Increasing Productivity in your Commercial Kitchen

October 20th, 2014 by Amanda | No Comments »

Productivity is when a person or firm converts its input or effort into work of any nature and turns that into output, i.e. the outcome of the work done. This means that the word productivity means the same as work performance, either good or bad. It’s a state of being productive, using the resources at your disposal to produce more output.
Essentially, increasing productivity means to work in a way that allows for usage of smart allocation of resources or means available, and also improves your work, or benefits the quality of it. There are ways that you can improve or increase productivity from the people who will work in your commercial kitchen. Some of the more effective ways are as follows:
Arranging Training Sessions and Workshops
Any workplace includes a mixed bunch of people – some are highly seasoned in the work they do while others are wholly new. Similarly, your kitchen empire will have a bunch of experienced and inexperienced workers alike. Arranging training sessions and workshops may help them find the necessary tools and skills that you didn’t know of before, thus equipping them of knowledge on how to perform better.
Installation of Up to Date Equipment
Nowadays, each and every task is performed with the added help of one kind or the other. Specifically, the arrival of machines has largely helped with the increase in production and quality of work. Jobs which were once done by humans are now being done by machines. Many machines, however, are made to aid the person using it, to do a better job. In your commercial kitchen, be sure to install the latest equipment, be it for direct or indirect use.
The tables and other flat surfaces can be of an ergonomic nature, separate and clear-marked spaces for the many utensils and food handling equipment, digital temperature measuring tools, and a well-equipped industrial sized washing area etc. Outdated methods of cleaning should not be followed.
Boosting Morale
People crave recognition for the efforts that they make in a field of work, or for their accomplishments on the same. It is a fact of nature. The expectation of this drives in so deep, that at an un-conscious level it affects our performance.
Encouragement and motivation go hand in hand in increasing productivity. In an experiment, it was found that people [and even plants] respond well to more positive thoughts rather than negative ones, and in turn perform far better.
Who wouldn’t want a pat on the back? A recognition of their efforts in the form of a gift certificate and another such incentive, a formal appraisal in front of peers etc. of ways in which you can boost morale, thus increasing productivity.
Have you ever faced productivity-related problems in your kitchen? What measures do you take to improve the performance of your kitchen staff? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with us.

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Promoting Good Health in Your Commercial Kitchen

October 16th, 2014 by Amanda | No Comments »

You’ve probably come across the adage, Health is Wealth, hundreds of times. When a person is healthy, he/she appreciates life more, and is not only happy towards his/her self but also towards the people around them. When you are healthy; you take pleasure in the simple things, in your hobbies and play-time, in your relationships, both personal and professional. You take pleasure in your work, which in turn increases your productivity. Here, we will present ways in which you can ensure that the people who work for you in your commercial kitchen remain healthy and happy throughout the year, or at least do not get sick because of the kitchen environment.
Basic Hygiene is the way to go
The root cause of ill-health is bad hygiene. A person who takes care of his hygiene is less likely to get sick often, as compared to the person who has bad hygiene to begin with and who will get sick twice as much. Basic hygiene includes; keeping the nails short and hair free of lice, bathing regularly, wearing clean clothing, etc. Make sure to check the hygiene of your staff. Go for daily inspections if it helps.
Adopting practices on Hygiene
How many of us wash our hands once we use the toilet? Very few people actually do, despite knowing that nothing promotes sickness and ill-health more than unwashed hands. Everything we touch has bacteria, even the cleanest (by human standards) surfaces has Bacteria or Germs as they are commonly known; an unseen enzyme which causes diseases like the flu, the common cold, diarrhea and others. Frequent hand-washing can significantly reduce the buildup of bacteria; before entering the work station, after handling or coming in contact with garbage, after and before food preparation, etc. An added safeguard against germ buildup is to use effective sanitizers after each hand-wash, and anti-septic liquid soap.
Containment of the Spread of Disease
It is simply not possible for people not to get sick despite taking measures to prevent it. You or your staff-members may succumb to the common cold at least twice or thrice a year, especially the flu due to the change in seasons and minor allergies. Fatigue can also be termed as ill-health, in a way. As we all know, the bacteria for diseases such as the common cold are airborne, which means chances of catching it in the immediate vicinity of an affected person are extremely high. In such cases, isolation of the sick is stressed upon. That is what sick-leaves are for!
Doctor in the House [or a First-aid Box], whichever works
Obviously, you cannot employ a full-time doctor. It’s a ridiculous notion, not to mention doctors get sick too. In lieu of that, a first-aid box is a good idea. Having a first aid box around in small emergency situations can prove to be helpful. Be sure to keep it stocked with all the necessary items and medicines for treating any cuts, or injuries that may happen in the workplace. Remember to update the medicines and throw away expired items.
Hopefully, with the help of these tips you and your team will flourish, very much like your commercial kitchen.

