Maintenance and Cleaning Tips for Your Restaurants

Maintaining your restaurant premises (your kitchen, dining area and bathrooms) is part of your task of providing an overall experience for your customer. Maintenance, although less interesting and exciting than whipping up the menu items, is a necessary part of your restaurant business. Scheduled cleaning activities minimize trips and spills, as well as any food-borne illnesses that may harm your customers.

Here are some tips to ensure that your restaurant is regularly cleaned and well-maintained:

  • Check the walls, ceilings and wall décor. Dust and cobwebs can collect on surfaces – on the walls, lighting fixtures, the ceilings and ceiling fans, as well as their nooks and crannies. Small insects can make their homes in the cracks. This is especially crucial in the kitchen area, where the dirt and critters can fall into the food. Armed with a ladder, feather duster and broom, give the walls and other surfaces a thorough rubdown. For framed wall-art, you can use a glass cleaner to clear streaks and marks on the glass. Be sure to also wipe the top of the frames, where dust can gather.
  • Perform plant maintenance. Aside from daily watering, you also need to regularly check to get rid of dried and fallen leaves that may tempt vermin into roosting in the pots. You also have to trim the plants and set them out in the sun to keep them healthy.
  • Inspect and clean kitchen hoods, ducts and vents. Every quarter, make sure that these are inspected by a cleaning company that has been certified to clean and check these areas. Certified commercial cleaning companies have the training, know-how and tools to ensure that your hoods and vents pass safety and cleanliness standards and that these present no imminent hazards (such as fire hazards).
  • Clean and sanitize often ignored areas and items. Tabletop items such as salt & pepper shakers, ketchup bottles and menus look innocuous but can actually harbor dangerous germs. Imagine babies in high chairs grabbing on to the salt shaker and using it as a teether. Imagine a diner going into the restroom and touching the menu with unwashed hands. Make it a policy for those bussing and cleaning the table to clean these with sanitary wipes. The same goes for the kitchen. Often-ignored items such as the phone, cheese grater or can opener may also act as germ repositories so be sure to regularly clean these as well.
  • Check and block possible vermin entrances. Rats, cockroaches and other vermin can try to get into your storage area – and contaminate your ingredients. Do a regular sweep of your storage areas to see if there are holes or cracks by which insects and rats can use to enter the premises. Make sure that these are blocked. It can also be helpful to keep the storage area organized and that all items are placed on shelves and pallets – never on the floor. If things get too problematic, you can also consider hiring a professional exterminator who can safely and effectively get rid of any vermin.
  • Make a regular sweep of inventory. This will help you root out any stock that has gone past its use by date. As you organize, you can push newer stock to the back of the shelves while placing items with closer use by dates at the front.
  • Assign weekly and monthly cleaning duties to staff. Each staff should have regular cleaning duties that can be done in rotation. For each week, the staff should clean up the drain and grease traps by pouring drain cleaner, delime the faucets and sinks, as well as clean the coffee machines and ice machines. For each month, the staff should work on cleaning the refrigerators and freezers, scrubbing down dry and wet storage areas, cleaning exhaust hoods, as well as the reach-in areas. They should also move appliances and other heavy kitchen equipment away from the wall to clean the area. The area behind the hot line in fryers, stoves and ovens should also be cleaned to prevent the buildup of grease.

Beverage Equipment for your Food-Based Business

Whether you own a restaurant, a catering business, a café, a concession stand, a snack bar or a convenience store, drinks are an essential part of your enterprise. Drinks are also a highly-profitable segment. You should make sure that your business is well-equipped with all the beverage equipment you need to serve your customers efficiently.

Here are some of Lionsdeal’s wholesale restaurant equipment for serving hot and cold beverages:

