Offering Valentine's Day Cooking Classes in Your Restaurant

Valentine’s Day is coming up and, as I’m sure you know, it’s a huge day in the restaurant industry. While many people choose to go out for dinner, many romantics stay at home and cook their own meals. One way to offer something a little extra to your customers and draw in some more business for the holiday is by offering cooking classes. Here are some things to think about when planning your Valentine’s Day cooking classes.

Throughout the Month

If your customers want to cook a delicious meal at home, they may want some pointers on how to cook your signature dishes. To help them out, you can offer cooking classes in the weeks leading up to the 14th. For this, you would need to consider the same things you would with regular cooking classes. Just make sure your guests know it’s only for a limited time!

Pros:

  • Gives more customers the opportunity to take your classes
  • Less competition
  • Extra business
  • Chance to sell your signature sauces, so customers can make your dishes at home

Cons:

  • More supplies and ingredients used
  • Harder to plan for
  • Have to set regular schedule of classes
  • Will deter some people from coming to your restaurant on Valentine’s Day

One Night Only

Another option is hosting a cooking class the night of Valentine’s Day. This would be a big event for couples or groups of people to attend. You could teach your guests how to make a delectable meal in your signature style and give them a memorable way to spend their Valentine’s Day. Then, they can enjoy the meals they helped create in your decorated dining room. This could be set up as a reservation-only or first-come-first-served event, so you can plan your night as precisely as you want.

Pros:

  • Only one night of planning
  • Can plan exactly how many supplies and ingredients you need
  • Offers an experience that you customers will remember
  • Can draw in new customers

Cons:

  • Can turn away other business
  • Extra decorations needed to get the right atmosphere
  • Need to advertise more to get the word out
  • More money up front

Hosting cooking classes for Valentine’s Day is sure to make your customers’ special days even better. Hosting classes ahead of time or offering a one-night-only event both have their pros and cons, so it’s all about what’s right for your business. Whatever you decide to do, I’m sure that your customers will love having the opportunity to get a peek behind the scenes of their favorite restaurant.

Posted in: Holidays | By Alyssa Burns

February 2016 WebstaurantStore Coupon Code Update

Savings Are In the Air!

Stock up on all the supplies your restaurant needs for Valentine's Day by taking advantage of this month's great deals! Besides the items below on sale with the FEBSALE coupon code, you will find many other items on sale with many other coupon codes if you sign up for our email flyers below. Signing up just takes a few seconds, and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you haven't already, be sure to check out our Instagram sweepstakes for your chance to win a Kitchenaid commercial immersion blender! Contest ends on February 8th, so get your submissions in!

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By Steven Ziegler

Replace Salmon and Tuna with these 5 "Trash" Fish Recipes

Everyone knows how to make meals out of shrimp, tuna, or swordfish, but what about the stuff fishermen catch that isn’t a popular type of seafood? Bycatch, or “trash fish,” is the name for these extras, and they’ve been showing up on menus recently as chefs around the country create delicious dishes from these previously unwanted fish species. Restaurants like The Refinery in Tampa, FL and the Momofuku Ssäm Bar in NYC have already jumped on board with some of their specials. If you think this sustainable practice is right for your business, here are a few recipes to get you started.

1. Pollock

Atlantic or European Pollock (not to be confused with Alaskan Pollock, which is a completely different fish) is often marketed as an alternative to cod due to its similar taste and texture. It’s been consumed all over the world in a multitude of ways, but due to its grayish coloring, it’s usually breaded in some way. This recipe for beer-battered fish and chips is a great lunchtime or dinner staple, especially when served with tartar sauce.

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2. Triggerfish

With a leathery outer skin that can be difficult to cut and a large head that takes up most of the body, triggerfish have been considered “trash” for years. They’re hard to clean, but totally worth it. With a meaty texture and a sweet, rich taste, they're amazing with capers, white wine, and lemon flavors. Triggerfish is sure to be your next go-to summertime dinner special.

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3. Lionfish

Lionfish are a carnivorous species with no natural predators, so their population tends to be higher than their habitat can handle. That makes for the perfect option for a sustainable, eco-friendly meal! Lionfish has a delicate flavor and a texture similar to grouper. This sandwich recipe combines a simple mixture of herbs, homemade caper cole slaw, and a cumin-lime creme fraiche for a light, zesty appetizer or lunch special.

