Equipment

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ACityDiscount - Restaurant Equipment and Restaurant Supply
  • 24 Sep 2013 3:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    ACityDiscount

    Norcross, GA - Family owned and operated restaurant equipment dealer, ACityDiscount, announced Monday that they will be incorporating Amazon Payments into their website’s checkout process, as well as on their mobile platform. This form of payment is effective immediately, as the benefits for the end user outweigh the need for a formal rollout. Email campaigns and further notifications with limited-time incentives are to follow this new, secure online payment method.

    Amazon Payment’s infrastructure speeds up the customer checkout process by exporting a customer’s existing shipping, billing and credit card information securely from their existing Amazon account. This promotes a more secure environment online, and further protects consumers against fraudulent purposes. ACityDiscount expects this new installation to not only bolster security on their website, but to create a potentially wider customer base which includes those with reservations about purchasing online.

    About ACityDiscount
    ACityDiscount is a Restaurant Equipment Supplier in its 40th year based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Specializing in new and used equipment, ACityDiscount also offers a large selection of commercial smallwares, restaurant furniture, and décor. Now a third generation company, ACityDiscount has been providing customers, local and nationwide, with quality restaurant equipment since it was opened by Bill Stack in 1973. The company has grown exponentially in its 40 years of operation, and now has a 70,000 square foot facility in Norcross, GA under the leadership of Bill’s son, John Stack (CEO), and his grandson, Marty Stack (VP).


  • 23 Sep 2013 11:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Provided by ACityDiscount

    Cookware is an incredibly important piece of a functional cook line, but there are a number of subtleties that differentiate one piece of cookware from another. What may seem like small details from the outside, however, will actually significantly affect the performance and functionality. For this reason, it is important to know what you are getting into when beginning to shop for cookware. Bear the following tips in mind when stocking up your restaurant on the pots and pans you need.

    1. Know The Materials: Cookware is available constructed from a number of various materials, each of which has its own unique properties.
    • Aluminum – One of the most common varieties of commercial cookware, aluminum cookware is a great conductor of heat, and relatively inexpensive. Anodized aluminum pans have a naturally non-reactive outer layer, and are great for cooking all sorts of food. Aluminum is such a good conductor it is often used as the core of many pans constructed from other metals, however it cannot be used with induction cooking equipment.
    • Carbon Steel – Carbon steel cookware is often hand crafted, and must be seasoned prior to use. It does not heat as evenly as many other varieties of cookware, however it can be preferable in instances that this uneven cooking is desired (such as wok cooking). Carbon steel can be used with induction cooking equipment.
    • Stainless Steel – Stainless steel cookware is very durable, corrosion resistant and non-reactive. Stainless steel is not the best conductor of heat, so often times manufacturers will add a core of copper or aluminum to aid in the transfer of heat from burners. Stainless steel induction cookware, however, will not have this core.
    • Cast Iron – Cast iron cookware retains heat incredibly well, and like carbon steel, must be seasoned before cooking. It is very heavy duty, and heats evenly once at temperature, although it takes an extended time to heat up. Cast iron cookware is not dishwasher safe, reacts with acidic foods, and rusts easily, so it should not be used in instances where versatile cookware is necessary.
    • Copper – Copper is one of the best heat conductors, however it is a very reactive metal. The interior of most copper cookware is coated with tin to provide a non-reactive surface for cooking, and occasionally will require “re-tinning” to extend the life of the cookware. Copper cookware is relatively expensive, and is not necessarily the first choice of high volume commercial operations.
    • Non-Stick – Aluminum and steel cookware can often be purchased with an available non-stick Teflon or ceramic coating. These pieces of cookware were developed to reduce the use of oils and fats, while simultaneously preventing food from cooking onto the metal. Non-stick cookware is a viable option for commercial kitchens, however it must be NSF approved for use.
    • Enamel Coated – There are a number manufacturers that produce heavy duty enamel coated cookware. Traditionally, enamel coated pieces are made of cast iron or carbon steel, and the enamel coating is used as a way to extend the life of these easily corroded metals. Often times these types of cookware are items that are used both as cookware and bakeware (such as Dutch ovens).
    • Glass, Ceramic, etc. – There are various pieces of cookware that are created from glass, ceramic, or even things like clay. The fragility of these items often keeps them out of commercial kitchens, though there are some instances in ethnic restaurants that will feature them for specific dishes.
    2. Know What You Need: Every kitchen has a wealth of various cookware needs for BOH operations. Before shopping for cookware, take a hard look at every menu item and potential menu item that may be prepared in your kitchen. Not every kitchen will need the same pieces of cookware to operate. High volume catering operations, for instance, will have different cookware needs than an operation such as an Asian eatery that cooks primarily with a wok. Know the specific pieces you are going to need to cook, and try to ballpark the number of each piece your business will need during rush periods.

    3. Know What Size Will Suit: Every piece of cookware comes in a number of different sizes. Sauté pans, stock pots, braising pans, saucepans etc. have a wide array of available capacities and diameters, and these different configurations are meant for different uses. Different sized pieces of cookware are intended for not only different volumes, but different purposes as well. Selecting properly sized cookware is essential to not only reduce energy costs, but also to prevent improper heating (and waste) of food product.

