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CT Democrats Pitch Dining Tax


hat romantic dinner for two may soon get a little pricier. In a last-minute scramble to boost revenue, House Democrats in late June suggested pushing the state sales tax to 6.99 percent and allowing towns to tack on another percentage point for food and beverage at restaurants, fast food joints and other eateries. Lawmakers say the towns, long reliant on property taxes to pay for crucial services, need a new source of funding as they try to stay afloat amid planned budget cuts. But while restaurant owners expressed sympathy for the state’s plight, several worried about the impact a tax hike could have on business. Richard Rosenthal, president of Max Restaurant Group, said it would be a deterrent for people to dine out. “It’s going after people’s disposable income,” said Rosenthal, who owns restaurants in Hartford, West Hartford, Glastonbury and Avon. “The political climate as it is, it’s a tough state to do business in.” “It’s just another way of Connecticut being unfriendly toward businesses and consumers.” Michael Ladden, owner of McLadden’s and Noble & Co. in West Hartford Center, said the plan is “not a good idea from a consumer perspective.” “I don’t know how that is going

Main Office 282 Railroad Avenue Greenwich, CT 06830 Publishers Leslie & Fred Klashman Advertising Director Michael Scinto

Sarah Maloney, head of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said the inconsistencies in pricing among communities would cause confusion. to affect us from a business standpoint, but it affects the consumers in general across the board and it affects their decisions on what they choose, whether they choose to go out to eat, buy more gas, purchase a dishwasher for their house,” he said. “It affects everybody.” Money raised from the sales tax increase would benefit cities and towns, as would the extra tax on food and drink. Municipal leaders can choose whether or not to adopt the restaurant tax. “The towns have been begging us for municipal revenue diversification. That’s the key term here away from the reliance on the property tax,” House Majority Leader Matthew Ritter said. “And if you go to New York City, if you go to a lot of other states, they allow their towns to do this.” No language has been drafted for the proposal, so it’s not yet clear how many, or exactly which, establishments would get hit with the additional tax. Ritter said restaurants, bars and fast food companies would

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be included, but he’s unsure if gas stations or grocery stores would be in the mix. Legislators failed to adopt a state budget by June 30, the end of Connecticut’s fiscal year, and negotiations are still trudging along. The House Democrats’ budget was pitched as an 11th-hour fix for struggling cities and towns. But Republicans, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Democrats in the Senate have been critical of the proposal. “There are probably more holes in this thing than Swiss cheese,” Malloy said of the plan last month. Sen. John Fonfara, D-Hartford, said the restaurant tax creates competition among towns. Municipalities that choose not to implement it could have an advantage over those that do, he pointed out, and larger communities would have an edge over smaller ones. “Anything that further exacerbates the competitiveness between

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Art Director Mark Sahm Contributing Writers Warren Bobrow Faith Hope Consolo Morgan Tucker Fred Sampson Staff Writers Deborah Hirsch

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NEWS MINIMUM WAGE HIKE Metro NY’s Applebee’s Franchise Initiates Large Scale Firings Due To Minimum Wage Hike


he minimum wage demands have done severe damage to Seattle’s and New York’s businesses. A recent New York Post report revealed that, in the wake of the increased rate to $15 an hour, New York lost a staggering 1,000 restaurants. Applebee’s was one of the businesses that has been especially hard pressed by the minimum wage hike. Zane Tankel, the CEO of Applebee’s New York franchise, explained that

We can’t raise prices anymore,” said Applebee’s CEO Zane Tankel in January rather candidly, so they had to take drastic measures. his restaurants were forced to fire at least 1,000 employees so far thanks to the liberal policy. He recently shared the unfortunate news with

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Fox Business’s Stuart Varney. Instead of typical servers, the CEO explained that they will soon be replaced by concierges, who merely

check on customers from time to time to make them feel “warm and comfortable.” “The model now that we’re heading towards where we had one server for three or four tables, we’re moving towards one server for ten tables, eliminating about two-thirds of our labor ultimately. But it’s because of Cuomo, De Blasio, the liberal agenda.”

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Queens Racetrack Will Get A 400-Room Hotel And Celebrity Restaurant


as Vegas will be getting its first new casino on the Strip in a decade. And the only casino currently operating in New York City, at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, is getting an upgrade to include a 400room hotel with a celebrity-chef restaurant. They’re both part of the huge U.S. expansion plans of the Genting Group, a Malaysian conglomerate that’s seeking to move beyond its Asian roots not just in New York and Las Vegas, but in Miami and suburban Massachusetts as well. Genting recently announced the start of construction on the $400 million project near New York’s John F. Ken-

Now it’s a good regional gaming product,” said Farrell, who said the hotel is due to open in mid-2019. “It will be much more of a destination, a full entertainment facility.” nedy International Airport. “We want to diversify the portfolio, spread out the risk and be able to leverage international travel by having the right assets in the right cities,” said Edward Farrell, president of Genting Americas.

The Genting Group has broken ground on an expanded Resorts World New York City

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In 2020, Genting plans to open the 3,000-room centerpiece of its U.S. strategy on the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where construction on the $4 billion project has recently started, Farrell said. The Strip hasn’t seen a major hotel opening since 2009, and with no new projects on the horizon, Genting is positioning itself well, said Brent Pirosch, director of gaming consulting at real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc. in Las Vegas. He said the company will benefit from a planned expan-

sion of the city’s convention center and the arrival of the National Football League’s Raiders, scheduled to move from Oakland into a new $1.7 billion stadium nearby. “It will be the newest and one of the best offerings out there on the Strip,” said Genting Americas’ Farrell. Genting’s Resorts World New York City, as the only operator there, generates plenty of proceeds. Last year it had organic gaming revenue of $826.5 million, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, 13 percent more than Atlantic City’s biggest casino, MGM Resorts International’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, and 26 percent more than the casino revenue of Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s flagship Las Vegas property. “Now it’s a good regional gaming product,” said Farrell, who said the hotel is due to open in mid-2019. “It will be much more of a destination, a full entertainment facility.” Resorts World pays 70 percent of its gross to New York State, according to the company, which says it has paid more than $1.9 billion to New York’s Lottery Education Fund since opening in 2011. The casino offers electronic slots and other

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A Proactive Kitchen Helps To Minimize Equipment Risks


ast month I spent time providing Total Food Service readers with insight into common refrigeration issues and the value that preventative maintenance can provide in order to best impact your total cost of ownership. As operators, we have all experienced safety issues or equipment issues that can create a great deal of risk. Whether it is a steam burn due to gaskets not being properly maintained or an Ansul system being set off as a result of a fryer flue being blocked, it is vital to take proactive steps to minimize the risk to your associates, assets and customers. One of the most vivid memories I have is working a line with a 440volt electric broiler that suddenly began shooting flames not related to any grease buildup in the unit. Luckily, there were no injuries, however when an internal facilities generalist was dispatched to assess and repair, we assumed that the unit was operational. When we returned the broiler to service, one of my cooks suffered 3rd degree burns because the generalist was not trained on this type of equipment. This led to a workman’s compensation claim, but more seriously an unnecessary injury to a valuable member of my team. Understanding that our employees should be considered our most important asset, it is vital that we provide them with a safe and opti-

Understanding that our employees should be considered our most important asset, it is vital that we provide them with a safe and optimal work environment. Jeff Becker is the VP-Sales & Branch

mal work environment. In turn, employees should be held accountable to properly utilizing and maintaining the assets that they are provided to effectively perform their work functions. Through daily use, it is important to proactively look for problems that fall into the following areas: Water: Water can create a costly danger to kitchen equipment. When cleaning, it is important to never spray operational components of equipment with a hose. As you would expect, the risk to electrical equipment compared to gas is much greater. With technology driven equipment such as combi ovens, it is important to recognize the need to carefully clean around the computer components. Gas: When working with this type of fuel, educating your team on basic working principles should be part

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of your standard operating procedures. Do all employees know who to call if they smell gas? If a pilot light repeatedly doesn’t light, is there a cook who has figured out an ingenious work-around with unknown consequences? Did you know that black soot on the bottoms of pots is a sign of an improperly balanced flame on an open burner? Organizations that demonstrate a culture of safety understand the risks associated with gas and the ability to mitigate this through effective preventative maintenance that will check for gas pressure and leaks as well as calibrate temperature and heating elements. Electrical: When inspecting your facility, actively look for exposed wires. One of the most common problems we find during a preventative maintenance inspection is a lack of grounding due to the prong in the plug having fallen or broken off. This has the potential to electrocute someone

Development, Day & Nite / All Service. Prior to joining the company he served in several roles with Aramark. You can forward service questions to him at

should it not be repaired immediately. We have seen chefs who will cut the plugs off of electrical equipment should wires be exposed or lacking grounding in order to prevent an injury. While some might think water is the number one cause of failure with electrical equipment, it is in fact heat. As such, factory recommended preventative maintenance is an efficient means to minimize this risk. When I contemplate the cost of doing business in the foodservice industry, minimizing exposure and identifying risks is necessary to sustain predictable profitability. As such, maintaining assets through a proper preventative maintenance platform helps to insure against safety and lost revenue.

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Liz Neumark, CEO and Entrepreneur, Great Performances, New York, NY


iz Neumark, founder and CEO of Great Performances, has long contributed to the wellbeing of the metro New York area through her efforts as an activist, philanthropist, and creator at the center of all of the social events of the city. Thankfully, she has now been formally recognized as such. Recently named to the Crain’s list of the 50 most powerful women in NYC, Neumark is much more than “the woman behind the food at top galas, fundraisers and intimate parties throughout the city.” Neumark also devotes her time to work on food-justice issues; in 2007, she founded the Sylvia Center, a nonprofit that teaches children and families how to cook healthy food. She’s also a member of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger Advi-

Among Great Performances’ signature dishes is a colorful appetizer of Asparagus, Sugar Snaps, White Beech, Curry, Radish, and Mascarpone

There are all of these new opportunities, too; we’re shifting towards this experiential marketing and many edge events, so that’s where we find ourselves doing things that no one could even conceptualize before.” sory Board and the Fund for Public Housing. However, Neumark’s most notable accomplishments are perhaps in her guidance with Great Performances, which is quickly radicalizing the world of food catering through innovative projects and new directions. We recently talked with the activist and businesswoman to discuss the crazy yet exciting direction of her company, and why it matters so much that she is able to represent the food industry on this prestigious list of powerful women. What does it mean to be named to Crain’s list as one of the most influential women in New York? You know, it’s kind of staggering honestly. This is a city with a lot of great women, so it’s really an honor. I feel that there are dozens and dozens of women I know who are incredibly impactful, so it should be a bigger list and it just makes the honor of being on it even greater. However, I also understand that being on this list is a recognition of our industry and what hospitality and

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foodservice mean to New York, both in terms of the fact that everybody eats three times a day, and that there are so many jobs created by our industry. Recognizing our industry and being chosen to represent our industry is what really means alot to me. I’m glad to be the poster child for hospitality. Tell me a little bit about the changes that you see in this industry and where it has gone; the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s such a multifaceted industry. It’s everything on the gamut, on the affordability scale, from high and low end service to fast foods eliminating service wherever possible in some places, and then there’s outstanding and attentive old-world service on the other end of the spectrum. It’s also an industry that people thought would be immune to technological disruptions that have been upending the status quo. Yet these disruptions are impacting hospitality: the experience, the production, the systems, the communication with our clients. I don’t think

Liz Neumark, CEO and Entrepreneur, Great Performances, New York, NY

we’ve adequately gotten our heads around that because we do think of food production as one of the last manufacturing industries left. We have to think about food in terms of new technology and disruptions because they’re happening. Any disruption of this kind is a change in the labor force or the impact of millennials. But even though everybody complains about the next generation, I really think the question is how do we harness technology to operate smarter and better? And there are so many places that need to be thinking about that. We need to simplify the way we communicate to our buyers.

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NYACS Leads National Move To Block Menu Labeling


he National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) have joined grocery and restaurant groups in filing suit to stop New York City’s effort to enforce menu labeling this summer. NACS, NYACS, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Restaurant Law Center (RLC) filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The groups aim to stop New York from prematurely enforcing rules requiring calorie and nutrient information prior to a May 2018 compliance date established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The lawsuit claims that New York’s premature enforcement is preempted by federal law. In May, the FDA announced that it is deferring enforcement of nationwide menu-labeling rules until May 2018 in response to industry concerns regarding implementation and to consider possible amendments to alleviate the costs of the rule. The FDA published rules requiring calorie disclosures on menus in 2014, but has decided to delay them in order to work through problems with those rules. “New York City can’t jump the gun and start imposing fines when FDA hasn’t even figured out how disclosures should be made,” said

Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations for NACS. “Doing that holds stores to standards that no one can meet and undermines the point of having a federal law in the first place.” “It’s ridiculous for New York City to force convenience-store chains to prematurely incur the costs and logistical burdens associated with menu labeling when federal regulations preempt localities from doing so,” said James Calvin, president of the NYACS. “Federal preemption for menu labeling is the law of the land. New York City is overstepping its legal authority in its attempt to enforce menu labeling ahead of the federal compliance date of May 7, 2018. We expect our preliminary injunction request will be granted to this clear violation of federal law,” said Angelo Amador, executive director of RLC. “The federal law preempts a municipality from taking matters into its own hands, and this is exactly what New York City is attempting to do,” said Jennifer Hatcher, chief public policy officer for FMI. “New York City’s actions threaten

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interstate commerce and would introduce unneeded elements of confusion into the food retail marketplace.” As part of the lawsuit, the plaintiffs asked the court to enter an injunction to stop New York from enforcing its rules until the federal rules are ready. Unless the court acts, New York has threatened to start levying fines against retailers and restaurants starting on Aug. 21. The recent menu-labeling deadline extension has raised as many questions as it relieved, and the Food and Drug administration’s (FDA) proposed menu-labeling regulations were a hot topic of discussion during CSP/Winsight’s C-Store Foodservice forum held May 3-5 in Chicago. From the deadline extension to questions about enforcement and the long-range effect on convenience stores retailers were eager to learn as much as possible about how the FDA plans to implement menu labeling.