  • Drink dispensers with transparent bowls. These come in single, double or triple bowls that are transparent and enable your staff to know what they are serving at a glance. The dispensers hold pre-mixed drinks and come with pouring valves and removable drip tray levers for more efficient beverage service. There are also drink machines and dispensers that come with pre-measured servings, so that your server can keep busy with other tasks while waiting for the drinks to be filled up. Choose a dispenser that comes with refrigeration capacities so that you can easily serve cold drinks.
  • Industrial blender. Whip up smoothies and fresh fruit shakes with an industrial blender. Be sure to get a heavy-duty blender since you will need a lot of “muscle” keeping up with demands. Choose a blender that has a variety of functions, more importantly, the ability to quickly process ice, as well as frozen fruits.
  • Slush machine/frozen drinks dispensers. Serve thirst-quenching slushies, lemonade and frozen fruit punch with a frozen drinks maker and dispenser. When choosing a slush machine, check for capacity and defrost timer capabilities. There are also machines that allow you to set the consistency of the drink. Another consideration you need to make will be the placement of the machines, the availability of tabletop space near an electrical power connection.
  • Iced drink dispensers. Serve a variety of powdered drinks – iced tea, coffee and lemonade. There are dispensers that also enable you to customize the drinks you serve. When considering an iced drink dispenser for your store, choose one that efficiently dispenses the drink, has the capacity you need for your customers’ demands and one that has fast-flowing dispensing and self-cleaning capabilities. There are also dispensers that come with whippers that churn the drink to a pleasing consistency, as well as a drip tray that minimizes spills and an efficient removal system to eliminate clogging. Also, choose a unit with a streamlined design so that it minimizes the required space.
  • Juicing machines. Serve up healthy lemonade, orange juice, carrot juice and a wide assortment of fresh fruit and vegetable juices. There are juicing machines that carefully preserve the nourishing enzymes offered by fruits and vegetables. Choose a commercial grade juicer that enables continuous feed of fruits and vegetables for high-volume production. Select a juicer that is easy to clean and one that efficiently squeezes all the juice and minimizes residue and pulp.
  • Drink mixer. Strengthen your drinks serving capabilities with the drink mixer and make the perfect cold drinks. This can either be a mount-on-the-wall or a countertop unit that is space efficient and easy to clean and maintain. A drink mixer can offer a range of mixing speeds that enable you to create smoothies, milk shakes and ice cream mix-ins. Choose from one to three heads, depending on the needs of your store. There are also units that have an automatic start/stop feature for hands-free operations.
  • Hot coffee making and storing equipment. Coffee, in all its complexities and nuances, require a wide range of equipment, depending on the kind you would like to serve your customers. Aside from the standard coffee brewer, you may need a cappuccino/espresso machine, a coffee urn, a coffee grinder or a hot chocolate/cappuccino dispenser.

 

Caterings and Weddings: Restaurant Supply Must-Haves

June is a very popular month for weddings. Indeed, there are a lot of brides who like to have the distinction of being a “June bride”. And it follows that this month will also be a busy month for catering companies who offer their services for weddings.

If you are in the catering business, weddings will prove to be a great source of income. However, the challenge is that discerning brides are also very demanding clients. After all, it is their day and they would want everything to be perfect on that day. The food should not only taste good, it should also look good as well – and should fit their budget as well.

As a caterer, you need to ensure that you have the necessary restaurant supplies to ensure that you meet your clients’ needs and pull off an A-plus grade for your wedding catering jobs. Aside from the usual chafers and catering supplies, here are some catering must-haves for a well-planned wedding feast:

  • Ice sculpture molds. Get a variety of ice sculpture molds to add a great decorative touch to your buffet and dessert tables. Brides and grooms can choose a wide assortment of ice sculptures based on their preferences or theme. Some ice sculpture molds can include common monograms, bride and groom and heart sculptures.
  • Distinctive champagne glasses. Let your guests toast the new couple in style with a selection of gorgeous champagne glasses. You can also get a pair of different champagne glasses in various styles that the couple can use during the toast.
  • Wine glasses. You should have a collection of wine glasses to serve red and white wine. This depends on the level of formality of the reception. For less formal events, you will usually only need one glass for either white or red wine. For more formal events, you need to provide a wine glass for both wines.
  • Table number holders. You can offer this to your clients or, if they have other decorative ideas about their table number holders, you can use these to hold the menus or the names of each of the dishes in the buffet.
  • Plastic barware. For brides on a budget, as well as for wedding receptions help in the outdoors, it is an excellent idea to keep an inventory of plastic barware. The great thing about this is that there is a wide selection of attractive and glass-like plastic glasses that will last long and stand the pressures of usage and washing.
  • Beverage fountains. Keep the drinks (and the fun!) flowing during the wedding reception with a decorative beverage fountain that can add visual impact to the buffet table. Look for a beverage fountain that has a classic silver or gold finish, which can readily complement the bride’s choice of color motif.
  • Cake and dessert stands. It depends on whether you will also be offering to make the wedding cake as part of the catering package or if you would have the client get a cake from a separate baker. Even if you don’t make the wedding cake, you will still need a variety of professional cake stands for the dessert table. These include mirror display trays, cupcake trees or stands and a variety of crystal and metal risers.
  • Wedding cake servers. Let the couple have their cake (and eat it, too!) with a collection of wedding cake servers that come with a cake knife and server. This will provide an extra decorative touch to the reception, during the portion where the couple will cut the cake.
  • Elegant dinnerware and charger plates. Your client will appreciate the touch of class that is brought about by well-selected china dinnerware and charger plates. These dress up the table setting.
  • This will form part of your selection of table décor that you can offer your clients. Candles do set a romantic ambiance. You have to take note, though, whether the reception venue allows the use of candles.
  • Linens and napkin rings. Choose crisp white or ecru linens as the base for your tables. You can add additional linens in the color of the wedding motif. For the napkin rings, choose metallic napkin rings, as this will usually suit both formal and informal types of wedding receptions.