    4. Get A Handle On It: Pieces of cookware are affixed with any number of different handles, and though many are intended to do the same thing (stay cool during cooking), they do so in different ways. Typically, the variety of handle chosen is a matter of preference. Each cookware manufacturer will offer a number of handle options for their varying product lines; some with a rubber handles and others that are just metal. Often times higher end cookware will rivet the handles in place more securely, so be weary of how tightly handles are attached when purchasing economy models.

    5. Don’t Forget The Lid!: More often than not, lids are not included when purchasing commercial cooking equipment. In many commercial operations lids are not necessary, as most cooking is done on the line and doesn’t require slow cooking. Business owners should be aware of the specific pieces they will be using to slow cook (such as stock pots, or saucepans) and be sure to buy lids for these pieces of cookware when shopping.
  • 14 Aug 2013 12:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    As a certified ENERGY STAR® Partner, ACityDiscount proudly offers a wide selection of energy and water efficient equipment. It is no secret that these pieces will save businesses significantly on their utility expenditures, but there are some other incentives that businesses can cash in on besides lower bills. There are a number of states that offer rebates for foodservice operations that purchase qualifying pieces of energy efficient equipment, and Georgia is one of them (for information on other states that offer energy rebates, click here). Here is a list of the foodservice equipment that qualifies in Georgia, and the associated rebates.

    Electric Griddles: Electric griddles are becoming more and more common place in commercial environments, especially with the advent of induction griddles. As electric griddles become more efficient, they are becoming better suited for commercial kitchens, and Georgia Power has created incentives to push businesses in this direction. Each electric griddle purchased that is 70% efficient or greater (tested in accordance with ASTM F175) qualifies for a $25 rebate.

    Electric Deep Fryers: Many foodservice operations, especially smaller restaurants and concession stands, opt to limit their gas use and purchase electric fryers. Many of these smaller businesses purchase countertop fryers, which are primarily manufactured to run on electricity (though there are some countertop gas fryers out there, most are electric). Both countertop and floor model electric fryers purchased can qualify for a $75 rebate per vat, as long as they are ENERGY STAR® certified.

    Commercial Dishwashers: Commercial dishwashers are some of the biggest energy bandits in a commercial kitchen. Dishwashers are on the entire time a business is open, and are constantly operating to facilitate cleaning not only FOH, but BOH equipment, tools and utensils as well. After installing an efficient, ENERGY STAR® certified dishwasher, businesses can qualify a $250 rebate per unit.

    Commercial Refrigerators & Freezers: Commercial refrigerators and freezers are the only pieces of equipment in a commercial foodservice operation that must remain on 24 hours a day. They are the biggest electrical drain on a commercial foodservice operation, especially given the extreme temperatures that commercial kitchens can reach. Businesses that purchase ENERGY STAR® certified refrigerators or freezers can qualify for a $75 rebate per unit.

    Insulated Heating Cabinets: Heating and holding cabinets must hold far more specific temperatures than commercial refrigerators or freezers, as they hold food that must maintain proper serving temperatures. Because of their high intensity energy draw, businesses that purchase ENERGY STAR® certified heating and holding cabinets can qualify for a $200-300 rebate depending on the size of the unit.

    There are additional rebates offered by Georgia Power such as offset kitchen equipment wiring rebates as well. For a complete list of rebates, and more information on these programs, visit the Georgia Power website, and for more information on making your kitchen more energy efficient visit ENERGY STAR®.

  • 05 Jun 2013 9:12 AM | Deleted user
    Hood Systems & Fire Suppression

    Purchasing a commercial exhaust system for a kitchen is incredibly important. Hoods are needed to vent exhaust from gas burning appliances and to vent excess heat generated by equipment, but they can also be used to vent grease exhaust, light up cooking areas, and even act as a fire failsafe. Here are the elements of a traditional exhaust system, and some of the factors to look at while shopping for them:

    Ventilation Hood: The largest piece of a commercial exhaust system is the ventilation hoods. There are two varieties of exhaust hoods, both of which come in wall adjacent and island models:
    Heat Exhaust Hoods – These commercial hoods are intended to vent fumes (or smoke) and equipment that produce high levels of heat. This type of hood is ideal to vent things that cook at high temperatures such as double stack convection ovens or pizza ovens.
    Grease Exhaust Hoods – Grease Hoods vent exhaust and heat much like a heat exhaust hood does, however they feature slotted hood filters that also trap grease, exhaust and soot. These hoods are intended to be placed over griddles, deep fryers, and charbroilers.

     It is important to examine the equipment that will be running in your commercial kitchen while shopping for a commercial hood, not only to be assured it will be vented properly (especially when dealing with equipment that produce greasy exhaust), but also to coincide with national, state, and local ordinances. These ordinances not only decide what pieces of equipment need to be under what variety of hood, but also required certifications (NSF, UL, ETL listings, etc.) and the necessary clearance size. It is often the case that hoods are required to extended past the end of the cooking area by a certain distance. For more information on sizing your hood system properly, check out your county’s restaurant regulations and our RESTAURANT GREASE & HEAT HOOD SIZING GUIDE.

