivello, BBQ Holdings’ chief executive, told The Washington Post“Without having to pay for additional rent, utilities or staff…he expects each ghost kitchen to produce $6,000 to $12,000 in additional sales per week.” Margins are much higher too, compared to traditional sit-down dining.

It’s not only multi-brand companies that are trying this approach. Franklin Junction is a new digital platform that “uses a data-driven demand-matching process that allows restaurants to produce and sell popular menu items from a carefully curated roster of established restaurant brands which are generally not yet available in the market area of the host facilities,” according to the company. With this model, a restaurant could sell Wow Bao Asian Buns and Fuzzy’s Tacos (two participating brands) in addition to its own menu items, increasing revenue without cutting into market share.

 

3. Making the move to a co-working or mobile kitchen 

The concept of a shared commercial kitchen isn’t new, but the popularity of these places has gotten a rocket-fuel boost from the increased demand for delivery. One prominent example is PREP in Atlanta, a massive culinary campus with facilities for bakers, caterers, food truck operators, franchises and entrepreneurs. PREP provides shared and private kitchen spaces as well as services like procurement, marketing, licensing and mentoring.

 

4. Letting another ghost kitchen capitalize on your concept 

Reef Technology turns the ghost-kitchen model on its head. The company installs mobile kitchens, “transforming these pieces of underutilized urban real estate, aka parking lots, into last-block neighborhood hubs providing essential services,” says Alan Philips, the company’s chief creative officer. Reef then enters into a partnership with restaurant brands whereby Reef’s kitchen and staff make branded menu items for delivery. Each kitchen may turn out food from multiple brands. Reef keeps the revenue and pays the restaurants a royalty percentage every month.

 

5. Running micro-branded concepts from a restaurant kitchen 

In Richmond, Virginia, where Hamilton Beach Commercial is based, one fine-dining superstar is Longoven. (Its chef, Andrew Manning, helped us perfect the PrimaVac line of vacuum chamber sealers; get his best tips here.) This much-lauded restaurant got its start as a pop-up, and during the pandemic has proved its versatility by expanding into the lunchtime daypart. It opened Fitzroy & Herrera Bakery, a window-service bakery serving seasonal pastries, baked goods and lunch. (Check out the delectable Instagram feed!)

The New Wave of Creative Coffee Cocktails

It’s national coffee day and today, we are sharing some interesting and exciting information on creative coffee cocktails, courtesy of our factory partners Hamilton Beach Commercial.

The espresso martini was born in a scene right out of Ab Fab. In 1983, an actress or model (depending on who’s telling the story) walked into London’s Soho Brasserie and asked for a drink that would “wake me up and [mess] me up.” Bartender Dick Bradsell crafted a high-octane cocktail that would become legendary: espresso, vodka, Tia Maria, Kahlua and sugar syrup. The drink became a symbol of ‘90s bar culture, growing sweeter and stickier until it fell out of favor. Now, bartenders are getting excited about coffee cocktails once more. Creative Coffee Cocktails as told by Hamilton Beach Commercial

“As we continue the third generation coffee movement in the U.S., I expect to see a celebration of specialty coffee in cocktail bars. … Breathing new life to old caffeinated cocktails is an easy pivot that the large majority of Americans can get excited about,” Stephen Kurpinksy, president of the United States Bartenders Guild San Diego Chapter, tells VinePair. Here’s a look at some of the exciting trends we’re seeing in coffee specialty drinks.

Cold Brew Coffee + Vodka Drinks

It’s so simple… and so strong. DBL BLK, a bottled version in Colorado, was born out of a very-Denver dilemma: “We continued to complain about the same two problems: one, we love to ski and hike but don’t enjoy beers in the morning, and two, the brunch drink scene needed some disruption,” says DBL BLK co-founder Matt Wickiser. Their solution: cold brew coffee and craft vodka, canned.