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Energy-Smart Tips for Commercial Kitchens

October 13th, 2014 by Amanda | No Comments »

Energy cost savings will not only lead to better and more consistent food quality but also to less food spoilage and better working conditions in the kitchen. Smart cooking practices by using the right equipment can help save energy costs and reduce negative impact on the environment. Equipping your commercial kitchen smartly will reduce the maintenance cost and increase the lifespan of the equipment.
Here are some quick wins to have an energy smart commercial kitchen:
Efficient Cooking
Utilize your cooking appliances correctly; over-loading will use up more energy since it will increase the cooking time. By adopting a more energy-smart cooking style, you can reduce energy use. Cooking at a moderate temperature helps preserve food quality and save energy. Fan forced ovens share the cooking load of two or more dishes.
Train your kitchen staff well
Make sure that your kitchen staff is familiar with appliance use and know the cleaning routine. Proper care and cleaning routines will help ensure the equipment works effectively. Commercial dishwashers should only be used when fully-loaded. Equipment should be serviced twice a year depending on the use. Assign regular maintenance tasks to the staff and ensure equipment checks are performed each day.
Lighting in the kitchen
Update your lighting with energy savers to reduce cost. Only use necessary light and try to supplement it with natural light. Remove objects, such as blinds that block natural light in the kitchen.
Switch off equipment when not in use
Switch off your equipment when it is no longer in use. Implement a start-up/shut-down schedule to make sure you’re only using the equipment needed. During low production periods, you can turn off back-up fryers to reduce energy usage. When buying new equipment, consider options with timers so that the cooking operation is automated.
Invest in energy efficient equipment
Choosing good quality equipment may be a heavy investment, but can offer energy cost savings in the long run which makes it a smart investment. Traditional stove tops are being replaced by induction ranges; they are more expensive but offer high efficiency, the heat up rate is rapid and maintenance is lower. Try considering the options which limit the overall burner output, reducing the energy use. Replacing broilers with smooth griddles will be more energy efficient. Insulated cooking equipment will maintain more heat and reduce standby losses.
Maintain equipment
A clogged oven will attract pests and germs making it difficult to cook quality food. Ovens which are free of grease and dirt will work more efficiently and reduce wastage cost. Clean the range with heavy burlap cloth or steel wool while the surface is still warm. Keep close check on repair costs as equipment ages.
The hotplate
To minimize heat waste, use cooking vessels with flat bases which keep heat contained and make cooking faster and more efficient.

