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Latest News and Tips from ESI

What makes a great commercial brick oven?

Today, our factory partners from New York Brick Oven Company is sharing some information on commercial brick ovens.

In order tNew York Brick Oveno be competitive in the brick oven pizza market you need a great commercial brick oven. What constitutes a great commercial brick oven you may wonder? Well. there are only a few criteria when it comes to pizza equipment. Regardless if you have a fast casual pizza franchise, pizza chain, pub, bar, brewery, mom and pop, or mega entertainment center, the needs are same.

First and foremost is durability.  The NY Brick Oven Company has designed their ovens to be durable under tremendous production. Forged steel deck support and burner-not tin or a whole the oven floor. Heavy firebrick made of a specialty Italian Lava Stone with high thermal mass. Simple user friendly components such as American favorite-Honeywell.

Second comes a world class product.  Champion pizza makers from all over the US choose commercial brick ovens for their consistent and predictable baking quality. Even The Pizza School of NY trains future pizza champions on these ovens because they are that good!

Consistency is key!

Next on the list is consistency… This is achieved by several factors. The revolving or rotating deck allows the pizza to be  heated evenly and baked perfectly because it is constantly rotating at an even pace and the brick oven deck is being reheated as it goes. This virtually eliminated the inherent hot and cold spots of a fixed deck oven. Also in a conventional brick oven the surface of the deck around the fire or gas source is unusable because it gets too hot. This is does not happen with revolving deck brick oven.

Fourth and equally important is the ease of operation and training involved in using the revolving or rotator brick oven. Because the pizza revolves you do not need to use long pizza peels to load or remove your pizza. You just place them in as it turns. You do not have to reach deep into a hot oven and you don’t have to constantly rotate and move your pizzas to get an even bake. This equates to an incredible amount of saving of both time and $$$ because you don’t need skilled labor to work the oven and your pizza man can place pies in the oven and get back to making more.

Fifth is speed of delivery of your brick oven pizza. The NY Brick Oven Company set the world record at Pizza Expo with one of there ovens with an incredible 200 pizzas in 50 minutes. See more by clicking this link! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoPRqNOYQ0U&t=11s

How to Make the Most of a Ghost Kitchen

With the help of Hamilton Beach Commerical, today we are finding out how to make the most of a ghost kitchen.

Is a restaurant still a restaurant without tables, servers or diners? Well, it definitely is now!

More than half of U.S. operators have turned to ghost kitchens for some or all of their delivery orders, research by Technomic and the National Restaurant Association reveals. Before the pandemic, just 15% used a ghost kitchen — that is, a commercial kitchen that only makes food for delivery and/or takeout.Ghost-kitchen-prep

A ghost kitchen (or dark kitchen, or virtual kitchen) can boost a burgeoning delivery business, increase profit margins, cut staffing costs and help see restaurants through a slump in in-person dining. But the prospect of paying a lot for a brand-new facility may give restaurateurs pause.

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to start from scratch! Here are five ways to use the ghost-kitchen model that require minimal investment up front.

 

1. Using an existing restaurant kitchen as a ghost kitchen for a new brand 

Italian fast-casual chain Fazoli’s tested a delivery-only wing concept, Wingville, in early 2020. It used its own kitchens to launch the new online brand while keeping it separate from Fazoli’s core menu. While wings may seem a far cry from baked ziti and meatballs, they proved popular — and profitable. The pilot program boosted sales by nearly 11%, Restaurant Business reports. Seeing this success, Fazoli’s decided to bring the wings in-house at all locations, for dine-in, takeout and delivery.

The appeal of wings is that they’re simple to make and require little upfront investment. Fazoli’s had to add fryers to all of its kitchens, but saw its ROI realized in about four months. Not only that, but the new fryers are allowing the company to add new menu items.

Thinking about doing something similar? Consider how a new piece of equipment can help you launch a new line or boost take-out tickets. Examples:

 

2. Joining forces with other brands in a single ghost kitchen 

Here’s a fresh approach: One kitchen, many menus. BBQ Holdings, which owns four brands, was concerned about underworked staff and falling revenue. So the kitchens of its Granite City locations, in addition to making their sliders and flatbreads, started preparing Famous Dave’s barbecue for delivery only. Then, nine Famous Dave’s locations began serving as ghost kitchens for Hayward’s Hen House, a delivery-only chicken concept.

Cross-training staff and purchasing equipment required an initial investment of $50,000 per location, Jeff Crivello, BBQ Holdings’ chief executive, told The Washington Post“Without having to pay for additional rent, utilities or staff…he expects each ghost kitchen to produce $6,000 to $12,000 in additional sales per week.” Margins are much higher too, compared to traditional sit-down dining.