 

Choosing Between a Catering Business and an A La Carte Restaurant

Are you thinking of becoming part of the food service industry? Without a doubt, this industry is a highly profitable and fulfilling, albeit challenging, one. You just need to make careful choices and be willing to work hard to develop your cuisine, your concept and your clientele.

Two of the usual options when going into the food service industry would be a catering buffet service and establishing an a la carte restaurant. Hopefully, when you are able to grow your business, you have the ability to choose whether you want to both have a restaurant and a catering business. Ideally, however, we recommend that you start with one area, since you are just starting out. You need to choose whether you want to start with a restaurant or with a catering business.

Here are some things to help you consider:

  • Potential for income. Restaurants need to be open regularly, at specified times. This provides a wider window of income opportunity, as compared to the catering business, where the opportunities for income depend on how often you are able to get a catering gig. In contrast, though, because of the volume required for catering events, the size of the income may be bigger with catering jobs.
  • With a restaurant, you need to come up and market a specific concept – what kind of food and dining experience would you like to offer to your customers? In contrast, although you still need to differentiate yourself from other caterers, you have more freedom with regards to the concept you are offering your clients. You are able to adjust to your client’s preferences.
  • It is more convenient to purchase restaurant supplies with a catering event since you know the volume you need going in. This minimizes food wastage and the need for an efficient storage system that will make ingredients last longer. In a restaurant, you need to be able to provide food for either one – or for a hundred, in any given day.
  • Food production. With a catering business, you care able to considerably lower the cost-per-plate (how much is spent to produce a meal) since you are producing the food by bulk, depending on the guest count. In contrast, you only prepare one meal as it is ordered. There is also more labor required to produce food a la carte. With a catering service, the drawback will be the almost-mechanical nature of food preparation, as you are doing this on an assembly-type process.
  • Equipment & supplies. With a catering business, if you want to be able to serve a hundred or more persons at a time, you need to ramp up your restaurant equipment and supplies. With a restaurant, you only purchase equipment and supplies based on the maximum capacity of your kitchen. However, in a catering business you may decide to start small, investing only on key kitchen equipment and leasing the rest as needed. For a restaurant, since you expect to use the equipment on a fairly regular basis, purchasing the equipment makes more economic and business sense.
  • With a restaurant, you need to maintain a certain level of personnel – kitchen staff, the waiters and cleaning crew. With a caterer, you hire based on a project basis. However, maintaining a quality team may be a challenge for a catering business since you need to also be able to provide your workers with a steady stream of income. The ratio of staff needed for a number of customers will be considerably higher for restaurants than for catering events. For instance, a restaurant will usually need one waiter for up to 6 to 10 tables. For a catering event that serves a buffet, you only need one waiter for every 50 people.

At the end, the decision is yours to make depending on your passions and personal business model. However, it helps to carefully consider all the factors (such as the ones listed above), before you make the decision.

Grilling Like a Boss: Must-Haves for the Grilling Fanatic

Summer! Do you smell the tempting aroma of burgers and meat being grilled to perfection? Imagine you and your family by the pool, cooling down and having your favorite kebabs and grilled fish. After all, summertime is the perfect season for backyard barbecues and grills.

