Let's take a closer look at warm-weather dining trends and some important considerations to help provide outdoor dining both efficiently and...
Cold Storage Management For The Restaurant Holiday Rush
The end-of-the-year holidays are often the busiest and most profitable period for restaurants. As a result, ordering and inventory must be adjusted accordingly. Whether it's a center-of-the-plate protein or fresh fall vegetables, this increase in goods sold relies on reliable storage. That can create unique refrigeration challenges as operators look to avoid spoilage.
So, what best practices should restaurants employ regarding cold food storage? Thankfully, modern walk-ins and commercial refrigeration technology like integrated blast chillers can help restaurants eliminate spoilage and serve fresher food to customers.
Dining Trends During the Holidays
Dining trends during the holidays differ from other times, as customers often prefer traditional holiday menu selections. Turkey is still the top main protein expected for Thanksgiving. Ham and turkey are very popular at Christmas, and brisket is a favorite at Hanukkah. As more consumers venture out for the holidays rather than staying in, inventory levels must match that demand. In fact, more customers are dining out during the holidays than ever before. Whether that's because they don't feel like cooking, have the space at home to host a larger group, or are simply looking for outside options after several years of pandemic-driven isolation, the tradition of always cooking and eating at home is a thing of the past.
For operators, larger groups mean larger orders and more money per ticket. It's also important to note that patrons will most likely be in festive moods during the holiday period. That means they will tend to order more alcoholic beverages and more desserts. These high-margin items allow restaurants to make large profits during the holiday months as long as they are prepared.
Cold Storage Management for the Holiday Rush
Many restaurants, even those most established at handling the winter months, struggle to deal with the holiday rush. There's an expectation on behalf of guests that there may be longer waits for tables and orders, as customers generally understand that dining out during the holidays requires patience. But there's a limit to that patience, and operators should be mindful of exceeding it. The holidays are a great time to showcase a restaurant, which could lead to repeat business over the year.
So how can operators prepare? One way is to consider current challenges and plan for labor shortages. Equipment that facilitates efficient prep makes it easier for staff, and allows operators to maximize all the time in the day can be valuable. Even better, using innovations like a blast chiller and shock freezer during the holidays can allow staff to start preparations in October for meals that will be served in December. With units like integrated blast chillers, units can be placed inside an existing walk-in making blast chilling and shock freezing technology even more accessible. And when considering the benefits of food safety, reduced food waste, and the ability to save time in the kitchen, considering innovative cold food storage options can be a game-changer during the holidays.