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Pest Control – Effective Methods for Your Commercial Kitchen

October 9th, 2014 by Tim | No Comments »

A very common problem faced by eateries is that of the infernal pests. It is a fact that, where there is food, there will be wastage, and that serves as a beacon for pests and rodents. Nothing is more injurious to your new business than the discovery of these creatures which house all kinds of bacteria, which in turn will inadvertently pose health risks for not only your customers but to you and your staff as well. You can ensure that doesn’t happen by looking through these helpful tips.
Maintaining Cleanliness and Sanitation
Ensure that the basic cleanliness and sanitation procedures are in place; this is critical. Adopt a regimen that works and stick to it. Basic cleaning includes; sweeping at regular intervals using a soft tipped broom (designs with flexible heads are also available for tight corners), regular washing of floors with an anti-septic cleaning agent, top to bottom cleaning of the wash-rooms with bleach, and if possible, do that more than a couple of times a day. There are many bugs whose source of food are dust-mites, or simply dust. You wouldn’t want your commercial kitchen to become their feeding ground, would you?
Regular check of the Garbage Bin at back of the house
It has been estimated that Americans throw away nearly half of their food every year. That is a lot of waste, worth a staggering $165 billion annually! Imagine how much waste your commercial kitchen is going to throw out! Where there is food, there is bound to be some attraction from the local rodent community, as well as fruit flies. To prevent that;
a) The bin must be covered with a lid and the garbage inside should be in plastic bags
b) The garbage should be disposed of properly and well before it has accumulated in size; either by yourself or the garbage disposal team.
C) The placement of the garbage bin should be at a safe distance from the building, as an extra precaution of sorts.
Fumigation of the premises
Fumigation is a method of pest control that completely fills an area with gaseous pesticides to suffocate or poison the pests within. However, the use of pesticides is frowned upon at such establishments due to the hazardous chemicals in their composition. You can use either organic method to get rid of pests and rodents, or put traps around the premises. There are many designs for traps available in the market for you to choose from.
Installation of Equipment for Effective Pest Control
You can and should install equipment which can help you control pests like flies, roaches, and other creepy crawlers. The use of chemical repellants is not encouraged as they are hazardous but you can get eco-friendly repellants as a substitute which are approved by the EPA as safe. Plus, they smell nice, so double points. You can also install electric fly traps near the main-doors, and other entry points of the building.
Using these techniques, you can ensure that your new commercial kitchen is pest-free. No more flies in the soup!

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Improve Productivity of Your Employees by Keeping These Appliances in Your Kitchen

September 11th, 2014 by Tim | No Comments »

Customers hate to wait for their food, which is why by increasing the productivity of your kitchen staff; you can also increase the sales of your restaurant. The quicker you can serve food, the faster tables will empty, making space for more customers. Additionally, restaurants that take time serving food can drive customers who dislike waiting, away. By simply speeding up the process, you can increase the cost effectiveness of your restaurant. The question that arises here is how you can speed up the food preparation and serving time of your kitchen staff. This is why we have a list of helpful appliances and some tips here that can help speed up meal preparation time, boosting your employees’ productivity.
One of the most time consuming parts of cooking is ingredient preparation, this might involve chopping up vegetables, grinding spices, slicing meat and so on. By introducing bulk choppers, slicers and dicers, you can reduce the overall meal preparation time, considerably.
Some of the most efficient and time saving devices are choppers that can help dice tomatoes, onions and chicken for you, as these are some of the most common and time consuming ingredients. Opt for a bulk chopper that is a multipurpose device so that it can chop up many different vegetables in many different styles through extensions that fit into one device.
Make sure there are many burners and hot plates available in your kitchens so that the staff doesn’t have to wait for a meal to come off the stove in order to start preparing another.
Spice and nuts grinder are also a very time saving appliance as they can help chop and grind spices to perfection within seconds.
Pressure Cookers are another device that is meant to reduce cooking time and is great for cooking meat and other items that require long duration to prepare.
Another great technique for speeding up the food preparation time is to prepare ingredients beforehand so that they only have to be assembled at the time of cooking. For example, if all vegetables have been chopped and stored in air tight containers, especially onions that create a mess, whipping up meals will be speedier. You can also make sure most sauces and gravies have been prepared before hand so that they can be put together when a customer orders one.
Deep Fryers are great for kitchens that require lots of fast food and deep frying with every meal such as French fries and breaded meats and cheeses. A deep fryer reduces the frying time as the oil is already at a warm temperature and can immediately be heated up to fry other ingredients. It also takes up less space; although just make sure the oil is clean and used for one type of food only. Do not allow the oil to burn by taking it to high temperatures that blacken the oil.
The techniques that you use should be suited to your kitchen to make the most out of it.