It’s not only multi-brand companies that are trying this approach. Franklin Junction is a new digital platform that “uses a data-driven demand-matching process that allows restaurants to produce and sell popular menu items from a carefully curated roster of established restaurant brands which are generally not yet available in the market area of the host facilities,” according to the company. With this model, a restaurant could sell Wow Bao Asian Buns and Fuzzy’s Tacos (two participating brands) in addition to its own menu items, increasing revenue without cutting into market share.

 

3. Making the move to a co-working or mobile kitchen 

The concept of a shared commercial kitchen isn’t new, but the popularity of these places has gotten a rocket-fuel boost from the increased demand for delivery. One prominent example is PREP in Atlanta, a massive culinary campus with facilities for bakers, caterers, food truck operators, franchises and entrepreneurs. PREP provides shared and private kitchen spaces as well as services like procurement, marketing, licensing and mentoring.

 

4. Letting another ghost kitchen capitalize on your concept 

Reef Technology turns the ghost-kitchen model on its head. The company installs mobile kitchens, “transforming these pieces of underutilized urban real estate, aka parking lots, into last-block neighborhood hubs providing essential services,” says Alan Philips, the company’s chief creative officer. Reef then enters into a partnership with restaurant brands whereby Reef’s kitchen and staff make branded menu items for delivery. Each kitchen may turn out food from multiple brands. Reef keeps the revenue and pays the restaurants a royalty percentage every month.

 

5. Running micro-branded concepts from a restaurant kitchen 

In Richmond, Virginia, where Hamilton Beach Commercial is based, one fine-dining superstar is Longoven. (Its chef, Andrew Manning, helped us perfect the PrimaVac line of vacuum chamber sealers; get his best tips here.) This much-lauded restaurant got its start as a pop-up, and during the pandemic has proved its versatility by expanding into the lunchtime daypart. It opened Fitzroy & Herrera Bakery, a window-service bakery serving seasonal pastries, baked goods and lunch. (Check out the delectable Instagram feed!)

The New Wave of Creative Coffee Cocktails

It’s national coffee day and today, we are sharing some interesting and exciting information on creative coffee cocktails, courtesy of our factory partners Hamilton Beach Commercial.

The espresso martini was born in a scene right out of Ab Fab. In 1983, an actress or model (depending on who’s telling the story) walked into London’s Soho Brasserie and asked for a drink that would “wake me up and [mess] me up.” Bartender Dick Bradsell crafted a high-octane cocktail that would become legendary: espresso, vodka, Tia Maria, Kahlua and sugar syrup. The drink became a symbol of ‘90s bar culture, growing sweeter and stickier until it fell out of favor. Now, bartenders are getting excited about coffee cocktails once more. Creative Coffee Cocktails as told by Hamilton Beach Commercial

“As we continue the third generation coffee movement in the U.S., I expect to see a celebration of specialty coffee in cocktail bars. … Breathing new life to old caffeinated cocktails is an easy pivot that the large majority of Americans can get excited about,” Stephen Kurpinksy, president of the United States Bartenders Guild San Diego Chapter, tells VinePair. Here’s a look at some of the exciting trends we’re seeing in coffee specialty drinks.

Cold Brew Coffee + Vodka Drinks

It’s so simple… and so strong. DBL BLK, a bottled version in Colorado, was born out of a very-Denver dilemma: “We continued to complain about the same two problems: one, we love to ski and hike but don’t enjoy beers in the morning, and two, the brunch drink scene needed some disruption,” says DBL BLK co-founder Matt Wickiser. Their solution: cold brew coffee and craft vodka, canned.

Larger companies have gotten in on the canned hard-coffee trend by mixing cold brew with agave wine (Café Agave) or malt liquor (La Colombe Hard Cold Brew Coffee). But neither sounds as delightful as a real cocktail made with intensely flavorful cold brew coffee.

Coffee + Citrus Drinks 

Coffee and citrus are natural companions. That’s why in Italy, espresso is often served with a slim twist of lemon. You’ll find this same refreshing combination in coffee cocktails, such as the Turkish Coffee Sour (coffee, spiced rum and lemon juice) or the Alive and Kicking (coffee, fernet, amaro and Orangerie). Or, there’s the coffee Negroni. “It’s nothing but caffeine and alcohol, and maybe a bit of orange peel, which you could also eat if you’re feeling a touch of scurvy. There’s nothing in it to drag you down.”

Hamilton Beach Commercial citrus juicers are the gold standard in the restaurant industry, from the classic manual Model 932 to the durable Hamilton Beach Commercial Electric Citrus Juicer.

