1. How Flake Machines Can Make You Money

    Flake IceWe’ve talked about flake ice machines before, and we thought that it was high time that we talk about them again. This time, let’s look at owning a flake ice machine from a money making standpoint. How can you make money from your flake ice machine?

    First, let’s talk a little about flake ice. It’s like snow, really. Easily packable, put into the fish displays, wrapped around produce, used to chill the salads in the salad bar, and a bunch of other uses. It is also the best type of ice that you can use for creating cold packs, because it easily molds to the shape that you need.

    But how can your flake ice machine make you money?

    Well, that depends on the business that you’re in. Let’s say that you’re a convenience store owner that’s near a lake or a river that people frequent for fishing. If you happen to have something to pack fish, something better than those bags of half cube that you find in a merchandiser, you can charge a touch more to give your patrons what they want.

    Maybe you’re at that same convenience store and have construction workers come by all day, needing to fill their coolers. Well, if you give them flake ice, they will enjoy it more because of the pliability that the ice has. Hence, you can charge a little bit more money to your customers, and pocket a few bucks more profit.

    Snow cones. Yes, we’re going to go there. So, if you want to make a treat for the patrons at your restaurant, or serve guests at your party homemade snow cones, you can easily make them with a little syrup and some flake ice. If you’ve already got a machine on the premises, it never hurts to open another revenue stream.

    Capitalize on your flake ice machine for more than just the deli counter. Imagine the possibilities!


  2. Perfect Beach Leftovers

    It’s beach season-- at any moment, the great weather might call us seaside. With no time to whip up the perfect lunch, what can we grab from the fridge that’s already beach-perfect?

    Make something for your customers that will be great tonight, and tomorrow, too. Or have a to-go item that’s so beach-friendly, beachgoers will stop by your restaurant before the lunch rush to get their favorites.

    Fried chicken
    Leftover fried chicken is the perfect beach food. Cold, savory, and satisfying-- it’s a classic. Keep it simple, or give your customers a flight of dipping sauces for the road. If you’ve got boneless wings around, try wrapping them in collard greens for an easy-to-eat and easy-to-love wrap.

    Fruit and Veggie Skewers
    Nobody wants to hack a melon apart in between subathing. Ball up cantelope, watermelon, or whatever other fruit is in season in your area and make gorgeous, affordable kabobs. Pack your tupperware with mint to bring out the flavor.

    Wrap it Up
    All it takes is some creativity and anything can be a great cold wrap. Steak tips, goat cheese, and cherry tomatoes? Check. Diced potatoes and ground beef? Mmm. Chicken and avacado? Throw any flavors you want in there, wrap it in a tortilla or a big lettuce leaf, and enjoy. If you’re feeling especially bold, bring a selection of ingredients and have the family make their own. Picnic table recommended!

    Cold Sesame Noodles
    Nothing’s more refreshing on the beach than the cool, spicy, and filling flavors of this awesome dish. This is the beach food everyone will be jealous of. This is what you’ll want to eat just after finishing up a long swim. Put this on your menu and suggest folks take it away for their beach day.

    Yesterday’s Cheese plate
    So much cheese, so little time. Easy to pack and much on all day long, a cheese plate will go a long way for marathon beach-goers. Pack a selection of crackers and toasts, too-- and a little fig jam never hurt anyone.

    Iced Coffees and Teas
    Load up a few thermoses of iced teas and coffees to top it off.

    Pack it all in as much ice as you can manage, and get swimming- and snacking! Your customers will thank you-- or maybe this is just what you’ll want to do on your Monday off, when all your customers are back at their desks and you’re living the restaurant life.
  3. The Top Earning Chefs

    The restaurant business can be tough, but those at the top definitely pull in a significant amount of cash! Hard work, persistence, star power, and of course, a passion for excellence is one thing that all three top earners have in common. With multiple restaurants and cookbook endorsements, as well as TV shows and licensed food ware, the sky the limit in terms of earnings for these chefs who made their name their brand and then drove that brand to great success: 1. Wolfgang Puck's estimated net worth is $400 million. An Australian native, Wolfgang worked as an apprentice in Paris before emigrating to the United States. His first restaurant was Ma Maison in Los Angeles.

