LionsDeal Blog

Starting a Buffet Business

1Rather than establishing an a la carte restaurant, a buffet restaurant can prove to be an attractive and profitable opportunity. After all, who would not like to feast on a wide array of sumptuous food, all for one price? The call of the eat-all-you-can banquet may very well spell your business success in the food industry. A buffet restaurant makes a profit out of economies of scale – food is prepared by bulk rather than on a per-order basis.

Here are some considerations when starting a buffet restaurant:

  • Study your market. Since you will be serving a local clientele, take the time to get to know what your customers want. Ask them about the kind of food they want, as well as what they enjoy when they dine with competing buffer restaurants.
  • Unique value proposition. With the number of established buffet restaurants, it is key to offer something that will interest your market. This can be about having a particular cuisine or specialty, having basic and big meals at a low price or offering choice cuts and high-value dishes. Some examples will be an all pizza and pasta buffet, a vegetarian buffet or a buffet that offers a wide range of dishes.
  • Decide on your brand. What will you offer your customers? Will you be a soup-to-nuts buffet or a dessert buffet? Will you serve lunch, dinner or both? Or will you specialize in breakfast or brunch buffets? What will be your standard menu items and your specialty items?
  • Take care of the business end of the buffet restaurant. This includes building strong business relationships with your vendors, ensuring that you comply with licenses and safety regulations as well as managing your staff.
  • Orchestrate things in precision. As a buffet restaurant manager, your job is very similar to an orchestra conductor, where all the elements are ideally arranged in terms of timing and volume. The food must come fresh and hot, while the potential for wasted food (i.e. food that has turned soggy or has lost its crispiness) is minimized. You need to ensure that the chafers and serving plates are replenished regularly as well.
  • Minimize food costs. Since you are offering your dishes at one price, and customers will take the challenge of getting the most out of the flat price that they pay, you need to ensure that your food costs are at a minimum without sacrificing quality. Some of the proven strategies to bring down food costs include:
    • Working with only a few vendors. Work to develop a good relationship with a few trusted vendors. As you increase the volume of your orders, you are now able to negotiate for better prices.
    • Use ingredients that are in season. You can work your menu around key fruits and vegetables that are in season, as these are cheaper.
    • Use a few premium ingredients. Premium items can be your attraction. However, you cannot use a lot of these, else you can seriously cut into your profits.
    • Be creative with your dishes. To increase the number of items you buy by bulk, you can play with your menus so that you create a bigger number of dishes with the same ingredients.
  • Implement portion control measures. Sometimes, diners get dishes but are not able to finish it. Portion control is one way of bringing down your food costs while still ensuring that your diners enjoy the choices of dishes you offer. You can:
    • Serve premium items in small dishes. Rather than putting some premium items in chafers and allowing the diners to serve themselves, serve these items in small portions in small dishes.
    • Put caps on serving portions. Staff should be on their guard to minimize the servings. Another strategy will be to use smaller serving spoons.
  • Monitor leftovers and wasted food. Leftovers are unavoidable. Those that are still safe for consumption can be served it as staff meals. Make sure that you monitor leftovers so you know the ebb and flow of the food demands. At the end of the day, you can weigh food leftover in the plates to see the level of food wastage and to determine whether you need to take out a dish from your menu.

Restaurant Operations 101: Getting The Right Flatware for Your Restaurant

1Restaurant flatware is part and parcel of your business, whether you are a restaurant, fast-food, catering business or even a food truck business. After all, you are serving people meals and they will need the necessary flatware, whether these are made of sterling silver, stainless steel or plastic.

You need to make the right choice of restaurant flatware, as part of your aim to provide a satisfying dining experience for your customers.

Flatware Shopping List

Here are some of the flatware choices you need, depending on the kind of food and level of service you offer:

  • Casual meals (breakfast or lunch). For each table setting, you will need a butter knife, dinner fork, dinner knife and teaspoon.
  • Casual brunch set-ups will require a wide number of dinner forks, salad forks and teaspoon.
  • This will usually require a salad fork, dinner fork and knife, a teaspoon and butter knife.
  • Formal dinner. Aside from the flatware found in a basic dinner, a formal dinner setting will have an additional soupspoon and dessert fork. It may also include a fish fork where applicable.
  • European dinner. Generally used for more formal dinners, this entails the use of European-sized flatware (which is about three times larger and heavier than its U.S. counterparts). A European dinner setting will have European-sized flatware (i.e. dinner fork and knife).

