commercial kitchen pests

How to Prevent Pests in Your Commercial Kitchen

A commercial kitchen is no place for vermin. Yet they keep trying to call it home. Rodents, flies, cockroaches — it doesn’t matter the size or the species. Any living creatures that aren’t professionally trained staff members do not belong in your domain, and it’s up to you to keep them out.

Identifying and exterminating infestations, then preventing future uninvited guests is how to keep your commercial kitchen safe, healthy and up to code.

commercial kitchen pests

Get to the Source

If you’re concerned you may have pests invading your workspace, dig deep to find out for sure.

Go to heat sources like your dishwasher or stove and look for droppings or any other signs of life. Be thorough — take apart machines when necessary, including coffee or cold drink machines and salad bars. Be vigilant in your investigation, and call in a professional exterminator with experience handling pest eradication in food service businesses.

Then it’s time to make it next to impossible for them to come back.

Cleanliness Is the First Step, Inside and Out

If you don’t have a strict cleaning routine in place, it’s time to create one, and it shouldn’t be a weekly or monthly affair; it should be daily.

Work with your team to split up tasks appropriately so it’s fair and it gets done every day you’re open, especially at the end of the night. Indoor sanitation procedures may include scrubbing floors, especially those near drains or entrances to the building. Outdoor cleanliness means ensuring the dumpster is emptied often enough and it’s rinsed out on a regular basis afterward.

Establish Effective Food Storage Guidelines

As you have probably found, it’s easy for pests of all shapes and sizes to chew through cardboard and plastic. As soon as new shipments come in the door, consider establishing a new storage procedure where all perishables are moved to glass or metal containers. This can help keep pests from both smelling the food and fighting to get to it.

Seal Cracks and Remove Moisture

Examine every nook and cranny in the room, and use a durable caulk to seal any cracks. Even tiny openings make it possible for creatures to nose their way in.

Also address standing water and leaking faucets right away. This is a definite attractor for pests both small and large.

Your Kitchen — Your Home

Your commercial kitchen’s smooth operation is a wondrous sight to see. Keep up a good offensive on pests in order to prevent them from disrupting your work, and make sure to check out Stratton Sales for equipment upgrades to further increase your business efficiency.

Restaurant Management Mistakes to Avoid

Restaurant Management Mistakes to Avoid

menu trends to watch this year

5 Menu Trends to Watch This Year

What menu trends are resonating with diners this year?

menu trends to watch this year

As a restaurant owner or chef, you know how trends change and favorites fluctuate from year to year. The key is making sure your menu reflects your brand, but also hits on some of the key characteristics and selling points sure to make your customers happy.

The National Restaurant Association takes an annual poll of over 700 members of the American Culinary Federation and reports on what’s hot for the upcoming year. In their survey, they found five menu trends every restauranteur should know about.

Vegetables Featured Front and Center

Veganism is hitting the mainstream — just ask any of Beyonce’s followers. With many high-profile celebrities extolling the benefits of going vegan, and multiple documentaries on the topic being produced, more people than ever are cutting animal products from their diets. Some reports say the number of vegans has grown by 500 percent in the United States since 2014.

As you might expect, this influences what consumers are looking for from their local restaurants. Vegans like to eat out too! Chefs are putting more veggie-focused items on the menu, both to give vegans options and to highlight the often-overlooked tastiness of plant-based foods.

Ethnic Inspiration

African spices and Portuguese meats are all the rage. Curry and condiments like sriracha, gochujang or chimichurri are gaining traction, both at home and on restaurant menus. You won’t go wrong developing some ethnically inspired dishes for your menu.

Hyper-Local Ingredient Sourcing

Customers love veggies and meats sourced from the farm down the street. Local flavors should be your top priority. If you are sourcing ingredients from far away, such as fish, make sure you commit to finding sustainable, healthy fisheries and clearly outline the details in the menu for your customers.

New Cuts of Meat

Ever had a Vegas strip steak? What about a Merlot cut? Many different cuts of meat are becoming mainstream, and your customers will notice if you add oyster steak or shoulder tender to your menu.

In-House Creativity

What can you make in-house? House-brewed beer, house-made condiments and house-made pickles all top the list of items customers love this year. House-made sausage, ice cream or charcuterie are also options. Use your creativity to spruce up your menu with individual ingredients created from scratch, by you and your staff. Customers care!