    2. Jamie Oliver is worth around $150 million total. He started out at Antonio Carlucci's Neal's Yard Restaurant, where he was mentored by Gennaro Contaldo. He was spotted by the BBC several years later, which launched his show, "The Naked Chef," a well as his status as a celebrity.

    3. Gordon Ramsay got an accidental start to the culinary world. He opened Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 1998. In 2001, the restaurant was the first owned by a person of Scottish descent to earn three Michelin stars. He is estimate to be worth $118 million.
  4. Vintage Cocktail Recipes to Try

    Customers have a new appreciation for the old: especially when it comes to cocktails! Here are some fun old school recipes to try behind your bar:

    1. Corpse Reviver #1

    1 oz Applejack
    1 oz sweet vermouth
    Pour into cocktail shaker with glass, stir well, and then strain into cocktail glass.

    2. Bee’s Knees

    .75 oz lemon juice
    .75 oz of honey simple syrup
    Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker, shake well and then strain into rocks glass. Garnish with lemon peel or twist.

    3. Mint Julep

    3 fresh mint leaves
    1 tablespoon mint simple syrup
    1 oz bourbon
    1 fresh mint sprig
    Crushed ice

    Place mint leaves and mint simple syrup in a chilled julep cup. Gently press leaves against cup with back of bar spoon to release the minty aroma. Fill the cup as tightly as you can with crushed ice and then pour in the bourbon of your choice. Insert straw and garnish with mint sprig.

    4. Widow’s Kiss

    1.5oz Apple Brandy
    .75oz Yellow Chartreuse
    .75oz Benedictine
    2 dashes Angostura Bitters
    This drink calls for straightforward instructions. Simply stir ingredients together with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
    Garnish with a cherry.

    5. Martinez

    1.5 oz of Old Tom Gin
    1.5 oz of sweet vermouth
    .25 oz of maraschino liqueur
    2 dashes of angostura bitters
    Combine all ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice, shake and then strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with orange peel if desired.

    6. Jack Rose

    2 oz Applejack
    1 oz lime juice
    .5 oz grenadine
    Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an apple slice if desired.

    7. Moonwalk

    1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
    1 oz of orange liqueur
    3 drops of rose water
    top with champagne or sparkling wine
    Combine grapefruit juice, orange liqueur, and rose water into shaker with ice. Shake and then strain into champagne flute, top the glass with your choice of champagne or sparkling wine.

    8. Death in the Afternoon

    1.5 oz absinthe
    4.5 oz champagne
    Pour absinthe into champagne or coupe glass and fill to top with champagne.

    9. Bijou

    1 oz London dry gin
    1 oz sweet vermouth
    1 oz green chartreuse
    1 dash of orange bitters

    Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir for 20 seconds and then strain into a cocktail glass, coupe or martini glass is preferable. Use lemon peel as garnish if desired.
  5. How to Reduce Theft in your Restaurant

    Lots of people in and out. Lots of customers. Numerous people handling money. It's easy for restaurants to fall prey to theft and fraud. Here are some tips to reduce the fraud in your restaurant with tips from Winny Daud and Philipp Laque of Revenue Management Solutions:

    1. Identify where you are at risk. This can be any area where cash is exchanging hands or a lack of supervision is common. Where are employees issuing refunds for example? Is a supervisor or card required to issue a discount or void out an item? Establish a system of checks and balances to safeguard from this.

    2. Look for a pattern. Is there a particular server who always seems to be present when a high amount of refunds take place? Patterns like these can help stop fraudulent behavior and identify and dismiss the perpetrators.

    3. Make it known that you're watching. Whether by security cameras or company meetings, people are less likely to steal when they know that someone is watching. Although that may seem like common sense, it means that by simply posting rules against fraud, monitoring activity and keeping an eye on your employees, you can cut down on theft.

    4. Watch out for cash. This makes fast casual restaurants especially vulnerable to theft, but the truth is the overwhelming majority of voided transactions are cash based. You can't refuse cash, of course, but be mindful of cash transaction and be ready to question a large number of voids that take place on them. Questioning your servers and rely on your managers to monitor and watch out for any suspicious activity.
  6. Why Salad Is King and Why it Matters to your Business!

