Is Pizza at your Restaurant Still Hot?

Pizza consumption has reached a all time restaurant  highCheesy, gooey, mouthwatering pizza. There’s a reason it’s a perennial winner on favorite food lists. But is it as popular today as it’s been for the past 10, 25, or even 50 years?

The answer, according to food-centric research and consulting firm Technomic? A resounding yes.

Let’s take a closer look at Technomic’s findings, along with key takeaways for restaurant owners looking to serve up the perfect pizza-eating experience for customers. Continue reading Is Pizza at your Restaurant Still Hot?

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!

Cooking Tools for Preparing “Professionally Made” Dishes in Your Home

Who says you can’t play the resident chef in your own kitchen? Who says you need to go out every time you want a taste of your favorite specialty dish? The good news is, you do not have to go whole-hog at your local wholesale kitchen supply store and outfit your home kitchen with all the gadgets and appliances you can find in a restaurant. You can just pick out some of the specialty equipment and gadgets of your choice to help you produce that “professionally made” dish whenever the cravings start.

Immersion blender. These hand-held gadgets make for easier preparation of smoothies, salad dressings and vinaigrettes. You also do not have to take out the blender to thoroughly puree your favorite soups – you just use the immersion blender in the pot and you can be sipping hot, tasty soup in no time. This multi-tasker can help you make small batches of mayonnaise, pesto, whipped cream, hummus, mashed potatoes and simple sauces such as coulis. This nifty gadget is also easy to use, maneuver and clean.

Pizza stone. Along with your trusty pizza pans, consider getting a pizza stone. This is another multi-tasker that provides the environment of the pizza oven hearth. Aside from your favorite pizzas, you can make healthy chips or fries, pretzels, falafels, quesadillas and even giant cookies. You can also heat up convenience foods such as frozen biscuits and chicken nuggets.

Sous vide. Pronounced as “soo-veed”, this French method of cooking “under vacuum” is hailed as the chef’s secret. The sous vide produces melt-in-your-mouth steaks and meats, perfectly poached eggs and vibrantly tasty vegetables. This is done by putting the raw ingredients in a vacuum-sealed pouch, submerging this in water that is kept at a precise temperature and cooking for an extended period of time.

Baking and pastry mats. This works as a rolling sheet for dough and pastry, as well as liners for the baking pans. Silicone mats are very durable, flexible and non-stick, that means that you can shape, roll and cut bread dough, pizzas, pie crusts, buns and rolls without worrying about tears, scratches or messing up your countertop. The baking and pastry mats also limit your need to use oil or cooking sprays when baking. Cleaning the pans is also hassle-free since the dough or pastry does not stick to the pans. These mats are strong enough to last up to 3,000 times of usage, even in oven temperatures of as high as 500 degrees.

Steel crepe pans. Whip up your favorite pancakes or ultra thin desserts and pancakes with a traditional steel crepe pan that you can place over the stovetop. Choose a pan that has a non-stick surface so that you can make delicate desserts to perfection.

Instant read thermometer. Sear that meat or fish just right. This requires a balance of cooking at the right and safe temperatures without overcooking them so that they become dry and tough. You can achieve this delicate balance with an instant read thermometer. This is useful not just for steaks but also candies and other types of food.

Mandoline slicer. Another versatile gadget, you can make super thin slices for potato or sweet potato chips, matchstick slices for salads, appetizers or vegetable “carpaccio”. You can also slice tomatoes and onions as pizza toppings.

Choosing the right flatware for your wedding

When planning your own wedding and reception it is important to keep in mind the quality of your place settings. Labeling can be deceptive to people who aren’t “in the know” about such things. An excellent example of this is the difference between bright white china and American white. Bright white is exactly as it sounds, bright clean and white, while American white tends more towards an off white cream colored plate. Since it is rare that your guests will be handling their plates, you can take some liberties with what they are made out of. You may choose to use a heavy melamine plate versus a traditional ceramic plate. The area where you have to be mindful of is flatware.

Flatware covers all of the utensils that your guests will be using, from their soup spoon to the dessert fork. Flatware is sold in three different weights and quality. Each weight has its pros and cons as does the quality, each of which helps to inform the price point for your flatware.