Stratton Sales can help you make this upcoming year the best yet for your restaurant. It might begin with analyzing menu trends, but our support doesn’t stop there. Get the equipment you need to keep your kitchen functioning or expand your capabilities by adding machines to make you more productive while you work.

Contact us today for more information about our products and easy payment plans!

How to Choose the Best Commercial Dishwasher

How to Choose the Best Commercial Dishwasher

The best commercial dishwasher is one that’s durable, effective and affordable. But even more specifically, what features should you look for? What characteristics must your new dishwasher have?

How to Choose the Best Commercial Dishwasher

Consider Size

How big of an appliance do you need? It depends on your restaurant’s size and average attendance per hour. When you’re replacing an older dishwasher, it’s a good time to assess whether the size is working for your kitchen. Do you find you’re often running short of clean dishware?

Size often determines cost, so make sure you are purchasing an appliance that will both meet your need and provide room to grow. But make sure it’s not bigger than you need. You’ll pay too much not only in purchase price, but in operational costs as well.

Think About Logistics

Will the dishwasher fit into its allotted space? Will there be room to load it? Is the kitchen designed to facilitate efficiency?

When you have a full house, you need your dishwasher to operate smoothly. That’s why it’s important to think about logistics ahead of time to be sure your dishwasher can keep up.

Speed Is a Major Factor

On the efficiency side, also consider the speed of each cycle. You need your machine to keep a steady flow of clean dishes. A residential dishwasher’s cycle might take 30 minutes, and a 1- or 2-minute difference between one model to the next might not matter. This isn’t the case in a commercial kitchen. Cycle length matters!

High or Low Temperature?

You can buy a machine that gets to 180 degrees during the cycle, but these models use more energy and the cycle length may be longer. Other models don’t get the water as hot and instead use chemicals to achieve the level of sanitation needed. Which model is better for you?

With a high-temperature model, you won’t have to buy the chemicals, but you’ll save on operating costs with a low-temperature machine.

Find a Solution for Your Budget

The commercial dishwasher you choose should be an asset to restaurant operations. At Stratton Sales, we know there is a perfect match for you, and we’re dedicated to helping you find the ideal appliance addition. Shop our online inventory or call us directly so we can help you find the right commercial dishwasher for you.

Why New Restaurant Equipment Can Enhance Safety

New Restaurant Equipment Can Enhance Safety 

Adding restaurant equipment to augment or replace current machines is a big investment, and isn’t one that should be made lightly. There is room for plenty of debate on when it’s time to retire a machine, such as an old oven, or when a repair could make it last just a little bit longer.

Why New Restaurant Equipment Can Enhance Safety

But when it comes to employee safety, it’s hard to argue for keeping restaurant equipment that contributes to injury risk, no matter how old it is.

Is it time for new restaurant equipment for your establishment because of safety concerns?

Move from Residential to Commercial

Do you use residential appliances when you should have commercial-grade systems? Not only can this possibly void the warranty on the equipment, but the appliance or tool will wear down much faster than it should. This means a breakdown is more probable, and a malfunction could mean injury to a staff member.

If you’re depending mainly on residential appliances to get the job done, consider making the investment in commercial-quality equipment. If you are building a restaurant to last for the long-term, it’s a smart move.

Upgrading: An Excuse to Re-Train Your Staff

Whenever you add an asset to your kitchen, it’s the perfect opportunity to revisit proper safety procedures with your staff. You can go over federal and state operating regulations and ensure every person who will have to use the oven, mixer or tool is prepared. This can mean acknowledging that they’ll use the right eye protection or gloves, or signing off on a fire-safety protocol training procedure.

New Equipment Means Proper Function, Less Injury Risk

When you’re using outdated equipment, there’s a higher risk of improper function, such as a frayed wire leading to an electrical shock. When you upgrade to new equipment, you know everything is working properly. If it isn’t, your warranty is still valid to cover manufacturer defects, restoring full, safe function.

When Is it Time to Upgrade?

The ideal time to upgrade is when your equipment has lived a useful life, but before it causes any employee injury. You should regularly assess each item in your commercial kitchen, as a full inspection can reveal defects before any injuries happen, signaling it’s the right time to look into a replacement.

You Have Options at Stratton Sales

At Stratton, we make your restaurant success a priority. That means we want to make sure you get the longest useful life out of your current systems, but also get the right upgraded restaurant equipment when you need it. We offer a range of high-performing, commercial-grade appliances for our customers, and we’re dedicated to making it fit your budget with flexible financing options.