Larger companies have gotten in on the canned hard-coffee trend by mixing cold brew with agave wine (Café Agave) or malt liquor (La Colombe Hard Cold Brew Coffee). But neither sounds as delightful as a real cocktail made with intensely flavorful cold brew coffee.

Coffee + Citrus Drinks 

Coffee and citrus are natural companions. That’s why in Italy, espresso is often served with a slim twist of lemon. You’ll find this same refreshing combination in coffee cocktails, such as the Turkish Coffee Sour (coffee, spiced rum and lemon juice) or the Alive and Kicking (coffee, fernet, amaro and Orangerie). Or, there’s the coffee Negroni. “It’s nothing but caffeine and alcohol, and maybe a bit of orange peel, which you could also eat if you’re feeling a touch of scurvy. There’s nothing in it to drag you down.”

Hamilton Beach Commercial citrus juicers are the gold standard in the restaurant industry, from the classic manual Model 932 to the durable Hamilton Beach Commercial Electric Citrus Juicer.

Coffee + Brandy Drinks

Adios, Irish coffee. Hola, carajillo. This Spanish cocktail made with hot coffee is simply delicious — and fortifying. The version popular in Mexico is made with Licor 43, a liquor flavored with vanilla and 42 other herbs and spices. First, pour Licor 43 over ice cubes; then, add hot espresso and stir.

There are two ways to order carajillo in Mexico City, Punch saysPuesto means on the rocks. If you ask for it shakeado—like the Italian shakerato, derived from the English word “shaken”—the bartender will intervene, whipping the drink to a healthy froth in a cocktail shaker, then pouring over ice into a lowball glass.”

Coffee + Tonic Drinks

As customers are demanding refreshing, non-alcoholic drinks, the espresso tonic is having a comeback!  Koppi, a roaster in Helsingborg, Sweden, is credited with inventing the Kaffe Tonic. It is a simple combination of espresso and tonic water, poured over ice. Anna Lunell, a founder of Koppi, shares the secrets to making it great:

  • Lots of ice in a large glass
  • High-quality tonic water, garnished with citrus
  • A fruity espresso that complements the bitter tonic
Coffee + Blender Drinks

Speaking of creative coffee cocktails – do you remember the Frozen Mudslide? It’s hard to say no to ice cream, Kahlua, Bailey’s and vodka. But it’s more a dessert than a drink, and there are many other creative ways to make a blended coffee cocktail. Boozy frozen espresso is creamy but much less sweet. From Bacardi, there’s the Coffee Colada: pina colada mix, rum and cold coffee, with an orange garnish.

What about nonalcoholic blended coffee drinks? Polish barista Agnieszka Rojewska won the 2018 World Barista Championship with an innovative mixture of passionfruit syrup, rooibos cold brew infusion, washed milk and espresso, all combined with a Hamilton Beach Commercial blender. “It aerated it a lot so the texture was like marshmallow, almost,” Rojewska says. “Blending espresso does magic for texture.” Get the recipe for her signature drink.

We hope you have enjoyed this article on creative coffee cocktails. You can discover all Hamilton Beach Commercial’s equipment solutions for coffee shops and bars/cafés here.

The New Wave of Creative Coffee Cocktails

It’s national coffee day and today, we are sharing some interesting and exciting information on creative coffee cocktails, courtesy of our factory partners Hamilton Beach Commercial.

The espresso martini was born in a scene right out of Ab Fab. In 1983, an actress or model (depending on who’s telling the story) walked into London’s Soho Brasserie and asked for a drink that would “wake me up and [mess] me up.” Bartender Dick Bradsell crafted a high-octane cocktail that would become legendary: espresso, vodka, Tia Maria, Kahlua and sugar syrup. The drink became a symbol of ‘90s bar culture, growing sweeter and stickier until it fell out of favor. Now, bartenders are getting excited about coffee cocktails once more. Creative Coffee Cocktails as told by Hamilton Beach Commercial

“As we continue the third generation coffee movement in the U.S., I expect to see a celebration of specialty coffee in cocktail bars. … Breathing new life to old caffeinated cocktails is an easy pivot that the large majority of Americans can get excited about,” Stephen Kurpinksy, president of the United States Bartenders Guild San Diego Chapter, tells VinePair. Here’s a look at some of the exciting trends we’re seeing in coffee specialty drinks.

