must-have-apps-for-restaurant-owners

4 Must-Have Apps for Your Restaurant

If you own a restaurant or bar, you know it is a constant struggle to keep everything in order. After you've made sure all of the food is prepped for the day, ordered necessary supplies, and managed the team schedule, you barely have time to take a restroom break. With long hours and strenuous work, restaurant owners and employees can use all the additional help they can get! Below we will highlight some innovative apps that help save those in the food service time so they can finally hit the bathroom!

1. Reservation Apps. If your bar or restaurant is too busy to answer the phone to accept reservations, you should think of utilizing a reservation app such as Open Table. You won't need to worry about constant phone calls to update or cancel reservations, but you'll still be able to offer patrons an easy way to reserve their seat for dinner. Since the app will handle everything electronically, you won't need to keep a ledger with all reservations. The best part? If someone cancels, the seat will be available for another customer to snag!

2. Ordering Apps. Choosing the right moment to take an order can be one of the most complicated strategies for waitstaff. If you approach the table and they are deep in conversation, you may not want interrupt. If someone gets up from the table, you may want to wait for the return. By utilizing a tabletop ordering app such as Ziosk, your customers can place their orders whenever they want. All you have to do is bring it to them so they can enjoy!

3. Payment Apps. When patrons are ready to get their bills and leave, one of the most frustrating experiences for them is waiting forever to pay. By using an app like Table Safe, you are enlisting a digital checkbook to assist customers in completing the payment process. Your waitstaff will drop it off to the table once they finish their meal, and patrons can pay by credit card whenever they're ready. Since the customer never has to hand over their credit card, you will not have to worry about lost cards! It will also save your waitstaff precious time to complete other guests who need food and drinks.

4. Online Ordering and Delivery Apps. If you serve food that can easily be delivered to neighboring patrons, you may just have one problem: staff to provide the food. Well with apps like Postmates and GrubHub, you reap the benefits of expanded volume without the worry of finding reliable delivery drivers. By extending delivery, your bar or restaurant can see a giant increase in sales, and capture neighborhood clients who could become loyal customers to your business!

With these four apps, your bar or restaurant will run a little more smoothly and give you and your waitstaff more time to spend on what is more important: creating an enjoyable experience with tasty dinners and drinks! While these apps won't help you or your waitstaff increase mood or friendliness, we're positive that they are still beneficial!

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How to Maintain a Clean Restaurant Kitchen

Maintaining a clean kitchen in a restaurant, bar, or other food service establishment is an owner's number one priority. If a food-bourne illness breaks out, patrons will not return and likely tell their friends and family about their misfortune. This can be devastating for business, and possibly even career ending. Through proper cleaning and sanitization, you can put these fears to rest. It is necessary to ensure that employees are trained on the appropriate methods to guarantee the protection of customers. By clarifying these easy steps with the kitchen team, any place that prepares and sells food can preserve health and safety for all.

1. Surfaces. By sharing with your employees what products to use, having them readily available, and indicating how often to clean them, you can ensure that every surface is properly cleaned throughout the work day. When each surface is sanitized appropriately at multiple times, you can ease your worries that someone will ingest something that will make them ill.

2. Equipment. Training should be provided to any worker who will be cleaning specialty restaurant equipment such as food processors, meat slicers, and espresso machines. The appropriate cleaning materials should be kept near the commercial kitchen equipment so that employees can sanitize the instruments at a moment's notice. When a piece of machinery is constantly in use, it is important to outline how frequently it should be cleaned.

3. Color-Coding. High volume restaurants often utilize color-coded food preparation utensils such as knives and cutting boards to ensure that no cross-contamination takes place within the kitchen. The staff of any restaurant should be aware which color is associated with which food so that boards and knives are only utilized for the associated foods, such as red meat, seafood, poultry, and fruits and vegetables. If a restaurant or bar maintains a visible list of these colors and their codes, it is even less likely that there will be a mistake.

4. Protective Material. Single-use gloves should be available for any employee who is handling food items. If the gloves become dirty, workers will be able to change gloves quickly and easily. Any restaurant should provide strict guidelines that explain when gloves should be switched. Food preparation specialists should wear an apron at all times, and exchange them should they get dirty. Gloves and aprons should also be removed before leaving the kitchen and replaced with fresh gear when they return.

As cross-contamination and dirty commercial cooking equipment can cause and spread bacteria and viruses, a food service kitchen needs to be often cleaned. If you own a bar or restaurant, make sure that your employees are adequately trained on the correct sanitization techniques for all restaurant supplies before they begin working in the kitchen.

This article was inspired by restaurant.org. Check out their site for other great tips for restaurant and bar owners!

