THE PROFESSIONAL KITCHEN
BOOST EFFICIENCY AND STYLE WITH A SMALLWARE REFRESH
Making good food isn’t complicated. There’s a reason many restaurants wear “home cooking” as a badge of honor — when it comes to taste, the humble home kitchen is the gold standard. Taste isn’t the only value operators have to care about, however. To make your restaurant shine, you need to produce food quickly and consistently, with great variety and sharp presentation. Master these challenges by updating your professional kitchen, with reliable wares to prep and serve food and drink.
Quick, consistent food starts with a well-supplied prep counter. Survey the food items you offer (or hope to offer), and deck out your station with tools to match. Make sure you have sharp knives for slicing meat or vegetables, and sharp serrated knives for cutting bread. Old, dull knives will slow you down, and increase the risk of slipping and injury. The same goes for trying to prep a bread item without a serrated knife. For ingredients and sides that come as mixes, consider investing in a set of measuring scoops. These offer consistent portioning, without sacrificing the speed of that old kitchen veteran, the spoon. Complement this efficient tactic by storing mixes and other pre-prepped ingredients in sturdy, standardized, resealable containers. Having a storage solution you can count on lets you prep during slow hours to save time during busy ones, leading to a smoother experience for cooks, servers, and customers. Finally, consider specialized tools for foods that really call for them. An egg slicer, for example, can turn egg salad prep into the work of seconds, and may deserve a spot on your counter if that meal’s on your menu.
At Home on the Range
When it comes to cooking food, having the right tools for the job can really improve your prep experience, and elevate the food you produce. Grilled food benefits from a grill, of course — try one out if you have the space and outdoor setting to make it work. If not, you can still get those eye-catching grill lines by picking up a grill pan, panini press, or toaster oven. For easily prepped fried fare, look no further than the wok. A staple for Asian stir fries, this versatile pan makes quick work of any dish where you need to rapidly move food through oil and heat. Just make sure to get a wok stand, too, so the wok sits properly on your stove. While you’re upgrading cooking tools, don’t forget utensils. A pair of tongs with a good grip can be the difference between a perfectly done sausage sandwich, and a meal lost to the flame. Having a spatula with a good, sharp edge can make or break any number of dishes, from eggs, to fish, to cookies. Dodging these utensil-based cooking failures will save you a ton of time and stress. Keep your tools up to date, and you’ll feel at home at your cooking station, while churning out food at a professional pace.
Plating with the Best
Top off the food side of your professional kitchen with meal-specific dishware for striking presentation. If you’re not a fancy restaurant, this may seem silly. What do you have to gain from putting food into dishes that make that food look nice? People aren’t coming to you for looks! A better question, though, is what do you lose? You have to put food on something, and you have to buy more of those wares over time, in the normal course of business. When refreshing or expanding your dishware supply, all it takes is a moment to align your new buys with a menu item, or class of menu items. Suddenly, you have square plates for square sandwiches, or wooden boards for bread and cheese, or deep ceramic spoons for hearty soups. People who get a kick out of that sort of thing will smile at the elegant update. People who don’t won’t care! It’s a net benefit, at little to no cost. Just put some thought into your dishware purchases, and you’ll be on your way to plating like a pro.
A Mix of Drinks
Embrace variety on your drink menu, by acquiring tools that enable new drink types. All it takes to add coffee to your menu is a drip coffee maker, plus an order of ground beans and some filters. If you’re already serving basic coffee and want to step it up, there are tools for that, too. Switch to whole beans and a grinder for a fresher taste, or buy an espresso maker to unlock that whole class of fancy coffee drinks. Speaking of fancy, you can use a smallware refresh to get into mixed drinks! In terms of equipment, a few shakers, jiggers, and pour spouts will cover you for a range of cocktail classics (just make sure you have a liquor license and skilled bartenders in the mix, too). You can also add a blender, for drinks like margaritas and daiquiris. This tool can be a nice pickup for non-alcoholic drinks, as well, setting your operation up for energizing breakfast smoothies or luxurious dessert shakes.
Vessels with a Vibe
Support your varied drinks with an array of appropriate drinkware. If you serve coffee, stock basic to-go cups (in hot and cold varieties), but also think about mugs and pint glasses for dine-in customers. Pint glasses are also a must if you’re serving beer, as are wine glasses if you’re serving wine. If your menu gets broad enough with either of these offerings, you might also invest in some extra glass types, like tulip glasses or snifters. These can highlight interesting qualities of certain drinks, which fans of those drinks love — bringing them a joyful experience which can encourage extra orders, or a return for future meals. To get set up with mixed drinks, choose vessels that go with the classics. A good starter set might include rocks glasses for old fashioneds, cocktail glasses for martinis, and margarita glasses for margaritas. From there, work with your bartending staff to expand as needed. Find special glasses to match your signature cocktails, and leave dazzling drink memories in the minds of your patrons.
At Florida Food Service, we have all the ingredients for your success — and all the tools, too. Check out our smallware offerings to improve your operation’s speed, consistency, variety, and presentation. Talk to a sales rep about refreshing your professional kitchen, today.