Cold Brew Coffee + Vodka Drinks

It’s so simple… and so strong. DBL BLK, a bottled version in Colorado, was born out of a very-Denver dilemma: “We continued to complain about the same two problems: one, we love to ski and hike but don’t enjoy beers in the morning, and two, the brunch drink scene needed some disruption,” says DBL BLK co-founder Matt Wickiser. Their solution: cold brew coffee and craft vodka, canned.

Larger companies have gotten in on the canned hard-coffee trend by mixing cold brew with agave wine (Café Agave) or malt liquor (La Colombe Hard Cold Brew Coffee). But neither sounds as delightful as a real cocktail made with intensely flavorful cold brew coffee.

Coffee + Citrus Drinks 

Coffee and citrus are natural companions. That’s why in Italy, espresso is often served with a slim twist of lemon. You’ll find this same refreshing combination in coffee cocktails, such as the Turkish Coffee Sour (coffee, spiced rum and lemon juice) or the Alive and Kicking (coffee, fernet, amaro and Orangerie). Or, there’s the coffee Negroni. “It’s nothing but caffeine and alcohol, and maybe a bit of orange peel, which you could also eat if you’re feeling a touch of scurvy. There’s nothing in it to drag you down.”

Hamilton Beach Commercial citrus juicers are the gold standard in the restaurant industry, from the classic manual Model 932 to the durable Hamilton Beach Commercial Electric Citrus Juicer.

Coffee + Brandy Drinks

Adios, Irish coffee. Hola, carajillo. This Spanish cocktail made with hot coffee is simply delicious — and fortifying. The version popular in Mexico is made with Licor 43, a liquor flavored with vanilla and 42 other herbs and spices. First, pour Licor 43 over ice cubes; then, add hot espresso and stir.

There are two ways to order carajillo in Mexico City, Punch saysPuesto means on the rocks. If you ask for it shakeado—like the Italian shakerato, derived from the English word “shaken”—the bartender will intervene, whipping the drink to a healthy froth in a cocktail shaker, then pouring over ice into a lowball glass.”

Coffee + Tonic Drinks

As customers are demanding refreshing, non-alcoholic drinks, the espresso tonic is having a comeback!  Koppi, a roaster in Helsingborg, Sweden, is credited with inventing the Kaffe Tonic. It is a simple combination of espresso and tonic water, poured over ice. Anna Lunell, a founder of Koppi, shares the secrets to making it great:

  • Lots of ice in a large glass
  • High-quality tonic water, garnished with citrus
  • A fruity espresso that complements the bitter tonic
Coffee + Blender Drinks

Speaking of creative coffee cocktails – do you remember the Frozen Mudslide? It’s hard to say no to ice cream, Kahlua, Bailey’s and vodka. But it’s more a dessert than a drink, and there are many other creative ways to make a blended coffee cocktail. Boozy frozen espresso is creamy but much less sweet. From Bacardi, there’s the Coffee Colada: pina colada mix, rum and cold coffee, with an orange garnish.

What about nonalcoholic blended coffee drinks? Polish barista Agnieszka Rojewska won the 2018 World Barista Championship with an innovative mixture of passionfruit syrup, rooibos cold brew infusion, washed milk and espresso, all combined with a Hamilton Beach Commercial blender. “It aerated it a lot so the texture was like marshmallow, almost,” Rojewska says. “Blending espresso does magic for texture.” Get the recipe for her signature drink.

We hope you have enjoyed this article on creative coffee cocktails. You can discover all Hamilton Beach Commercial’s equipment solutions for coffee shops and bars/cafés here.

Meet the Makers: Selecting the Perfect Piece of Wood for Every Table Top!

