Healthy Recipe Contest
March is National Nutrition Month! To celebrate, we are holding a week-long contest to find the healthiest recipe.
With more calorie-conscious diners looking to take charge of their health, restaurants need to keep up with demand for nutritious meals that appeal to the palate.
We invite you to share your favorite healthy recipe with us! Whether an appetizer, entrée or dessert, all recipes are welcome. Show us how healthy ingredients can inspire great cooking. Creativity counts!
Submit your most delectable and healthy recipe on our Facebook page for your chance to win.
The Contest Details
- The winner will receive a specially selected 10-piece cookware set furnished by Vollrath!
- The Healthy Recipe Contest is open to our Facebook fans. Not yet a fan? Give us a Like!
- Submit your recipe between Monday March 18th and Friday March 22nd for your chance to win.
- Contest closes at 12:00 pm (Noon) PT on Friday March 22nd.
- Check back here on April 3rd when we will announce the winning recipe.
Read our official rules.
Choosing a Meal Delivery System: Part I
With the modern emphasis on patient- and resident-centered care, it’s no wonder healthcare foodservice is integrating more popular and healthier meals into menu offerings. Eating is a therapeutic part of the healing process, and food texture and temperature are significant attributes for measuring patient satisfaction.
Healthcare foodservice operators face a meal delivery challenge not seen by many foodservice counterparts – that of distance. Food delivered to patients should be nutritious, visually appealing and at optimal temperatures, all of which must be maintained for 20-60 minutes or longer. Delivery times are key to preserving food quality during transport, as maintaining hot and cold temperatures is crucial for safety, tastiness and satisfaction.
Establishing a meal delivery system that meets your facility’s will not only make your patients happy, but it will improve score card ratings by keeping operations running smoothly.
Meal Delivery Systems
Meal delivery systems fall into two categories: cook-chill and cook-serve. Whether one system is more appropriate for your facility depends on its application.
- Cook-Chill: A less commonly used meal delivery system, cook-chill is best suited for institutions with long transport distances (such as those with multiple campuses). In these instances, food is prepared and partially-cooked ahead of time, then immediately vacuum-sealed and stored in blast chillers. Once delivered, it is rethermalized in specially-designed carts and served hot, giving it a fresh-cooked taste and feel.
- Cook-Serve: A patient-centered meal delivery system, cook-serve allows for greater flexibility in patient meal choices and is best suited for institutions with short delivery times (a preferred maximum of 20 minutes). It also creates more opportunity for patient contact during meal times. In these instances, food is prepared and cooked, then immediately served hot. Food may be cooked to order, as in hospital room service, or be offered as part of a buffet selection, such as in assisted living dining rooms. A growing trend is the hiring of professional chefs, creating a restaurant-quality experience.
Meal Delivery Carts
From individualized to bulk food service, all delivery systems require carts.
A cart’s footprint – or size – is a key decision factor. When purchasing, consider the space used for storing carts as well as for maneuvering them. Low profile carts are wider, which lends to greater visibility during transport, yet makes them more difficult to use in narrower hallways. By contrast, tall profile carts are slimmer and require less space for storage and movement, but their height creates visual challenges when navigating hallways.
There are several types of carts used in conventional tray line meal service:
- Tray Delivery Carts: Meals are plated and served quickly to maintain food temperatures. Features an open design with optional transport covers. Ideal for facilities with centralized kitchens for immediate tray delivery.
- Dual-Temperature Tray Delivery Carts: Hot and cold meals are pre-assembled and held simultaneously in an enclosed, single unit. Ideal for room service or decentralized locations with extended delivery times (between 60 and 90 minutes).
- Mobile Buffet Carts: Hot and cold meals are served buffet-style. Includes storage units and serving counters for convenient on-site plating. Ideal for congregate dining environments.
Learn more about Choosing Room Service Carts with this comprehensive overview from Foodservice Equipment Reports.
Importance of Tray Line Studies
Every facility will need carts and support equipment, such as lowerator plate dispensers and dome drying racks. Before purchasing these expensive must-haves, facilities should perform a tray line study to determine which equipment is right for their meal delivery style.
A tray line study should assess how many:
- Trays are assembled in per minute
- Trays a cart should hold
- Licensed beds are in the facility
- Wards or locations require meal delivery
Based on study results, facilities should select appropriate equipment to meet their specific needs.
In Part 2 of our series, we interview industry professionals from Cambro and Lakeside. See what they have to say about current industry trends, reducing food waste, preventing cross-contamination and more. For additional helpful tips, check out our Healthcare Foodservice Solutions product guide.