    Exhaust Fan: Every commercial hood system requires a commercial exhaust fan to properly vent a kitchen. These fans can be either mounted on the roof of a building or on a wall, depending on the layout of your kitchen. Exhaust fans vary in power, and traditionally the higher HP units are intended to vent larger kitchens or kitchens with extensive fry banks. There are models that have an upblast or downblast exhaust so they exhaust according to code and to ensure that exhaust is not directed somewhere it should not be (whether it be to avoid a hazardous situation, a make-up air fan, or a neighboring building).

    Make-Up Air Fans: An exhaust fan is constantly drawing air out from a kitchen while it is running, and instances when there is little or no other air circulation, a make-up air fan will be required. A make-up air fan is mounted in the same area as an exhaust fan (usually a roof), and their primary function is to take in air to pump air back into the kitchen. Though they are placed near the exhaust fan, they must be placed in an area that ensures they will not be pumping exhaust through the make-up air channel. This air is pumped down back into the kitchen to create a steady flow of air that works to channel exhaust into the hoods and keep the air in the non-vented areas where it is intended to be. This acts as a bit of an air curtain, and can preserve energy on air-conditioning and restaurant heating.

    Vents / Ducts, Curbs & Caps: Every commercial hood system will require some sort of duct work to be functional. Hoods funnel exhaust through vents, which lead to the exhaust fan and make-up air fans. They have vents that lead back into the kitchen. Both of the vents for the fan units will require a curb where the vents meet the roof / wall, and a cap. This is necessary so that the fan can be affixed directly to the vent. In addition to a normal vent, the make-up air unit will require a fire damper as it would be a fire hazard to project fresh air directly into an area being vented.

    Fire Suppression Systems: It is common, and in some cases mandatory, that commercial exhaust systems be equipped with fire suppression systems. These systems lead from a tank of fire suppressing agent (such as ANSUL or other approved flame retardants) to a series of pipes that end in a series of sprinklers resting above the cooking area. These units can be activated both manually and automatically should their heat sensors be set off. Depending on the kind of equipment you have resting under your hoods, it may be necessary to get a custom high heat fire suppression system as excessive heat from certain types of equipment (such as a wood fired broiler) can trigger the heat sensors on the system. Additionally, it is a must that your tank of fire suppressant be constantly full and regularly checked by certified technicians and / or a fire inspector.

    Lighting: Many exhaust hoods feature lights since it can otherwise be difficult to illuminate the cooking area underneath them. These lights must feature both a socket and a globe that meet any necessary certifications by local ordinances (UL, ETL, etc.). Additionally, the globe must be constructed from the proper materials for the temperature extremes under the hoods. Many of these sockets can double as lighting for a walk-in cooler or freezer, so it is important to ensure that the globes on your lighting are designed to stand up to the heat.
  • 12 Apr 2013 10:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Depending on the operation, a deep fryer can be one of the most heavily used pieces of equipment in a commercial kitchen. When purchasing a fryer, as with any piece of large kitchen equipment, there are several factors to take into account before making your purchase. Before purchasing your fryer, take a look at some of the following pointers:

    What Are The Types Of Fryers?: There are several different types of fryers out on the market, with different intended uses. Aside from choosing the energy source (electric or gas), there are several other fryer genres on the market. Here’s a brief description of the sorts of fryers you will encounter when shopping.

    Tube Style Fryers – Most floor model fryers will fall into this category. They feature tubes which transfer heat to the oil and rest above the bottom of the fry pot, creating a “cold zone”. This allows sediment, crumbs, etc to settle to the bottom of the fry pot without scorching. This makes them slightly harder to clean than open fry pots just because of the folds and crevices inside of the fry pot, however the oil often lasts much longer, and there is significantly less burned on debris to clean.
    Open Pot & Flat Bottom Fryers – Open pot and flat bottom fryers are heated externally. The fry pot is directly heated, which then heats the oil. Though they are easy to empty, the direct heating process can scorch debris and dirty the oil. These fryers are typically used with foods than don’t create much debris like lightly breaded or battered fish, or things like donuts or funnel cakes. The main difference between an open pot and a flat bottom fryer are the way they drain. An open pot fryer is shaped similar to a tube fryer so the oil funnels downward to its drain, but a flat bottom is literally just that; flat on the bottom.
    Countertop Fryers – Countertop fryers can fit into any of the three aforementioned categories, as there are tube style, open pot, and flat bottom fryers that come in countertop models. Though they are usually smaller, some may hold up to around 30-35 lbs. of oil, which is comparable to a small floor model fryer.
    Rack Fryers – Rack fryers are usually open pot or flat bottom fryers that submerge several racks into the fry pot at one time to be cooked. There are used for cooking large quantities of a single variety of food, such as large quantities of donuts or fried chicken.
    Ventless Fryers – For the most part, fryers require ventilation, as they produce liquid grease exhaust when they are cooking. There are a few models out on the market that are fully enclosed, and contain an internal air filtration system that exhausts steam.

    What Type of Fryer Controls Are There?: There are several different ways to control your fryers. They can be made as sophisticated or simple as users prefer, depending on the operation they are fitting into. Here’s a list of the variety of fryer controls you’ll see.