Go grab your grilling necessities! Here are some of them:

  • Condiment stand. Let your guests personalize their barbecue and steak, according to their taste. Allow them to slather as much ketchup, mustard or barbecue sauce as they want. To make your own condiment stand, provide some salt and pepper shakers, ketchup and mustard dispensers, plus small jars for herbs and artisanal salts.
  • Burger patty molds and holders. Mix up your own burger. This allows you to make just the right kind of burger you want – the all-meat version or one mixed with some ground vegetables. There are also burger patty molds that allow you to stuff in additional goodies such as caramelized onions, vegetables or cheese right in the middle of the patty.
  • Grilling vegetables, shrimp and meat cutlets are made easier with skewers. Rather than using wooden disposable skewers, get the reusable stainless steel version instead. There are steel skewers that bend and allow you to easily marinate your kebabs. Using a variety of fruit, vegetable and meat slices provide you with a delightful mixture of flavors and textures.
  • Cooking stone. Make more than the standard grills with a cooking or grill stone. This provides an even surface that evenly distributes the heat. This makes it perfect for cooking steaks (and still retain its juiciness), small cuts of meat or small items such as eggplant slices or asparagus pieces. You can also make a great imitation of a crispy, brick oven pizza since the even distribution of heat gives you a lovely crispy and crunchy crust.
  • Grill basket. Another alternative to the cooking stone would be the grill basket. The grill basket prevents small slices from falling over into the grill. If you do not have any skewers available, you can still enjoy sumptuous grilled prawns, peppers and asparagus because the grill basket’s fine wire mesh prevents these small pieces from falling.
  • Hold on to your meats and turn them over from time to time using a pair of tongs. A good set of tongs should be sturdy and fitted with a heat-insulated grip. Tongs are great for turning meats over without the need for piercing them (and letting those precious meat juices go down in waste).
  • For delicate pieces such as fish fillets and burgers, a pair of tongs may be a bad idea. Grabbing a burger patty with them may cause them to break apart. Use a spatula instead. Choose a non-stick spatula (usually a metal one with a silicon or Teflon layer), as well as one that has a wide space so that you can effectively lift and flip those fish fillets and burgers.
  • Silicon brush. Baste and glaze as you grill with a silicon brush. Choose one that has a long enough handle so that your hands need not get to close to the heat.
  • Grill gloves. Protect your hands from the heat and grease splatter with gloves that are designed to withstand the heat of the grill. Check to see the maximum temperature grill gloves can handle.
  • Grill cleaner or brush. Brush away the ashes and the burned particles that stick on the grill using a trusty metal grill brush. This prevents that icky, burned up pieces from sticking into your food.
  • Vertical poultry roaster. Grill the juiciest chicken or turkey with a vertical roaster. The vertical stand preserves the juices and uses these to cook and permeate the meat from the inside. There are also roasters that come with extra space where you can cook the vegetables and herbs for your side dish.

 

10 Father’s Day Gift Ideas for His Kitchen

Father’s Day is just around the corner. However, with Lionsdeal.com, you can still order special gifts for your foodie dad and have it delivered before Father’s Day. You have a wide range of choices of cooking tools and gadgets that will keep your father puttering in the kitchen.

Here are some gift ideas for this special man in your life:

  • High quality chef knife. Get your dad chopping, slicing and mincing his time away. A chef knife is a great kitchen tool because it makes cutting jobs oh, so easy and effortless. A good-quality chef knife makes precise cuts. Go for a knife that is durable and hefty, made of high-grade steel or ceramic. If you have the budget, you can also get him a complete knife set.
  • Home beer brewer kit. If your father is a beer enthusiast, why not give him the chance to make his very own beer? The brewer kit comes with a step-by-step guide and recipe, as well as the ingredients, fermenters and bottling bucket.
  • Barbecue master set. If your dad loves spending time at his backyard barbecue grill, why not give him the works? Some of the items you can put in your set would be: a meat thermometer, leather or safety cooking gloves, some bottles of barbecue sauce, meat grinder, burger press and hamburger patty paper. You can also throw in some humorous or personalized items such as aprons, monogrammed barbecue tools (spatula and tongs) or a chef’s hat.
  • Pizza oven. Look for a pizza oven that produces authentic wood-fired pizzas. This can be an excellent opportunity for you and your dad to bond over pizza-making activities as you make pizzas in the flavors and toppings you prefer. You can also add some pizza-themed accessories such as pizza peels and pizza cutters.
  • French fry cutter. If your dad loves fries with his steaks, burgers or just about anything, then a French fry cutter will be a great gift as it allows him to make perfectly-cut fries any time the mood takes him.
  • Heavy-duty garlic press. Garlic is a staple for foodies so your dad must have the best garlic press. Choose a garlic press that works without having to peel the cloves. This way, your dad can simply press and add garlic to breads, pasta sauces and other favorites.
  • Portable grill. For the inveterate grill enthusiast, give him a grill that he can take along during your trips together. You can take the portable grill during your camping trips, vacations by the beach and when you go tailgating together.
  • Ice cream maker or yogurt maker. Have your dad indulge his sweet tooth and give him the ability to do it the healthy way. With an ice cream or yogurt maker, he can use healthier ingredients or go easy on the sugar. Get one that is fuss-free and easy to use.
  • Rice cooker and sushi-making set. Is your dad a fan of Japanese food? This is a fun way for him to get his fill of sushi. It can also be a great opportunity for him to learn a new cooking skill. The rice cooker is also great for creating rice toppings and steamed food as the rice cooker can also double as a steamer.
  • A set of bamboo cutting boards. Go organic and sustainable with a set of bamboo cutting boards. Bamboo, which is considered a grass, is easy to grow without the need for fertilizers and chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. Bamboo is harder than wood so it resists scarring and scratching. However, you have to remind you father to regularly oil the chopping boards’ surface to prevent them from splintering.

