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Hamilton Beach Commercial Blog


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

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

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

2021 Food Trends: What Will We Eat Next?

Predicting the next big flavor trends has long been foodies’ favorite sport. In 2019 it was celery juice and milk tea; in 2018, it was charcoal ice cream and artisan pickles. But then, well you know, 2020 happened.

This year, restaurant operators may not be inclined to experiment with novel spice blends or exotic vegetables. But they still want to surprise and delight pandemic-weary customers, so it’s worth paying attention to the trends. Here’s a small taste of what we might be tasting in 2021.

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Topics: Featured, 2021 food trends, 2021 restaurant trends

How to Entice Customers to Order Dessert To Go

Did you hear about the Prague café that turned the coronavirus into a confection? Baker Olga Budnik created a treat that looks exactly like the notorious virus: a baked chocolate sphere with a pistachio and raspberry filling and “spikes” crafted from white chocolate and dried raspberries. It’s been a huge hit, she reports.

If there ever was a time when the world needed dessert, it’s now. About 23% of American diners miss ordering dessert at restaurants, a DoorDash survey found. What are the secrets to success with takeout desserts? Here’s what we’re seeing.

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Topics: Featured, commercial stand mixer, dessert to go, takeout dessert

Practical Lessons From Restaurants That Have Increased Sales In 2020

Portable. Affordable. Familiar.

Those may be the three magic words that describe what diners are looking for right now, according to a recent National Public Radio story on restaurants that are doing well in the downturn. Burritos, pizza, wings — comforting food that adapts well to a takeout or delivery model.

But food isn’t the only factor. Technology, marketing, trends and operations all can help restaurants defy the odds and have a profitable year. Here are a few strategies that can be effective.

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Topics: Featured, restaurant industry trends, drive restaurant sales, restaurant strategy

Five Ways to Make the Most of a Ghost Kitchen

Is a restaurant still a restaurant without tables, servers or diners?

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.

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.

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Topics: Featured, ghost kitchen, dark kitchen

Five Ways Restaurants Can Stretch Food Budgets Further

Reducing kitchen waste and keeping food budgets lean have always been big challenges for foodservice professionals. Now more than ever, it’s essential to do both.  

Supply chains are being disrupted. Customers’ behavior is becoming harder to predict. Nevertheless, chefs and operators carry on the heroic work of keeping people fed in restaurant, healthcare and institutional kitchens. Hamilton Beach Commercial is here to help. With the help of expert chefs, we’ve found effective strategies for getting the most out of every ingredient.

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Topics: Featured

Seven Successful Strategies for Increasing Takeout Orders

Some 54 percent of restaurant operators have temporarily switched to off-premises service only.  They face formidable challenges: marketing takeout and delivery options to customers, crafting new menus, and keeping food costs down and quality high, all while operating with a reduced staff.  Couple_Sharing_Takeout

Here are tips from chefs and restaurant operators across the country, from fast casual to fine dining, on how to build a takeout and delivery business in challenging times. Hamilton Beach Commercial is here to help operators do more with less.

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Topics: Featured

Five Unexpected Uses for a Commercial Stand Mixer

In a commercial kitchen, a stand mixer is a true utility player. It kneads. It stirs. It whips. And it beats. Best of all, it operates hands free, allowing kitchen staff to turn their attention to other tasks.  

Yet not every restaurant has one, because chefs and managers wonder if it’s worth investing the money and the kitchen space. That’s why we made the 8 quart/8 liter CPM800 stand mixer. It’s compact, so it saves counter space. It’s affordable and seriously durable, so you know it’ll be a worthwhile investment. And it can do more than you ever dreamed.

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Topics: Featured, commercial stand mixer, restaurant stand mixer, heavy duty stand mixer

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