    Millivolt Controls – The most common control switch for a fryer is the standard millivolt. It can be found on only gas fryers, as it controls the gas flow manually, and feeds the appropriate amount of gas to the standing pilot to raise the oil to the proper temperature. It does not directly measure the temperature of the oil so it may be read externally; however, it will turn the burners off when it has reached temperature, and on when it drops below its intended temperature range. It does not require an additional power source.
    SolidState Control – This electric control can be found on both gas and electric fryers. It requires a separate electric power source on gas models, but usually comes standard on electric fryers. A solid state control actually measures the temperature of the oil, and will keep the oil within a degree or two of the temperature it is set to. They also often feature a melt setting for fryers filled with lard or solid fat, and a boil out setting for cleaning.
    Digital Controls – The digital control is similar to the Solid State control, however, rather than a dial, these feature a digital display. They will usually also feature a built-in timer to keep track of cook times. They require additional power when added to a gas fryer.
    Computer Controls – For the most part, a computer control is used to control areas with multiple temperatures, basket lifts, and can store different cook settings in their memory bank. They are traditionally used to control fry banks that are made up of several fryers (see below).

    What Is The Right Size Fryer?: It can be hard to determine how much fryer is the right amount. There are fryers that hold around 5 lbs. of oil, and there are fryers that hold over 200 lbs. of oil; a range which can be a bit troublesome for some shoppers. Take the following into consideration before selecting a fat capacity:

    How Much Food Will Be Fried? – This is a twofold question. Look at how many various food items on your menu will be coming from the fryer, and look at the expected volumes / portions they will be fried at. For example, a restaurant that’s only fryer need is to cook French fries for its small or moderate lunch rushes will require a much smaller fryer than a bar that has numerous items coming from the fry unit. However, if that same lunch restaurant starts serving French fries along with every menu item, it would need more fryer space, but not necessarily more fryers.
    How Many Baskets? – One deciding factor to look at when choosing a fryer is how many baskets can be held. Most fryers have options as to how many basket configurations they offer, but more often than not a fryer will only fit 1, 2, or 3 baskets (with 3 baskets usually being in larger fryers). Essentially, a fryer basket should only be filled with things that have the same cook time and won’t cross contaminate before cooking (the hot oil kills anything it touches once the food is submerged and brought to temperature). The need for more baskets should be proportionate to the amount of fryer items on the menu / fryer rush sizes.
    Is A Fry Bank A Better Idea? – Restaurants with high volume fry needs traditionally invest in fry banks. A fry bank is a series of connected fryers that are usually controlled from one central computer or station. They can be programmed with different cook timers, heats, and settings to minimize fry times, and free up space during rushes. Fry banks are essential in fast food and many chain restaurants, and can actually help lower food costs. The basket lifts and timers prevent food from burning by lifting them at proper times. Fry banks are customizable, and can, however, be purchased with any of the standard controls, with different size fryers, and without basket lifts if desired.
    Do I Need A Fryer With A Filter? – Some larger fryers come with filters. Higher capacity fryers usually should be purchased with built-in filters, or one should be bought as an accessory, as high volume frying produces significant debris. This debris clouds oil that would otherwise still be usable, and a filter extends the life of high volume oil significantly. In smaller fryers they are not usually as important. By the time debris and fryer sediment become an issue the oil has usually reached its life expectancy.

  • 07 Jan 2013 4:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Reach-in coolers and freezers take on many forms in both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house operations, and each one can be indispensable to the functionality of a business. There are several varieties of commercial refrigerators that are intended to serve their purpose in different facets of a business. Here is a list of the most common commercial refrigerators and freezers seen in both, and some tips to take into consideration when shopping:

    Solid Door Reach-In Coolers & Freezers: The most common unit for back of the house (BOH) storage, solid door reach-in coolers and freezers are used to store items to save employees trips to the walk-in, as well as in lieu of having a walk-in. The largest and best insulated coolers and freezers outside of a walk-in, these units are some of the most common units in the restaurant business. Most of the factors used to determine the perfect solid door reach-in also apply to all other reach-ins as well. You should keep the following in mind when searching out a reach-in:
    Space – First and foremost, as with every other purchase of large equipment, it is important to ensure your new reach-in will fit. Solid door reach-ins can be rather bulky, and must be able to not only fit in their designated space, but also into a doorway.
    Other Available Refrigeration – The size and necessity of a solid door reach-in will relate directly to the other available refrigeration space. An over sized reach-in cooler, for example, would not necessarily be needed if a large walk-in cooler is present and there is other refrigerated storage on hand (undercounter units or the like). In most instances, overly large reach-in coolers (and especially freezers) are used in either high volume operations, or when there is no walk-in space available.
    Top / Bottom Mounted Refrigeration – Reach-ins are made with either a top mounted or bottom mounted refrigeration unit. Both varieties have pros and cons. Bottom mounted units are often easier to service should there be condenser issues, and their condensers operate low in the kitchen, away from much of the heat and grease. Top mounted units often have more available storage space, and since their condenser exhaust stays above the air it is cooling, they can often stay cooler.
    Doors – Many reach-ins come with a variety door options, including split doors, field reversible doors, as well as a hinge option. These door options can be incredibly important, as doors can almost double the depth of a cooler when open. It is important to make sure your cooler or freezer’s door is aligned to maximize available space, and not obstruct critical areas.
    Necessary Certifications – Many health departments require that coolers meet NSF or UL certifications in order to pass inspection. Make sure you know your needs, and whether or not the models you are looking at meet these requirements.
    Temperature Range – Different coolers and freezers have different ranges, so it is important to read the specs of a particular model you are looking at to make sure this range is adequate. In addition, there are some combination units that have both cooler and freezers in them, which can save space and the need to make an additional purchase.
    Electricity – Though most solid door reach-ins operate on a standard 115V circuit, it is important to make sure the model you are looking at operates on the electrical line you are using. It is not uncommon to see reach-ins that are 208V. Wattage and efficiency are other features to keep in mind, as refrigerators are perpetually using electricity when they are turned on, and a large reach-in can use a hefty amount of electricity in a hot kitchen.