 

Best Seat in the House: Buying Restaurant Seating

Restaurant seating is among the important decisions you need to make as a restaurant owner. Your choice of seating is actually a key factor in the success of your restaurant. With the right choice of seating, you can present your customers with an enjoyable and comfortable dining experience, a positive experience that will keep them coming back to your restaurant.

Here are some considerations for choosing restaurant seating in your home:

Restaurant brand and image. What kind of brand and image would you like the restaurant to have – a casual family restaurant, a posh and exclusive restaurant or a fun and eclectic restaurant serving fusion food? Your choice of seating will depend on how you would like your customers to see you.

Available space. How much space do you have available? Trying to cram too many tables and chairs will just result in a negative experience. People would like to relax and chat while they are dining. When the tables are too close to each other, this will be virtually impossible. You need to maximize the available space you have so as to ensure maximum profitability without sacrificing the diner’s comfort.

Local government regulations. The layout and capacity of the restaurant will also need to comply with local government regulations, such as occupancy limits. Regulations may also include providing access for customers on wheelchairs.

Flow of traffic. The flow of traffic from the kitchen, to the dining room and to the specific tables need to be free and clear, especially for servers who are carrying wide trays that may contain hot meals and liquids.

Your budget. Restaurant furniture will be one of the biggest start-up or renovation expenses you will have. You may want swanky seating but this will also depend on whether you are able to afford it and still have enough left over for your other start-up/renovation expenses as well as your operating expenses.

Maintenance and ease of cleaning. How easy is it to clean the chairs? At best, you need to go for low-maintenance materials that you can easily wipe clean. If you would like seating with plush fabric, you can also treat the fabric with water-proofing and stain resister. Remember, since this is a restaurant, the chairs will be vulnerable to spillage and staining. Also, keep the design simple, with minimal crevices and spots that can make it hard to clean.

Durability. Your choice of seating should be commercial-grade chairs – this is more expensive but will also be more durable.

After you have listed down these considerations, you can now start choosing the restaurant seating. Here are some of the choices:

  • Long straight length booth seating. This is seating that runs across one side of the wall. Tables are arranged along the seating and additional chairs are placed at the other side. This maximizes your floor space since the diners can just scoot over to take a seat on the long booth. You save on the space that would have been needed for the diners to take a seat on one side of the table. The long seats are also comfortable. Depending on the branding and level of comfort you want, you can add piping or fluted designs.
  • Back to back booth seating. These feature two benches with an upholstered back that divides the benches to give the diners some privacy.
  • Communal tables. This is usually for casual dining restaurants and is a new trend in restaurant seating. These feature long tables with movable chairs or stools so that it is easy to configure depending on the number of diners in a group. This means that the diners will also need to share the table with other diners.
  • Seating for young customers. To be a family-friendly restaurant, you also need to invest in restaurant high chairs and booster seats. These seats offer comfort and extra height for toddlers and children and can also minimize falls and slips.

 

Countertop Kitchen Equipment for Your Restaurant

A well-equipped kitchen is an efficient kitchen. While you already have your major restaurant equipment such as ovens and refrigerators, you may need a set of countertop equipment that will help streamline the preparation process and also enable you to offer specific menu items.