Contact Stratton Sales today, where you have options and a team committed to your success.

advantages of commercial dishwashers

6 Advantages of Commercial Dishwashers

Commercial dishwashers are a huge asset to any restaurant or bakery kitchen, but are the benefits enough to make it worth the cost? For start-up restaurant and bakery owners looking to save money, it can be tempting to simply use a standard, residential dishwasher versus purchasing a commercial model.

advantages of commercial dishwashers

Below are six reasons foodservice professionals can easily justify the investment in commercial dishwashers.

1. Lower Labor Costs

Running a profitable establishment comes down to managing cash flow and allocating resources correctly. Labor costs are a big part of this. You will do better investing in front-of-house help than hiring a dishwasher to do work that a commercial machine can easily handle.

To date, there is no machine that can take the place of waitstaff or hosting, but you can use appliances for dishwashing instead of people, and you should. If you do hire a dishwasher, they can focus more on loading, running and unloading versus washing every item by hand.

2. Stay in Federal Compliance

The FDA requires all food service establishments to have a three-component sink if they wash dishes by hand. Commercial dishwashers carry the burden of all federal regulations so you don’t have to. You’ll stay in compliance when you purchase a certified, well-functioning machine that takes care of temperature regulations and sanitization processes.

3. Increase Efficiency

Efficiency is the name of the game. You need to wash more dishes in less time to keep up, so a commercial dishwasher is your best option. The cycles are much shorter than those of a traditional dishwasher, so you get the clean you need faster, enabling faster table turn and increased customer satisfaction.

4. Stop the Spread of Bacteria

Won’t you feel more confident if you know for a fact that your back-of-house operations are supported by a commercial dishwasher with the sole intention of stopping the spread of bacteria? Get the peace of mind you deserve instead of worrying about the pitfalls of washing dishes by hand.

5. Use Less Power

Commercial dishwashers are designed to be as efficient as possible from an energy standpoint. You will use less electricity to achieve better results, and your energy bill will thank you.

6. They Last Longer

It’s simple — commercial-grade appliances are sturdier. Your machine will last longer, and this means what you invest will be regained over time.

Stratton Sales sells commercial dishwashers to food service professionals in a range of industries. We can help you too. From finding a place in your current layout to advising on installation, depend on our experience to help get you set up with an efficient, functioning sanitization system that works.

buy or lease restaurant equipment

Should You Buy or Lease Restaurant Equipment?

Deciding to buy or lease restaurant equipment is one of the first crossroads you’ll come to when you’re setting up your food service business. Running a successful bakery or restaurant means correctly analyzing and managing cash flow. In a study on small businesses, 82 percent of those that failed did so because of cash flow problems.

buy or lease restaurant equipment

So choosing between buying or leasing is one of the key critical steps in setting up your business for either failure or success since restaurant equipment is one of the biggest costs you’ll have in the early days.

Upfront Costs — Your Top Consideration

The money you need to invest in your restaurant upfront will dictate how much of your budget is free to dedicate to other investments, such as hiring additional employees. For business owners who don’t have much cash to spend in the early days, the thought of buying expensive equipment right away can be intimidating.

Leasing might be a better option if you’re truly strapped for cash, but over time, it’s a better value to own your commercial cooking equipment.

Equity Benefits of Buying

What is the top benefit of owning? You have instant equity.

In a leasing situation, you’re paying money every month to use the items, but you will never see a return on those dollars spent. When you purchase, you have valuable machines as equity for your business. If you had to sell the equipment, you would get money back for it.

Tax Factors to Think About

Deciding to buy or lease restaurant equipment can provide different tax benefits depending on the scenario. You may be able to be write off leasing costs as business operating expenses.

The tax on the purchase price is something you’ll have to pay upfront when you buy it, but you may be able to take a tax deduction for depreciation. Talk to your accountant to find out what each scenario means based on your situation.

Lease Terms Can Be Strict

While some lease contracts don’t hold you accountable for damage, others do. In a worst-case scenario, you pay a monthly fee for the use of the equipment, but you also would have to pay damages at the conclusion of the lease term if there was excessive wear and tear.

Also, some leases do not allow for early termination. If you found that you needed a different type of oven, you would be liable for the remainder of the lease contract if you terminated it early, and that could add up to a huge loss. If you bought the oven, you could simply sell it and use the money to invest in a different model.