Top 10 Tips for Successful Hotel Room Service
Hotels offer guests a wide range of accommodations and special features to make their stay comfortable. One standard marking a great hotel is exceptional room service. For guests, convenience, speed and quality are all important aspects to having a stand-out experience. Make your hotel room service first-class with these ten tips featuring groundbreaking technology ideas and inventive personal touches.
- Make the small things count. If a customer asks for extra lemon for their tea or no ice in their water, make sure these preferences are met with every meal service. It will ensure a happy guest and make delivery more efficient.
- Take transportation into consideration. Food preparation must be tweaked to account for the amount of food steaming on the plate and topped with a cover. For room service, a kitchen must change timing and perhaps even preparation methods in order to prevent over cooking to occur in the delivery process.
- Presentation is key. The same care that goes in to setting a table in the hotel’s restaurant should be applied when arranging the eating area for a room service order. Table linens, flatware, glassware and china should reflect the upscale nature of restaurant dining.
- Speed up service. Some hotels are offering meal delivery in less than 20 minutes. And if not delivered on time, in some instances, the meal is free. Bagged lunches with familiar favorites are perfect for busy on-the-go business travelers.
- Use technology for added efficiency. Think of how a smartphone, iPad or other tablet device in rooms could remove errors from the ordering process and add convenience to the guest experience. The Hotel Bel-Air is already using such technology in every room.
- Be Prompt. If a guest expects to get his morning coffee at 7 a.m., he should receive a fresh brew at 7 a.m. Any delay is a major inconvenience, which is difficult for a hotel to overcome. If there is a problem in the kitchen, always contact the guest and assure them of when service will come.
- Set Your Room Service Apart. What can you offer that other hotels in the area cannot? Late-night room service? Complimentary breakfast in bed? A welcome cocktail? Think of a specialty item or offering that will keep guests coming back.
- Offer alternatives. If your kitchen does not stay open 24-hours or only offers a small selection of menu items after midnight, consider offering a service whereby the hotel delivers nearby take-out. The guest will appreciate the extra effort.
- In-Room Cooking. Step up room service by offering guests the chance to watch the chef prepare their dinner in the room. If your hotel has suites with kitchens, in-room culinary service can be a wonderful experience for the guest and an exciting way to make a lasting impression.
- Cleanup is just as important as delivery. Guests should not see carts and trays with meal left overs in hallways. Establish a system that ensures room service dishes will be removed within a short time after a guest has finished their meal.
Customer Profile – 370 Common
In our customer profile, we interviewed Ryan Adams, Chef and Owner of 370 Common. Learn about the familial roots of the restaurant’s concept, plus discover a unique marketing tool that keeps their customers coming back for more.
R.W. Smith: The foundation for Three Seventy Common is the notion that, regardless of our daily happenings, we always find ourselves “around the table, sharing a meal with the ones [we] love”. How do you integrate this idea into your restaurant?
Ryan Adams: We have always used that as our underlining motto; we try to do things like create a menu to encourage sharing meals and add fun ideas like buy your friend a drink board.
RWS: The Buy Your Friend a Drink Board: how does it work, and what inspired this brilliant business tool?
RA: Say you are in for dinner one evening and you know your neighbor comes in to dinner quite often, so you tell your server to buy them a drink, whatever they like. You pay for it then and when they come in for dinner or drinks next, they can redeem it then. It is kind of like pre-paying for it for them. I borrowed it from a friend of mine’s restaurant and he in turn borrowed it from a bar call the Detroit Bar in New York.
RWS: Three Seventy hosts a weekly Sunday Social, in which guests dine from a family-style menu at a fixed price. Please describe how this unique event creates a community experience for your guests.
RA: It was all about families, and since Laguna is a tight-knit community, it seemed like a great fit and about 75% of our customer base for that evening was Laguna locals. They all know each other and will converse with tables across the restaurant, buy each other drinks, and so on.
RWS: Your establishment boasts of a new spin on farm-to-table cooking. What are your influences for this concept, and how do you achieve this day to day?
RA: Farm to Table is really played out. We like to think of ourselves as Globally Influenced, Domestically Sourced. We talk to our suppliers, farmers, ranchers and we also are picking 40-50% of our produce from local farmers markets. We always pay attention to what is in season. This is an old but true concept that has lost a lot of its soul in the last 25 years, and we feel like bringing that back to people. For example, I’m not going to serve a tomato in December that has been picked green and flown in from the southern hemisphere. I will just wait until they are in season. This is the European way of doing things.
RWS: As the former Executive Chef for Sorrento Grille, you purchased the preceding restaurant’s space and created a more urban venue. How do you maintain customer loyalty with previous Sorrento Grille customers while drawing in new business for Three Seventy?