Federal preemption for menu labeling is the law of the land. New York City is overstepping its legal authority in its attempt to enforce menu labeling ahead of the federal compliance date of May 7, 2018.”

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How Pest Threats Can Lead to Foodborne Illness By Jennifer Brumfield, Training and Technical Specialist, Western Pest Services


ccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one in six people become ill from food consumed in the United States each year. Of those 48 million affected, 128,000 are hospitalized and over 3,000 ultimately die from foodborne diseases. These statistics demonstrate that restaurants are often making lifeor-death decisions with their sanitation policies, including their pest management practices. Indeed, disease-carrying pests can lead to many life-threatening foodborne illnesses, including Salmonella and Listeria. By understanding pest threats and the contamination risks they pose, restaurants can provide a safer and healthier dining experience for both their customers and employees.

they move from any of these bacteria laden surfaces to your customer’s meal, they carry over 100 varieties of disease-carrying bacteria with them. These dangerous microorganisms can include Salmonella, cholera, E. coli and parasitic warms and fungi. • Cockroaches: Spotting these sixlegged insects in your restaurant can lead to far more damage than a bad Yelp review. Cockroaches are known to spread at least 33 varieties of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and seven varieties of human pathogens, including Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus. They can also trigger asthma attacks and other allergic reactions. Cockroaches are not direct vectors of disease, but instead spread illnesses through their droppings, saliva and vomit. Oftentimes, dangerous microorganisms attach themselves to cockroaches’ legs while these pests crawl through

Pest Threats in Restaurants The most common pests behind foodborne illnesses are flies, rodents and cockroaches. These three species carry dangerous microorganisms and pathogens that can cause severe illnesses when consumed by humans. • Flies: Multiple filth fly species, including fruit flies, house flies and blow flies, are attracted to the food odors and food residue generated by restaurant kitchens. Restaurants provide plenty of ideal areas for flies to feed including raw meats, sink drains and garbage bins. When 14 • August 2017 • Total Food Service •

sewers, drains and trash bins. • Rodents: Rodents have the capability to spread more disease than both flies and cockroaches because of the frequency and volume of their excrement. In fact, mice can drop up to 70 fecal pellets each day, or 25,000 fecal pellets each year. These droppings are known to transmit numerous disease-causing pathogens, including Hantavirus and Salmonella. In addition, rodents carry ticks, fleas and lice, and are therefore also vectors for any diseases these parasites carry. Pest Management: A Necessity for Illness Prevention The presence of pests, both dead and alive, and what they leave behind (e.g. excrement and nesting materials) pose a significant health threat to diners and employees. By implementing an integrated pest

management (IPM) program, your restaurant team and pest management provider can work together to proactively prevent pest threats. Proper sanitation is an essential element of any successful IPM strategy. The following sanitation steps should be taken to deter flies, cockroaches, rodents and their associated foodborne diseases: • Waste Management: All three pests are attracted to the odors and residue generated by food waste. Make sure all internal trash receptacles have plastic liners that are taken out once full. In addition, outdoor dumpsters should be placed at least 50 feet away from the restaurant’s back door, frequently washed down to remove food residue and debris and have tight-fitting lids.

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Punch For The Late Summer Season


unch is an easy way to show your appreciation to your guests and what better way than with the brightest and freshest of fruits of the season? May I suggest first empowering your bar-backs. What? Aren’t they more concerned with making your fresh juices and polishing the glassware? Well, they should be doing that- and then some. When you

truly want to raise the bar, and promote from the bottom up, the best way that I know how to find talented future bartenders is through the art of Punch. It takes an understanding of the classics, starting with Jerry Thomas. Mr. Thomas for all intents and purposes is our inspiration for what we consider the classic cocktails. He was plying his craft a hundred or more years before you disappointed your grandparents by pitching that law degree in favor of slinging

Ramos Gin Fizzes to thirsty hordes of newly minted revelers. Jerry Thomas wrote the famous book named the Bartenders Guide (also known as “how to mix drinks” and sometimes known as: The BonVivant’s Companion). His work is as relevant today as it was in the 1840’s and maybe even more so now- with the rediscovery of classic cocktails and nostalgic methodology. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I think the first thing a bar owner or restaurant owner should do is get a copy of “how to mix drinks” and start working out of it.

Warren Bobrow is the creator of the popular blog The Cocktail Whisperer and the author of nearly half a dozen books, including Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktails, Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails, and his most recent book Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, & Tonics.

I think a good place to start is by explaining what a wise bartender named Chris James once taught me. He said don’t throw it out. Don’t throw what out? The last ¼ inch of a bottle. Work with flavors- save it for punch- it’s liquid money and it doesn’t go down the drain. I never forgot this lesson- just like I never forgot the lessons that I learned when I worked as a cook. There are things that we can do to save the house money, and other things that will get us fired. I’d rather keep my job and make money for the house than have to search for another one because I was foolish and poured ‘that’ bottle down the drain. Save it for Punch! Jerry Thomas Brandy Punch As interpreted by myself with seasonal embellishments... like Cognac over plain brandy and the use of Champagne instead of plain water. Ingredients • 1-750ml bottle of Champagne • 1-750ml bottle Camus XO

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August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 17



Eat Out East


he Hamptons dining scene reinvents itself each year and is always a cause for a culinary celebration! All of Manhattan seems to be in the Hamptons now to catch the last month of summer. Here’s my guide to dining options out East, from Southampton to Montauk. In East Hampton, EMP (Eleven Madison Park) Summer House opened at 341 Pantigo Road after closing for renovations and popping up in the old Moby’s spot with a more casual version of Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s tasting-menu. The new indoor/outdoor restaurant is so exclusive that all the tables are reserved for Amex cardholders only, plus you have to purchase your reservation ahead of time with a $25 non-refundable deposit. But there is usually some space available for walk-ins, on a first-come, first-served basis. Springs Tavern, 15 Fort Pond, by Dan and Charlene DeSmet, is in the

former Wolfie’s Tavern space after a complete renovation. Chef Michael Ruggiero, formerly of Nick & Toni’s and Harvest on Fort Pond, is serving American pub-style food. Highway Restaurant & Bar, 290 Montauk Hwy, has new outdoor dining with alfresco tables on a secluded deck. The spot is overseen by executive chef Anand Sastry, formerly of Eleven Madison Park, Troisgros in France and private chef to King Hussein of Jordan. Dopo La Spaggia East Hampton, by chef/co-owner Maurizio Marfoglia, is expanding from Sag Harbor to East Hampton with a second, significantly larger indoor and outdoor space at 31 Race Lane. The Maidstone debuted after major renovations at 207 Main Street. Harbor East, 44 Three Mile Harbor Road, is serving locally sourced farmto-table brunch and dinners and then transforms at night into a club. Cove Hollow Tavern replaced Café Max at 85 Montauk Hwy with a strong

A mouth watering hand constructed burger from Springs Tavern, East Hampton, NY

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focus on seafood. In, Montauk, Flagship by father/ son duo Chef Eric and Adam Miller opened at 466 West Lake Drive with a menu focused on seafood and craft cocktails. La Fine, at 236 Edgemere Street, joined forces with Michelin Starred Chef Tim Lu to produce a menu combining rustic Italian and modern contemporary styles. Sag Harbor welcomed Le Bilboquet to 1 Long Wharf in the former B. Smith spot, adding to the iconic portfolio in NYC, Dallas and Atlanta, all known for their well-heeled, celebrity crowds. Lulu Kitchen & Bar, by Marc Rowan of Duryea’s Lobster Deck and Arbor, debuted another new restaurant at 126 Main Street and will be open yearround, featuring wood-burning cuisine by chef Phillippe Corbet. In Southampton, Oreya is now the entire restaurant, pool and outdoor spaces at The Capri Hotel Southampton, 281 Country Road 39A, by chef and restaurateur Greg Grossman, serv-

Faith Hope Consolo is the Chairman of Douglas Elliman’s Retail Group. Ms. Consolo is responsible for the most successful commercial division of New York City’s largest residential real estate brokerage firm. Email her at

ing Mediterranean cuisine focused on Greek influence. The Southampton Inn, 91 Hill Street, is changing its restaurant again this season, from Clyde’s to Claude’s, with breakfast, lunch and light bites on the lush courtyards and pool patios. Amagansett now boasts Wölffer Kitchen, 4 Amagansett Square Drive, the second East End eatery from the Wölffer Estate Vineyard co-owners and siblings, Marc and Joey Wölffer; their first locale opened in Sag Harbor in 2015. Savor this roundup and watch for my next edition of Faithful Food! Happy Dining!

A specialty cocktail from La Fine in Montauk, NY

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Textured Food Innovations Will Revolutionize Hospital Nutrition


n a Long Island kitchen, chefs, dietitians and speech pathologists join together to craft diverse and hearty culinary meals and desserts: roast beef, steak, lasagna, cottage pies, tiramisu and even gingerbread men. There’s one catch; this food won’t require a knife. It’s completely puréed, all of it possessing the smooth consistency of custard. This kitchen is the home base of Textured Food Innovations, a new and promising company whose products are set to launch in the coming months. It is the brainchild of Dr. Carol Letzter, a speech pathologist who noticed that many of her patients on a puréed diet due to medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease would reject the food presented to them; the puréed hospital food currently available is undesirable and not nutritious. Many of Letzter’s patients find themselves no longer able to enjoy mealtimes and grow sicker as a result. The inability to sit down and eat a tasty meal ends up hurting patients

in other respects, as well; they can’t eat out with their families or enjoy holidays, meaning their already restrictive diets further confine their lives. Dr. Letzter sought out to change this: “I thought to myself that there has to be a better way to offer a modified diet to these folks. I put my thinking cap on and came up with an idea that is turning into reality: puréed meals that are contoured to look visually appealing and taste absolutely delicious.” From this idea came Textured Food Innovations, which is changing how puréed food is made and served; not only does it seek to make puréed food tastier and more visually appealing through contouring and shaping, it also addresses many of the specific dietary needs facing patients. The company provides diverse menu choices that offer traditional meat, poultry and fish as well as vegetarian options. Products also service patients requiring additional protein and meals that are culturally diverse, reflecting the various ethnicities of

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patients on this diet. “Our approach is that all of our meals are prepared gluten-free with all-natural food, no GMO’s, no preservatives, and no commercial thickeners,” says Letzter. This commitment to preparing real, all-natural food is the reason behind the superior taste of Textured Food Innovations and its claim to fame. Founded in 2015, the company started after Dr. Letzter reached out to an executive chef in Australia with the same mission of revolutionizing the puréed food industry; Darren Benfell of Textured Concept Foods had already received numerous awards for his puréed meals provided in nursing homes, hospitals and private residences across Australia. He leaped at the chance to help his mission spread stateside. The benefits of this new selection of puréed food have already been appreciated by Australian citizens in nursing homes and hospitals: “Hospital administrators, as well as families, have reported a vast improvement in the health and cognitive function of patients and loved ones. We expect the same results here as we launch the opening of our facility,” commented Dr. Letzter. The need to improve the puréed food market stretches beyond nutrition and health; eating remains a social experience. To deprive a patient of the right to eat food with friends and family can hinder this bonding, yet Letzter is confident that Textured Food Innovations will erase the social stigma of a restrictive puréed diet:

Textured Food Innovations (L-R) Matthew Vitale, Executive Chef, and Dr. Carol Letzter, Co-Founder, Textured Food Innovations

“We feel that our product will provide individuals with the opportunity to look forward to mealtime as they dine with dignity… they can participate in social events and not feel inferior to those eating a regular diet because even though their food is puréed, it looks just like everyone else’s.” Textured Food Innovations is on track to address many of the problems plaguing hospital and healthcare nutrition, specifically puréed diets. As its products launch in the coming months, Dr. Letzter’s vision is for patients with chewing or swallowing difficulties to enjoy meal time once again and improve the quality of life in a healthcare facility and in many cases extend lives upon the patient’s return home. For more information on Textured Food Innovations, please visit www. Additional Reporting by Margaret Cirino

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REGISTER TODAY Use promo code TOTALFOOD to save $20. August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 21



Brooklyn Trendy Cafe Trains Refugees To Become Cooks


ake a seat at Emma’s Torch, a cozy new brunch spot in the foodie haven of Red Hook, Brooklyn, and you’ll feel like you’re at just another trendy eatery where mimosas are a staple. But take a peek inside the bustling kitchen, and you’ll see that while the staff is seasoning the beautiful dishes, they’re also changing the course of their lives in a way they didn’t know was possible.  Named for poet Emma Lazarus, who wrote the sonnet mounted on the Statue of Liberty, the restaurant offers paid culinary training to refugees, asylees and survivors of human trafficking. The eatery tailors its learning program to meet the unique struggles these groups face when they come to America and aims to place its students in restaurant jobs within a month of completing the program.  “We have a lot of people who wander into the cafe, who have no idea what’s going on here,” said founder Kerry Brodie. “Though we tell them what’s going on, we don’t want them to ever feel like: ‘Oh, I did a good deed by eating here.’ We want them to say, ‘I had a delicious meal that was really high quality.’” Though the program is still very small having trained only a handful of people so far it provides access to skills that help recent immigrants land well-paying jobs that have room for growth.