    Glass Door Merchandising Coolers & Freezers: Though their glass doors don’t insulate quite as well as that of a solid door, these reach-ins are the best fit to operations that are marketing refrigerated or frozen goods to consumers. The aforementioned solid door reach-in tips still apply to glass door merchandising coolers and freezers, but since there are additional options, there are a few extra factors to look at when picking one out:
    Color – Often times glass door merchandisers come in different colors, so make a point to know (if there are options) which exterior would fit best in your operation.
    Lighting – There are glass door merchandisers that come with or without interior lighting. This is important depending on the lighting of your business, it is essential to have marketed products visible for customers. Many glass door reach-ins have begun lighting their interiors with LED lights, which provide high efficiency, high lumen light.
    Display Signs – Some merchandisers come with a top mounted illuminated display. Some companies have standard signs that come with these units and others can even custom make designs to cater to a customers needs.
    Doors – Glass door merchandisers come with either hinged or sliding glass doors. Though hinged doors are more common, and traditionally less expensive, sliding glass doors are convenient when space is a concern.

    Undercounter & Worktop Reach-Ins: Undercounter solid door reach-ins are designed to fit under a work surface or fit in areas that would otherwise not accommodate a large refrigerator. They are NOT intended to be used as work surfaces. Worktop reach-ins are undercounter units that have a specially designed work surface built onto their top so they may be used for food prep. These units have many of the same options as traditional solid door reach-ins, and many of the same factors should be examined. Size is incredibly important when searching for the perfect worktop or undercounter refrigerators, as they tend to be filling small gaps in a kitchen.

    Sandwich & Pizza Prep Units: Food prep refrigerators such as pizza and sandwich prep units are a largely important in most line kitchens. These prep refrigerators have a traditional undercounter cooler mounted underneath them, but also feature a refrigerated countertop to keep cold food product on hand. On top of the standard solid door reach-ins tips mentioned above, bear the following in mind (**please note many of these are for sandwich prep units as pizza units are fairly standardized):
    Sandwich Prep v. Pizza Prep – Pizza prep units are usually the larger of the two main varieties of prep refrigerators. They are traditionally taller, and are significantly deeper; this additional depth allows for a larger cutting board and worktop area for prepping larger pizzas. Sandwich prep units have narrower work areas, but can have a deeper refrigerated counter area to store more ingredients.
    Pan Configuration – Sandwich prep units often come with a variety of different configuration options for their refrigerated counter. These options should be closely examined, especially in instances where certain food products can’t fit in a 1/6 pan.
    Lid – Some sandwich prep units come with a handful of different hinged lid options. Some can be purchased with single or dual lids, and some can even equipped with a dual sided lid so the refrigerated countertop can be accessed from both sides.
  • 06 Dec 2012 2:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    As reported by Restaurant-Hospitality.com, a foodservice consulting firm, Technomic has weighed in on what they think the 10 biggest food trends for 2013 will be (check out the article here). For some restaurateurs it is important to stay ahead of the game when it comes to food trends, so they will no doubt start shopping to keep up before the New Year begins. Here are those 10 trends, and some of the utensils, equipment, etc. to bear in mind when starting to shop around.