  • Medium Weight: excellent for one time use and is very affordable. However anything more than a single use the flatware will show its wear quickly as it is made of a thinner, softer metal the Medium Weight flatware tends to bend easily and also feels light and cheap.
  • Heavy Weight: while costing more than heavy weight it will feel better in the hand not feel like cheap flatware. Additionally it will stand up to repeated use much easier.
  • Extra-Heavy Weight: of the three weights, extra-heavy weight costs the most, lasts the longest and is well worth the money as it will feel and look like high quality flatware.

In addition to weight of the flatware, quality of the metal also needs to be taken into account. Flatware generally has a number stamped into it; this number represents the ratio of nickel to chromium that is in the flatware. The higher the nickel ratio the more resistant to corrosion the flatware will have. Below is a quick break down of the most common ratios

  • 18/0 means that there is no nickel in the flatware and it will be more likely to corrode.
  • 18/8 & 18/10 have very little in difference between them. Flatware with these designations will hold their luster for many years.

Bearing this explanation of how to choose the best flatware for your reception the next decision is where to purchase your flatware from. You may have a store locally to you but generally specialty catering stores deal with businesses versus average customers, also keep in mind that these shops tend to charge at a premium for their products. Your other option is to select a site from the wide variety online, making sure to do your research to make sure you are working with a reputable company.

Lionsdeal.com has worked very hard to fill the gap in customer service that is common among restaurant/catering supply companies. With an extremely wide variety of products to choose from you will be able to purchase everything from serving platters, chafers, steam pans & accessories, and plates, dessert dishes, glassware and of course flatware in several qualities and styles. Another aspect of Lionsdeal.com that to keep in mind is their option to request a quote, this allows you to paste in your entire list of what you need, how many and they can give you a quote for your order and potentially suggest elements you may have overlooked!

Making Pizza!

Making a pizza can be a really fun activity, but it’s important to have everything you need. It’s always a letdown when you start working on a pizza and then find out you’re missing an important piece. Before you go out shopping for your pizza ingredients it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary equipment. If you’re missing something, Lionsdeal has a range of pizza items that can help you. Below are a few of the important items for making a pizza.

Pizza Pans & Screens

A pizza pan is a basic need when it comes to making a pizza. It’s the classic way to make a pizza. A pan is also great for displaying the pizza once it’s done. Another option is to use a pizza screen. These screens are used the same way that a pan is used. However, they help distribute heat evenly to avoid too much charring.

Pizza Peels

These are a popular item that is often used by catering companies and businesses. Pizza peels make it easier and safer to take hot pizza pans and screens out of a pizza oven. They are available in wood or aluminum. The traditional pizza peels have a long handle, but there are short handled pizza peels available. A pizza peel is convenient because it helps you avoid burns.

Serving Utensils

You can choose from a few different pizza servers that will make it easier for you to serve the pizza when it’s done. They come in a rectangular shape or a triangle shape. Each helps you serve pizza without hurting your hands. There’s also a large pizza server that’s a great option for a pizza business that lifts pizzas between a pan and a serving platter.

Pizza Cutters

Using a pizza cutter is much easier than using a large knife. It’s also a safer way to cut the pizza. Most of the pizza cutters feature a stainless steel wheel with a handle that is either metallic, plastic, or wood. You can choose from pizza cutters of different sizes.

Oven Brushes

Using a pizza oven brush makes cleaning up so much easier. These brushes are specifically designed to help you clean out a pizza oven after use. You can choose from a circular or rectangular brush head. All of them work well when you’re trying to clean a pizza oven.

All of these items are commonly used to make a pizza, but they aren’t the only ones. Many commercial kitchenware items are a big help when it comes to preparing the dough. For example, you may want to use a specific type of roller. Many other items are also available from Lionsdeal, including dinnerware, office supplies, disposable items, cleaners, and more. Anything you need you can find at Lionsdeal.

What Items, You Can’t Go Without!

Every day we depend on kitchen supplies to provide us with enriched gourmet food and quality dishes. When considering on purchasing kitchen or restaurant equipment, remember that it is an investment. The supplies you purchase are essential part of getting quality dishes and depend on having high quality products that are reliable for the job.

Ovens, freezers, coolers, fryers, and grills should be considered as a major investment. These items can get really expensive and you want them to last for quite some time. Even pots and pans are long lasting equipment that should be seen as an investment and with the purchase of these high dollar items, it would be wise to get a warranty from the supplier incase anything happens to the equipment.