Some Purchasing Considerations

Below are some of the things to look into when making your purchasing choice for restaurant flatware:

  • The best bet for buying flatware will be to use simple patterns, whether you want a modern or a classic look. A simple design can more easily match and complement the rest of your ensemble (dinner plates, glasses and bowls).
  • Type of steel. Stainless steel is usually classified as 18/10 or 18/0. The first number refers to the steel’s chromium content while the second number refers to the steel’s nickel content. 18/10 refers to steel that contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel. It is more expensive but provides a brighter sheen as well as more protection against erosion, rusting and staining.
  • Weight of the flatware. The weight of your chosen flatware can indicate their quality. The lighter flatware is generally more affordable since heavier flatware will require more material. The heavier flatware is more durable, since it does not easily bend or get out of shape with continued use. When making your choice, aim for a balance between ease of use and weight.
  • Ambiance and overall dining experience. What overall look and feel are you going for in your restaurant? This is an important factor when choosing your purchases. If you have a fine dining restaurant, it is best to invest in good, solid flatware that exudes a classy look and feel. If you have a casual dining restaurant with a quick turnover of traffic (i.e. diners and fast food restaurants), it is best to choose flatware with a lighter weight class. High traffic restaurants usually lose a lot of their flatware during the busy hours where these can inadvertently be thrown into the bin. (Incidentally, install magnetic strips on the opening of the bins so that any metal going through can be rescued from ending up in waste disposal.
  • Buy based on your volume requirements. You need to make provisions to ensure that you have enough flatware, especially during busy hours. You should allow for enough flatware to be used (based on your maximum capacity) plus an allowance for flatware that is being washed. You should also consider your turnover rate (how fast you are able to turn tables) and your dishwashing capacity.


A Few Bakeware Essentials for Your Personal Kitchen

1Are you a passionate baker? Do you love serving family and friends baked goodies piping hot, fresh from the oven? Whether you love whipping up and baking cakes, soufflés, cookies, muffins and breads, you need to get the right kitchen equipment.

Here a checklist of some bakeware essentials you can get from Lionsdeal at great wholesale prices:

  • Baking pans. You will need:
    • Rectangular cake pan (9”x13”) for cakes and bar cookies. This can also work for casseroles and roasts.
    • Round cake pans (at least 2 8-inch or 9-inch pans). This can be used for layer cakes.
    • Loaf pans. You can use these pans for banana breads, brownies, coffee cakes and even meatloaf.
    • Pie pan. Whether you’re in the mood for pies, tarts or large cookies, make sure that you have enough pie pans in your roster.
    • Cookie sheets. Aside from a wide range of cookies, you can also use the rimmed sheets as a jellyroll pan. A flat sheet can also double as a pan for biscuits and pastries.
    • Other pans you should have include Bundt pans, loose-bottomed deep tin, spring form tin, muffin pans and pizza pans. You can also think about getting an oblong cake pan if you would like to make sheet cakes.
  • Cooling rack. Once you remove the cake and other baked goods out of the oven, it should be removed from the tin and placed in the cooling rack. The rack provides the space for the baked good to “breathe”, preventing condensation from collection on the surfaces, resulting in a mushy cake.
  • Mixing bowls. Cream butter, whip up icing and cake batter in a series of mixing bowls. You can get bowls in a variety of sizes for particular requirements. To save on storage space, you can choose nesting bowls.
  • Pastry board and rolling pin. Make you pastry dough from scratch and make sure that these are in shape with these tools. You can also use this to flatten cookie dough and cut them using cookie cutters. You can opt for a rolling pin that does not have any handles if you feel that these handles get in the way.
  • Measuring tools.Baking is about precision. Thus, you need tools that can easily measure your ingredients. This incudes measuring cups and spoons. You need two sets – one for fry ingredients and another for wet ingredients. That way, you won’t need to take time to wash and dry the cups after you use it for wet ingredients and then for dry ingredients.
  • Wooden spoons and whisks. These tools can mix and whip batters into the consistency desired.
  • A set of rubber spatulas. Spatulas are great multi-purpose tools. You can mix and fold batters, scrape off remaining dough from the sides of the bowl or spread icing or frosting onto a cake.
  • Soufflé dishes. Are you up to the challenge of a soufflé? Make the softest soufflés with a soufflé dish that features straight sides that are rounded and deep enough. Choose one that evenly spreads out the heat across the dish.
  • Pan liners. Rather than greasing a pan, you can use parchment paper or heatproof silicone mats to make sure that your baked goods do not stick to the pans. This also allows you to release the baked goods from the pan with ease.