Here’s the lowdown of wholesale restaurant equipment you may need for your restaurant business:

Blenders and mixers. Tabletop blenders are versatile tools in making soups and smoothies. When getting a blender, make sure to choose a commercial blender with plenty of space to accommodate the volume demands of your kitchen. There are also handheld blenders that you can use directly onto the contents of a cooking pot. Meanwhile, planetary mixers are mixers where the bowl rotates around the mixing apparatus and ensure thorough mixing of ingredients.

Cutters and slicers. Produce uniform cuts and slices in no time. There are tools that are designed for a specific function (such as chopping a large volume of onions or garlic or producing wedges or fries). There are also “cutting systems” that are versatile and can produce a wide variety of cuts that you need for garnishes and side dishes.

Coffee and tea-making equipment. Cap your customer’s meal with a warm, aromatic cup of coffee or tea. Get a coffee percolator and tea brewer that allow you to serve your customers during rush hour. You can also consider getting an espresso machine to serve more coffee drinks such as lattes and café americanos. Other accessories you need will be a coffee grinder, coffee or tea dispensers, teapots, as well as creamer and sugar containers.

Food scales. You will need a receiving scale to weigh deliveries that come to your storage area. In addition, you can equip prep tables in the kitchen with food scales so that your serving sizes are consistent. There are also scales that weigh the ingredients prior to cooking for portion control purposes. When using food scales, be sure that there are policies and procedures in place that ensure that raw ingredients and cooked ingredients are weighed in their respective scales so as to prevent cross-contamination.

Pancake, crepe and waffle makers. For breakfast and dessert menu items, equip your kitchen with countertop machines that help you prepare and cook pancakes, crepes and waffles. There are double waffle units for faster waffle-making for those who are caught in the breakfast rush. You will also need a pancake dispenser.

Condiment stand and dispensers. This allows customers to add condiments such as ketchup, pepper and mustard. You can organize ketchup or sugar packets as well as salt and pepper shakers. You can also have a condiment stand in the kitchen or sandwich preparation areas.

Meat grinder and slicer. For hamburgers and sausages, you need a meat grinder to evenly and thoroughly grind meat. For sandwiches dishes that need thin slices of meat, you need a meat slicer.

Rice cooker. Rice cookers are very versatile cooking tools. Aside from plain rice, you can prepare special rice for sushi and beans. These can also serve as a steamer since some units come with an attachable pan for steaming purposes.

Vacuum pack machine. During downtimes, kitchen staff can already weigh and cut ingredients into portion sizes and pack these using a vacuum pack machine prior to putting into the freezer. This cuts down on serving time, since the smaller portions are easier to thaw and prepare. You can also vacuum pack extra ingredients to lengthen the shelf life of the ingredients.

These are just some of the countertop equipment you can get for your restaurant kitchen, depending on your menu, preparation processes and countertop space.

 

That’s the Way We Brew: Equipment You Need to Open a Coffee Shop

There are people who simply cannot go through the day without a cup (or two or three) of coffee. Even when there a number of coffee-making tools one can have at home, people still flock to coffee shops for the convenience of having coffee to go or for the breadth of choices and the coffee-making expertise of baristas. Coffee shops are also great for meeting with a friend or simply relaxing with a good book.

That’s why a coffee shop is a good business idea. With well-considered business strategies, you can build a thriving coffee or espresso shop. To start, here are some restaurant supplies and equipment you will need:

