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Hamilton Beach Commercial Blog

Food

Say No to Plastic: Should You Switch to Eco-Friendly Takeout Containers?

The stacks of plastic and foam containers. The piles of plastic forks and knives. The wads of plastic bags.

The environmental cost of food packaging has become abundantly clear worldwide, as people rely more on takeout and delivery meals. As a result, sustainability is once again a high priority for restaurant consumers… but what does that look like when people still want their food to go?

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Topics: biodegradable takeout containers, eco-friendly takeout containers, compostable containers, biodegradable to-go container, say no to plastic

What Operators Can Learn from New Restaurant Prototypes

We’ll admit it: We get excited when chain restaurants unveil prototypes for restaurant designs. It’s not just about the new colors, fresh décor, and lighting; it’s a chance to glimpse companies’ predictions for how restaurant operations will evolve.

Here’s a look at the trends we’re seeing in the latest quick-service restaurant designs.

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Topics: restaurant prototypes, restaurant redesign

The Unexpected Evolution of Casual Dining

Shuttered casual dining restaurants have become a common sight in American suburbs, a casualty of pandemic cutbacks, overinvestment in the 2010s, and competition from the fast-casual segment. But this doesn’t signify the end. The opposite is true: Casual dining is making a comeback.

Casual dining brands are becoming more polished, more creative and more experience-focused. FSR Magazine calls it “NextGen Casual,” a movement discussed in a recent webinar with three segment leaders. Black Bear Diner CEO Anita Adams sums up casual dining trends perfectly: “Now’s the time to protect what you stand for and what you’re known for,” she says. Here’s how.

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Topics: Featured, casual dining, casual dining trends

Feeling the Squeeze: How Restaurants Can Handle Supply Chain Issues and Price Inflation

Out of the sauté pan and into the deep fryer: That’s how many restaurant operators feel right now. 

Just when operators were regaining their stride after surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, new tripwires stretched across their path: supply shortages and food price inflation, both compounded by labor shortages. In the United States, year-over-year inflation hit a 40-year high in November 2021.

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Topics: restaurant equipment, menu price inflation, food price inflation

Five Pandemic Dining Trends That Are Here to Stay

At the Thai street food restaurant Soothr, in New York City’s East Village, all the weirdness of dining in the age of COVID-19 is on display. Guests have to show proof of vaccination to a host at the window. They’re notified when they walk in that there’s a strict 90-minute time limit per table, which begins from the time of reservation. The limit is enforced a little too enthusiastically, Jiayang Fan writes in her review: “On a recent evening, a waiter tried to remove a half-finished cocktail from a table no fewer than three times in five minutes.”   

Diners and restaurant operators want to know: Is this the new normal? In one year — or five — which COVID-19 dining conventions will still be in place? We’ll share our predictions.

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Topics: Featured, Pandemic dining, COVID-19 restaurant trends

Year-End Recap: Top 5 Posts for 2021 from the HBC Food Blog

Continuing with our recap series, here are the top blog posts from the Food blog for 2021. These posts got the most views, regardless of when they were published. You can read more by visiting the HBC Food blog

Read on...and if you see content you like, be sure to join the HBC Community for regular updates, whether it's Beverage, Food, Hospitality or Recipes.

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Topics: Food, commercial immersion blender, foodservice equipment, ghost kitchens

The Guide to Specialty Equipment for Food Trucks

Equipping a food truck is like playing a tough game of Tetris.

Most food trucks have certain pieces of equipment in common: a griddle or grill, range, fryer, worktop or undercounter refrigerator, and a three-compartment sink. Once these large pieces are in place, the operator typically has only a few feet of counter space for food prep.  

Which appliances are the best fit for that space? That depends on your menu, but they’ve got to be versatile, durable, compact and affordable. Equipping and operating a food truck almost always costs more than you expect. However, it’s not a good idea to cut corners by purchasing low-quality kitchen equipment. Pieces designed for home use can’t stand up to the demands of a busy food truck — but Hamilton Beach Commercial foodservice equipment can. Here’s what we recommend.

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Topics: food truck equipment, equipment for food trucks, how to equip a food truck

How Restaurants Can Adjust to Daypart Shifts

Dining dayparts, once crisply defined, have gotten fuzzy. Breakfast spots that saw a reliable pre-9 a.m. rush now have traffic trickle in all morning. Cafés have remote workers lingering at tables, lunching as they work on their laptops. The dinner rush has expanded into the afternoon, as customer pick up meals while they’re out and about.

“The key to the industry’s recovery will be the strength of each daypart,” The NPD Group reports. Each daypart, from breakfast to evening snack, will be shaped by “new rhythms of home, school, and work-life.”

As consumers’ new work-from-home/hybrid schedules alter when — and how — they eat, how can restaurants adapt? Let’s take a closer look at each daypart.

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Topics: Featured, High Performance Blenders, commercial juicer, Daypart shifts

Menu Trends: Should Operators Shrink or Expand Offerings?

Streamlining menus was an absolute necessity in 2020. The abrupt shift to off-premises dining and app-based ordering required operators to edit menus so they could easily be perused on a phone screen. Add staffing shortages and rising ingredient prices, and shorter menus naturally followed. A Nestle survey found that 58% of operators decided to limit their offerings. 

What now? Is the pendulum swinging back toward more menu selection? Or should restaurants stick to the basics and keep options limited? We’ll look at both sides of the debate.

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Topics: Restaurant menu trends, Streamlined menus

How Kitchen Equipment Upgrades Can Ease the Restaurant Hiring Shortage

Just when American restaurant operators were thinking about expanding, they’re getting squeezed by a hiring crisis.

All across the country, operators are finding it difficult to hire enough seasoned servers, hosts, bartenders, cooks and dishwashers. “Some analysts blamed an economic recovery that isn’t as strong as it seems, but others have blamed powerful forces such as ongoing health fears and robust unemployment insurance for keeping people from seeking jobs in the service sector,” the Washington Post reports.

Caterer Olive Chase, owner of The Casual Gourmet, told NPR she’s had to turn down weddings because she doesn’t have enough staff. "Right at the moment when things could get really good,” she said, “you have something else that's going to hold you back."

If staffing is holding you back, your equipment can help you move forward. How can Hamilton Beach Commercial help?

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Topics: restaurant efficiency, restaurant staffing shortage

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