Though we tell them what’s going on, we don’t want them to ever feel like: ‘Oh, I did a good deed by eating here.’ We want them to say, ‘I had a delicious meal that was really high quality.’” For two months, Emma’s Torch students participate in an intensive weekday course at the restaurant, which teaches them how to become cooks. There’s also a weekly English class, which features kitchen lingo they might not pick up in a standard language course.  Such language skills are key to getting a decent-paying job in the restaurant industry, and keeping it.  On the weekends, the only time Emma’s Torch is open to the public, the students get hands-on work experience whipping up simple, Instagram-ready brunch dishes (think avocado toast and Belgian waffles) for hungry customers.  The cooks-in-training earn $15 an hour and work about 200 hours over the duration of the learning program. Classes are taught by famed chef Mandy Maxwell, whose resume boasts such New York City hotspots as Per Se and Eleven Madison Park. In New York City, the average cook job pays about $11 an hour, slightly

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less what the student cooks at Emma’s Torch take home. “We try and help our students secure jobs where they are paid a fair living wage, and are set up for success,” Brodie said. “Part of our training is leadership in the kitchen. We want our students to feel confident asking for more responsibility, and higher wages.” Emma’s Torch has hit the culinary scene amid the worst refugee crisis since WWII and when foreignborn workers continue to earn far less than their native-born counterparts in the U.S. In 2016, the median weekly earnings for a foreign-born worker was $715, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics. It was $860 a week for native-born workers. On average, the hourly wages for immigrants are 12 percent less than those of native-born people. And, immigrants’ wages typically don’t catch up to those of people who were born here, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

Upon arriving, refugees usually receive federal assistance for four months, which is supposed to be enough of a buffer for them to learn English and land a job. Except it’s usually not. Most refugees struggle to find work in that window of time and then go on welfare. For the restaurant’s debut culinary class, which launched this summer, Emma’s Torch received 50 applications. Brodie’s program has trained five people so far. Brodie was first inspired to create her nonprofit restaurant after hearing former President Barack Obama call on the U.S. last year to increase the number of refugees it was letting in.  As of July 12, under President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, the U.S. will close its doors to refugees once it has accepted 50,000 refugees for this fiscal year.  Backed by grants and donations, Brodie said that creating job opportunities in the food industry was ideal for the demographic she was working with, considering how much of American cuisine is rooted in the immigrant culture.  “Every food that we think of as what makes us New Yorkers or Americans many of them were brought over on the backs of refugees: the bagel, Sriracha (sauce), you name it,” Brodie said. “That’s what really defines our culture.”

August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 23

NEWS SHOWS Specialty Food Association’s Annual Summer Fancy Food Show Draws More Multi-Channel Buyers


he Specialty Food Association (SFA) marked its 65th year with an exhilarating Summer Fancy Food Show. Held June 25-27 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, the Show featured over 2,600 exhibitors, with Turkey as the partner country. The Show, established in 1954, is now the largest marketplace in North America devoted exclusively to specialty food and beverage producers and buyers. More than 180,000 specialty food products were on display, clearly demonstrating the industry’s commitment to meeting consumer demands for great, innovative products and new ways to explore global flavors. This year’s Show saw the introduction of a stronger buyer-focused registration process, putting more verified business contacts in the aisles of the Javits Center. Exhibitors attend the Show to make critical connections with buyers and there was positive buzz around the quality of attendees this year. As Jacques Bergier, general manager of Leonidas Chocolates, an exhibitor at the Show said, “I think the traffic has been better qualified. In some years people have come by the booth, and you wonder, ‘What are they doing here?’” With the explosion of multiple channels vying for specialty food sales – going way beyond the “gourmet shop” of the past to include convenience, foodservice, e-commerce, and more – the SFA developed its qualification

This year’s Show saw the introduction of a stronger buyer-focused registration process, putting more verified business contacts in the aisles of the Javits Center. process as a guarantee to their members that they’d see better businessto-business activity at the Show. In addition to the traditional exhibit hall, a new attraction, LevelUP, was added to the Show to highlight the rapidly growing specialty food industry by showcasing global food innovations, industry research, and the future of food and commerce. LevelUP provided data important to buyers in particular to help them better understand consumer habits and trends across multiple purchase channels and impacting multiple segments of food itself. “The Summer Fancy Food Show gave us the opportunity to celebrate SFA’s 65 years of excellence in the specialty food industry,” said Phil Kafarakis, SFA president. “SFA members and industry pros attend our shows to conduct business, learn, and be inspired. By improving our qualification process and adding the innovative, immersive experience of LevelUP, we reinforced the SFA mission to champion the specialty food industry, nurture businesses, and foster industry connections. We were pleased to attract so many buyers from so many channels.

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After all, this is more than an industry of just gourmet retailers. The tent has gotten bigger and we’re very pleased to host a crowd.” The LevelUP attraction also featured thought-provoking industry speakers. The diverse lineup included Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert, who moderated a lively panel discussion among a group of traditional and e-commerce buyers. Also on hand were Chef Francisco Migoya with “Insights from Modernist Bread;” Bertha Jimenez, RISE Products, on “The Resurrection of Food Waste: Brewery to Table Cuisine;” Jon Taffer of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue on the “Reality of Small Business Success;” and more. Other Summer Fancy Food Show highlights included: sofi™ Award Product of the Year presented to Anastasia Confections Coconut Cashew Crunch with Chocolate Drizzle. The sofi Awards are considered the “Oscars” of the specialty food industry. This year there were 3,000 entries across 39 categories. Convenience and other retailers sent buyers specifically to interact with the 2017 sofi winners at the Show. Front Burner: Foodservice Pitch

Competition The “pitch” winner was Black Pepper Bacon Jam by TBJ Gourmet. The versatile, spreadable product wowed the foodservice judges with its strong bacon flavor and foodservicefriendly packaging, taking top prize in the competition presented by the Foodservice Council of the Specialty Food Association. The competition also exposed foodservice buying needs to a larger industry audience. Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards to 27 individuals were inducted into the SFA Hall of Fame, and seven other industry luminaries received Lifetime Achievement Awards on June 25. The Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel scoured the Show floor for the latest innovations in the specialty food world. The panel was comprised of Ken Blanchette, Vice President of Purchasing, FreshDirect; Jonathan Deutsch, Professor of Culinary Arts & Science, Drexel University; Perla Nieves and Alysis Vasquez, Founders, Midnight Market; Alison Tozzi Liu, Editorial Director, James Beard Foundation; and Elly Truesdell, Global Product Innovation & Development at Whole Foods Market. Giving Back At the end of the Show, exhibitors continued their long tradition of giving back by donating thousands of pounds of meat, cheese, produce, confections and snacks to the Specialty Food Foundation, which in turn donated the products to City Harvest, the Summer Fancy Food Show’s longtime charity of choice.

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August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 25 10/11/16 14:34



Green and Sustainable Strategies


aving energy is one of the most important goals for facilities, communities, or organizations today. There are a number of systems that can be used to address this issue. One of the best tools to use is Energy Management Software. Energy Management Software (EMS) provides tools for reducing energy costs and consumption for buildings or communities. This requires significant initial investment. However, once implemented, the savings brought by energy management software are considerable. There are several benefits of Energy Management Software. Such as utility bill management, data collection, energy information reporting, and the list goes on. EMS enters utility bills manually, provide an online database of energy use by site, and, optionally, pay the invoice. This results in an accurate database of energy consumption, and elimination of billing errors and late fees. EMS requires submetering of certain en-

ergy loads to manage energy use in real time or to allocate energy costs to product lines, customers, or tenants. This allows operators to make the appropriate load changes based on real time data. Our cutting-edge software provides superior business solutions. UM 4.0 (Utility Module) is a customizable software system exclusively designed to manage utility costs and consumption. It serves as the central management tool to analyze data, efficiently group accounts, and maintain, service and advise users on the performance of their contracts, budgets and energy consumption. Whether managing a single facility or hundreds of facilities across the country, UM provides an array of property information, including budget analyses, usage analyses, daily re-projections, year-end forecasts, custom reports, as well as savings analyses. UM 4.0 provides the integration of utility operations, finance, procurement and accounting efforts into

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an easy-to-use interface. Users will receive system generated updates advising of changing market conditions and their impact on users’ budgets and expenses. Email alerts are generated to notify users of any utility variances, so that appropriate action may be taken. UM’s robust tracking system, combined with effective commodity procurement, results in greater control of overall expenses and enhanced data management. You can set up user access to UM 4.0 to allow that user a view based on portfolio, property or building. In addition, there are several permission levels, including “read only” to set access, accounts payable and admin status which allow users to set alerts and establish budgets within UM. Our secure servers keep user data private and only accessible to authorized users. With an unlimited number of user logins available, UM can be scaled to handle any size portfolio. UM 4.0 stores individual me-

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ter invoices to provide users a very granular level of detail. The database hierarchy groups these meters into properties, buildings and utility types to offer the user multiple ways of viewing utility data.

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Blind Spots: When Good Restaurants Are Bad Businesses


ne of the great things about having over 30 years experience in the restaurant business followed by 15 more as a finance executive and small business advisor is that I have seen a lot. One fascinating phenomena is the “blind spot”. This is when restaurant owners fail to honestly see or recognize problems that jeopardize their business. They don’t really research, plan or seek an outside opinion and fail to see that even a good restaurant can be a bad business. The first time I heard the term “blind spot” I was learning how to drive and my Dad was telling me about that car sitting right next to me that I couldn’t see in the mirrors. He told me I needed to turn around and really look before making my move. If I didn’t, it could be… a disaster. People in this business are smart, tenacious and for the most part survivors driven by instinct more than strategic planning. They are more reactive than proactive when running their businesses and deal in short term solutions as opposed to long term planning. Often they make very serious decisions based on gut feelings not facts. In response to my April article in TFS questioning why restaurant owners closed up and walked away

David Sederholt is the Chief Operating Officer of Strategic Funding, a leader in small business financing

Unlike many other distressed restaurants, the issue wasn’t food quality, service or lack of systems and controls – it boiled down to limited capital to promote and build a brand in a high cost, low frequency diner, with a highly competitive crowded market and expensive NYC rents. from viable businesses, the partners of an upscale white tablecloth steakhouse in NYC contacted me. Concerned about the lack of profitability of their 3-year-old business, they were trying to decide if they should fight on, restructure or fold up the tent and leave before everything collapsed on them. Serious stuff. I was intrigued by their sincerity and candor and decided to go and see for myself. On my visit to the restaurant I found a handsome, well-appointed, clean, attractive restaurant worthy of being a high-ticket prime steak and seafood house in a very strong location. These hands on guys work hard and deliver great food and service consistently. They take pride in

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their establishment and it shows. Reviews on Yelp, Open Table etc., are overwhelmingly positive. After having lunch and doing a quick evaluation, their issues quickly came to light. These guys have a great restaurant - but a bad business model. With this location and their lack of capital - this restaurant was a very bad risk from the start. Unlike many other distressed restaurants, the issue wasn’t food quality, service or lack of systems and controls – it boiled down to limited capital to promote and build a brand in a high cost, low frequency diner, with a highly competitive crowded market and expensive NYC rents. There are 12 other top steakhouses within walking distance, each with

since 2006. Before this, David spent 30 years in the restaurant business and has owned and operated more than a dozen restaurants. As a direct lender, the company offers a variety of financing options and has provided over $1.25 Billion to approximately 20,000 businesses across the United States and Australia.

big marketing budgets. These guys don’t have sufficient capital or sales to compete and survive. There are about 5 blind spots that they didn’t see when building their dream. Over three years they had their heads down and were working hard to build the business. They managed to grow from $1.8MM in 2014 to $2.8MM in 2016. This is a very respectable number with one huge and glaring problem. The BUSINESS MODEL doesn’t work. Prime steakhouses have high food costs and even though theirs is under control (40%), the total occupancy costs (rent, CAM, taxes, insurance) demanded that they do at least $4.1MM to comfortably achieve profitability. Holy crap! At $2.8MM in sales, you can’t sustain an occupancy cost exceeding 20%. There is nothing left for market-

continued on page 90

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Benjamin Prelvukaj and Benjamin Sinanaj Owners, Benjamin Steakhouse, Benjamin Steakhouse Prime, and The Sea Fire Grill


he story of the two Benjamins, Benjamin Prelvukaj and Benjamin Sinanaj, is one of hardship, inspiration, and human endurance - but it is by no means surprising. After a childhood spent in the Albanian countryside, where a hard work ethic was instilled in the two men at a very young age, the Benjamins immigrated to America for the same reason that most immigrants brave foreign lands: a better future. The Benjamins worked their way up from entry-level positions at Peter Luger Steakhouse, at the same time coming to understand the specific operations of the old-world restaurant and the notoriously competitive NYC restaurant landscape. From there, they made the plunge as restaurateurs and opened up Benjamin Steakhouse in 2008. Relying on principles of determination and an excellent work ethic, they have cemented their restaurant brand’s identity as one of the best oldworld steakhouses in New York City and the world. The two businessmen now oversee over 200 employees and have opened four locations concentrated in the Metro New York area, as well as a new location in Tokyo; with this newest development, the Benjamins have proven that their formula of hard work, hospitality, old-world charm and good steak can carry well internationally. What separates Benjamin Steakhouse from others like it, according to its two

Benjamin Prelvukaj and Benjamin Sinanaj, Owners, Benjamin Steakhouse, Benjamin Steakhouse Prime, and The Sea Fire Grill

namesakes, is “the hospitality... We treat everyone who comes in the door like family.” This marriage of hard work and family, both results of their Albanian heritage, have catapulted Benjamin Prelvukaj and Benjamin Sinanaj to great triumph. This immigrant success story is certainly inspiring, yet reaffirms a classic message integral to the Ameri-

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can identity; with hard work, determination and a little gumption, you can climb your way to success in any industry. What led to your decision to immigrate to America from Albania? We both wanted a better future and knew we could obtain that in the States.