RA: We retained most of the front of the house staff, which really made it helpful on retaining customer loyalty with the Sorrento crowd. I think by changing up the concept—making it feel fresher and hip—helped to create new business for us. Also, we are trying to do something that you would normally find in larger cities.
RWS: In what ways do you find social media beneficial for promoting your restaurant? From your experience thus far, any drawbacks to this newer marketing channel?
RA: I think that the use of Twitter, Tumbler and Facebook is great for helping to promote daily specials and weekly events, but I think that some other sites are very damaging, not very truthful, unregulated and just shouldn’t exist. Trust me, everyone has the right to their opinion, but the real question is – do they deserve a forum?
Choosing a Meal Delivery System: Part II
In Part I of our series, we looked at selecting the right meal delivery system for your facility.
Now, read our exclusive Q&A and glean advice on current trends, food safety and more from two highly respected healthcare foodservice experts: Gregory Schurch, VP of Sales Planning & Development at Cambro, and Kevin Vigeant, VP of Business Development at Lakeside.
RWS: What are some current trends in healthcare foodservice delivery?
Greg Schurch: Room Service has been increasing in popularity, as food service operations are constantly being challenged to provide less “institutional” service.
Kevin Vigeant: The latest trend (within the past 10 years) is the advent of delivering meals by utilizing a room service concept. Basically, patients can order what they want (based on a doctor’s recommendation) when they want it, and have it delivered typically within 45 minutes.
Some operators are using a POD (Point of Delivery) equipment kitchen set up as opposed to a conventional trayline conveyor system. This allows them some efficiency and flexibility in their kitchen set up.
RWS: What is the difference between passive and active delivery systems?
GS: Each system relies on a heated plate for hot food to extend its ability to retain food temp for meal delivery.
A passive system does not have a heat source. Passive systems are generally un-insulated bases and the food temp is directly related to the temp of the plate and the food. Generally, passive systems offer limited food temp retention.
RWS: How do the various meal delivery systems affect the menu?
KV: Some foods are better prepared to order versus prepared in bulk. Menu planning will always take into consideration the method of delivering food to the patient/resident. If a facility is utilizing a cook-chill system, whereby food is cooked in bulk and then chilled immediately, it is then plated cold and brought up to temperature in a rethermalization cart. In this scenario, there could be some restrictions or recipe changes to make sure the food is presented and tastes great.
Whereas in a room service delivery system, they are trying to cook to order and do it in a timely fashion to many, many patients and therefore, they most likely want to have items that can be prepared for and cooked within those time constraints.
Is it important to perform an operational assessment prior to purchasing a meal delivery system, and why?
GS: Absolutely!! An operational assessment properly done allows the operator to better understand the true transport time that the food is exposed to before being served to the patient/customer. Transport time is generally defined as the length of time it takes for the food to get to the patient once it leaves the kitchen.
KV: Absolutely!! It is critical to understand some of the following:
- Number of patients
- Kitchen space
- Types of labor available
- Number of full-time employees (FTEs)
- Employee skillset and experience
- Distance between kitchen and the rooms
- Capital budget
- Current Press Ganey scores ( patient satisfaction surveys)
- Location of the facility
- Type of cuisine favored in that area and the best equipment to produce it
RWS: How does using the right meal delivery system improve patient/resident satisfaction?
GS: Temperature retention and food quality is improved when an informed operator purchases the correct meal delivery system for their operation.
KV: Having great patient satisfaction scores helps improve hospital operations throughout the building and community. Hospitals are fighting for more people to utilize their services. By being able to promote greater patient satisfaction scores, it gives them a leg up on nearby competing hospitals.
RWS: How does using the right system for your healthcare operation reduce food waste?
KV: If the facility goes to a “Room Service Meal Delivery System,” there is a significant reduction in food waste. The kitchen is only preparing food when it is ordered from a patient. They are not preparing food to be delivered at set times (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and bringing it to a room, whereby a patient is in surgery, just out of rehab, medicated, or doesn’t feel great, therefore having that food go to waste.
RWS: Does technology play a prominent role in running an efficient healthcare kitchen?
KV: Yes it does, from the software used between the kitchen, the dietary office and the patient rooms to the type of new technology that equipment manufacturers have to offer. It can have a big impact on running an efficient operation.
RWS: What precautions are taken when delivering special diet meals (e.g., different color plate covers or separate carts)?
GS: Generally speaking, modified (special diets) are delivered with all other meals or diets. The patient menu or tray ticket identifies what type of diet is being delivered to the patient. I am unaware of specialty carts that are used for special diets. There has been some research that states that colored plates may motivate appetite.