    Salad is fast leaving behind its humble roots as a small, perhaps wilted, side dish to the main course and becoming the star attraction of the dining experience! Health conscious consumers are craving fresh greens, vegetables, and low carb options, and restaurants across the country are catering with a variety of healthy options.

    Putting an emphasis on super greens, kale remains king of the game, but other micro greens such as arugula and seasonal watercress are key components to creating a salad that will impress. Regular romaine is fine, but offering different options will keep your customers happy (and healthy!) In addition, organic bibb lettuce is a gourmet option well suited to fine dining establishments. Sprouts, which can be easily grown in house, are another super food that the health conscious crowd will quite literally eat up.

    In terms of toppings, healthy vegetables take center stage also. Good bets are seasonal and colorful - pomegranate seeds in the winter and radishes in the spring for example. If you work with local farms, putting the names of your suppliers on the menu will also increase your social equity and allow for a higher price point - and profit margin! for your business.

    In terms of protein, offering several options at different price points is always a great option. A simple fried egg at a low price point is a classic and delicious bistro edition to almost any salad. Scallops are delicous, simple, and can elevate the price of a salad entree to that or a regular entree. A simple steak, chicken, and salmon option will give your guests variety and ensure that their leafy greens provide a full and balanced meal. If you have a large vegetarian crowd, consider adding seasoned tofu to your menu options so that they can choose something to satisfy their dietary needs - tempura fried buffalo tofu is simple to make and delicious!

    Need more proof that salad should take center stage? McDonalds - a chain usually associated with very UNHEALTHY foods - is revamping its image and menu offerings with a salad which now includes red leaf lettuce and colorful carrots. If the food giants are taking notice of the health conscious consumer - chances are you should too! Up your salad game and stay on top of this delicous, healthy summer trend.
  7. Industry Trends from the National Restaurant Association

    The National Restaurant Association has released some of their new industry trends for 2016! Here are some of our favorite highlights to keep you current with your business:

    Guava: a long time staple of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine, the guava is going mainstream. Featured in multiple national lines, including a GS Gelato which was the recipient of a FABI award, guava is breaking out as an unusual flavor which almost any palate can appreciate. Guava empanadas, also known as pastelitos, are an easy and fun way to incorporate this trend into your restaurant menu.

    Craft Soda: big company names are getting behind a trend that the folks at Avery and Browns Soda have been doing for years: providing higher quality, lower batch soda options. Coca Cola recently released the Blue Sky line to stay competitive with smaller, more boutique offerings. Much like craft beer, craft soda appeals to those who seek higher quality and more local options than the typical 'big batch' stores. This is a great opportunity for bar menus to get creative with favorites such as Jack and Coke - perhaps a Black Cherry Coke and Bourbon?

    Clean meat: recent outbreaks of ecoli and the clean eating trend have customers asking for smaller batch, antibiotic free, grass fed options on their dinner table. From cage free chickens to ethically treated cows to more exotic, smaller produced wild game, ethical meat is all the rage. Although markedly more expensive, if marketed correctly the higher cost can be passed on to the savvy consumer who isn't afraid to pay a premium for a higher quality product.
  8. Patriotic Cocktails for Memorial Day!

    It's a three day weekend! Celebrate in style with your family, friends and customers with the following patriotic cocktails!

    Red White and Blue Margarita

    1 cup ice
    1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
    3 ounces tequila
    2 ounces lime juice
    1 ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau
    1/2 ounce simple syrup

    Blend strawberries and freeze for several minutes. Combine and blend remaining ingredients and pour the strawberry back into the blender. Top with limes and blueberries for color.

    Captain America Slushie (courtesy of Giraffes Can Bake)

    Ice Tray
    Food Coloring

    2 oz Irish Whiskey and 1 cup frozen sprite cubes (for white layer)
    2 oz Blue Blue Curacao and 1 cup frozen sprite ice cubes (for blue layer)
    1/3 cup frozen strasberries and 1 cup sprite (for red layer)

    Put sugar and blue food dye in a zip lock bag and shake to make the garnish. Wet rims of glasses and dip in sugar. Combine each layer in the blender and spoon into glass. Serve with a patriotic straw.

