Ways to Reduce Costs in your Commercial Kitchen?

October 30th, 2014 by Amanda | No Comments »

Food service operations can be costly over time. Managing these costs becomes a difficult task especially when you cannot compromise on the quality of food and service. There is not much we can do with the fixed cost of commercial kitchen but there are always ways to control costs that lead to greater profits.
Hire Skilled Workers
Excellent culinary skills of the kitchen team will automatically translate to less production waste. Skilled workers will cut the meat and vegetables in such a way that it will prevent wastage of the kitchen inventory. They will know how to utilize stock to its maximum capacity. Keeping a chart of wastage can help with ordering, allowing you to order only as much as needed.
Training of your employees can also improve the productivity in your kitchen. Train your employees to multitask, so that on slower days, one worker can fill multiple roles.
Invest in good quality equipment
A heavy investment in good quality equipment can offer cost savings in the long run. Modern kitchen equipment will be highly efficient and reduce the maintenance cost. Consider investing into energy efficient equipment. Buying slicers will let you slice your own meat and vegetables and reduce the wastage.
Price your menu items wisely
Stay aware of the market food prices so that you can adjust your menu accordingly. Gradually increase your menu prices without alarming the customers. Pricing items too high will make it hard to sell, resulting in losses.
Bulk buying
Through bulk buying, you can get discounts on your purchase. Keeping good relations with your suppliers will also help you reduce cost through bulk buying and discount offers. Buy products that are in season so that you get them at cheaper prices. Off season fruits and vegetables will always be more expensive. You can adjust your menu according to the season.
Switch to cheaper ingredients
Changes in some ingredients will make almost no difference to the taste of the meal. Replacing powder milk with regular milk will bring no change in the taste but make it more economical. Pineapple leaves make a great alternative to mint.
Make your commercial kitchen energy efficient
Reducing energy usage in the kitchen will result in lower monthly bills. By adopting smart cooking practices, you can help save energy costs. Switch off all the equipment when not in use. Try utilizing the natural sunlight as much possible as you can. Dishwashers should only be used when fully loaded. Make cooking operations automated by buying equipment with timers and thermostats so that energy is saved up.
Daily Specials
This is a great way to use up the excess food and adds alternative options for the customers. Also, it trains the staff and chefs to think about more creative ways of cooking.

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Rent a Commercial Kitchen for Baking

October 27th, 2014 by Tim | No Comments »

If you have a passion for baking cakes, pastries, breads and other baked goods and you want to monetize that passion, then renting a commercial kitchen is the best option to get your bakery business up and running. Renting commercial kitchens provide small businesses the opportunity to flourish without the expense of building and equipping their own commercial kitchens, which becomes too expensive. These kitchens usually have all the necessary equipment for your baking needs. Moreover, most states do not even allow baking in home kitchens.
Here are a few steps you will need to take into consideration before renting one.
Step 1
The type of kitchen you need depends on the nature of your business activity. If you are planning on running a full time business, it will be easier for you to rent the whole space instead of sharing one with someone else. If you plan to run a part time business and produce lower volume of goods then sharing kitchen space is the best way to go, it reduces the cost of setting up a new kitchen from scratch. Of course, your budget plays a major role in the kitchen space you rent. Most commercial kitchens charge an hourly fee of $10-$25 an hour.
Step 2
Verify all the legal requirements for running a business out of a commercial kitchen before setting up shop. You may require showing proof of a business license and food handler’s certificate which usually cost up to $250 and is earned through attending a half day class and taking a short exam The liability insurance which is important to any small business before signing off the lease papers. Different kitchens require different application material. It is better to apply for the necessary items prior to renting the kitchen to avoid delays.
Step 3
Search for a kitchen that will meet your needs. You may look for commercial kitchen ads in newspaper and Yellow Pages. You can check at restaurants which sometimes rent out their space during or after business hours but make sure the kitchen is available at the timings you need.
Step 4
Tour the kitchen; making note of everything provided to you. If you are sharing the kitchen, ask what equipment you will have access to and if you will get enough storage space for supplies and other items. If you need refrigerated space, make sure you ask that too. Try renting a kitchen near a grocery store so that delivery is easier.
Step 5
Once you have chosen the best-fit kitchen according to your needs, fill out the application and pay the application fee if it is required. Sign the lease papers as required by the owner; make sure you read all the terms carefully before signing. Ensure that the kitchen offers everything you need to run your business so that there are no surprises once the lease is signed.

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How to Set-up a Commercial Kitchen

October 22nd, 2014 by Tim | No Comments »

Setting up a Commercial Kitchen is not an easy task. A lot of planning and research needs to be done several months prior to the actual set-up. Funding and capital is required, not to mention approval of the Health Department. Different states have different laws concerning this particular subject, so you may need to fulfill a number of requirements before setting up shop. Also, keep in mind that the start-up of any business is full of risks and speculations. You have got to not only figure out the costs at start-up in the initial phase, but also think 5 or 10 years ahead in operations.
Having a Business Start-up Plan
Having a sound business plan is always a good idea, for it includes all the information or summary of the entire plan. You will have an overview of not only the funding and costs which you’ll have to put before gaining profits but also the unique aspects of your commercial kitchen. You will have an idea of what your budget is, thus making decisions accordingly.
Theme of Your Commercial Kitchen
When you have determined what needs to be done before opening up your commercial kitchen, you need to decide on a theme. This is most important, as the theme of your kitchen will either make or break your business. You need to determine what type of establishment you want your commercial kitchen to be. Will it be a bakery, an up-scale restaurant, or a fast-food joint? What cuisine will it serve? What will its target audience be?
The Right Location
The ultimate maxim for buying real estate property is its location. Certain factors influence the worth of the property such as the general area, the other property nearby, and the foot traffic the area receives. The location of your commercial kitchen business is going to determine whether it’s going to be an immense hit, or a down-right failure. For this step; you’ll have to go out and find the best locations in which you can set-up, keeping the theme of the commercial kitchen in mind. You’ll also have to look out for competition – if you are opening a pizza place at a location where two other pizza places already exist, you will have a tougher time penetrating the market.
Layout of the Commercial Kitchen
After you find the ideal location to open up your new business venture, there is still the ultimate task of planning the design and layout of the commercial kitchen. For this you can hire an architect if you don’t have any expertise in this area, or you can make a blueprint of the layout yourself. A well-designed commercial kitchen is integral to efficient, safe, and profitable food-preparation. The points you have to consider are ergonomics, functionality, and ensuring health and safety codes are being met. This will minimize your costs dramatically, by ensuring that you won’t have to revise and re-model once construction starts.
Are you thinking of setting up a commercial kitchen? Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions regarding this new and exciting venture.

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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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