How did you two come into contact? We’ve known each other since we were much younger as we grew up in the same area. We are now brother-inlaws (Benjamin S. is married to Benjamin P.’s sister) and felt starting a family business was the right thing for us. How did you come to the opportunity at Peter Luger Steakhouse? Benjamin S. applied and got a job there, and years later, Benjamin P. got the job through his brother-in-law.   What led to the opening of the Benjamin in 2008? After working at Peter Luger for many years, as well as other restaurants before, we were able to understand the flow of things. We were determined to open a restaurant and make it our own, found a space and made it happen!   Why did you make the decision to leave Peter Luger Steakhouse to start your own restaurant? We saw an incredible opportunity to start our own business and we felt we had the tools to do so, so we went for it. We found our first space and jumped right in! Best decision we ever made. What makes owning your own restaurant a better experience than simply working in one? We are able to make the restaurants

feel like home for not just ourselves and our staff, but for our guests too. We love offering wonderful dining experiences to our guests and a place where they always know what they can expect. How are your duties or roles different in these two separate operations? Instead of just having a few roles working in another restaurant, we have to work every role. We don’t get to go and just do a job and go home – this is our life. We have chosen it and wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s completely different as you can imagine, overseeing over 200+ employees, each detail in the restaurants, guests, etc. We live and breathe our restaurants and business every single day. How exactly did you work your way up in the notoriously difficult restaurant industry? Benjamin S. – Determination, excellent work ethic, and always doing the best job I could. That doesn’t go unnoticed and helped move me up the chain. What differentiates your restaurant from Peter Luger and other famed steakhouses in the city? Benjamin S. – I believe it’s our hospitality first and foremost. We treat everyone who comes in the door like family. Our staff is also part of our family, and knows these restaurants aren’t just ours – it’s a piece of them too. Benjamin P. – I am on the floor, talking with guests, at each restaurant almost every night and I believe that interaction and overseeing really makes an impact as well. Our staff sees how hard work makes a difference, and they put forth their best foot to make the restaurant as successful as possible. We teach them to remember names and faces, orders and favorite drinks to offer an even better experience.

What lessons did you take from Peter Luger? The concept of cooking steak and doing it right. You have to care so much and ensure the quality of meat is right because as a steakhouse, the expectation of excellent steak is always there. Does your Albanian heritage influence the food or service at Benjamin Steakhouse? In what regards? The food at Benjamin Steakhouse is not influenced at all by our Albanian heritage, however we as a whole are very hospitable people and that certainly shows in our service and how we run the business.   After your four locations concentrated in the Metro New York area, why did you decide to expand to Tokyo? Benjamin P. – About 30% of our customers were either Japanese businessmen or tourists and guests had been asking for years that we open a location in Japan. A great opportunity presented itself and with the right timing, it was the perfect decision for us. It’s only been a few weeks but we’ve had some great success with that location already! What challenges do you imagine this branch must contend with that your other branches won’t? We are exporting all of our USDA Prime meat from Pat LaFrieda to Japan, the same hand-picked meat we use at all of our US locations. Although we don’t see the quality as an issue at all, as the meat is being dry-aged in house at the Tokyo location, exporting that amount of meat overseas could potentially be challenging. Thankfully there have been no issues to report and we hope to keep it that way! The Japanese are big steak fans and we believe everything is set up for a great run there.

The Porterhouse with Fries served at Benjamin Steakhouse and Benjamin Steakhouse Prime

Main Dining Room at Benjamin Steakhouse Prime

continued on page 32 Lobster Salad served at The Sea Fire Grill August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 31

Q&A Benjamins, from page 31 What separates the Tokyo dining experience from the New York one and how will this be visible in the restaurant? We really wanted to be a New York Steakhouse in Tokyo so there really isn’t anything that is very different in that location. It has the same look and feel, an incredibly similar menu and overall our same New York steakhouse experience. Even the meat is the same as we ship it weekly from Pat LaFrieda’s facility after we hand pick each piece. Then it gets dry aged in the 350 sq. ft. dry aging room and served perfectly to our guests. Is it important for you to share your immigrant success story with others? We believe that hard work and determination can get you very far. It’s all up to you, so regardless of where you are from, it’s important to know that you have to buckle down and work for what you want. Our story is the same of many, many people in America!   How has your childhood spent in Albania positioned you to become a great success in the realm of steakhouses? We had great childhoods where we lived in the countryside. It was all about hard work that was instilled in us at a very young age.

striving for? We always want our guests to feel like family, that is number one – they can relax and enjoy as if they were in their own home, but with a fine dining experience! We also pay great attention to detail regarding our steaks – we hand pick them every week, dry age them in house and grill them to each customer’s ideal temperature, delivered on a sizzling hot plate. We strive for each guest to enjoy their mouthwatering steak, exceeding their

In terms of cuisine, culture or even your role in a family kitchen/farm? Benjamin S. – Family has always been the most important thing in our lives and that’s why we wanted to be in this business together. Our staff is like family and we treat our customers like family. Are you in the “people” business or the “real estate” business? We are definitely in the people business. We’ve had to get into the real estate business so we can continue to expand our people business. What customer experience are you 32 • August 2017 • Total Food Service •

expectations every time. Old world or a more modern approach? Definitely more of an old-world approach. We are surely “with the times” but we offer a classic, old school approach to ensuring our guests’ experience is top notch. What’s your approach to sourcing beef and food? We source our meat directly from

Pat LaFrieda. We are his only client that he allows to come to his facility across the river every week and hand pick which pieces of meat we want for our customers. You can’t find that kind of dedication anywhere else. With so much competition how do you differentiate yourself? We are a completely family run business, us being brother-in-laws, and we have other family members who work in the restaurant as well.

August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 33

Q&A Benjamins, from page 32 We focus on offering our guests an unforgettable experience by making them a part of our family, each and every time. We also stand apart with our approach to steak – hand picking the best USDA Prime meat each week, dry aging in house and serving perfectly to our guests. We never cut corners on the food. How do you attract guests? We try a number of different advertising strategies and pay attention to the curve of business, what is happening every season and how we can best target our audience. We reach a lot of our guests digitally, of course, and have reached many tourists with innovative advertising on airplanes, taxi cabs, etc. Where does social media fit in your strategy? We like to engage with our custom-

tourists before they even make it to New York City.

Signature Filet Mignon Tartare with Black Truffle Crème Fraîche and Truffle Shavings served at Benjamin Steakhouse Prime

ers on a daily basis and have gained new followers from our amazing guests posting and sharing our photos. Social media is always evolving but we keep it pretty old school – we are who we are!

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What’s your approach to cultivating the tourist patron? We work very closely with the hotels in the area as well as tourism boards, magazines, etc. that target tourists. We always work closely with other countries advertising agencies to target

What is the future of your restaurant industry? We are growing exponentially and the future looks very bright! We hope to have many more international locations, new restaurant concepts and continue to offer our guests an experience they simply cannot get elsewhere. We will stick to our family-like atmosphere in a fine dining setting with old-world charm! If you continue to expand, where would you like to open new restaurants? We’d like to continue on in Asia, and then hopefully Hawaii as well! The sky is the limit. All photos courtesy of Benjamin Restaurant Group

August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 35

SCOOP New Mélange Cafe Offers Fresh-Baked Treats At Newark Airport

The Mélange Bakery Café

Scoop says if you’re flying through United Airlines’ Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport, there’s now a very sweet and buttery reason to arrive at the airport hungry. As part of a $120 million “re-imagining” of EWR’s Terminal C, United and OTG (the company that created tablet-enhanced dining venues in about a dozen airports) is putting finishing touches on 55 new restaurants, bars and food markets, including the Mélange Bakery Café (by Gates 90-91), which is likely the first 24-hour production bakery inside an airport terminal. Created with master pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres (aka “Mr. Chocolate”), the staff of two executive pastry chefs and 27 round-the-clock bakers and chocolate makers at Mélange is charged with creating croissants, macaroons, gourmet chocolates, bagels (including trendy rainbow bagels), doughnuts and other pastries not only for the café, but for all the food outlets in the terminal. Breads are locally sourced from New York’s Balthazar Bakery. It’s a tall order and during an aprons-on, croissant-making press tour of the 1,400-squarefoot Mélange facilities, Torres admitted that when he was first approached about the project he didn’t think it made sense, or was even possible. “I was skeptical,” said Torres. “But they (OTG) said 36 • August 2017 • Total Food Service •



they really wanted to do it. And it works. No one would believe that everything is made here, but believe me, it is. It’s unusual for an airport, but the beauty is that everything goes from the oven to the cafés and the store, just like the bakeries in France.” Here’s what Mélange can bake each day: more than 1,000 croissants, assorted pastries and buns; more than 1,200 hand-rolled New Yorkstyle bagels; 600+ muffins; 200+ hand-crafted chocolate bars; 12 types of macaroons; 10 varieties of doughnuts, such as passion fruit and maple bacon, six varieties of sweet and savory éclairs; and dozens of cupcakes. In addition to Chef Torres, OTG partnered with Valrhona Chocolates, which helped train the staff to make handcrafted chocolates and bonbons with only the best ingredients. On the baked goods side, only French butter which arrives in 2-kilo (4.4 pound) blocks is used. “There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked goods coming out of the oven to bring a smile to your face,” said Gavin Molloy, United’s vice president of corporate real estate. “Our Newark customers have the opportunity to indulge in fare from one of the world’s best pastry chefs either as a pre-flight treat, a to-go option to enjoy in-flight or even as a quick pick-me-up upon arrival.” Beyond providing tasty treats, Mélange ties in to the major trend of consumers looking for honest products and services in an authentic environment, said Raymond Kollau of Airlinetrends. com. “And as airports are increasingly positioning themselves as mini cities, it makes sense to have a bakery on the premises, which in turn provides an interesting story for customers who crave a stronger connection with what they buy and eat.”

One of America’s Best Pizza Chefs Hosted a One-Night Pop Up in New York Scoop says one might assume that all of the best pizza makers in the U.S. are located in cities like New York, Chicago or San Francisco. However, that isn’t the case for chef Chris Bianco, chef of Pizzeria Bianco and Tratto in Phoenix. Of-

Chris Bianco

ten credited as one of the best pizza makers in the country, Bianco keeps a low profile for the most part, minus his friendship with Jimmy Kimmel. However, he made a long-awaited appearance in New York last month when he hosted a one-night pop up to celebrate the release of his new cookbook, The one-night only affair took place at Sessanta in Soho. While the prix-fixe menu included figs and Montasio cheese, hand-rolled cavatelli and cacciatore-style chicken, sadly there was no pizza included. Sessanta was a natural place for Bianco to host his pop up. Sessanta owner John McDonald and Bianco are actually long time friends, having known each other for more than two decades. Coincidentally, the two of them have actually swapped cities with Bianco relocating to Phoenix from New York and McDonald to New York from Phoenix. “John is an old friend, and the best part of my life is always finding excuses to cook with your friends who you admire and respect,” Bianco says, “Find more time doing more things with people you like.”