Coffee + Brandy Drinks

Adios, Irish coffee. Hola, carajillo. This Spanish cocktail made with hot coffee is simply delicious — and fortifying. The version popular in Mexico is made with Licor 43, a liquor flavored with vanilla and 42 other herbs and spices. First, pour Licor 43 over ice cubes; then, add hot espresso and stir.

There are two ways to order carajillo in Mexico City, Punch saysPuesto means on the rocks. If you ask for it shakeado—like the Italian shakerato, derived from the English word “shaken”—the bartender will intervene, whipping the drink to a healthy froth in a cocktail shaker, then pouring over ice into a lowball glass.”

Coffee + Tonic Drinks

As customers are demanding refreshing, non-alcoholic drinks, the espresso tonic is having a comeback!  Koppi, a roaster in Helsingborg, Sweden, is credited with inventing the Kaffe Tonic. It is a simple combination of espresso and tonic water, poured over ice. Anna Lunell, a founder of Koppi, shares the secrets to making it great:

  • Lots of ice in a large glass
  • High-quality tonic water, garnished with citrus
  • A fruity espresso that complements the bitter tonic
Coffee + Blender Drinks

Speaking of creative coffee cocktails – do you remember the Frozen Mudslide? It’s hard to say no to ice cream, Kahlua, Bailey’s and vodka. But it’s more a dessert than a drink, and there are many other creative ways to make a blended coffee cocktail. Boozy frozen espresso is creamy but much less sweet. From Bacardi, there’s the Coffee Colada: pina colada mix, rum and cold coffee, with an orange garnish.

What about nonalcoholic blended coffee drinks? Polish barista Agnieszka Rojewska won the 2018 World Barista Championship with an innovative mixture of passionfruit syrup, rooibos cold brew infusion, washed milk and espresso, all combined with a Hamilton Beach Commercial blender. “It aerated it a lot so the texture was like marshmallow, almost,” Rojewska says. “Blending espresso does magic for texture.” Get the recipe for her signature drink.

We hope you have enjoyed this article on creative coffee cocktails. You can discover all Hamilton Beach Commercial’s equipment solutions for coffee shops and bars/cafés here.

Brick Oven Pizza Phenomenon

New York Brick Oven Co, Today, our factory partners of New York Brick Oven Company is sharing some information on the Brick Oven Pizza Phenomenon.  Tt is quite phenomenal, how many brick oven pizza places are opening around the country these days. Concepts are ranging from fast casual chains  to buffet concepts, mom and pop joints and even the PI pizza delivery boat in St. Thomas.

There are several factors contributing to this sudden expansion in the pizza market. A few that come immediately to mind are: the internet, food networks, pizza schools, revolving brick ovens and YouTube. All these factors have made a tremendous difference for the entrepreneur in areas such as knowledge, availability, ease of operation and promotion.

Old School vs. New School

Old school pizza business required a lot of legwork, because the information, equipment, and recipes were not available to your average person. Most young people today, do not understand a world without cell phones or internet! But, imagine for a minute having to make all your business calls  from a fixed location, none while driving, walking or commuting. On top of that, if you had to make a call on the road you had to find a coin operated phone booth. Further, if you weren’t able to reach someone, you might have to wait for minutes, hours or days, until you were able to get hold of them.  All in all, it made starting a business very hard!

Add to that having to come up with dough recipes, hunting down ingredients and equipment by traveling to actual stores and visiting people in business for ideas. No, you couldn’t just click and get a hundred different recipes or a dozen different mixers. How about ovens? Hand built brick ovens were the only game available. And good luck finding a reputable builder, a decent price or even the ability schedule construction of the oven in any alignment with your own construction. Now add to that the impossibility of finding a pizza man skilled in working a wood fired brick oven, building codes, wood supplies and you start to get the idea of the logistics, training, and skill that was needed just to start.

Pizza School of New York

Now we have the Pizza School New York and Revolving Brick Ovens. It was unheard of that anyone would give you a dough recipe – let alone teach you the business of pizza. The Pizza School New York has not only trained exceptional award winning pizza makers but has helped launch scores of successful pizza places and chains around the world. There is a reason why New York is known as the capital of pizza across the globe. Finally, it was also unheard of to have a brick oven that did not require intense training and skill to operate which then permitted a pizza maker to demand a very substantial salary due to his rare skill. Now you have a revolving brick oven that makes perfect pizza and can be mastered in a day or two. Basically, all these points are driving the generations of entrepreneurs to higher creativity and a much higher success rate than the men and women of even a generation earlier. So this is why the brick oven pizza is such a phenomenon, and this time just may become known as the “Glory Days of Pizza” here in America.