RWS: Preventing cross contamination is an important element in healthcare facilities. Please share any tips you have for safely preparing and serving meals.
GS: Utilize proper food storage containers and proper food handling protocol.
KV: Meal delivery starts after production and finishes at the patient. Safe food needs to consider the temperature is at food code at the start of meal delivery. The danger zone includes the temperatures between 45 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit on a food thermometer. Food should be in this temperature range for no more than a total of four hours.
Customer Profile – Glendale Renaissance
In an exclusive interview with Ray Trom, executive chef for Glendale Renaissance in Arizona, we learned about his personal experience in hotel foodservice. Chef Trom elaborated on his path towards his culinary career, his must-have breakfast item and his very best dining experience.
R.W. Smith: What or who inspired you to pursue a culinary career?
Ray Trom: For me, it was actually that I’m originally from Korea and was adopted when I was 12 to a family in Minnesota. When I came here, the immediate thing that was different was the food. I would go to the store and try to make things from memory. And from there it was just natural and I started cooking for my family. I actually went college to be a dentist and one day I figured out that is not what I wanted to do. I got a job at a hotel as a prep cook, which was lucky because hotels normally do not hire people with no experience, and then I was promoted the very first day. I’ve worked in various hotels and restaurants and worked for Ming Tsai in Boston and Nobu in New York City.
RWS: What qualities does Glendale Renaissance hold that motivate you as an executive chef?
RT: First and foremost are my coworkers and the excellent management team. We feed off each other, which is really motivating. My employees are career-driven and that makes it easy to direct and teach them but still have fun. The company is also very hospitality driven and accommodates customers to the highest standards. The customers expect more, know the brand, and the challenge to meet their expectations is very motivating to me.
RWS: You have to factor in room service into your daily meal preparation – how do you balance the demand of in-room service with dining room orders to ensure a pleasurable experience for all?
RT: Usually room service diners are business travelers who check-in and want to be left alone. Our menu is driven to have a more home-style feel so they will feel comfortable. We serve the same food to both room service and dining room guests, but we also change the presentation and try to adjust to plate for each instance. We have to figure out how to present the food in two different ways.
RWS: You serve a buffet breakfast. What insights can you share with our readers for presenting a well-organized, appetizing buffet?
RT: The most important thing is to keep the classics classic, like eggs benedict. Make the things that people expect from a breakfast and try to make it right. We also make dishes that are indigenous to this region, so people out of town get a taste of the flavors here. We have two kinds of eggs benedict on the menu, a regular and a chorizo hash benedict with a chipotle hollandaise sauce. I’m big on consistency and flow. From color scheme to presentation and even cutting fruit the same size so it’s easy on the eyes. Everything should be similar. The biggest tip is to make sure you have cooks who care what they’re doing and will make sure everything looks and tastes right.
RWS: How do you accommodate families with children who want to dine at Soleil?
RT: We have a children’s menu that offers the typical children’s items, but we accommodate any reasonable request, especially with allergies and gluten-free dietary needs. We offer that for all our guests, but children with allergies are especially important to accommodate.
RWS: The very best dining experience that you’ve ever had—where were you and what made it so memorable?
RT: When I left Nobu in New York City, I went in for my last meal. It was very overwhelming but my friends and the chefs made sure it was memorable. It was a one in a million experience. You cook day in and day out, but there is a difference between cooking and eating. I now make my cooks do that and order off the menu from the dining room sometimes.
Three Daily Deal Don’ts for Restaurants
While the allure of daily deal sites is waning, they’re not going away completely. There is much debate about whether foodservice operators benefit from daily deal offerings. Myriad restaurants, bars and cafés have signed up with sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Bloomspot, but how well did they fare? If your restaurant is looking to run a promotion of its own, first consider these cautionary don’ts.
1. Don’t Run a Promotion More Than Once
Should you choose to run a daily deal, do so just once. Sure, accessing an immense customer database and quick cash flow are a huge boon. However, the database will not change from deal to deal, so the awareness generated from your promotion won’t have staying power. Plus, with daily deal sites charging a fee, you’ll recoup less return than you sought out. In the end, the revenue generated may leave you at a financial loss.
2. Don’t Fall Victim to Groupon Remorse
Daily deals are intended to help small businesses turn a better profit, which is great for restaurants. But merchants beware: there is no guarantee customers will return after they make good on their vouchers. If your goal is to draw in a crowd of long-term customers, you may find running a daily deal less than savory. To build customer relationships that last, restaurateurs should focus on attracting quality patrons through more viable (and profitable) marketing channels.