Three Of NYC’s Best Chefs Cooked For City Harvest Scoop notes Chefs Angela Dimayuga (Mission Chinese), Angie Mar (The Beatrice Inn), and Gabrielle Hamilton (Prune) among the city’s culinary elite cooked special menus in a trio of dinners to benefit City Harvest last month at Cadillac House, an events space in Soho sponsored by the car company. One hundred percent of all proceeds from the dinner sales benefits City Harvest, which collects excess food from supermarkets, manufacturers, farmers markets, and restaurants and

continued on page 38

August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 37

Scoop, from page 36

delivers it to New Yorkers in need. The three-night series kicked off with Angela Dimayuga, who prepared a seven-course feast that included a Jamaican Jicama dish with pickled hibiscus and dried chili and salt-roasted fish with raspberry, turnip, onion and flowers. Dimayuga was named the New York City Rising Star for 2017 by Star Chefs and was recently profiled by the Times for her role as Executive Chef at Mission Chinese. Wait times at the restaurant are typically pretty intense, so this was an opportunity to try Dimayuga’s cuisine without standing around on East Broadway for an hour. Next up: Angie Mar, whose made a name for herself as one of the city’s preeminent meat cookers at her restaurant The Beatrice Inn. She displayed that prowess at the dinner offering courses like a pork liver and juniper pâté, roasted bone marrow with lemon crème fraîche and caviar, and a lavender and anchovy prime rib served with potatoes Lyonnaise and summer lettuces. Naturally, the crème brûlée included bone marrow, too. Last year, Thrillist named Mar NYC Chef of the Year. Finally, Gabrielle Hamilton, who runs

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Mifune and Sushi Amane Debut in Midtown East With Ultra-Luxe Sushi (L to R) Angela Dimayuga, Angie Mar and Gabrielle Hamilton

seminal NYC restaurant Prune since 1999. The chef and cookbook author is a multi-time James Beard award winner and her East Village restaurant is still one of the city’s most popular 18 years and counting. For her City Harvest dinner, Hamilton prepared a “Grand Aioli” cold crab claws, radishes, green beans, yellow beans, steamed new potatoes, asparagus, little gem lettuces and baby zucchini with a traditional garlic mayonnaise plus two other savory courses that included a grilled pigeon and two desserts. 

Scoop says Mifune opened its doors to the public last month, marking the debut of one of the biggest restaurant openings of the year. It’s a bi-level space at 245 East 44th Street in Midtown East with both a fine dining restaurant and an eight-seat omakase bar. The Japanese-European restaurant has opulent dishes on the menu, like an uni roll topped with slices of truffle, courtesy of chef Hiroki Yoshitake, an alum of the Michelinstarred Sola in Paris. His food is flush with luxe ingredients - caviar, wagyu beef, foie gras, truffle, and foams all make appearances on the menu and some drinks from acclaimed bartender Shingo Gokan come with a dose of drama, too. A rye and koshu-aged sake cocktail called Seven Samurai arrives in a glass with bamboo smoke. Diners can

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Scoop, from page 38

Of Course These Cartoon Doughnuts Come From NYC’s Sugar Factory

The new Mifune in Midtown East

choose either a $120, eight-course tasting meal or select from an a la carte menu, which is split into appetizers, entrees, and sushis, rice, and soups. Downstairs, chef Shino Uino mans the bar for a $250 omakase. He arrived in the U.S. from the three Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Sushi Saito, notoriously one of the most difficult tables to nab in Tokyo. Uino’s sushi is unique for its heavier seasoning.

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Scoop says rainbows, glitter and gold bacon can only mean one thing: Sugar Factory has started making doughnuts. The over-the-top restaurant known for its leather-and-disco ball decor and being beloved by the Kardashian clan has launched an Artisanal Donuts & Coffee Bar at its Upper West Side location at 1991 Broadway. Normally, the word “artisanal” is basically your cue to roll your eyes, but these doughnuts mean business. What Sugar Factory lacked in imagination with the name of its new cafe, it makes up for by ticking every single food trend of the moment. The millennial pink Disco Tahitian Vanilla doughnut covered in pink glitter is best eaten with a fork and knife unless you’re headed to a club later. The requisite Rainbow Pride doughnut is not just layers of rainbow inside but comes topped with a glittery glaze, rainbow sprinkles and a dollop of cotton

New creations from NYC’s Sugar Factory

candy. There’s even a wink at the health world’s hottest trend, activated charcoal, with a black doughnut topped with bacon bits and blinged out with a gold maple bourbon glaze. These doughnuts have so much attitude and style, they’re not just works of art -they’re practically fashion icons. More importantly though? They’re delicious. Yes, they’re so obviously over-engineered to be Insta-

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August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 41

Scoop, from page 40 gram-friendly that you feel guilty not posting before you eat them, but they’re also really, really good. The doughnuts are the creation of new Sugar Factory executive chef Max Santiago, whose 24-hour brioche dough is lightly sweet and pleasantly dense, making the hefty doughnuts satisfying enough to share. Each glaze packs a crazy hit of flavor that never leans too much on sweetness. There are nine flavors in all, including basics like Boston cream, tiramisu, blueberry coffee cake and Samoa cookie, all priced between $2.50 and $3.95. Get your faves and tell the world you owe it to these doughnuts.

The Sosta Opens in New York Scoop says The Sosta, the latest culinary concept from the plant-based, fast-causal By Chloe brand, has arrived in New York’s Nolita neighborhood. The 60-seat indoor-outdoor eatery from chef and cofounder Ali LaRaia and cofounder and creative director Samantha Wasser received its clean, minimalist look from Alexander Evangelou of London-based firm Alexander Waterworth. The design recalls coastal Italy with an upscale yet casual energy. The façade

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features floor-to-ceiling oak woodwork outfitted with picture windows installed to filter breezes from the bustling corner. Custom elements include stools, brass light fixtures, and a mixture of marble and terrazzo tabletops. The main counter anchors the interior with a custom pastel pink terrazzo countertop and pink neon overhead signage reading “Mangiamo Baby!” (which translates to “Let’s Eat Baby!”).

Healthy Cooking Competition Showcases Top Young Connecticut Chefs Scoop says Derby Middle School eighth grader Anthony Nakis was top chef at the fourth Annual Valley Initiative to Advance Health and Learning Schools Healthy Cooking Competition. Anthony’s Tex-Mex Bison Burger Sliders were named best by a panel of judges at Griffin Hospital that included elected officials and representatives from Ansonia, Seymour, Derby and Naugatuck. Anthony’s recipe beat out other local contestants including Colin Cepeda of Mead School in Ansonia, Kayla Kilincoglu of Perry Hill

School in Shelton, Victoria Caiza of Seymour Middle School and Emma Jackson of Western Elementary School in Naugatuck. “Each year, the contest provides a fun and exciting way for local students to showcase their talents for cooking and to encourage a passion for both healthy eating and cooking and cooking within the local community,” said Kim Doug, MPH, Ph.D., VITAHLS Coordinator at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. The five contestants advanced to the finals by winning regional competitions in their school district. All finalists received a personalized apron, a gardening basket from Massaro Community Farm, a $25 gift card to Sports Center of Connecticut and more. As the prize winner, Anthony will receive a basket and gift card from Common Bond Market in Shelton and passes to Monster Mini Golf in Orange, Rockin’ Jump Trampoline Park in Trumbull and “IT,” the ropes course at Jordan’s Furniture in New Haven. The event was MC’ed by John Vazzano, chef and owner of Vazzy’s restaurants. VITAHLS is a childhood obesity prevention initiative collaboration between Griffin Hospital, Yale Griffin PRC and the Ansonia, Derby, Seymour, Shelton and

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August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 43

Scoop, from page 42 Naugatuck School Districts. Since 2011, VITAHLS has integrated a variety of nutrition and physical activity programs into the existing school structure to help reduce childhood obesity.

The Pool Set For Manhattan Debut Scoop sees that OpenTable took reservations last month for opening night at The Pool, Major Food Group’s follow-up restaurant to The Grill in the Seagram Building - the most major debut of the year in NYC and beyond. Seats in The Pool Lounge, the cocktail bar were filled with its own menu of raw bar items, raw fish and toasts. To prepare for the opening that marble pool was filled with the famous Calder mobile hanging over it. White linens dressed the tables and friends and family service has begun. The kitchen was bustling, serving a dinner menu on which there was only one listing that included meat: the surf and turf. Likewise, the only tableside preparation is the filleting of a whole fish. Meat and theatrics were reserved for The Grill. Dessert was a big to-do with Stephanie Prida, former pastry chef of California’s Manresa, having moved from California to run the pastry program.

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The Pool, Major Food Group’s follow-up restaurant to The Grill

Revolutionary Hotel F&B Concept To Be Featured On Trade Show Floor “Pivot Point,” a foodservice concept designed by Christensen Consultants of San Jose, CA, has been chosen as the feature for the HX360° Innovation Zone Food & Beverage area, and will debut in a 900-square-foot working model at HX: The Hotel Experience, November 12-13, 2017 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. “We are delighted to present ‘Pivot Point’ to HX attendees this November,” said Phil Robinson, VP/ Group Show Di-

rector of event producer HMG. “It’s a clever design, applicable for any type of hotel property, and fulfills the show’s promise to present unique ideas that improve the guest experience.” “Pivot Point” utilizes a dual personality to adjust to the needs of hotel guests throughout the day. By daylight hours, Pivot Point makes food its primary focus. This setup allows for refrigeration, light cooking appliances, and coffee and espresso services to take center stage, giving guests a wide variety of dining options. By night, in a change that can take less than a minute, the evening personality emerges and beverages take the lead. The key is the unique ability to “pivot” the back bar refrigeration, glass and bottle displays, taps, and more into prominence. The pivot maneuver is accomplished by placing the back bar areas on a large turntable that rotates the bar. Rotation can be handled by a single employee, is manual, and does not require machinery to function. The concept’s guest-responsive, multi-function innovation is perfect for hotels with limited amenities or as a specialty area for larger destinations. It will also embrace enhanced technology with smartphone and tablet ordering, and will utilize the latest sustainability initiatives. HX360° Innovation Zone Food & Beverage is one of three innovation zones to be presented at HX 2017. Other

zones promoting Spa & Wellness and Hotel Lobby & Bar will also be offered.

Di Fara To Open 2nd Brooklyn Pizzeria Scoop says over 50 years ago, in 1965, Italian immigrant Domenico DeMarco opened Di Fara Pizza in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. To this day, it’s considered by critics and locals alike to be “the best of the best,” as former chef Anthony Bourdain put it back in 2007. There’s a lot of pizza in New York City. It’s a cliché maybe, but Di Fara Pizza is considered by many to be New York City’s best pizza. It’s notoriously expensive ($30 for a regular cheese pizza), and has a notoriously long wait (over an hour, easy), but it’s also notoriously delicious. And now, for the first time ever, Di Fara is expanding to a second location - one that’s far easier

to visit. When the new North 3rd Street Market opens in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of its primary tenants will be Di Fara Pizza. The second Di Fara will feature the same menu as the original, albeit from the far more accessible Williamsburg. There’s clearly a lot of thought put into even the simplest cheese pie. The crust is, in many places, burned black and soaked with savory, pungent olive oil. At first it looks overdone, but it’s another intentional move from DeMarco the man does have over 50 years experience making pizza. DeMarco says, “I come from Italy, and I go back there every once in a while to see how they do it (the dough) over there. They don’t throw it in the icebox. It’s not supposed to be cold dough. The fresh dough bubbles when you put it in the oven, and the bubbles get a little burnt. You see the pizza, and it’s got a lot of black spots, it’s Italian pizza. If you see pizza that’s straight brown, it’s not Italian pizza.”

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Flying South For The Summer


here’s a great myth in this business that there are slow seasons and busy seasons. In my experience, this has never been the case. It’s already been a whirlwind of a summer thus far. I started the month off in Miami where Chef’s Roll brought 23 of the world’s best culinary artists together for A Night at the (former) Versace Mansion. Chef’s Roll curates online professional identities on their digital platforms by showcasing plated dishes from chefs all over the world. Obsessed with the art of gastronomic presentation, the event combined teams of chefs to prepare stunning, “Instagram worthy” dishes on Front of the House dinnerware. As you would expect from any exclusive culinary event in Florida, FOH was present with their passionate, energetic team, and their diverse product offering. We had the pleasure of tasting edible artwork on their disposable, renewable wood vessels as well as their smart culinary porcelain. My favorite dish came from the creative geniuses Brad Kilgore and Jamie Simpson. A classic wide-rimmed Monaco dish was adorned with a handmade stenciled Versace logo and filled with a jeweled-toned display of The Chef’s Garden produce, then garnished with sum-

Fresh from celebrating their 15th anniversary, FOH is set to release their 26-piece Artifact collection. This release will make them the first manufacturer to combine the appearance of one-of-a-kind pottery with supreme strength porcelain at an approachable price point. mer truffles. Fresh from celebrating their 15th anniversary, FOH is set to release their 26-piece Artifact collection. This release will make them the first manufacturer to combine the appearance of one-of-a-kind pottery with supreme strength porcelain at

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an approachable price point. Another reason FOH may have a monopoly on the Florida tabletop scene is because of their expansive, innovative showroom. Whether you’re flying south this summer, or this winter, you’d be entirely remiss to not make the trip

Morgan Tucker is Director of Business Development at M. Tucker, a division of Singer Equipment Company. Ms. Tucker works with a wide diversity of acclaimed restaurateurs, celebrated chefs, and industry leaders across the U.S. Her website is an exceptional resource for equipment and supplies solutions. Morgan is based in NYC and can be reached at

to Miami. And I just wrapped up the end of the month in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail, the world’s premier cocktail festival. While chefs are treated like Rock stars these days, the mixologists and beverage directors are the guitar players that add grit, elegance, levity, or depth to any operation. It didn’t take us long to recognize the hottest beverage trends once in town. If you’re wondering where those copper pineapples appearing on almost every cocktail forward bar in NYC are coming from, they’re made by Absolute Elyx. Elyx is obsessed with all copper everything, and so are we! At you’ll find our own collection of

unique copper vessels to elevate your beverage program. Bar accessories are display items in today’s beverage world and the art of mixology and embellishing drinkware with unique and often absurd garnishes are taking over! If the conference had a theme, it certainly was to address innovation and our future. This included seminars on minimizing food waste by sharing preservation techniques and demonstrations on how to use stems and skins behind the bar. Another trick - use mixed material vessels to dress up a flavor forward (but less than attractive hued) concoction! If you read this column regularly, you’re certainly familiar with my fascination with The Chef’s Garden.

