November 2014 WebstaurantStore Coupon Code Update

Thanksgiving is coming! Are you going to prepare your holiday bird the old fashioned way, or will you try something more daring, like deep frying? You’ll be glad to know that our November 2014 Coupon Code Update features one of our most popular Backyard Pro Turkey Fryers. If you do fry your turkey, make sure you do it safely. Spend a few minutes watching our “How to Deep Fry a Turkey” video first, and don’t forget your safety equipment! One more word of advice: make sure you sign up for our emails so that you can take advantage of our Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials!

Use Coupon Code: NOVSALE
Posted in: Restaurant Equipment | By Steven Ziegler

Winter is Coming: Preparing Your Restaurant for Another Big Freeze

Snow Covered Cars

When it comes to profits in the foodservice industry, every winter is the winter of discontent. Sales drop because of the cold weather and sudden snowfall, two factors that wound up keeping many potential customers indoors from January to March 2014 and causing nation-wide restaurant traffic to decline by a full 1%.

According to overall studies, the foodservice industry hit a low in January during a major dip in sales from December to February. In December alone, the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index, which is a measurement of how America's restaurant industry is doing as a whole, dropped 0.6%, reflecting a sizable and sudden loss in sales. While this could've been devastating to the foodservice industry's annual performance, it actually recovered — and then it even expanded, year-over-year.

Delivery

To get through those trying months, many foodservice businesses decided to get creative. Instituting delivery systems quickly became one of the most popular ways to make up for lost revenue, as delivery orders increased by 4% around the beginning of 2014. The ingenuity of these businesses proved that you can have a bad winter, but still have a great year.

Today, with November just around the bend, it's time to brace yourself for winter so that you can have a chance at maintaining numbers in the black. While this is important every year, it's especially important this year, which is supposed to bring a winter even worse than the last.

Snow Storm

In the event of heavy snowfall and a loss of customer traffic, the best ideas will be those that strike a balance between maintaining a cash flow and keeping your employees safe. Sending a car is the most obvious answer, but it could be dangerous when snow is still falling. Instead, delivery on foot can be a great choice for urban locations where people live in close proximity to one another. If you're out in the countryside, consider investing in a snowmobile or other all-terrain vehicle so your employees can still deliver before roads have been plowed. And while that may sound like an impractical idea, there's a Pizzeria in Michigan that delivers on jet skis, so the sky's the limit with alternatives to traditional delivery systems.

Snowy Deck

But while delivery is an excellent idea for taking in money, it's important to recognize the difference between winter weather making people feel like they want to stay home, as opposed to physically keeping them there. For the latter scenario, it's best not to have any delivery at all to reduce the risk that an employee can become injured while on the job. It might hurt a little when your sales begin to dip, but as the statistics show, you can more than make up for it in the coming months.

Posted in: Features | By Christopher Zook

How to Make a Pumpkin Keg

Whether you're looking to add a seasonal centerpiece to your bar this Halloween or simply want a fun, fresh way of dispensing beverages at your holiday-themed events, you can't go wrong with a pumpkin keg. This video shows you how to quickly and easily create your own beverage or beer keg from your garden variety pumpkin so you can dispense cider or everyone's favorite pumpkin beer in style this fall!

Posted in: Holidays | By Brandon Lesko

The Importance of Ingredient Transparency

In the opening scene of the television comedy Portlandia, actors Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein sit at a table in a restaurant and look over a menu. When the server comes to take their orders, they seem happy enough — and then the questions begin.

Peanut Butter Nutrition

They start innocently at first — just a couple queries about the ingredients — before exploding into a wild caricature of overly-concerned diners whose desire for the humane treatment of livestock overrides their hunger, pushing them to ridiculous lengths to figure out if a restaurant's meat comes from an ethical farm.

And while this is a grossly hyperbolized vision of reality, like most comedy it carries a kernel of truth.

Ingredient transparency is one of the largest emerging trends in the foodservice industry. More and more, customers want to know where their food came from, whether it's organic, how fresh it is, and how the livestock was treated. Customers typically like proof or an endorsement that foods are locally sourced, organic, and cage-free while using minimal preservatives, even if it winds up costing them a little more.

The movement has gained so much steam, in fact, that major chains like Chipotle have published interactive ingredients statements online, to the extent where, in addition to all of their positive press, they also list foods that contain GMOs, hydrogenated oils, and preservatives — foods that conscientious eaters try to avoid.

Chipotle ingredients list

Other companies have come out with an ingredients statement as well due to consumer demand. However, there's no standardized template for one, so you can find everything from basic listings, like with KFC, to the extensively detailed, like Cold Stone Creamery.

Healthy Heart

In general, listing the nitty-gritty of the ingredients you use isn't always necessary — but it is helpful. With food allergy awareness at an all-time high, it's at least a good idea to inform customers which of your foods includes hot-button additives like gluten, nuts, and other foods that could elicit a strong allergic reaction.

Whether you run a corner café that has a handful of regulars or a cafeteria that serves hundreds, informing your customers about the food they're eating can only help your reputation. Naturally, it's better to tip the scales a little in your favor, creating something that mostly shows the positive aspects of your foods along with a few notes about ingredients that contain GMOs, fats, or allergens. Even with a couple negative notes, listing ingredients not only helps your customers make the best choices for their diets, but it also helps them remember who you are and the dedication you have to honesty, establishing a firm and lasting trust.

Posted in: Consumables | By Christopher Zook
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