 

The lists for kitchen supplies are endless and undaunting task to complete. To ease the burden start by covering the basics; make a list of the tools that you would usually use every day. This could cover products like bowls and plates, to pot and pans, to the different types of spoons you use. By making a list you will know exactly what you have and what else you will need to get in the future.

To make it easier on yourself we have provided a list of must have items that will take care of your costly trips back and forth to the store to purchase another utensil for your kitchen supplies. Make sure this is a list of kitchen equipment that is a must in your house or restaurant. Without these item’s, you won’t be able to cook or eat.

– Kitchen Utensils: tools for cooking such as spatulas, ladles, measuring spoons, long/short tongs. Be sure to make not the amount needed for your cooking supply and also don’t disregard safety; a longer handle on a ladle could help decrease burns.

Flatware: Unless you’re ok with eating with your hands you may not need flatware but most likely, everyone uses flatware. Forks, spoons, knives are sometimes a necessity when it comes to eating. It may be quite difficult to eat without them.

Dinnerware: are very important for they provide the use of serving food; having entrée plates, soup bowls, pasta bowls, salad plates, dessert plates, glasses, etc… Take into account that plates might break so plan accordingly and have extra plates just incase.

– Pots and pans: are the cookware that gets the most use, so you want to get something dependable and durable for its high volume use. Depending on the quantity of people you are serving for, look for the size of pots and pans in need. Not only look for sizes but type of pans like baking pans, saucepans, sauté pans, pizza pan, stockpots and other cookware that are a necessity for the kitchen.

– Janitorial supplies: are supplies that help clean up and provide safety. They include soaps, sanitizers, rubber floor mats, aprons, fire extinguisher, towels and other cleaning supplies. No one wants to eat from an unclean environment which makes janitorial supplies a wise purchase.

Undoubtedly some other things will come up that you need to put into your restaurant supply and as long as you have the basics you should be fine. If something else needs to be added you will sooner or later will take note and acquire those tools for use.

Are Wide-Rimmed Aluminum Pizza Pans Best?

Wide-Rimmed Aluminum Pizza Pans

Just as many other breads and crusts, the type of pan which is used to cook pizza is very important in determining how the pizza’s crust will turn out. Some like it thin, thick or filled with gooey cheese. Choosing the correct pan is much easier once the differences are made clear.

Pizza, as you know comes in different sizes and shapes. It can be very small and round or very large and rectangle. Pizza pans are mostly made out of aluminum or steel which makes them more durable so that they virtually last forever. Cast iron pans are also used to make pizza pans and added a little flavor boost to your pizza.

Flatter pans will make the crust thin and crispy. There are a few different types of flat pizza pans. They all pretty much cook the same way and produce the same type of crust. The main difference would be in how they look and how convenient they are to use for the purpose you have in mind.

One type of flat pizza pan is a coupe style pan. This pan has a very small rim around the edge which gives more room for the pizza while keeping it from sliding off. Most of these pans have a smooth finish and a concave shape. They are best for displaying pizzas but not very great for carrying them since they have no rim which you can grasp.

For handling pizza, the best pan to use is a wide-rimmed aluminum pizza pan. This pan is light weight and comes with a wider edge which gives you something to grab when you are carrying the pie from the oven to serve it. These pans come in many sizes, such as the small 8 inch round as well as the much larger 15 inch round. For a delicious thin and crispy crusted pizza which will be easy to serve the wide-rimmed aluminum pizza pan is a must in the kitchen!

Choosing the Right Pizza Pan

Pizza is certainly one of the world’s most beloved foods. Thick, thin, simple cheese, or piled high with toppings – no matter how you like your pie, you need a great pizza pan to cook it in. This post will give you information on the different types if pizza pans that are available so you can choose the one best suited to make your perfect pizza.

Most pizza pans are made from aluminum pizza pans or steel pizza pans. Both of these materials should be sturdy and long lasting though some chefs prefer one over the other. You can also find some pizza pans made out of cast iron. Fans of cast iron claim that it will give the crust an additional boost of flavor as you bake. As with other cast iron pans, it must be seasoned so that your tasty creation will not stick to it. Pans may be circular pans or rectangular pans depending on the look you want and come in a variety of sizes from small pizza pans for romantic couple’s dinner or a large pans ready to feed hungry guests at a football party.