We Offer 90-Day, No-Payment Financing

Only you can decide if you’d rather buy or lease restaurant equipment, but at Stratton Sales, we’ve come up with a great compromise: buy, but through our 90-day, no-payment financing offer, you don’t pay anything for the first few months.

Afterward, enjoy low interest, based on your credit score, and start building equity. Contact Stratton Sales today for more information on our prices and what our financing team can do for you.

bakery business plans

Your Bakery Business Plan in 6 Steps

A bakery business plan is a key document that helps guide the growth of your new venture. Business plans also are useful when you are trying to obtain financing or you’d like to assess hiring plans. It is important to have a roadmap for where you’re going, so when your business takes off, you know how to keep the momentum going.

bakery business plans

Below are six steps to getting your personal bakery business plan completed.

1. Define Your Target Audience

Your bakery customers will look a lot like the people who live in the neighborhood where you open your bakery. Do research to clearly define your target audience. Try to determine how much people spend on eating out and examine the success of your competitor. What can you do differently to quickly become a contender for business?

Defining your target audience informs every other growth movement, so this is an important step.

2. Define Your Niche

Will you have a specific product you will specialize in, like cupcakes or bread? Will you offer gluten-free or vegan products? Are you creating original recipes?

The angle you take on your menu will help you from a marketing standpoint. It’s always key to highlight something special that’s unique to you.

3. Name Your Management Help

Who will run your bakery on a day-to-day basis? If the answer is you, which tasks will be under your control? Which will you delegate?

There is a lot to the process of running a bakery, from ordering materials to keeping the books. Make sure you have included the right people on your team so you are focusing on what you do best.

4. Set Your Budget

Cash flow is one of the most important factors to business success. How much capital do you have to begin, and how will you use that money?

A bakery business plan can help you spell this out, and it can help you determine how much money you need for all the necessary startup equipment. Remember, Stratton Sales offers great financing deals on a range of baking equipment, freeing up your funds for more pressing matters.

5. Write a Marketing Plan

Next, it’s time to determine how you’ll reach your target audience with the right information. Develop a marketing strategy to build up the customer base your bakery needs to succeed.

What will entice them the most? It’s time to get inside the minds of your audience and create a message that they can’t ignore.

6. Set Financial Projections and Goals

Will your business be profitable? How much will it and you make? Now is the time to set goals in the document. How much will your weekly expenses be? If you’re trying to appeal to investors, this is a key area of your bakery business plan.

Rely on Stratton Sales for the high-quality baking equipment you need to get started when you’re launching a new business. We can make the execution of your bakery business plan easy and fun. Shop online or call us today for pricing.

baking equipment

6 Pieces of Baking Equipment You Have to Have

Your baking equipment shopping list grows by the day when you start to think about all the items you need to run your new bakery successfully. Not only is the list long, but it’s expensive, too. When you’re trying to cut costs, invest in the most essential equipment and purchase the six key items below.

baking equipment

The Right Commercial Mixer

The quality of your commercial mixer helps determine the quality of the mix it produces. You can mix more and still mix well. But finding the right commercial mixer can be a challenge. It starts with knowing which type of dough you mix most often.

An Oven That Fits Your Needs

Bakers have mixed opinions on convection vs. conventional ovens, and you probably do too. Again, this largely depends on what you’ll be baking. Size and oven type are two of the top factors to consider when choosing the right commercial oven, and we can steer you in the right direction.

A Dough Proofer

A commercial proofer ensures that every batch of dough is set to proof the same way. This helps you maintain product uniformity and keeps your customers coming back for the same taste and texture again and again.

A Dough Sheeter

Rolling out dough by hand? It’s a huge, time-consuming activity. With a dough sheeter, this is done quickly, effectively and automatically. You no longer have to allot time and energy to this task. And time is one of your most valuable assets when you run a bakery.

A Bread Slicer

This is one of those machines that just makes life easier, but also contributes to the quality of the product. When you’re slicing bread to sell or use for sandwiches, taking care of the job by hand isn’t realistic for a large-scale production, and you get the same results every time with an automatic machine.

Sheet Pan Racks

You need a place to store all the goodies you create, and that’s why sheet pan racks are a must. Don’t forget to allot space for these in your bakery kitchen layout.

Get Financing and See a High Return on Investment

At Stratton Sales, we make it possible for you to obtain all the baking equipment you need, with as little cash out of your pocket as possible. With business financing options for our high-quality products, we service countless professionals in the baking industry just like you. Let’s talk today about how we can help you get your new bakery set up and running efficiently.