(TCG supplied the garnishes for every William Grant & Sons cocktail at Tales!) Well, here’s your chance to visit us in Ohio this September to, “explore the creative and ingenious ways people are thinking out-ofthe-box to solve problems, invigorate their cooking, and ensure that the food world of tomorrow is more vibrant, promising, and filled with hope and possibility than ever before.” Registration is open for Roots Innovate 2017! Join me, and my team, and my family. M. Tucker will be giving away an all-expense paid trip to one of our customers! If you’re interested in hearing more about the details, please email me at mptucker@

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Jersey Based Imperial Dade Continues Expansion With Jersey Paper Acquisition


mperial Dade has completed the acquisition of JPC Enterprises, Inc. t/a Jersey Paper Plus (“Jersey Paper”). The transaction represents the eleventh acquisition for Imperial Dade, a leading national distributor of disposable food service and janitorial supplies, under the leadership of Robert and Jason Tillis, CEO and President of Imperial Dade, respectively. “I am confident that the legacy the Tabak family has built in Jersey Paper over the past 80 years will continue under the leadership of Imperial Dade.” Based in Edison, NJ, Jersey Paper is a distributor of paper products, packaging, plastics, disposables, and janitorial supplies serving the New York City metropolitan, New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania markets. For Imperial Dade, the acquisition of Jersey Paper will provide both Imperial Dade and Jersey Paper’s customers with an expanded product offering and enhanced customer service. “Jersey Paper’s exceptional reputation and commitment to its customers make for a tremendous fit with the Imperial Dade platform,” said Robert Tillis. “We enthusiastically welcome the Jersey Paper team members to Imperial Dade and look forward to working together to grow the business further.”

Steven Tabak, President of Jersey Paper, said, “I am confident that the legacy the Tabak family has built in Jersey Paper over the past 80 years will continue under the leadership of Imperial Dade.” “The acquisition of Jersey Paper, with its rich history, is another step in Imperial Dade’s strategy to establish our position as one of the nation’s premier providers of food packaging, paper products, foodservice disposables, and janitorial and healthcare supplies,” said Jason Tillis. Founded in 1935, Imperial Dade is a leading distributor of disposable food service and janitorial supplies in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast regions and Puerto Rico. Since CEO Robert Tillis and President Jason Tillis assumed their roles in 2007, the company has grown both organically and through acquisitions to become a leader in the disposable food service and janitorial supplies industry. The father and son duo of Robert and Jason Tillis have taken yet another step as they build one of the nation’s largest growing food packaging, paper products, foodservice disposables and janitorial/sanitary supplies distributor. Under Robert and Jason’s leadership, the company has grown both organically and through acquisitions to become one of the foodservice disposables and

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janitorial supplies industry leaders. Founded in 1939, Dade distributes foodservice disposables and janitorial supplies to restaurants, supermarkets, cruise lines, hotels and motels, schools, convention centers, stadiums, and other foodservice establishments. Dade primarily services the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets reaching from Florida to Maryland with additional locations in the Tri-State and Northeast regions. Dade Paper is a leading distributor of foodservice disposables and janitorial supplies serving customers across more than twenty states with an emphasis on supermarkets, foodservice providers, cruise lines and schools. “The management teams are all staying in place and the goal is to take the best of each of the companies and put them together going forward,” Jason Tillis explained. “This takes us from being really strong in the Northeast to strength throughout the East Coast,” Jason Tillis continued. Imperial was formed in 1935 and was purchased by the current CEO, Robert Tillis, and President, Jason Tillis, in 2007.  Imperial/Dade headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey, is one of the nation’s leading distributors of disposable food service and janitorial supplies for restaurants, supermarkets, schools, “grab-n-go” convenience stores and retailers. 

I am confident that the legacy the Tabak family has built in Jersey Paper over the past 80 years will continue under the leadership of Imperial Dade.”

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Preparing Your Restaurant For The NY Paid Family Leave Law


aking time off for the birth of a child and other similar caretaking requirements can be a considerable obstacle for new parents who work in the food and restaurant industry. While many restaurants are progressing on this issue throughout the country, those in New York will soon be obligated to do so by law. The New York Paid Family Leave Law (NYPLL), which officially goes into effect on January 1, 2018, requires virtually all New York employers, regardless of size, to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of paid leave to engage in what the statute refers to as “family care.” Specifically, responsibilities stemming from child care following birth, adoption or foster care placement; provide physical or psychological care for a family member suffering a serious health condition; or to engage in certain permitted activities when a family member is on, or called to, active duty in the armed forces of the United States. The New York law parallels the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in notable ways, but also generates a broader protective reach. Although the law is effective at the beginning of next year, employers with one or more employees began payroll deductions to fund the leave program as early as July 1, 2017. The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) recently took an important step forward by setting the weekly employee contribution amount for 2018. Under NYPLL, employees themselves fund the monetary pool used to pay for benefits when a triggering event occurs. Employers are authorized to

The New York Paid Family Leave Law requires virtually all NY employers, regardless of size, to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of paid leave begin collecting premiums on July 1, 2017, for the 2018 benefit year. The DFS set the initial premium rate for Paid Family Leave at 0.126% of an employee’s average weekly wage, or the statewide average weekly wage, whichever is less. This means employees will contribute a percentage of income with the statewide average weekly wage representing a ceiling level. For workers earning less than the statewide average weekly wage, the contribution solely reflects a percentage of earned income. For those earning above that rate, collected amounts are still capped at that percentage of the statewide average weekly wage. What benefits do these contributions yield? In 2018, an employee who makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $500 a week (50% of $1,000). By contrast, an employee who makes $2,000 a week would receive a benefit of approximately $653, because this employee is “capped” at collecting only a maximum of 50 percent of New York State’s average weekly wage. How do paid leave benefits in New York now differ from disability benefits? Similar to short-term disability ben-

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efits, the NYPLL regulations require an employee to file a formal application for paid family leave, and supply copies of supporting documentation (e.g., a birth certificate or medical certification) that give the details surrounding the family leave requested. Safeguards are being put in place through the application process (and will be further refined) to preclude “double dipping” from both New York’s disability program and the NYPLL. Next steps? Although the NYPLL dramatically impacts New York employers, employers have lead time to prepare for these substantive obligations. In the months ahead, you should focus on adjusting payroll functions to integrate this new deduction for paid family leave benefits. Care should also be taken to amend employer paid time off, leave of absence and family and medical leave policies to comply with the new law. Speak to your insurance broker to learn more about how your company will be specifically impacted by the Paid Family Leave Law and what you can do to prepare in the meantime.

Robert Fiorito serves as Vice President, HUB International Northeast., where he specializes in providing insurance brokerage services to the restaurant industry. As a 20-year veteran and former restaurateur himself, Bob has worked with a wide array of restaurant and food service businesses, ranging from fast-food chains to upscale, “white tablecloth” dining establishments. For more information, please visit

Dennis Fiszer currently serves as First Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for HUB International – East Region. He provides compliance and consulting services regarding health plans and other employee benefits. Dennis can be reached by phone at 212-338-2823 or at dennis.fiszer@

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More Pressure May Be Good For You. Seriously.


aving proper air pressure and ventilation in place at your restaurant is necessary for both employee and customer comfort and health. The costs of a restaurant having inadequate ventilation are significant. A poor system of ventilation can result in dripping air vents, mold, safety violations, uncomfortable temperatures, poor air quality and odors, lower employee morale and productivity, higher utility bills and worst of all - unhappy customers. Altogether, a poor restaurant ventilation system will cause your place of business to be a less desirable destination for paying customers. When the air pressure inside the restaurant is less than outside, it’s called negative air pressure. Pressure is seldom uniform throughout the entire location. It can be strong in some areas, weak in others, or positive in some rooms and negative in others. In general, kitchen and rest room exhaust fans pull air from the location and that air needs to be replaced or your restaurant will be in a negative air pressure situation, and that is a real negative. The experts recommend that a slightly positive restaurant pressure is the best scenario. A quick way to check your restaurant’s air pressure is to make sure your kitchen ex-

A poor system of ventilation can result in dripping air vents, mold, safety violations, uncomfortable temperatures, poor air quality and odors, lower employee morale and productivity, higher utility bills and worst of all - unhappy customers.

Eric Schechter is a Certified Restaurant Facilities Professional (CRFP) with over 25 years’ experience in the restaurant facilities industry. Eric is also Chief Business Guy at SendaGuy Now, the

haust and air conditioning systems are on and running properly. Go to the front door and slightly crack open the door. Does the airflow in or out? You can use a small piece of paper or even some smoke to help determine the direction of the air. If the air is pulling into your restaurant, you have a negative air pressure situation and that is not ideal. What that tells you is that your hard earned dollars are blowing right out

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of your restaurant as the exhaust units are sucking your air conditioning out of your restaurant making your air conditioning units run longer, work harder and use more electricity and that costs you money, not to mention all of the other issues associated with negative pressure in a location. It is extremely important to be sure that there is sufficient air being brought into the restaurant from the outside through the ventilation systems to replace what the kitchen exhaust hoods and other exhaust fans are pulling out of the space. This is called “makeup air” as it is making up or replacing the air that is being pulled out the building by exhaust fans. If you’re experiencing air balance problems after testing your restaurant it may be a good idea to discuss this is-

mobile app for restaurant repairs on demand, where he’s in charge of Strategy, Product & Service, Development & Evaluation, Go-To-Market Strategy and Product Management. Eric can be reached at

sue with an Air Conditioning (HVAC) Professional. It may be necessary to make repairs or adjustments to your systems to balance the air coming in and out of your restaurant. An HVAC technician can evaluate your location and equipment and provide suitable options that meet OSHA standards for workplace ventilation. The free SendaGuy Now app is available for download at both the Apple and Google Play App Stores. Interested restaurant operators and potential repair service partners can also go to or call 800-214-5410 for service.

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Stop Selling Features And Benefits, It’s Not What Customers Are Buying


rior to running Acrylic Flooring, I spent 25 years as a franchisee for Sandler Sales Training. In that business, I trained thousands of sales people and sales managers on the Sandler method of selling. As part of that work, I spent an equal amount of time working with the owners, managers and CEO’s of those companies, consulting with them on how to best lead their sales teams. I know, an unusual background for someone in the construction industry! At first blush, it does seem like a disconnect, but if you look closer, it makes total sense. I quickly came to see that my years with the Sandler organization was the single most impactful experience of my life, both professionally and personally. It was during those years that I learned more about people and business than I ever could have imagined. When I bought my franchise, and became fully entrenched in the world of selling, my universe expanded exponentially. During those years David Sandler, the founder, helped me see that selling is a profession, like every other profession. Not just something you do because you couldn’t get into law school. He opened my eyes to a whole new way to sell and introduced a set of beliefs to go along with it. He called these beliefs, “rules”. It was living by these “rules” that enabled me to leave my franchise and venture into a new a business that I knew nothing

If you’ve been in sales for any amount of time, it’s so easy to get stuck in the routine of showing your products and services, hoping for an order and going on to the next one.

Susan Villamena is the President and CEO of Fairfield, NJ based Acrylic Flooring Inc. Prior to taking the reigns at the Garden State flooring concern Ms Villamena spent 25 years teaching sales with Sandler Sales. She can be reached 914-804-7988 or via email at susan@acrylicflooring. com with questions about sales or her

about but had a lot of enthusiasm for. All I knew is that I understood the process of selling and that it didn’t matter what the product was. Believe it or not, there are 100 different rules or principles. Each one is a gem, but the one rule that has always been my guiding light is knowing… I can’t sell anybody anything… because people buy for their reasons, not mine. Prospects buy for one reason… to avoid or get out of Pain. Pain, as David Sandler described it is, the gap between where a person is and where they want to be. Pain is personal to the prospect and I needed to learn how to avoid injecting my own needs into the conversation. Pain either exists or it doesn’t. I can’t create it and I can’t inflict it. I can only uncover it, with the prospect. Perhaps you’ve been selling menu ideas for a food distributor on Long Island, or you sell equipment and supplies for a dealer in NJ. If you’ve been

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in sales for any amount of time, it’s so easy to get stuck in the routine of showing your products and services, hoping for an order and going on to the next one. Maybe you’re convinced that strategy is working for you. However, I would challenge that belief. After years of experience, I can confidently say, that unless you stay sharp and introduce new selling strategies into your business, you are undoubtedly leaving thousands and thousands of dollars on the street. Dollars that should have been yours, that you left there because you weren’t working a system. And that system starts with understanding Pain as the key motivator for making a buying decision. This concept isn’t a negative one. In fact, it’s respectful. Why would you want to sell someone who didn’t have Pain? To do otherwise is self-centered. Remember, it’s not about us. The only thing that matters on a sales call is, do our prospects want and need what we have? The good news is, it’s not hard to

quick drying floors.

determine if your prospect has Pain. If you ask the right questions, they will tell you. For example, try asking, “how were you hoping I could help you?” Or “what is happening that prompted you to agree to this meeting?” I’m not a script lover, but I think you get the point. Ask an opening question that focuses on uncovering the Need. The Need for something usually means there’s an underlying Pain behind it. How will you know your prospect has pain? They use words like, frustrated, disappointed, worried, concerned or any emotional words that describe the “gap”. When your prospect uses words like this you have created the opening to take them through a discovery process to see if the problem is serious enough to be solved and paving the way toward making a buying decision rather than being sold. Next time… A Selling System that Works?