3. Don’t Miss Out on Beyond-the-Deal Opportunities
When a person redeems a voucher, gather data about them. Though some customers may be impulse buyers, by dining at your restaurant, they’re showing an interest in what you have to offer. You can create marketing opportunities with as little as their first name and email address. Once a promotion period has ended, develop a targeted email campaign designed to drive repeat patronage, such as offering a free appetizer on their next visit as a thank you. Just be sure the target offer isn’t similar to the daily deal.
Still itching to run a promotion? Check out these great tips on executing and measuring daily deal performance by SCORE.
Enter our Facebook Giveaway, Win Tria Glassware!
Revitalize your restaurant tabletops with elegant new glassware.
Enter R.W. Smith’s Tria Glassware Giveaway on our Facebook page, and each week, you could win a FREE case of our exceptional glasses. With Tria, you’ll redefine your tabletop style and create the perfect first impression.
We will be rewarding one lucky winner with a case from these premier collections:
- Week of February 4th – Blues
- Week of February 11th – Rhapsody
- Week of February 18th – Flamenco
- Week of February 25th – Swing
- Week of March 4th – Bolero
5 Chances to Win
Enter once per week to increase your chances of winning!
How to Enter
The giveaway is open to our Facebook fans! Not yet a fan? Give us a Like!
Our contest begins Monday, February 4, 2013. Enter by 12:00 pm (Noon) PT on Friday each week for your chance to win. Every Friday afternoon, we will announce the winner of that week’s contest through Facebook and Twitter.
For further details, please read our disclaimer.
Customer Profile: Karl Strauss Brewing Company
We interviewed Gunther Emathinger, Executive Chef at Karl Strauss Brewing Company, to get an inside look into the iconic brewery.
Karl Strauss has seven locations in Southern California, each strategically placed to draw in the residential and commercial crowds alike. “Businesses support the lunch sales, whereas residential customers support evening and weekend sales,” says Emathinger.
With the growing popularity in home brewing among Millennials, Karl Strauss entices this generation of brew-savvy customers through its branding. “Consistency in branding and offering a great product is the key to be competitive. Our marketing is through the in-house experience and customer service at our restaurants.” And like many foodservice establishments, the brewery and restaurant engages its younger crowd via social media, a rapidly growing medium used to attract new business. “It’s very important to have a strong presence on social media,” says Emathinger. “It’s a must in today’s world of tech-savvy customers.”
To keep its customers happy and coming back, the brewpub keeps up with trends in craft flavors, from Oktoberfest beer in the fall to Maybrook ale in the spring. “Seasonal flavors for beers are driven by established seasonal expectations,” notes Emathinger. “We brew seasonal beers that mirror similar seasonal food trends, such as lighter beers for the warmer summer months and heavier brews for fall and winter months.” All premium brews, from monthly featured pairings to new menu options, are collaboratively selected by a culinary team.
So what’s the secret behind Karl Strauss’ success? “Genuine customer service [and] excellent, consistent products served in a comfortable environment.” Whether catering corporate events, weddings or other group outings, the restaurant maintains this service-driven mentality in order to create memorable and pleasing experiences for all attendees. To learn more, visit Karl Strauss online at www.karlstrauss.com.
Insights for Serving Millennials
There are many characteristics that set Millennials apart from previous generations. Perhaps most important is that Millennials are brand loyal. In order to provide the best service and gain these potential long-term customers, it is important to know what they like and how to market to them.
Millennials are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation of Americans. This equates to more adventurous and culturally diverse eating. Infusing Asian-inspired flavors or traditional African ingredients to a menu can go a long way toward piquing curiosity among these restaurant goers.
Millennials are health conscious and environment-sensitive, interested in local, organic and free-range menu options. They will continue to set trends in the areas of eco-friendly food and sustainable products.
While food may be the driving force for foodservice, establishments would be wise to kick up their happy hours and drink menus for Millennials. With a thirst for the untried and trendy, they tend to crave a variety of craft beer and specialty drinks. Signature cocktails and the overall “speakeasy” vibe are big draws for this group.
However, it’s not just about what’s on the menu for Millennials. They are also most likely to be influenced by coupons and discounts when deciding on a restaurant. Social media is second nature to this generation, where they search out restaurant information, from reviews and menus to contests and paying with smartphones. They see dining as a community activity and take peer reviews on Yelp more seriously than food critic ratings.
Pleasing the Millennial crowd can be tricky, but in the long run this coming-of-age generation knows what it wants. When they get it, they will keep coming back for years to come. What changes have you made to your establishment to better cater to the Millennial generation?
Millennial Generation Facts