    1. Veggie-Centric Dishes – More and more vegetables are becoming the centerpiece of restaurant dishes. As the country grows more health conscious, an influx of “obscure” vegetables are starting to become common place on menus. Root vegetables like beets and jicama, bulb veggies like fennel and bok choy, and gourds like spaghetti and acorn squash have been appearing on menus a lot lately, and this list will no doubt increase drastically in the coming year (as meat prices continue to rise). Vegetable preparation for all dishes requires great cutlery and a proper vegetable peeler, and most operations tend to prep their vegetables with manual (or in some higher volume operations, automatic) vegetable choppers and slicers. Veggie prep tools such as these ensure consistent slices, dices, and other cuts on vegetables so cooks can make their magic on the plate. This consistency is especially important in vegetarian dishes, as there is no protein to draw a customer’s eye. Some kitchens have even begun to experiment with these prep tools; for example, using a French fry cutter on other root vegetables to get specific cuts (like curly Q beets).
    2. Grain Variety - As gluten-free menu options become increasingly important and people move away from eating wheat, a number of other grains are starting to replace it on menus. Dishes like polenta (traditionally made from cornmeal) and risotto (a rice dish) have been increasingly popular as entrées and sides, but there are a number of other grains that have asserted themselves as viable menu candidates. Bulgur, quinoa, oats, and a wide variety of rice are just some of the grains beginning to pop up on menus, and some restaurants have even started making pasta and dough from grains other than wheat. These doughs require a quality dough mixer, a pasta sheeter / sheeter attachment (for pasta), dough boxes (for pizza dough), and most other traditional baking essentials. For operations that plan on just preparing those grains, rice cookers or steamers may be the best way to prepare large volumes of grains for cooking (depending on the recipe and volume), and mobile ingredient bins may be the best way to store them.
    3. Chicken Surprise – Chicken, unlike most other meat, has stayed around the same price, and consumers are starting to see an influx of innovative chicken dishes on menus. Though newly inspired versions of Southern fried chicken are growing in popularity, the versatility of this protein gives chefs far more flexibility as to how it can be prepared. Ethnic chicken dishes have been increasingly popular, and chicken will continue to appear on menus in some way, shape or form. Menu offering such as chicken shawarma will require a gyro broiler, high volume fried chicken operations will require commercial fryers (any fryer that can accommodate large amounts of sediment; usually rack or chicken / fish fryers) and filters to extend the life of oil, and all operations will need proper cutlery. Pieces including cleavers and flexible boning knives make cleaning poultry significantly easier, and are a necessity when prepping large volumes of chicken.
    4. Snacking – Restaurants and food purveyors have had to adapt to a customer base that is increasingly in more and more of a hurry. People are sitting down for meals less, and snacking periodically throughout the day more often. To accommodate their needs, there has been an influx of entrepreneurs investing in food trucks and carts. Additionally, brick and mortar restaurants have started offering lunch and snack style portions to keep up with their mobile counterparts. Food trucks and carts providing snacks will require a number of pieces of equipment that can be easily powered on the go (which makes LP one of the most sensible fuels). But possibly the most important tools when creating snack sized portions are measuring utensils and scales, for they help cooks portion the smaller sized menu items accurately.
    5. Value-As-Volume – Though constantly snacking people are less apt to dine out for casual meals, there has been an increase in group dining. People are eating out collectively more often, and this has led to a spike in multi-course and family style dinner deals. Some restaurants have even started to offer a “Today & Tomorrow” special that allows customers to order an entrée and take another with them to-go. When working with large quantities, items such as food warmers, refrigeration, and storage containers are key to keeping food at the proper conditions before and after cooking. To-go specials like the aforementioned special will require both extra food storage and storage for to-go containers, and any multi-course or family style restaurant will need to ensure they have adequate tableware to meet the needs of their menu.
    6. Diner & Deli Food – Foodies are becoming a bit nostalgic, and the traditional foods found in American diners and delis are becoming popular once again. Brunch is becoming a weekend mainstay at establishments all over the country, and sandwiches are making a come back on the foodie scene. There are a number of larger pieces of equipment prominently featured in producing these pieces of edible Americana, and among them are: a (durable) griddle, high volume coffee brewers, a heavy duty meat / cheese slicer, panini presses, and, of course, a refrigerated deli case for meats, cheeses, or refrigerated desserts such as pie.
    7. Noodle Shop Food - The “Asian Fusion” craze has continued to make its presence felt in modern American cuisine, and as a result, noodle shop style dishes have become an up-and-coming craze. Noodle dishes featuring Ramen, soba, rice, and udon noodles are starting to appear all over American cities, even at mobile food trucks and carts. These noodles are made from a number of various grains (opposed to the traditional semolina pasta), including rice and buckwheat, and are traditionally served with any number of vegetables, spices, broths, and meat (though there will almost always be a broth or sauce). For shops that plan on serving any number of these noodles and making them from scratch, the following equipment should be found in your kitchen: a dough mixer, a dough sheeter, a wooden prep table (or a large wooden cutting board), a proper cutting knife (these noodles have a variety of specific cutting tools, such as the Udon kiri or the Soba kiri), a stock pot range or kettle (to bring noodles to temperature), as well as steam wells / soup warmers to keep the accompanying broth heated (for hot dishes).
    8. South American Cuisine – South American cuisine has, as of late, started to come on as a major food trend. Though South American cuisine contains some elements of Mexican, Portuguese, and Spanish cuisine, it is significantly different than all, and is full of indigenous foods and spices like plantains, chimichurri and ceviche. There is tremendous variety in regional South American cuisine, but some of the most common dishes feature grilled meats, which will require a charbroiler, and in some instances, specialty broilers (like a kebab broiler). Cutlery is also incredibly important for dishes like ceviche (which consists of precisely cut pieces of fish and seafood) or preparing traditional Brazilian feijoada, which may require crock pots / soup warmers. You many also need deep fryers to cook higher volumes of Peruvian papa rellena or empanadas.
    9. Global Fast Casual – Street food purveyors have been offering up a wide variety of globally inspired menu items that have been snagging a number of customers from many fast casual establishments. So, as a result, fast casual concepts have been incorporating a number of regional foods that have been trending in the food world. For instance, fast casual Greek and Mediterranean restaurants have been increasingly popular, Mexican fast casual has cemented a foothold in the business (especially chains), and even traditional fast casual restaurants have started to infuse dishes that draw influence from all over the world. Though this can be a great way to expand a menu, it is important to selectively add things that don’t require extensive retooling of a kitchen. Wok ranges, dough sheeters, panini presses, and even smokers (for those incorporating BBQ or Southern influences) are among the list of equipment needed for some regional foods, but it should be noted as to what kitchen adjustments must be made for every added menu item.
    10. Back Bar Upswing – Some restaurants have found a way to change their menu significantly without even touching the food. The “shot of Jager” customer mentality that has plagued many alcohol purveyors is (very) slowly falling to the wayside. People are starting to take pride in what / where they drink, and are more apt to order top shelf than they used to be. The craft brew trend has continued to grow, along with beer and food pairings, but so has the demand for good wine, spirits, and above all, cocktails. Aside from having an in-house mixologist and / or sommelier, to provide customers with upscale drinks your operation will need: beer dispensing coolers / a draft line, wine tap lines or wine racks and traditional wine utensils (corkscrew, felt ring, etc.), proper glassware (for cocktails, high gravity beers, wine, etc.), and of course a whole host of smallwares including cocktail shakers, citrus zesters, liquor dispensers, and glasswashers.
  • 19 Nov 2012 3:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Configuring a dining & bar area for a restaurant is not as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of different factors that go into planning, as just dropping a few chairs and tables anywhere will not suffice. There are a number of things one should examine closely before finalizing floor plans and making final purchases. Variables come in all shapes and sizes, and dining rooms require much forethought. Here are a few things that should be taken into consideration when shopping for bar / restaurant furniture, and when putting together a floor plan for your dining area.