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How to Select the Right Range for Your Commercial Kitchen?

September 8th, 2014 by Tim | No Comments »

The burner is one of the most essential equipments in a kitchen. A good range takes care of most of the vital steps in cooking, such as steaming, boiling, baking and cooking. It is safe to say that without a good range, delivering quality and taste to your customers is nearly impossible. This is why the right range can make your food not only taste better but also reduce the cooking time. In order to choose the right range, you need to know your requirements in detail. You also require detailed information about all the range options so that you can make an informed decision that will work in your favor, over long term.
Here are some of the things you need to consider when selecting a range for your restaurant kitchen.
How many Burners do you require?
This is one of the most difficult questions to answer as a lot of things need to be considered before narrowing down to a number. When deciding the answer to this question, you cannot go for the most number of burners available in an oven as this increases the size of the range, which is an important factor to consider keeping in mind the size and layout of your kitchen.
If you have a kitchen layout that provides each staff member with his individual little space, you need four burner ranges, as the people you have working in the kitchen can work in ease. On the other hand, if your staff is going to be sharing burners, you should opt for eight burner ranges. However allow only two people to share an eight burner range to avoid accidents due to overcrowding stoves. This is not a fixed option; you should decide what meets your needs and then go for that choice.
Electric or Gas Oven
When the choice between electric or gas oven has to be made, many chefs opt for a gas range due to the ability to control heat through increasing or decreasing the intensity of the heat. The electric ranges take time heating up as well as cooling down, which might affect the result of many meals that require variation in heat. The choice also depends largely on the connection that is available in your kitchen, whether a gas outlet or an electric wiring.
Make sure the grates on your burners are easily detachable to make it easy to clean the stove. In order to avoid gas leaks or fire hazards, make sure each burner has a pilot switch to light it, instead of using a lighter to light it each time you want to cook something. Another thing that you must look out for is the flame ranges, as going for a range that has a variety of range options is great for you.
Always make sure to buy ranges that have at least a year’s warranty on them so that you can get any repairs done free of cost. You can also look at used ranges, if you are on a budget.

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Safety Tips for a Good Kitchen

September 4th, 2014 by Amanda | No Comments »

The internet has recently been bombarded with videos and information revealing the ‘true face’ of most fast food restaurants. People have become aware of what is actually happening around the world in their favorite restaurants. No information is secret any longer with the empowerment that has come with social media. However that is not the only safety you need to be concerned about when it comes to your commercial kitchen and the reputation of your kitchen. Food safety and kitchen safety, as well as the safety of employees all go hand in hand with the reputation of kitchen.
People are opting for greener options, so even restaurants that do not make obvious eco friendly shifts are in danger of being shunned. Yes, there are a lot of things to look out for if you want your audience to see you in a good light. Let’s take a look at the safety options and tips that a commercial kitchen should be following religiously.
A commercial kitchen with good habits can stay safe which is why it all boils down to the training of the staff and kitchen habits. Your restaurant’s kitchen should always be clean and pest free. The last thing you want is the news of a pest infestation in the kitchen and you can wave your customers and your license good bye forever. Good kitchen habits ensure that bleaches are not stored next to condiments and oils. The kitchen floor is always clean and there are no containers or other obstacles on the floor. Any spills, such as water or gravy and so on, are wiped away immediately. The emergency exits and regular exits are always unobstructed so that people can easily escape in case of a fire or some other emergencies.
Ventilation filters and exhausts should be cleaned regularly so that in case of a gas leak, proper ventilation can reduce the hazard. Staff should be careful when using hot stoves or working around them, so that hot oil or oven burns can be avoided. Kitchen heat sources such as ovens, grills, range tops, deep fat fryers, and microwaves pose burn hazards. Opening pots that might have collected steam need special caution, so that steam burns can be avoided.
Staff should be careful never to leave food that is cooking over hot flames, unattended in order to avoid a fire. Multiple fire extinguishers should be scattered around the kitchen, so that they are in easy reach in case of a fire. Fire extinguishers should be refilled regularly and before they reach expiry date. Pantry items or other ingredients should all be placed within reach, instead of on shelves that are difficult to reach. Staff should don proper attire in the kitchen and avoid lose clothes around the stove that might catch fire.
Preventing fire and other accidents all comes down to following good kitchen etiquette and rules which require extensive staff training. Although staff training are costly, it is cheaper than redoing your entire kitchen or fighting a lawsuit.