    Red White and Blue jello shots

    1 6-oz package strawberry Jell-O
    Blueberry vodka
    1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
    2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
    1 6-oz package berry blue Jell-O
    Whipped cream

    Combine strawberry jello and 2 1/2 cups hot water. Add 1/2 cups blueberry vodka and stir to combine. Fill shot glasses 1/3 of the way and set in the fridge for one hour. Repeat with unflavored (clear) jello and add sweetened condensed milk. Repeat one more time with blue jello. Set in the fridge for one hour between each color. When complete and ready to serve, garnish with whipped cream and sprinkles.
  9. Thinking about Buying an Ice Machine? Here's What You Need to Know!

    No matter the shape, size, or type, we have an ice machine to suit your needs!

    There are some very basic considerations to take into place before purchasing an ice machine for your business. If you plan on serving cold drinks - you're going to need ice. If you plan on having seafood - you'll need to keep it cold If you have a bar with mixology, you may want different ice shapes and sizes. So it's pretty apparent that yes, you'll need an ice machine. But what sort of a machine to buy? There are many shapes, sizes, and models available, and unless you have unlimited budget/space, you're not going to want to get anything bigger than what you need for your space. Here are some of the basic factors to consider before you buy:

    Air cooled vs. water cooled. The two main types of ice machines are air cooled or water cooled. Air cooled will heat up the temperature of where you store them, and water cooled require a water recycling system or they will be very cost prohibitive. Do research on the infrastructure of your space before you buy, and if you choose air cooled, make sure you have adequate air conditioning in place in order to offset the extra heat produced by the unit!

    Next up: what size ice machine do you need? There are several factors to consider here. The first is the average volume of your restaurant, bar, or other hospitality space. This can be tough to factor in if you are considering a brand new business concept. Volume wise, you'll need about a pound of ice per soft drink and two-three pounds per mixed drink (behind the bar). Calculate this by the average number of covers you think you'll have and you can come up with the size machine you need fairly easily. Make sure you don't lowball either the number OR the quality of the machine you purchase - nothing will slow down service faster or make your customers less happy than not being able to get a basic glass of ice water when they sit down to dine! Running low on ice during a dinner rush is a major disaster, and the best way to plan around it is simply to purchase the right size equipment to begin with and make sure it's quality. We do, of course, carry a large range of machines for you to choose from, so shop with us and ensure you're receiving a machine that fits your space, budget, and can carry the capacity of your business even during the very busiest f dinner rushed.
  10. Restaurant Tech - Here's What You Should Know!

    How is your restaurant tech? Chances are, you might need an update. The National Restaurant Association reports that up to 30% of restaurants are in serious need of a tech upgrade, but have held off doing so. The main reason? Cost of course. But consider the benefits of keeping updated tech. When your tech is updated, your labor costs go down. With labor being the largest - by far - cost for most restaurants, anything you can do to improve efficiency will also improve your bottom line - long term at least. With that in mind, here are the areas that can certainly be helped by top of the line technology:

    Supply Chain - this is especially important if you have multiple locations. The Darden Restaurant Family is currently rolling out updated Supply Chain Software across all of their locations. How can this help your bottom line? By standardizing the experience at all of your restaurants, making smarter decisions when ordering product, and increasing efficiency for your Operations Manager. Overall, investing in good Supply Chain software will improve the flow of your restaurant in vital, physical areas.

    Point of Sale - your front of the house will thank you - over and over again - for an updated, customized POS System. Not only will they benefit from something which is easy to use and intuitive, but your customers will appreciate the faster service and higher attentiveness they receive when your servers aren't wrestling with outdated equipment vs. taking their dinner orders. Your cooks and line chefs will also benefit from clear, easy to read tickets which will cut down on errors and ensure, overall, happier customers!

    Email Marketing - a strong email system will go far towards retaining existing customers as well as increasing your marketing reach with them! Your own email marketing will allow you to capture addresses from your core customer base and market to them directly with specials, particularly for the holidays and special occasions. Choosing the right hosting software is very crucial - you'll want something which allows you to upload customer's email addresses easily and also design attractive email templates. Shop around and choose one that you know will be efficient so that you don't waste time working maintenance of it when you could be doing - well - everything else that needs to be done every day in a busy restaurant!

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