Bernard from Old Dominion Today, you have a unique opportunity to meet the makers! From conception to creation to production to installation, each table top at Old Dominion Furniture Co. gets its start as a single piece of wood in the factory.

It is the job of traveling Gospel singer, Bernard, to set the initial benchmark of quality for every wood table top produced.

Bernard first started working for Old Dominion in 1975. He would go to class in the morning and work a full-time shift in the factory after school. He is proud of the joy and growth his position has brought him. “I wouldn’t get out of bed, for 45 years, for a job I hate.”

Bernard is a self-taught, yet expert, lumber grader and is responsible for sorting, selecting and grading each piece of lumber that comes into the Old Dominion Furniture Co. building. His commitment to his craft is a key component to the high standards of quality.

So you might be asking yourself; how does the dimensioning department work?

Step 1: Grade

Sorting, selecting and grading raw lumber sets the quality benchmark

Step 2: Chop

Chopping raw boards to specific lengths based on table top dimensions

Bernard at work

Step 3: Rip

Ripping the sides of raw boards for clean, straight edges, ideal for adhering boards together

wood working at OD

Step 4: Glue

Positioning and gluing boards based on grain pattern, to create raw table top panels

Gluing wood

Step 5: Sand and Size

Sanding, sizing and edging table top panels to meet order specifications.

Old Dominion finishing

Upon completion of each piece, the dimensioning department inspects all table tops before releasing them to the Finishing Department for stain and sealer.

We hope to share more installments of Meet the Makers in the future, as we find it interesting to learn about different aspects of the manufacturing process.

BauscherHepp Scope Collection

Scope Collection by BauscherHeppToday, we introduce you to a brand new collection from BauscherHepp – Scope. This collection may be familiar to you, as BauscherHepp featured it in their  National Restaurant Association Show Overview, which we shared with you a few weeks ago. But today, we are sharing just a little more information about Scope’s story!

Scope is an all new collection from BauscherHepp with a fresh silhouette. Additionally, the embossment draws inspiration from one of Bauscher’s Noble China collections: Purity Finest Loom. Made from German hard porcelain, it pairs perfectly with Bauscher’s Options collection. The collection features soft pastel shades of white, taupe, and delicate blue-green, which creates the perfect platform for chefs to experiment with new food trends in their own style. Further, the Scope collections offers an interplay of embossed and smooth pieces for a dazzling, modern rustic aesthetic

You can see more of Scope, and all the new items in BauscherHepp’s monthly Novelties Guide.

 

BauscherHepp NRA Show Collections

BauscherHepp NRA show collectionsDid you know that the opening day for the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago would have taken place this past weekend? Due to obvious reasons that didn’t happen this year, but our factory partners from BauscherHepp didn’t want you to miss out. So they have created a mini catalog, which highlights some of the collections that BauscherHepp would have introduced at the NRA show.

We are thrilled to share the catalog with you! It includes new vintage-inspired glasses from Luigi Bormioli. Asymmetrical bone white china from Bauscher. Versatile stoneware from Playground that serves a dual purpose. You can view the BauscherHepp NRA Show Collection here.

Bauscher Hepp will send out more of these mini catalogs, as they launch even more new products, and we will of course share them with you.

In the meantime – please stay safe and healthy and we look forward to seeing all of you in Chicago next year for the National Restaurant Association Show!

And, if you need any help to get you through this crisis, BauscherHepp is continuously updating their Covid-19 resource page. It is a page that contains a list of national and regional resources, aid and ways everyone can continue to help. You can find out more by clicking on this link!

 

Five Ways Restaurants Can Stretch Food Budgets

Five Ways Restaurants Can Stretch Food BudgetsA few weeks ago, our factory partners Hamilton Beach Commercial shared five ways for restaurants to stretch food budgets further. The post really highlights some great tips, especially in this time, when everything is so unpredictable. We decided to share the information with you as well, so read on for more information!