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Should you go for an Electric or Gas Burner?

September 1st, 2014 by Tim | No Comments »

The sales and demand of a commercial kitchen depends completely on the food being served. It also depends on the type of service, if the kitchen is serving delicious food but taking an hour to prepare, the sales will suffer a lot. This is why your choice of kitchen range will have a direct impact on the sales and reviews of your restaurants. The quality of food also depends on the range you choose along with the time it takes to cook the food. This makes the choice a difficult yet crucial one.
However, here we are going to discuss the difference in a gas range and an electric range and which one of the two is a better option for a commercial kitchen. Although there are people who prefer both an electric oven and the gas range, the real question is which one will fit your needs. We can shed further light on the topic by looking at the pros and cons of the two types of ranges.
Many restaurant owners swear by the versatility of a gas oven as it allows you to adjust the flame and the heat according to the requirement of the moment. Whereas the electric oven takes time losing and gaining heat so that you cannot immediately lower the temperature if you find your food starting to scorch, you will have to lift up the pan from the oven instead.
The cost that is involved in installing a gas range or an electric range depends largely on your kitchen. If you have a gas line already installed in your kitchen, it will be cheaper to get a gas oven installed in your kitchen. Whereas if you have your kitchen wired for an electric range, it will be cheaper to install an electric range. This is because the costs would increase if you have to get a gas line installed into the kitchen or get it wired and as a result it is wiser to go for the option that your kitchen is already equipped for.
Electric ranges are typically easier to use; you can start cooking as soon as you plug it in. The burners are also fairly easy to clean and maintain. They provide an even distribution of cooking heat as the entire plate heats up instead of a concentrated flame in a gas range. On the other hand, they take time to cool off and can pose a burning hazard if touched even when off. They will not function if there is a power failure.
A gas oven is better for baking and grilling as there is an even distribution of heat in the oven. The heat is easier to control depending on the type of food you are cooking. You have the option to control whether you want to move from high heat immediately to a lower temperature or vice versa. Gas bills are also lower as gas is typically cheaper than electricity.
Most kitchens have a gas oven for cooking and an electric oven for baking but your final choice depends largely on the oven you are more comfortable using.

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Tips on Making Your Commercial Kitchen Look Bigger

August 28th, 2014 by Tim | No Comments »