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Investigating The Floor Plan And Process Of Hot New Commercial Kitchens
















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UK based Sportech has teamed with Connecticut native and Major League baseball player/manager Bobby Valentine to create a unique new3 restaurant and off track 20 wagering parlor in downtown Stamford. 22

Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar and Winners, Stamford, CT 23





he new Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar opening in Stamford, CT is sure to become a culinary sensation with its relaxed dining atmosphere, extensive drinks menu and appeal for all ages. However, this new scene is unlike its other locations or any other sports bar in Stamford; Winners, the off-track betting portion of the restaurant, opened on the second floor of the impressive 25,000 square-foot busi-

Ted Taylor, President, Sportech, New Haven, CT Ken Swerdlick, Principal, Restaurant Equipment Paradise, East Hartford, CT Cormac Byrne, Principal, Jones Byrne Margeotes Partners, Stamford, CT ness. And while patrons must be 21 years and up to take part in the fastpaced horserace betting action, the remainder of the massive restaurant is family-friendly. Everything about the bar is grand, from its 230 television monitors to the 700-person seating. Yet Bobby

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V’s still makes a name for itself as a culinary destination; it serves elevated bar food, using first-class ingredients and artisanal ice cream 2 to craft a unique experience where both food and entertainment are highlighted. The menu builds upon a standard sports bar menu with ex-




citing options: a range of flatbreads, table shares and wings form a menu of all-American fare with a unique twist. People can expect from this new location an array of activities to complement their delicious meals; everything from Winners to the sports bar’s golf simulator for a few rounds of indoor golf will delight. The new Stamford location will satisfy a great need for a fun, fast-paced sports bar in southern Connecticut.

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Bobby V’s, from page 58 Ted Taylor’s Approach: The traditional ‘off track betting’ customers have been badly neglected for a number of years and Sportech, our UK-based online gambling and entertainment company, has made a commitment to improving our offering to our existing customers when we purchased this business in 2011. This led to us looking for partnerships with local Sports Bar/ Restaurant operators to partner with them in smaller towns but we knew we needed to do something special in Stamford, CT. In terms of the goal of our customer experience, we aim to create two different environments so that if guests want to wager, they can do that in a great environment. For guests who aren’t interested in this scene, they don’t have to get involved in, or even see, the wagering side of things. We think it’s also really important to separate the two businesses, which

we’ve physically done in this great space. Although massive numbers of people wager on the Triple Crown and Breeders Cup, or talk about the ‘line on the Superbowl,’ not everyone wants it in their mind’s-eye every day, so we aim to let them enjoy the place without having to worry about it. In general, though, we have a very unique customer experience; customers The design and culinary teams at BV’s/Winners specified view us as a great destinaSouthbend ranges and convection ovens to anchor the tion that marries excellent the high volume needs of the new restaurant food service and gaming. Stamford ended up being the perfect location coming from the growing Stamford for this perfect blend of food and endowntown population. Stamford’s tertainment; Sportech spent a long proximity to I-95 and the Transit time looking, as we needed a decentCenter was vitally important and ly sized space with a combination there are more than 3,000 parking of existing customers and new ones spaces within a 5-minute walk for a

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dollar an hour. The result is that Bobby V’s is incredibly accessible and attracts a diverse set of customers, new and old. We were also incredibly happy to partner with Bobby Valentine; this partnership was important to us because we needed to convince skeptics of our integrity and that what we wanted to do would be fantastic when compared to what has been offered historically. Bobby has been a mainstay of downtown Stamford for 37 years now and helped enormously to convince people that what we had done with our other business in Windsor Locks would transfer brilliantly to downtown Stamford.

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August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 61

Bobby V’s, from page 60 While it took us awhile to decide on Stamford as the location for this huge project, our biggest obstacle was assembling the right team of architects, contractors and kitchen consultants. We wanted to work with an architecture team who understood the gaming side and had experience with foodservice without it being their only area of expertise. JBMP, the firm we ended up working with, is based locally in Stamford this allowed us to work very closely with them. For contracting, the fit with Verdi Construction seemed to be best. They definitely weren’t the cheapest price initially, but we could see clearly where and why any pricing differed from the other bids and it became worth it. On the whole, I liked the team and their attitude was great! Finally, for kitchen consulting, we worked with Restaurant Equipment

Hoshizaki’s 1100 pound ice machines were chosen to backbone the BV’s/ Winners extensive beverage program

Paradise – the owner is very handson and although we had some challenges integrating the kitchen before the building was really ready, it worked out perfectly. Sportech did

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the initial designs internally using VISIO; handling this portion of the design process saved us both time and money. When it came down to the actual design and build, it fell to me. I worked very closely with the architects so that as much capital as possible could go into the facility rather than extra personnel. Bobby V’s ended up with a really interesting and unique design; we used marble and wood at the bar to soften the harsh HDTV screens. The extensions at either end of the bar are popular for groups who want to face each other at the table, yet still get immediate bar service and be a part of the exciting sports action. We also have a “second row” to increase the bar seating, which has proven to be a very popular feature. All of these combined design elements really create a space that centers on food and entertainment; this sports bar is

truly unlike any other. The primary vision was to create a place that offers much more than what people would expect from a Sports Bar, and to provide something that is much more than your typical wagering location. We wanted to design a place that is family friendly, one that appeals to both men and women. While the design of this bar is an incredible spectacle, it makes a name for itself as a food destination, as well. While the bar offers traditional sports bar favorites like amazing wings, nachos, flatbread pizzas and quesadillas, there are several unexpected food favorites to keep our customers intrigued: tuna tartar, inspired burgers, signature salads, and very unique sandwiches. However, on your first visit to Bobby V’s, you have to try the pretzel bat, our smoky

continued on page 64

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Bobby V’s, from page 62 tomato bisque and our house-made Reuben sandwich. These dishes may sound out of the ordinary, but they’re must-have items for a reason. These delicious delicacies can all be found on our main menu, but we also have a Happy Hour menu. Right now, we’re gradually growing the menu by increasing its range, though this is trickier than it sounds; we also have to manage staffing to meet the growing volume of guests and make sure our diverse range of food can be delivered properly. Luckily, we’ve assembled a great culinary team to meet these challenges; Jordan Stein joined as our Executive Chef when we opened our first location in Windsor Locks three years ago and we’ve continued to evolve by looking around and changing up our offerings so that we’re doing an incredibly extensive menu for a Sports Bar. The food at this location is 85%

from scratch, which complicates things, but it’s worth it since we’re trying to do something special and make this a destination location. Actually, the size and scale of the menu coupled with the fact that we have more than 600 seats is proving the biggest challenge; because of these roadblocks, we’re toning our ambitions down a little so that the operation can deliver in the way planned. Despite these difficulties, we’re confident that Bobby V’s will be the destination location we originally envisioned. Ken Swerdlick’s Approach: We brought 19 years of experience as a dealer to the table and an extensive operating background to Sportech’s BV’s project in Stamford. We have worked with Sportech’s executive chef Jordan Stein at their Windsor Locks facility, so we had a good sense of what they were trying

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to accomplish. In 2014, they asked us if we would support them, as they got ready to open an even bigger unit in Stamford.  So the next step was to meet Sportech’s president Ted Taylor. Not only did he prove to be a genius but he was really easy to work with. He has that ability to combine what’s on the spread sheet and drawing with the reality of the customer experience.  We were dealing with a chef in Jordan who also has a very definite vision in terms of what is going to be on that menu. So the floor plan and equipment package that we specified reflects that.  So we just went through it from top to bottom and I sat with him and we designed everything the way he wanted it for what he wanted to do there.  By coordinating Chef Jordan’s needs, we were able to coordinate with our CAD design team and the contrac-

tors to actually put walls in places that would optimize the performance of the kitchen. Given that they are serving on two floors, we needed to create a way to accomplish that. So we added dumbwaiters and a finishing beverage station for the second floor. Our priority in designing the hot side was again from the feedback from chef Jordan. We utilized a combination of Southbend and Jade ranges on the line to give us the firepower. We were able to look carefully at what peak dining prep times were in Windsor and see that “intell” in building out Stamford. He is trying to create an upscale bar menu. We also needed to keep in mind that we need the capacity for a focus on both large brunch and private dining.   So, my approach was to design a

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Bobby V’s, from page 64 package for a straightforward menu. Jade makes a great bottom base with their char broilers and griddles that make that a breeze.  So you’re cooking steaks and burgers with the Southbend and then can finish them off at a very specific temperature with Jade.  We also added the latest in fryers with new technology from Pitco. Kudos to Sparks, they did a great job of executing on the custom-fab in the kitchen with little touches like soup wells and with the beverage stations that are essential to the flow.  One of the key elements in the project was the design of the bar. I knew that we could build the design around Krowne’s new modular system. We just finished a 40-foot project with them in Georgia. They were great partners and gave us the flexibility to create a design that gave us the back-bar support with a focus on under counter refrigeration that we needed to get this right.  The BV’s team wanted the flexibility to shift shelving on the fly and respond to their customers’ needs. The Krowne line delivered that solution.  One of the challenges of the project was how to run refrigeration upstairs. There was already a lot running in the walls so we tried to squeeze in the lines. Because the refrigeration was in the basement and the compressor was up on the roof we had to crane everything up there. So, we had to wait until they put this skating rink up there as I call it for us to be able to roll across and get our stuff up top.  My strategy was to place as much of the refrigeration as we possibly could right in the kitchen. So, we did it in a capsule packed unit there just because we had no walls to run any piping up and everything was blocked so we had to use a capsule back there. In the basement we actually put these four huge walk-ins including one dedicated to 32 IPA drafts. Nor-Lake did a great job of helping us design the walkins to meet the high volume demands of the project. We also took a look at the beverage volume in Windsor and

selected Hoshizaki’s ice machines for their quality and durability to support the beverage program. One of the challenges was to find the right position for a dish and ware washing suite. Even though the focus is on the bar menu, they wanted to be able to serve upscale with specials featuring salmon, steaks and seafood which all require washable china. So, we were able to find the right spot and install a CMA 44” machine to give us the capacity and energy efficiency that

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we were after. Our approach to hoods and ventilation was very much a function of a tight timeline to get ready to open. We have been working closely with Paul Slotnick at Hood Tech and they coordinated with Captive-Aire.  The BV’s/Winners project really gave us the opportunity to see how much we’ve grown as a company. We were able to deliver our customer and his team the vision that they were after. 

Cormac Byrne’s Approach: JBMP was originally founded 25 years ago serving the high-end residential markets of Westchester and Fairfield Counties. Since 2004 the company has focused on the designing spectacular residential projects. We have also undertaken some select commercial projects, which require the level of detail of our resi-

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Bobby V’s, from page 66 dential projects. Before moving to CT and initially joining JBMP, I was located in Florida and worked on commercial projects from NC all the way down the East Coast ranging from Shopping Centers, Medical Buildings and exclusive waterfront Condominium developments mainly in South Florida. After transitioning to residential projects in CT we always endeavored to have a couple of commercial projects on the board at all times.  Bobby V’s in Stamford is the second completed restaurant for the Sportech Group, the other being in Windsor Locks, CT. Kristen Rinaldi from our team previously owned a commercial kitchen design company so her experience was invaluable in designing the “back of the house” parts of the new restaurant. The rest of the design team was led by Jennifer Scrocca and Daniel Braca who

made it all come togethnew Sports Bar in the Trier working closely with State area or possible even Sportech’s hands on CEO further. Ted Taylor.  Tables and chairs were all Cormac and Ted Taycustom designed by JBMP lor met while paddling and Ted Taylor and the wood the waters of Long Island was procured two years Sound in an Hawaiian ahead of time so that everyoutrigger canoe. Sportech thing was dried and cured had recently acquired the and ready for installation. OTB business in CT and The original building which Ted Taylor as a transplant we gutted entirely and rethought that working built from the outside in was with an Irish transplant two stories of approx. 10,000 The design team at Bobby V’s/Winners selected a variety of might help with the interSF. To create a venue that seating solutions from MTS to maximize patrons’ comfort pretation of their vision was connected floor to floor for Sportech in CT. The we decided to carve a large sports betting industry is very difyounger and more affluent client hole in the second floor and locate ferent in England and Ireland and base would come and enjoy great the main TV wall at the rear of the in looking to bring a more European food and beverages in a friendly opening enabling the installation feel to their venues it seemed that environment with top of the line of a spectacular feature wall that is Sportech and JBMP would be a good sports entertainment and a discreet essentially visible from both levels partnership. betting location. We looked at some and connects the entire space both Sportech’s vision was to create of North America’s leading sports audibly and visually. new updated venues where a new bars and strived to create the best

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August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 69



Looking Over My Shoulder At 90 – Part 4


his is the final installment of this series, which I have titled “Looking Over My Shoulder at 90.” It summarizes some of the events that have taken place within the foodservice industry from 1939, when I first started to help out in my family’s restaurant in Philadelphia, to the present. You may not agree with my selection of events, but they did happen. The last half of the 1980s and most of the ’90s witnessed not only great overall growth, but the full impact of the interstate highway system that Congress created back in the ’50s and which has come full circle. Because of it, downtown commercial centers became deserted and, thus, restaurant growth moved to the suburbs. That also was where the megamalls were being built and a new marketing concept called “food courts” was changing the competitive climate. Instead of avoiding the competition, it was next door. Another trademark of suburban life was the growth of “strip malls.” These groups of small shops with ample parking spaces were popping up all over the place. That’s where you found pizza and sandwich shops. You would also find boutique restaurants serving delicious food and being rewarded with great business. As I said in a previous column, the ability to purchase a professionally prepared meal is no longer limited to major metropolitan areas; it now can be found anywhere. I would be remiss, when discussing the progress and growth of our industry these last 78 years, if I didn’t ac-

Fred G. Sampson is the retired President Emeritus of the New York State Restaurant Association. He began working with NYSRA in 1961.