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Stainless Steel: Cleaning Tips

Best Way to Clean Stainless Steel Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Stainless steel is found in nearly every corner of a commercial kitchen. From dish rooms to prep areas, virtually every surface in a restaurant or commercial kitchen is made of the germ resistant material. Restaurant staff cleans the surface of any stainless steel at the end of the work day but are they cleaning it with the best practices to preserve the material? Below we have outlined the best ways to keep the stainless steel commercial kitchen equipment in your restaurant shiny and clean.

1. Use warm water to rinse the surface after each use throughout the day for general care of any stainless steel restaurant equipment.
2. To clean tougher messes, use a non-scratching coarse powder, like baking soda. If you cover the entire surface of the restaurant sink or prep table with baking soda, simply use a soft sponge while scrubbing in the same direction of the polish lines. If you motion in the opposite direction, you will scratch the stainless steel. Instead of water, rinse the baking soda with vinegar. This will remove stains and naturally disinfect.
4. To rid your stainless steel surfaces of resisting stains, like rust, create a paste with cream of tartar and lemon juice. Add this paste directly to the stain, and let it sit for thirty minutes. Next, you will just remove the paste and rinse the area. If the stain persists, add more of the mixture and let it sit a little while longer. This concoction should remove even the toughest stains.
5. To increase the sparkle of your stainless steel prep and cooking equipment, polish with flour, club soda, or lemon peel! Simply apply one of these three items, then rub with a soft cloth, rinse with warm water, and dry, your stainless steel equipment will look brand new!

No matter if you have new or used kitchen equipment, preserving the function and appearance is important. It's also essential to keep your stainless steel as clean as possible, as your restaurant serves many people each day. By following these tips you'll protect customers from illness and yourself from needing to invest in new equipment!

This article was inspired by jusmfg.com. For more stainless steel tips and information, check out their site!

Restaurant Table and Wall Decor Is Essential to Increase Dining Experience

Placing the Finishing Touches in Your New Restaurant

When opening a new restaurant, there are so many different items to purchase and set in place. From POS systems to commercial kitchen equipment, dining furnishings to flatware, and it doesn't stop there. You will have to create a cohesive menu, hire a friendly wait staff, and find a chef that will make your vision come to live. Unfortunately, there's still more. The restaurant decorations are meant to create a vibe and ambiance that flows with the entire restaurant. By adding these final touches to your wall and table space, you will create an experience for your guests that is one to remember.

Adding the perfect restaurant decor to your walls is important. While guests wait for the delicious meals, they will likely take a look around and discuss what they see. You may choose to hire a photographer that will capture professional pictures of your favorite dishes. If you're specializing in a particular type of food, Spain for instance, you may choose to showcase images of the region. No matter what you choose, ensure that each picture represents what your restaurant has to offer.

If you choose flowers or candles for your table tops, it is important to keep a few things in mind. While flowers are a lovely way to spruce up your tables and add romance to the air, they will likely need to be changed daily. Fresh flowers don't last long and replacing them each day can be quite costly. We suggest you stay away from plastic flowers and plants, as they can cheapen the look you're intending. Candles are also an enchanting way to add to a restaurant atmosphere. However, they will also need to be replaced. Utilizing battery powered votive candles in a beautiful holder can be a better solution for your budget.

While the food and service are highly important, don't let your restaurant decoration fall to the wayside. Regardless of the type of restaurant you are opening, it is critical to ensure that your decorations aren't an afterthought. If you create a space that is inviting and aesthetically pleasing, you're one step closer to impressing the guests.

This article was inspired by restaurantsupply.com. For more information, check out their site!

commercial-refrig-4-guide BCL Restaurant Supply can help

Fryers: Should You Scrimp or Splurge?

Let's talk fryers. With stainless, you’re probably not going to hurt your bottom line by having a less-than-beautiful finish on your sink. However, with fryers, saving money up front could very well mean losing money in the long run. When we talk fryers, we’re really not having a conversation about fryers at all, instead we need to talk about oil. Your fryer is going to last a long time; your oil is not. Therefore, when thinking about value, you want to think about oil since it’s going to be replaced far more frequently. The top destroyer of oil is heat - which is necessary to fry. Some have said lowering the temperature of oil just 10 degrees will double the life of your oil (Source: General Filtration).

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So what’s the difference between an $1,000 and a $5,000 fryer? Many things, but mostly the consistency of the heat put into your oil. Most of the time, economy fryers’ thermostat will have a 20-30 degree variation, most premium ones will be within 3 degrees. This means that when you set your oil at 350, an economy fryer may have it at 320-380, a premium will be 347-353 degrees. Remember how that 10 degree difference can double the life of your oil? You see where I’m going with this...