What You Need to Know When Starting a Pizzeria

Pizza-Peel-With-14--X-16--Blad-15496_xlargeSo you want a slice of the multi-billion-pizza industry? Pizza is very much part of the American food landscape, thriving both in the areas of dine in, take out and delivery. But since the pizza business offers a very attractive business proposition, there are a lot of players in the market.

You need to carefully study your business plan so that you get the right ingredients for your pizza business success. Here are some things you should look into when starting your pizzeria:

  • Industry statistics.You first need to decide whether opening a pizzeria in your locality is a sound business decision. Although passion for your craft will be important, one of your primary goals will be to make a profit. So, will a pizzeria be a potentially profitable endeavor? How strong is the demand for pizzas in the area? Are there existing pizzerias in the vicinity? How well are they doing? What portion of the market are they servicing? Is there room for one more player? Make calculations on how much you need to break even and make a profit and try to gauge whether you are able to make that level of sales.
  • Choose your concept and dining experience. There are a series of decisions you need to make. Do you start your own brand or will you get a franchise? Starting your own brand can save you on starting up costs but it will be a challenge to come up with your own product line and to build up your brand with the eating public. Getting a franchise means investing heavily at the start (with continued royalty payments) but you will have the benefit of an established brand, management experience and guidance and a ready-made product line.

If you decide on starting an independent enterprise, the next choice will involve choosing whether you offer a dine-in establishment, offer carry-out or delivery only. Each option will have its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as its business opportunities.

  • Pizza expertise. Do you already have the technical know-how of making pizza by the dozens? Have you experimented on tastes and quality standards? Have you taste-tested your pizza flavors and menu items? Of course, you need to make sure that your food not only tastes good but that it also smells and looks good.
  • Business and Management know-how. As a business, a pizzeria is not just about making pizza but also ensuring that your business operations run smoothly. This includes making sure that you have the necessary funding, that all the licenses and legal requirements are in order, vendors are paid on time, the right amount supplies are ordered and the personnel are happy and motivated.
  • Choose your business location. Study the opportunities available in the area where you will begin your first branch. Look at the existing establishments (both restaurants and other neighborhood shops). Your choice of location will depend on your product offering. A dine-in restaurant will take more space for the dining area and the kitchen while a carry out or delivery will concentrate on the production aspect of the pizza. For a dine-in restaurant, you also need to choose an area with a lot of visibility and foot traffic. Depending on your needs, you should also look at the ideal placement of a carryout window, as well as the availability of parking or for the parking of your delivery fleet.
  • Get the right pizza-making equipment. You need to choose the right pizza oven (whether you would have a gas-heated, wood-fired or electric oven) – this is key since the taste of your pizzas will be affected by the kind of oven you use. Also, you need to get a heavy-duty dough mixer, one that produces a large volume of dough that makes crispy or chewy crusts. Other pizza-making accessories include pizza peels, pizza pans and dough cutters as well as pizza delivery equipment.

These steps are just the start. You will need a lot of hard work and diligence to make your pizzeria a success, but once you get it up and running, it can prove to be a rewarding venture!