The kitchen is the heart of any restaurant. No matter how beautiful the dining area of a restaurant is, if the food is no good, there will be no return business. In order to increase efficiency of the kitchen staff, it is essential that their territory be designed in a way which makes them happy to work in the place. The high point of any chef’s day or even life is working in a beautiful, fully equipped kitchen that extends for miles and miles. Although that is the dream, it is pretty impossible unless you are working in the kitchen of the queen of England or the white house. Most restaurants have a sizable kitchen that although is not very large, isn’t a cubby hole either. No matter how large or small, every kitchen can use to look a little bit bigger, which is not all that difficult to achieve if you know a few decorating tricks that can give your kitchen the illusion of being bigger.
Make Sure It Is Well Lighted
Add several layers of lighting in a place to create a multi dimensional effect to the kitchen. A poorly lighted kitchen will look small and gloomy no matter how big it is. Make sure you do not add harsh hospital lights that give your staff a headache by the end of the day. Use lamps and lighting that add a cheerful feel to the place. Try to hide the lights either behind shades to give a recessed lighting effect, which makes the place feel like it has its own light. Do not go for dim lighting as it would defeat the purpose if the staff has cannot see two steps ahead of them.
Shiny Surfaces
Glimmering kitchen equipment and tiles is the dream, as it also accentuates the freshness of the place. Shiny metallic equipment, reflecting tiles as well as shiny countertops reflect light, brightening up the place and giving the entire kitchen a feeling of newness. Working with clean, new equipment has in its own, the key to lifting spirits of a chef and helping them find joy in their work.
Light Colored Walls
Refrain from painting the walls a darker or brighter color as it makes the room look smaller and adds the effect of the room closing in on its inhabitants. Use lighter colors such as pastel blues, yellows, peaches or pale purples on the walls. Do not go for white as it makes a room boring.
If you want to add closets, make them a part of the walls by adding doors to them, so that they are not visible unless they are open. Another factor is how cluttered the kitchen is, as a messy kitchen looks even smaller. Make sure there is a lot of visible floor space as that also helps. Making the room look bigger is an illusion and illusion is created using tricks of lights and colors, ask any magician. It is about distracting people from what is there by making them focus on something entirely different. In this case, our aim is to get the staff to focus on the look and feel of the kitchen instead of the actual size.

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The Must Have Items for Every Commercial Kitchen

August 25th, 2014 by Amanda | No Comments »

Running a commercial kitchen is no easy task, as dozens or even hundreds of people are depending on you to serve them delicious and well cooked food. A slightest error in spices, cooking time and preparation can turn a well grounded meal into a disaster that has to be served to people who are paying for it. When people part with their money, they expect great things in return, which is a huge expectation that can be terrifying for a chef that isn’t well experienced in handling such situations.
Serving customers wonderfully cooked, delicious meal on time requires support from the kitchen staff as well as the equipment of the kitchen. Strong, durable and powerful equipment is required in a kitchen to cook well in the least amount of time. This is why the equipment required in a commercial kitchen is very different from that required in a home kitchen. They need to be able to cook large volumes of food, at precise temperatures while ensuring they will remain safe even if being used 24 hours a day. They also need to be able to prepare a variety of different food in single equipment.
This is why choosing the equipment for your commercial kitchen is a task that requires you to be wise about your requirements. You are required to purchase equipments that will be required according to the menu you plan to serve. If you plan on serving breakfasts, you should have a coffee maker, a cappuccino machine, waffle maker, girdle, blender and such equipments that help you whip up delicious breakfasts quickly and effortlessly.
However, here are some items that every kitchen must have, no matter what menu you are serving. These basic items are a necessity for every kitchen.
Knives: A good, sharp chef knife is a chef’s best asset as well as his best friend in the business. A bread knife is essential to divide and slice breads to minimize imperfections for a flawless meal that will be served to customers. Needless to say, knives are an essential must have in every kitchen.
Slotted spoons: These are another essential item in a commercial kitchen as they help remove deep fried food from the fryer while draining excess oil so the food item remains crisp instead of soggy.
A rubber Spatula and a Balloon Whisk: These two items are essential for whipping and mixing batters and mixtures. A heat resistant spatula will allow the chef to handle hot mixtures gently, while a balloon whisk ensures the smoothest syrups, batters, marinades and what not.
Food processor and blender: This is another essential for grinding, chopping, pureeing fruits and vegetables. Very few meals can be prepared without the use of the either of the two. Buy one that comes with a spice grinder extension as well.
A whetstone: This will help keep your knives sharp so that you do not have to replace them very frequently.
No matter what stoves, pans or pots you buy, without these must have items you won’t be able to achieve much.

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