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4. Sheepshead

Sheepshead, also known as convict fish, are easily recognizable by their large, human-like teeth, which are used for crushing shellfish, and the black stripes running down the side of its body. It can be difficult to clean, so it’s usually passed over. However, the meat inside is moist, firm, and sweet like shellfish. It also absorbs many of the flavors it's cooked with, making it a versatile ingredient. In this recipe, the fish is sauteed and paired with a white wine tomato sauce.

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5. Sea Robin

These bottom feeders no longer have to be bottom-of-the-barrel. Sea robins, or gurnards, have a firm, white meat that tends to hold together well. It’s popular in Europe in soups and stews, like the French bouillabaisse. This soup is simple fare that’s great with a slice of hearty bread in any style of restaurant.

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So, whether you want to serve up a classic fish and chips lunch or an elegant seafood dinner, there’s no reason you shouldn’t use sustainable seafood options. Popular fish like salmon, tuna, and grouper are being overfished, making them more endangered and more expensive. Bycatch is just as good, less expensive, and more sustainable, so the choice is easy. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s dinner.

Posted in: Green Products | By Alyssa Burns

Ways to Improve Your Restaurant's Coffee Service

It’s no secret that coffee is an integral part of daily routines everywhere, but for some, a plain cup of joe simply won’t cut it. Specialty coffee drinks and brewing methods are more popular than ever, so if your establishment serves coffee, you might want to consider offering something more than just decaf and regular. We’ve put together a list of tips that can help you to step up your coffee service, so you can keep your customers caffeinated and happy.

Consider Your Capabilities

Before you make major changes to your coffee service, it is important to consider your establishment’s capabilities, as well as your customers’ needs. If you run a convenience store that only sells a few cups of coffee per day, you probably don’t need to install an espresso machine and offer options that rival the coffee shop down the block. However, if you run a sit-down restaurant with a breakfast service, you could benefit from offering a range of options. If you’re thinking about making a change, but you’re not sure what your customers would like to see, try giving them a short survey to find out firsthand.

Keep Your Coffee Equipment Clean

A simple way to make sure that your coffee tastes better is to keep your coffee equipment extra clean. When coffee is brewed, it leaves oil and residue on the inside of the machine, which can give future brews a bitter taste. Try using Klearly Koffee to keep your airpots and decanters free of foul-tasting buildup, and check out our article for a step-by-step walkthrough on how to clean a coffee maker.

Bring the Coffee Maker to the Table

A French press provides a very inexpensive method for brewing coffee. They make a delicious, gritty cup because the grounds steep directly in the water before they are filtered out. These serve 2-3 people at a time, and they allow you to bring delicious fresh coffee to your customers’ tables. Similarly, a Chemex coffee maker allows coffee to brew directly at the table, but it won’t have as strong a flavor due to the use of a paper filter. Both are easy to use, and are sure to be appreciated by coffee connoisseurs.

Invest in Espresso

Purchasing an espresso machine is a big investment, but adding one to your coffee service increases the amount of drinks you can offer significantly. If breakfast service is a big part of your business, you should consider adding espresso to your offerings. If dinner is your busiest meal, you probably don’t need to offer more than just regular drip coffee.

Learn the Art of Specialty Drinks

If you’ve made an investment in an espresso machine, it’s important that you or your employees know how to use it properly. This way, you can pull perfect espresso shots that can be served alone or in specialty drinks. For detailed information on specialty coffee drinks and how to make them, check out this article.

Use the Proper Coffee Grounds

Different coffee makers all require different sized grounds, so be sure to get the best tasting cup of coffee from your specific machine by using the correct size. French presses require coarse grounds, Chemex brewers use medium-coarse, standard drip pots need a medium grind, and espresso machines use a very fine grind.

Whether you're looking to add new drinks to your menu, or you simply want to spice up your coffee service with a few inexpensive presses, these tips are sure to help you appeal to coffee snobs and casual drinkers alike.

Posted in: Coffee Shop Supplies | By Sabrina Bomberger
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