Choosing Your Fryer for the Restaurant

1A deep fryer is a major essential when it comes to kitchen supplies and equipment. It enables you to prepare and serve a wide range of menu items – from the ever popular French fries, onion rings or fried chicken. If you are in the market for a fryer, you should carefully consider the following factors when making your choice:

  • Menu items. What fried items are on your menu? Your choice of fryer will depend on the type of food you need to prepare. If you have food that is heavily battered such as fried chicken, a tube fryer would be ideal, since it has a spacious area for it to collect the sediment. For healthy menu items, there are air fryers that do not use oil. You can cook delicate items such as tempura, taco shells and donuts in a flat bottom fryer – as these allow for more items to float on the surface.
  • Required capacity. At your restaurant’s full capacity, how much frying space do you need? When determining capacity, this is usually computed based on the capacity of oil, as well as the number of pound of food it can cook in an hour. Remember that a deep fryer should not be overcrowded, as this can compromise the quality and safety of the food. You need the right capacity and recovery time. When food (especially frozen food) is submerged into the oil, this affects the temperature of the oil. Consequently, the food will take slower to cook and will be greasy and oily. This will help determine whether you need one or two deep frying wells.
  • Available kitchen space. There are table-top units, as well as standalone deep fryers. It depends on how much space you have. You may need to consider changing the layout of your kitchen space, to make way for the frying units, as well as to ensure that you comply with safety standards.
  • Ease and safety of use. How simple and safe is it to use the fryer? Remember, this will involve the use of hot oil. The staff should have no trouble operating it. There are also units that come with computer controls so that you can also program the length of frying, as well as set the precise temperature of the oil. The monitoring feature may also notify you about the need to filter the oil. Additional safety features include an auto-off function (when the oil temperature becomes too hot) and a cool wall exterior (that keeps the outside surfaces cool to prevent burns when the walls are touched). The staff should also be able to get near it or even touch the exterior without getting scalded (this means it should have a cool wall exterior. The fryer should also be easier to clean, since it can easily get greasy, oil and filled with sediment after a day’s use. Usually, the more parts are removable, the easier the cleaning operations.
  • Additional features that you may want.
    • Energy efficiency. Look for fryers that hold an Energy Star rating. This signifies that the equipment is designed for long term energy savings. There also states and cities that provide tax incentives to restaurants that use Energy Star-certified equipment.
    • Oil filtration system. There are fryers that come with a built-in filtration system that allows you to extend the use of the oil by filtering and straining it for reuse. Also look for units that have fryer grates that make it easy to take out that sediment that accumulate at the bottom.
    • Basket lift. Rather than having the operator lift the basket, consider getting a fryer that does the lifting for you. This feature automates the process to prevent accidents and burnt food (which can happen in a busy kitchen).

Must-Dos for Summering Catering Gigs

CaptureWith summer is full swing, outdoor catering projects are soon to follow. A lot of events can be done in the outdoors during the summers: weddings, pool parties, birthday picnics and corporate events. Outdoor events can, admittedly, be a challenge for caterers. You will need to set up a lot of things (tables, power supply, clean-up, etc.). However, if you are able to pull off a series of summer catering projects successfully, this will give your reputation as a professional catering company a big boost.

Here are some things you need to consider:

  • Plan your menu wisely. With the heat, your cold and hot dishes have a higher risk of spoilage. As such, it is best to serve dishes that will keep more easily. As much as possible, do not include dairy-based or mayonnaise-based food items. The same goes for raw food such as sushi.
  • Check equipment on-site. Since this is the outdoors, make a thorough check of the catering equipment you have available. This will help you plan in advance as to how much work you need to do both onsite and offsite.
  • Practice food safety principles in preparation and transport. Do as much preparation offsite such as washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Store the food in insulated food keepers and holding cabinets during transport.
  • Monitor food temperatures. Remember, the “safe zone” for preserving cold dishes is below 41 degrees while warm dishes should be kept above 145 degrees Fahrenheit. When setting up the tables, take out chilled food last – so that you minimize its exposure to the heat. Using thermometers, regularly check that you maintain the ideal temperatures for your dishes – from preparing the food, transporting it and then serving it. Keep hot and cold food in separate tables.
  • Keep cover. Summer means lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. But it also means birds, bugs, heat and the wind – all potential sources of contamination, or at least, annoyance. Keep these elements away from your food by ensuring that they are covered. Instruct your servers to keep the lids of the chafers
  • Keep the bugs out. Aside from keeping the lids in place, you should also discuss pest control with your client. Ask whether there are devices that control the appearance of flies, ants or insects. You can also talk about having the area sprayed with safe pest control products a couple of days before the event.
  • Stock up on ice. When serving salads, cold cocktails and other cold food, lay these in a bed of ice to keep them in the required temperature. To do this, make sure that you have plenty of ice so that your staff can immediately replace the melted ice with new ice.
  • Grill safely. Of course, summer events are incomplete without the barbecue! If you have to offer grilled food for an outdoor event, be sure to remember the following tips:
    • Prepare the grill. The grill should be prepped properly before raw food is added. Light it up well ahead of your cooking and grilling activities. The charcoal should start to have a red glow and the grill should be piping hot.
    • Ensure the food is properly cooked. When applicable, use a meat thermometer to ensure that the meat is cooked from the inside. Also, when you are cooking frozen food, be sure that it is thawed completely. Otherwise, the meats may look cooked from the outside but raw from the inside. Turn the meats around so that they cook evenly.
    • Prevent cross-contamination. Use separate tongs and spatulas for raw and cooked food. Never place cooked meats in a plate that held the raw meats. If you are cooking meats in bulk, you can use at least two grills. You can start cooking raw meat in one grill and transfer it to another grill when the meat is partially cooked.


Don’t Let Your Restaurant Make These Food Safety and Sanitation Mistakes

Food safety is of utmost importance for restaurants, catering companies and other food services organizations. One food poisoning episode can effectively tear a good reputation in shreds – a reputation you have worked hard to gain. As a restaurant owner or manager, part of the job description is to be vigilant when it comes to ensuring that food safety and sanitation procedures are followed at all times. Otherwise, your staff can easily make mistakes that can jeopardize your restaurant’s food safety standards.

Here are some common mistakes that you should be on the lookout for:

  • Overloading the refrigerators. Your staff may think that cramming as much inventory into the refrigerators is being space-efficient. It is not. A cramped refrigerator results in poor circulation of the cool air. The containers stuck in the center may not maintain the necessary temperature they need so that they don’t spoil. Be sure to leave ample room in between items. Of course, freezers are a different case, as keeping the freezer full helps it do its work more efficiently.
  • Poor labeling procedures. HACCP has procedures on how restaurant staff should label ingredients, especially those where the packaging has been opened. Also, when storing inventory, follow the first-in, first-out method so that you ensure that the oldest stock is used first. Make sure that expiration dates are also noted when transferring the raw ingredients into a new container. The same goes for cleaning materials, detergents and pesticides – these should have clear labels as well.
  • Forgetting to clean the less-obvious areas. Sometimes, it is easy to miss areas that are not as noticeable. These include the flatware caddy, walls, counter cracks, ventilation filters, exhaust hoods, as well as nooks and crannies of the kitchen equipment. These can house insects and vermin, as well as grime and other contaminants that may compromise food safety. You should also take the time to regularly clean and sanitize key food equipment such as fillers and slicers. This can be a challenge, since you will need to take these apart. However, you need to make time to do this for food safety purposes.
  • Failing to treat and respond to injuries immediately. The kitchen is a place where nicks, burns and wounds are common. No matter how busy a staff member is, they should immediately get treatment for injuries, particularly when these are on the lower arms or on the hands. They should also don safety gloves until the injury has completely healed.
  • Taking short-cuts in hand washing. Because the kitchen is a bustling place, it can be tempting to take the quick way out. A staff member may haphazardly wash his hands or skip hand washing altogether. If there are no available single-use napkins, he may simply choose to wipe his hands on his apron or reuse an available dishtowel.
  • Forgetting about water supply issues. Be on the lookout for any warnings regarding water issues, especially when you are using the water for your ice maker. If there are any potential problems with the water supply, you can temporarily use bottled water or, at the very least, boil the water first before using it.

Most of these mistakes can be easily remedied by personnel training and by instilling a culture of safety among the staff. Schedule regular training sessions for personnel and ensure that all new additions are up to speed about your procedures.


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.