Popular brands include All-Clad, Pampered Chef, and Old Stone, though many chefs report great success with lesser known brands as well. When comparing different pans, be sure to check the thickness of the metal. Not only will a thicker pan withstand repeat uses and the test of time better, they are also better for cooking your pizza evenly. A thinner pan is much more likely to burn the bottom and edges of your crust before it is ready to take it out of the oven. A nonstick coating will help with removal of the pizza from the dish and make it easier to clean the pan. Often referred to as air bake pans, some pans may be perforated, or have little holes along the bottom. These holes help the crust bake drier so that it does not become soggy. They also allow you to use a thin coating of cornmeal for additional flavor and texture on the bottom of the crust, if you desire.

The next step is to consider what type of crust you desire for your pizza. For a chewy thick crust, you will need a pan with raised sides to shape and contain the crust as you cook it. The most common depth for these pans is 1”, though there are also 2” deep versions available also. A spring form pan like is used to bake cheesecakes where the bottom detaches from the sides will make the task of removing a deep dish pie from the pan much easier.

If a thin, crispy crust is what your taste buds desire, then you should look for a flat pan with flat or slightly raised edges. You can find a wide variety of options in flat pans, such as coupe-style, wide rimmed, and beaded edged. The variances between these pans is slight and primarily only in visual appearance, so your decision may be based purely on the aesthetic you like best if you will be serving the pizza on the pan as well.

Another increasingly popular option for thin crust pizza are pizza stones. Just as simple as it sounds, they are a stone that is designed for baking a pizza. They are more costly than a metal pizza pan, but justify the price difference with their even cooking and unique visual appeal. Like a cast iron pan, many feel that a pizza stone adds to the flavor and charm of a pizza crust. These stones are perfect for use in creating wood fired pizzas, which are a big trend in modern pizzerias. Some brands seem prone to cracking after a few years of use, though some chefs have happily used the same stone for fifteen or more years.

Though you should never cut anything directly in any cooking pan, after slicing your pizza you can return it to the pizza pan or stone for a simple serving dish. If you prefer something more unique and catchy, you can also find a wide variety of cute pizza serving dishware. You might also find that you prefer to use pizza screens which help prevent charring and are also a great way to serve pizza. No matter how you like your pie, there is the perfect pan out there to help you create your perfect pizza.

Taking Care of Pizza Supplies

pizza supplies

Pizza has become one of the most sought after food items in the restaurant industry because of the duality it provides. In short, pizza can either be that guilty pleasure people can grab at a fast food chain or a gourmet dish waiting to happen. However, one of the most common misconceptions when it comes to pizza supplies is that the term only relates to the ingredients needed to make the pizza. Truth be told, pizza supplies aren’t just the ingredients, the equipment used to make the pizza is an important supply that completes the puzzle.

Picking Out Sturdy Supplies

In order to keep the making of pizza akin to a well oiled machine, the right pizza supplies need to be bought in accordance to the sizes and kinds of pizzas being made. Included in the list of necessary pizza supplies are pizza pans and plates of assorted sizes, pizza screens, pizza cutters, dough boxes and bubble poppers. Like any other piece of equipment, the pizza supplies need to be able to handle the rough and tumble style that most pizza makers use. If slapping a pizza pan down onto the counter is going to bend the pan out of shape, either the pizza supplies are flimsy or the pizza maker has some super human strength.

Before and After Care for Pizza Supplies

Even if the pizza supplies are durable, taking good care of them won’t hurt either and it’ll ensure the longer use of said supplies. For example, when the chef is going to season the pan, it should first be washed and dried properly for the sake of pizza supplies and hygiene. Oil should also be wiped onto both sides of the pan to make sure that none of the dough or sauce sticks to them. This step will help pizza makers avoid the tough clean up jobs that normally entail a strong arm to scrape and scrub at the residue.

Pick the Proper Cleaning Agents

Lastly, when cleaning pizza supplies, make sure that high alkaline or acidic cleaners are not used. There are many cleaners available at markets which are specifically made for the cleaning of pans. Different kinds of pizza supplies require different kinds of maintenance. For example, hard coated pans shouldn’t be put in a dishwasher because it removes the hard coat while using scouring pads on pans will wear them out faster. Keep these helpful hints in mind to keep pizza making easy and hassle free.

Photo Credit: Jeff Cushner