    Décor: Décor is important when choosing the style and design of furniture like booths, tables, and chairs, but it can also factor into your intended floor plan. For example, a chain restaurant or sports bar that has a hodgepodge of found items on the walls may need wider wall tables and booths than something a bit more minimalist. Sure, you would like to get the smaller table because it’s cheaper, but how will your customers feel when that tuba hanging from the wall keeps them from having a conversation? Conversely, the furniture you choose must be able to fit the specifications needed in a number of categories, not just the décor. It’s great if you find elegant booths that match perfectly, but if they are too large, they will limit the number of people being sat, and can increase wait times.

    Floor Plan / Dining Area Layout: Let’s face it, no two restaurants have identical dining and bar areas. Layout becomes essential when configuring your dining area.

    First off, the placement of the hostess stand is incredibly important, as it is the first thing patrons are greeted with upon entering. There needs to be a proper hostess stand, as well as an adequately sized waiting area for busy periods. Different restaurants will have different rush sizes; the expected turnover times for tables and number of waiting guests must be taken into consideration. For example, a restaurant right next to a theatre will most likely have a rush before plays, and may have large numbers of guests that are in a hurry.
    Secondly, the bar area has to be taken into consideration. An adequately sized bar can not only seat diners and bar patrons, but it can also serve as a waiting area for customers waiting for tables. Additionally, bear in mind that servers will be traveling back and forth to the bar area for drinks. There must be a pathway to a section of the bar exclusively for servers to get drinks so your employees do not have to shout over customers in a rush.
    Third, and possibly most important, is access to your kitchen, expedite station, and registers. Servers and bussers are constantly in motion during a busy shift, not only carrying food and plates, but drinks, add-ons (extra sauces, napkins, etc.), and the check as well. A dining room configuration must flow; easy passage for servers and customers is essential when you have a full house. It can reduce wait times, increase table turnover rates, and even reduce overhead costs by limiting collisions, dropped food, and damaged plates.
    Finally, a patio or an outdoor dining area must also fit into the plans if your restaurant has one. A patio can nearly double seating, and encourage more foot traffic on sunny days, however, it is only a temporary extension of your dining area. Sure, it adds extra seating on the nice days, but when it is raining or cold, what happens when the customers keep coming in? Additionally, those chairs and tables will be taking up a significant amount of extra storage space when they aren’t being used, so be sure to have a place in mind for them during the winter months.


    Customer Traffic: Realistic customer expectations must be determined before configuring a dining room. This can be hard to do for new restaurants, but it nonetheless plays a critical role in minimizing wait times and increasing table turnover.

    The number of patrons must be maximized, while simultaneously not limiting party sizes by too much. For instance, a family style Italian restaurant’s seating should not consist of a bunch of small two top tables, nor should a romantic dinner location be all large tables. It is important to limit the amount of table moving that has to happen to for a large party, while still keeping realistic expectations as to how many of those large parties will be walking in the door. That being said, since few restaurants would want to turn away large parties of customers, have a plan of attack ready for when that family of 10 walks in the door.
    The frequency of advanced reservations is also a key factor in determining proper seating configurations. Some restaurants are reservations only, and should be, as they are so busy that it would be impossible to accommodate walk-ins. For most restaurants though, it is often the best idea to set aside some tables for reservations before service, and fill them with walk-ins if there is a lack of or cancelled reservations.
    Adjacent businesses can affect your restaurant’s rush size. It is important to take into consideration patrons that will be brought in from your neighbors. If we look at the example posed earlier, if a restaurant is located next to a theatre, there will most likely be large rushes before and after shows. The larger the theatre or adjacent events, the larger the rushes will be. The lone bar next to a sports arena will have significantly larger rushes than one next to a mid-sized music venue or theatre.