1. START PROCESSING FOOD THE SECOND IT’S DELIVERED. 

In the best of times, it’s tough for kitchen staff to drop everything to deal with incoming deliveries. When the restaurant is understaffed and overwhelmed, it’s even tougher. But Sandra D. Ratcliff, CEC, a longtime chef and director of healthcare sales for The Hansen Group, says the best thing to do, is to “take care of your produce. when it first comes in.”

Ratcliff’s recommendation is to designate a team member to immediately deal with deliveries, even if you’re short-staffed, . The cost savings will easily pay for that extra person. When a case of iceberg lettuce arrives, don’t leave it in the dirty cardboard box that’s been sitting in a farm field. Wash it and vacuum-seal it: “You’ve automatically gotten an extra three weeks out of a product.” The same goes for other ingredients: fresh fish, meat, cheese, etc.

Another benefit of vacuum-sealing is visibility. When stored in cardboard or other opaque packaging, it is easy to forget the food, which then can lead to rot! Once vacuum-sealed, it’s easier to see and use. Just remember that it’s essential to follow food safety guidelines for vacuum-packed foods, and train kitchen staff in safe handling practices.

2. INCREASE ORDER SIZES. 

In the face of so much uncertainty, it seems counter intuitive to order larger quantities of food. That’s exactly what Ratcliff recommends, however. Especially because many restaurant supply companies have cut back their deliveries to just one or two per week. Operators can save a significant amount of money on food, if they order large quantities of ingredients, then process and portion them. Get the 10-pound block of cheese, then cut 1-pound portions and vacuum-seal each one for long-lasting freshness. Order 50 pounds of flour and 30 pounds of dried beans, then measure out the increments needed for specific dishes and vacuum-seal.

3. ORDER INGREDIENTS THAT HAVE THE WIDEST RANGE OF USES. 

Get the most out of your food inventory by selecting super-versatile ingredients. Two recommendations from Gordon Food Service Corporate Consulting Chef Gerry Ludwig, CEC: bone-in chicken thighs and tilapia. With chicken, he says, “you could make cassoulet, de-bone them for grilled sandwiches, or roast them and pull the meat for salads and flatbread applications. Restaurant can use tilapia for entrées, sandwiches, fish and chips, tacos, wraps. You can also serve them simply steamed with herbs and spices. ”It is easy to portion proteins precisely, season or marinate them.” Additionally, you can store any protein for optimum quality using a vacuum chamber sealer, such as the PrimaVac.

4. VACUUM-SEAL TO PREVENT PREPARED FOOD FROM GOING TO WASTE. 

Calibrating food production is tricky when demand is unpredictable. But now’s the time to be conscious of even the smallest amount of food waste, Ratcliff says, because it adds up. She once oversaw food service for a healthcare system with 65 locations. One of those was notorious for going over its food budget by up to $2,700 every month. Upon investigation, she discovered that the kitchen prepared an extra 11 meals per mealtime, just in case they were needed. With PPPD food costs around $7, the system would have lost nearly $1.8 million per year if every location did the same, Ratcliff calculated.

The solution? The staff was educated on batch cooking and vacuum-sealing extra portions, which can be cooked quickly to meet resident requests. This strategy is also easily applicable to restaurants, where the number of take-out orders can vary greatly! You can perfectly cook meals sous-vide, ensuring food safety and preventing overcooking, and served as needed.

5. REVIVE WILTING GREENS.

Herbs and baby greens are among the most fragile of ingredients — and unless you grow them on-site, they can be in short supply. Chef Andrew Manning, of acclaimed fine-dining restaurant Longoven in Richmond, Virginia, suggests using a chamber vacuum sealer to hydroshock sensitive greens and bring them back to life.

Place greens in a wide, shallow container. Cover them with paper towels, then add ice and cold water. Run the vacuum cycle twice, which removes air from the greens and forces in cold water. The result: rejuvenated herbs that stay crisp for days.

To read more about ways that restaurants can stretch food budgets further, click here.

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