Let me show you a comparison between two fryer’s oil costs:, an economy Vulcan LG400 vs a premium 1VK45C. Here’s what I’m assuming:

  • Your oil costs $1/lb
  • With an economy fryer, you’re changing the oil twice a week.
  • With the higher end 1VK45C, you’ll be changing the oil once a week.
  • We’re only talking about heat and oil, I’m not factoring in any of the other money-saving features like gas savings or longer warranties on the 1VK45C

Given these assumptions, here’s a chart showing your costs for the fryer and Oil.

BCL Restaurant Supply Fryer Oil Cost Comparison
After the first 2 years, that oil savings is going right to your bottom line. You save about 80% up front going with an economy fryer, but it will cost you in the long run. So, especially with fryers, make sure you think through what you’re going to pay in the long run if you’re thinking about a piece of economy equipment.

As with any large purchase, it’s best not to assume anything. If you still have questions about your equipment purchase, please contact us! We want you to get the best equipment for your needs and are here to help make that happen.

BCL Restaurant Supply offers the largest inventory of pre-owned restaurant equipment. Our products are cheap in cost, but high in quality. Additionally, it all comes with a 30 guarantee.

Check out our whole inventory of new and used commercial fryers and other commerial kitchen equipment here, or contact us at 618.274.4112 or russ@bclrestaurantsuppy.com

Promoting your restaurant neighborhoodolivetickettwitter

Ideas for Promoting Your Business

Running a promotion for your restaurant is a great way to attract new customers and let loyal patrons know you appreciate their business. From face-to-face interaction to social media outreach, there are many ways to go about a promotion, and which method works best is sometimes just good old fashioned trial and error. Here you’ll find some restaurant promotion ideas that have proven to be effective.

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Neighbor Niceties

The other companies and businesses that surround your restaurant are prime prospects. Everyone needs to eat, and it’s important that your neighbors think of you as an option.

Create a promotion where you extend a discount to other businesses in your community. 20% is a good number that will get attention without sacrificing profit. A buy one get one entree offer also works well and is attractive to businesses where staff tends to place their lunch order as a group. Make this offer valid for thirty days. Position it as a “meet the neighbors month” where they can check out your space and explore the menu.

Whether it’s you or one of your employees, deliver this message in person so you have the opportunity to introduce your business and drop off some menus. Extending free delivery indefinitely is another way to form a bond with your neighbors. It’s inexpensive to provide because of the close proximity but shows that you value their business.

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Alcohol Attractions

One of the most classic restaurant promotion ideas is using alcohol to attract customers. How does it work? Here are a couple of our favorites.

Happy Hour

The easiest and most common alcohol promotion is offering happy hour. You could run it on select days (Every Tuesday or Thursday, for example) or daily during a set time (5pm-7pm weekdays is pretty standard). Half off drinks gets people’s attention and good food (especially at a discount) keeps them coming back. Create a happy hour menu to go with your drink promotion. It could include some of your popular but less expensive appetizers (like a bruschetta or dip and chips) or smaller portions of top selling dinner entrees.

Wine or Beer Tasting

Hosting a wine or beer tasting creates excitement and can generate new interest in your restaurant. The steps to organizing this kind of event are easy and the majority of the responsibility will fall on your alcohol distributor. Reach out about putting together an event and see what they can offer. Many companies will send a representative to lead the event and answer any questions your attendees will have. If you want to show off your menu as well as your space, consider serving bite size samples of your most popular dishes served as hors d’oeuvres. This will create conversation about your menu and entice people to come back for a full course.

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Social Savviness

Utilizing the multiple digital channels and social media networks is imperative to driving a successful business. Review and menu sites (like Yelp), Instagram, and Facebook are a few of the main ways millennials seek information about dining options. Not having a digital presence is a mistake, no matter how old school your marketing philosophy may be.

If you need some convincing, consider this — social media is FREE. Besides word of mouth, there aren’t many restaurant promotion ideas that don’t cost a thing to try. Sure, there are ways to pay for ads online but we’re talking about the basics. That includes creating accounts on the major social media sites, completing your profile and posting regularly.

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Enjoyable Entertainment

Serve dinner with a side of music or laughs. When a restaurant has an active calendar and weekly entertainment, people pay attention.

Live Music

Hire a local cover band to provide live music on weekend nights. Guests will come for dinner, but the enticement of drinks and dancing will extend their stay. On top of pleasing your current guests, you’ll also grab some new visitors from promotion the band will put out to fans. Even if the crowd comes in later, the extra money you’ll make on bar sales will cover the band’s fees and create some organic buzz around your location.

Theme Night

Turn a slow night into a theme night by starting a weekly trivia challenge, karaoke contest, or bingo game. If your night pulls a good crowd after just a few weeks, go with it and keep that night constant. If you want to get an idea of what theme your community has the most interest in, switch it up until you find a schedule that sticks. If events become a staple at your restaurant, be sure to include them on your company’s website and social media. It’s important to let people know which events are weekly happenings and what is just a one-time thing so there’s no confusion or disappointment.