    It can be incredibly painstaking to choose a final dining room and bar configuration, and though these tips are important, as earlier stated, there are large numbers of variables to be taken into account. 
  • 19 Nov 2012 3:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    At some point or another, every restaurant has to upgrade equipment to ensure productivity and efficiency in their kitchen. Upgrades are needed when restaurant equipment breaks down or stops running at full capacity, but before this happens, one telltale sign of a need to upgrade is increased usage. Constant use of a piece of equipment can cause it to age quicker, and it is a great idea to upgrade when you first sense that a machine is working harder than it should be. There are a few things to take into consideration, however, before buying the first replacement piece that catches your eye.

    Are parts available? / Is it fixable? : Sometimes an upgrade can be as easy as buying and installing a part. Often times when restaurant equipment efficiency begins to taper off, replacing a part can breathe new life back into it. For example, the condenser from a refrigerator is an example of a replacement part that can make an old piece of equipment almost new again. However, this is a double-edged sword, and the prices of replacement parts must be examined alongside the cost of a piece of replacement equipment. From time to time the replacement part needed closely rivals the price of a new or used piece, in which case the extended life the part would give the old equipment may not compare to the longevity of a new or used piece.

    Is used restaurant equipment still an upgrade? : Pieces of used restaurant equipment can still be an upgrade from a current piece of equipment that may not be up to par. Some pieces of used equipment don’t necessarily see high volume usage. In fact, many are from restaurants that have either closed from lack of volume or are from restaurants that retool their menus because certain items don’t sell as well as others, making a piece irrelevant in their kitchen. These items can be superb upgrades, and last as long as a new piece of equipment. Additionally, some pieces are built to last even under heavy usage. Items like gas deck ovens, manual griddles, commercial ranges, or convection ovens traditionally have long lives, and can be functional and efficient even when purchased used. Even things like stainless steel sinks can be purchased used, as they are extremely durable, and are rarely damaged in the way that equipment can be.

    When is the right time to buy new restaurant equipment? : Upgrading parts or purchasing used commercial equipment does not always mean a permanent solution to a problem. New equipment should be purchased when longevity is a must. New equipment is just that, brand new, fresh out of the box. A new purchase often ensures a significant amount of time of hassle free usage, there is (most of the time) a warranty to protect you during any transitional period, and most important of all, it gives the option to pick out a specific piece. Rather then shopping around for sufficient pieces of used equipment that may fit your needs, with a new piece comes the option to pick the exact make and model needed, or even purchase a custom piece to fit exactly. This is a tremendous asset when dealing within specific size requirements, or when dealing with rare restaurant equipment that can’t necessarily be found in the used section of retailers.
  • 19 Nov 2012 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    A Message from ACityDiscount:
    ACityDiscount is a leading retailer of new and used restaurant equipment and restaurant supplies for 38 years. We offer the national foodservice industry low prices on restaurant products and the ability to confidently purchase using easy and secure online shopping site. We also provide buyers' guides to assist our customers with their purchasing decisions. Our 60,000 square foot Atlanta showroom and warehouse maintains thousands of products in stock. We strive to offer restaurant equipment that fits each buyer’s needs.

    We provide you only the best-in-class restaurant equipment products from the top quality brands manufactured by the leading foodservice industry manufacturers. If you can't find exactly what you're looking for, just let us know. Our product experts will work quickly to help you to locate your equipment or supplies.

    Being in business for 38 years, we have developed strong relationships with foodservice manufacturers and suppliers. This enables us to offer outstanding deals on all the restaurant equipment you need and free shipping on selected items. Not only do we sell new and used restaurant equipment, but we are also restaurant equipment auction and restaurant liquidation specialists. In short, ACityDiscount is your one stop shop for restaurant equipment and restaurant supply.

    If you are shopping for restaurant equipment at ACityDiscount, sign up for our Peach Points Program. Items such as commercial kitchen equipment, commercial refrigeration, commercial ice machines, bar equipment, beverage equipment, catering equipment, concession equipment, restaurant furniture, kitchen tools and smallwares and customized restaurant equipment are only a few items that will qualify you to sign up for our Peach Points Program.
    ACityDiscount offers this customer rewards program to reward our loyal customers. Become a program member today to take advantage of exclusive rewards and benefits, including: free membership, member-only promotions, special offers and the ability to purchase retail gift cards with your points.

    At ACityDiscount, we offer not only new equipment, but also used restaurant equipment. Check out our selection of quality used equipment and find all you need to furnish your commercial kitchen or foodservice establishment. Often you will find several items of used storage and handling equipment eligible for Make an Offer. Take advantage of our low prices on all new and used commercial kitchen equipment.

    Launching a new foodservice business is never easy. ACityDiscount can introduce you to a foodservice equipment finance company that understands the restaurant business. When you are ready to place a new catering equipment order of at least $2000, talk to us first for finance assistance.

    At ACityDiscount, we are committed to delivering you expert solutions to your restaurant equipment needs with the personal attention you deserve.


 

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