  • Drip coffee machine. Get a machine based on the expected volume of drip coffee orders. There are airpot coffee machines that have single or double brewers.
  • Espresso machine. An espresso machine is a must-have in any coffee shop. The espresso machine shoots hot water into the coffee beans to produce not just espresso shots but also other coffee menu items such as americanos, lattes and café mochas. Depending on the level of production you expect, you can choose from among three basic kinds of machines – semi-automatic, automatic and super-automatic. When choosing an espresso machine, check that the boiler capacity is able to meet the expected volume of production you need. This way, you will have a continuous supply of hot water or steam during rush hours.
  • Water softener. This is installed in the water pipeline connected to the espresso machine. This filters the lime and minerals in the water to prevent mineral buildup. When there is buildup and clogging in the espresso machine pipeline, you will need to have the machine disassembled and de-limed. Of course, there will be times when de-liming is necessary but a water softener will minimize this.
  • A number of grinders. Choose a commercial-grade grinder, since you will need to grind a high volume of beans in a day and will need a powerful motor that will gently but effective grind the beans without heating up the beans and making them lose their flavor. Another consideration should be the number of settings it has, that is, its ability to produce coffee grounds needed for various coffee-making equipment such as French presses, espresso machines or drip coffee machines. You need more than one coffee grinder, depending on the number of flavored coffee items in your menu. This prevents the flavors from the various kinds of coffee from mixing. At the very least, you need a separate grinder for espresso.
  • Coffee mugs and related supplies. Infuse your own brand of personality to your coffee shop, starting with your choice of coffee mugs. You can go the quirky or classic route, depending on your target market. You should also have your own set of disposables that bear your coffee shop’s logo and name.
  • Display cases. Increase your sale per customer by offering cakes, muffins, cookies, pastries and sandwiches that are enticingly displayed where your customers can see them. There are countertop pastry cases and refrigerated standalone display cases. It is best to get a separate case for items that need to be refrigerated and items that need to be kept just at room temperature.
  • Sandwich prep unit and Panini grill. The sandwich prep unit contains compartments for sandwich ingredients (meats, vegetables and condiments) that need refrigeration plus a workspace where you can assemble the sandwiches. Serve these sandwiches with those distinctive grill marks using a Panini grill. Get a double plate grill if you want to make up to four orders at any one time.
  • Blender and ice maker. This allows you to serve more cold coffee drinks such as cold brewed coffees, frappes, and fruit shakes. And if you do want to serve iced drinks, make sure to include an ice maker in your order form. Again, buy a machine based on your expected volume.

Building a Kid and Family-Friendly Restaurant

Earn the “family favorite” seal of approval for your restaurant. This is actually a wise business strategy not just now but for the future. Becoming family and kid friendly can actually increase the level of traffic you have. What’s more, you get to build a relationship with the next generation of diners – diners who, if they like you now, will most likely remain loyal to your restaurant even when they have grown up.

Here are some ways to build a restaurant that families and kids love:

Create a kid-friendly menu. Offer healthy but delicious and attractive meals. This keeps both the parents and the children happy. You can still offer a child’s favorites such as burgers and fries, but be sure to provide healthier options (i.e. whole wheat bread instead of white bread and organic vegetables). When crafting your menu, add more of finger foods, as these are the type of foods kids love to eat and are more convenient for the parents.

Playful plating. Have a theme for your meals and design your dishes with fun in mind. There are many ways by which you can create pictures using food (such as creating an image of a house or favorite cartoon characters). This can also encourage children to eat their vegetables: “Look, ma, I’m eating the broccoli trees!”

Create visually attractive menus. The menu should tell its own story and should appeal to the visual aesthetics of a child. Work to create imaginative and attention-grabbing names for your food items.

Provide activities and kids’ corners to keep the children occupied while waiting. If you have the space, add a playground inside or outside of the restaurant. You can also provide paper for kids to draw their favorite menu items – this is a great way to get feedback from your little customers. Books, games and coloring books help to keep the children busy so that time does not have to go excruciating slow while they are waiting for their orders to come. This also provides some breathing space for parents to relax and talk while the kids are kept occupied.

Provide kid-friendly facilities. For instance, the washing areas should have sections that are low enough for a child to easily wash their hands. Provide restaurant high chairs, booster seats, changing tables at all the bathrooms or in a separate room. Keep a stock of diapers (in case the parents run out). Another important consideration is providing kid-sized and kid-proof utensils such as spill-proof cups. When filling cups, fill them only halfway to minimize spills.

Train staff to be kid-friendly. Waiters, especially, need to understand the needs of a child and to treat children as individuals. They should be willing to go the extra mile to be kind and friendly to kids. They are your customers, after all.

Provide a rewards and recognition program. Celebrate with the family, especially if they are going to the restaurant to celebrate a child’s achievement. For instance, offer a toy or an extra treat for children who have graduated in kindergarten or grade school or who have achieved excellent grades for the school year.

Post key information online. Some parents get on the net to decide which restaurants to go to and what food to order. For them, this cuts down on the drama and hassle and also ensures that the food is both kid-approved and parent-approved.

Provide kid’s happy hours. For off-peak times of the day, provide activities for families such as kiddie singalongs. This not only works to add traffic to your restaurant during off-peak hours, it also means that kid-free customers can enjoy a quieter and less busy dining room during peak hours.

Serve food within 10 minutes. This is a long enough time for kids and families to wait. After this, young kids may start to fuss, so work to bring out the kids’ meals quickly.