The last half of the 1980s and most of the ’90s witnessed not only great overall growth, but the full impact of the interstate highway system that Congress created back in the ’50s and which has come full circle. knowledge the tremendous contributions made by our purveyor partners. From the development of laborsaving equipment to eye-popping interior design, to providing exciting new food products, to technological support systems—they have served and continue to serve the industry well. They have been of great assistance in bringing the industry to a level of sophistication that has not only grown in size but in management skills as well. What does the future hold? … We will see more mergers, particularly in the QSR sector. Why? Many small companies presently with 5, 10, 15, or 20 units are hoping to become another Five Guys or Steak Shack and they can’t all make it. In addition, more capital venture groups will fight for control of the larger chains. Labor costs will continue to increase as long as government entities continue to raise the floor (also known as the minimum wage), as will food costs. More supermarkets and convenience stores will go on expanding their takeaway food offerings and in some instances add dining areas in their stores.

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I do believe the Service Employees International Union will become more active in attempting to represent the QSR sector employees, as per their participation in the $15 per hour wage issue. Management must give improved service a high priority. Most think they do; however, that’s not what consumers are saying. Today’s consumer is the smartest, best informed, and social media educated that the business community has ever had to deal with. Many of them don’t take the time to complain on the spot; they simply announce their dissatisfaction to the world via Yelp or other similar venues. Here are some of their complaints: “Lack of friendly disposition,” 56%, and “Not stopping by regularly to see and check if I need anything else,” 50%. Another survey: “A bad attitude really turns me off,” and “If they’re not happy with the job, then find something else to do.” These next two are on all the lists: “When picking up the check, asking ‘Do you need any change?’ and ‘Is everything all right?’ every five minutes, as opposed to ‘I’ll be right back with your change’

Within the next four years the NYSRA more than tripled its membership and expanded from one regional chapter to eight. Sampson played roles in representing restaurants on issues including paid sick leave, minimum wage, liquor laws, a statewide alcohol training program and insurance plans. Comments may be sent to

and ‘Can I get you anything else?’ ” If something is wrong, the guest will let you know—if you remain aware of them. To sum up the service issue, may I be so bold as to suggest that you remember, when interviewing for servers, that “Attitude Defines Service.” Using this as a measurement of the applicant, what was your impression? I leave you with this basic premise that my dad uttered to me so very long ago: “The best-prepared meal in the world cannot survive poor service; however, good service can enhance an average meal.” When I started this abbreviated memoir, I realized that I couldn’t possibly cover almost 80 years in 3,000 words and there would be many areas left untouched. In some future column(s), I will discuss particular individuals I have known who have had a positive influence on this rewarding industry we call foodservice. I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing “Looking Over My Shoulder at 90” with me. Thanks for taking the time.

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Zach Erdem Restaurateur and Owner of 75 Main, Kozu, Southampton, NY


hose who come to the Hamptons as a break from the scorching city heat of Manhattan will be pleasantly surprised with the addition of a new restaurant awaiting them. Kozu, a Japanese Fusion restaurant recently opened by restaurateur and 75 Main owner Zach Erdem, is sure to stun with its unique blend of fresh fish, sushi and Peruvian influences. This scene will invite daytrippers and locals alike to delight in the natural beauty of the Hamptons with a vast outside patio for al fresco dining and linen-covered day beds; the place, featuring famed DJs from around the world in its private lounge area, is more like a Hamptons dream than restaurant. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Zach Erdem about this beautiful new venue, as well as his other operations scattered across the Hamptons. Erdem’s life is busy to say the least, in sharp contrast to the lax Hamptons lifestyle of his customers, but Erdem wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves the bustle and the chance to meet all of the interesting people who find themselves wandering through his restaurants and nightclubs in this affluent seaside community. Erdem describes his busy summer life and why Kozu will be an interesting addition to an already interesting and beautiful place. What’s your background; where are you from? I’m originally from Turkey, but it was always a dream to come here. JFK was

my first stop in the states. I never meant to stay in Manhattan, but I remained there for a couple of years trying to find my way around and get a job; eventually I was led to the current opportunity at 75 Main in Southampton. Tell me a little bit about the customer in the Hamptons. What’s this customer looking for and how is he/she different? The Hamptons customZach Erdem er isn’t looking to see the same thing; people come to the Hamptons for many is this place diverse culinary-wise or reasons, the beautiful houses, the wain other regards? What other projects ter, the great food and the show. We are you working on here? highlight the beauty of the Hamptons Our place has a lot to offer, but so do at our restaurant. the Hamptons in general. I have a lot of other projects in the works; I have a How do you turn tables in an environgreat place for breakfast, a nine-room ment like this, especially in the sumboutique hotel, a dinner place, a twomer? Do you have to price your food lounge restaurant at a nightclub. I accordingly to compensate for slow have a full package at the Hamptons, table turnover? catering to many different tastes. We don’t change or raise prices for the regular clip of customers; we’re not What’s the menu and operation at 75 going to raise our prices in the sumMain? mer and lower them in the winter, esOur menu is more Italian-Ameripecially when we want our restaurant can in style, and it’s often seven days to cater to the locals and the nearby of breakfast, lunch and brunch. On city people. These are our regular cusMondays, Fridays and Saturdays, 75 tomers. They come back for me and Main is open 24 hours. That’s because for my food. people get out of the club I own at 5:00 a.m. and come over to this place to Your restaurant caters to a specific eat; no one else is up. It’s an interesting domain in the Hamptons, but how crowd. I’ve seen so many people come

72 • August 2017 • Total Food Service •

through my nightclub, and at this point, everyone knows that 75 Main is serving food at these hours and people can come and get coffee, breakfast or anything they want. What about sourcing food? Do you try to use local vendors? Of course. In this town, the food is great. The chefs are talented. I have three chefs back in the main kitchen and one main chef. I’ve been able to track down great fish from Japan and bring the best crowds to this great sushi. What’s your approch to equipment and supplies? Bar Boy has always been our go-to. They are out here so they understand what the local restaurateur needs and that it’s a very short season and you can’t make a mistake. We’ve had scenarios where all of our glassses had broken, Bar Boy simply drove them over to us within minutes to keep us operating. So how long have you been in the Hamptons? Since 2002; I’ve also spent time in Vegas, and I don’t know where I’d like to go next; I have a nice penthouse in

continued on page 88

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Summertime With C-CAP Job Internships

Communications Director for C-


he Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) helped teens sharpen their culinary skills and get them ready for summer jobs in local restaurants and foodservice venues. In the current job market, with teenage unemployment rates over 30 percent, this was an opportunity of a lifetime for the C-CAP students, who will be considered culinary professionals in the eyes of their employers. The C-CAP Summer Internship program connected public high school culinary students to the food service industry by providing them with hands-on, “real-life” work experience. Through the Job Training program, the skills that students learned in high school were reinforced to prepare them for the 150 hours of paid internships in some of the best professional kitchens in the Big Apple. These skills include: knife skills, sanitation, timing, speed, organization, and teamwork. In addition, students participated in mock job interviews and worked on their communication, time management, interpersonal effectiveness, and job-seeking tools. Executive Chef and Creative Director Stephen Yen treated the students to a behind-the-scenes tour of the new City Acres Market, at 70 Pine Street, in the Financial District of New York City. He strolled with them through the hybrid shopping destination and market, which was filled with conventional and natural/organic products provided by a slate of food vendors, including a butcher and cheese shop. According to Stephen Yen, “Being

Joyce Appelman, is the National CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program in New York, NY. She has been instrumental in opening career opportunities for many young people in the foodservice industry. Email her at

Chef Eugene Law Interviewing C-CAP Student Samantha Solomon

Chef Stephen Yen of City Acres Market Speaking with C-CAP Job Training Students

C-CAP Job Training Students Getting Behind the Scenes Tour of City Acres Market

C-CAP Job Training Students in Soft Skills Training

C-CAP Job Training Students Learning Product Identification

C-CAP Job Training Students Practicing Interviews

on the job is the best way to apply the theories you learn in the classroom. Identifying the lessons as theories is the best way to communicate to the students that the learning continues every day on the job. Ask the students to write down each day what they learned. This is the fastest way for them to become better the next day.” Several chefs donated their time to meet with the students. The chefs included Executive Chef Daniel Eardley and Pastry Chef Kristen Moorer from

American Cut, and Chef Eugene Law from City Acres Market. C-CAP alumnus and Sous Chef Silvestre Moran, from Irvington Bar & Grill, attended the C-CAP Job Training Interview session. Please support C-CAP by visiting all of the wonderful restaurants. Similar job training programs took place this year in Arizona, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. C-CAP wishes to thank the 58

74 • August 2017 • Total Food Service •

industry supporters committed to hiring and mentoring a student for the summer program: American Cut, Atlantic Grill, Babbo Ristorante, Beehive Oven, Birch Coffee, Breads Bakery, Burrito Bar, Butterfly Bakeshop, Cafe Boulud, Casa del Chef, City Acres Market, Continental Pastry, DBGB Bistro, Dig Inn Seasonal Market, Dos Caminos, Dutch Kills Centraal, El Vez, Enoteca, FLIK @ American Express, FLIK @ Bessemer Trust, FLIK @ Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP, FLIK @ NBC Studios 9C, FLIK @ Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Flora Bar, Foragers Market Brooklyn, The Grill NYC, Hilton Garden Inn, Irvington Bar & Restaurant, James Restaurant, Jams, Jimmy Max, Koi, L’Inizio, Local Roots NYC, Long Island City High School Catering, Make My Cake, Marina Café, Massoni, Neuman’s Kitchen, Nobu 57, NYC Department of Education - School Food, OTTO Enoteca e Pizzeria, Park Avenue Restaurant, Pels Pie Co., Pier Sixty, LLC, Print. Restaurant, R&D Foods, Rebelle, Renaissance Event Hall, Restaurant Associates @ The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Salvation Taco, Streetbird Rotisserie, Sumner Café, Talde, Taste of Honey Catering, The Clocktower, The Meatball Shop, Tower Isles Jamaican Patties, Xaviars Restaurant Group - X2O

August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 75


James Ortiaga Executive Chef, St. Regis Hotel, New York, NY


ames Ortiaga, much like others when first entering the culinary world, did not have a clear path to his current position as Executive Chef at the St. Regis. He was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States at the mere age of 6, spending his childhood in New York Staten Island suburbia. It was there that Ortiaga first became acquainted with the culinary world; the New York melting pot of cuisines landed in his backyard. Days spent at his mother’s side in the kitchen fed the flames of his passion for food and for cooking, but a successful career that now seems inevitable was close to never occurring. After a brief stint studying medicine, Ortiaga followed his dreams to the New York Restaurant School. From there, he spent six years working with Wayne Nash at March restaurant and climbed his way to the role of Chef de Cuisine. Slowly, Ortiaga found himself entering the hotel industry; he held Sous Chef positions at the Pierre Hotel and at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the Four Seasons before joining the team at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel in Waikoloa, Hawaii. From there, Ortiaga accepted a role as Executive Sous Chef at the St. Regis in 2011 and is now the team’s Executive Chef as of 2015. Ortiaga stands by the principles of pushing boundaries and buttons; he is not afraid to take risks, culinary or otherwise. He refuses to “be a statistic.” We recently had the pleasure of interviewing the Executive Chef to learn more

This was the New York Restaurant School. They gave me a tour, but then I hit a brick wall because I needed parental consent to enroll; I had no choice but to let them know at that point. I ended up graduating at the top of my class. Beyond putting in a lot of emphasis and energy into the actual work, I was really in the mindset that I wanted to be there. I really appreciated this education simply because it gave me an understanding of the classical and fundamental respects of the culinary arts. It gives you that foundation.

James Ortiaga, Executive Chef, St. Regis Hotel, New York, NY

about his approach to food and life in general. What was your inspiration for joining the culinary world? Well first off, I should mention it wasn’t my first-choice career. But my heart and passion were always with food. I was born in the Philippines, but at six years old I was able to make it here to the mainland. I grew up in New York Staten Island suburbia, so that’s how I really got “taken.” I grew up with the New York melting pot, and I was next to Mom quite often in the kitchen and took a liking to it.

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Where did you study? Any difficulties in training to be a chef? Most of my family was in medicine, so that’s where my studies took off. After the second year, I kind of put the brakes on it; I just told Mom and Dad it wasn’t working. They were disappointed at first, because as parents we want what’s best for our kids. But I need to be happy with what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, and it was a decision I thought I could make at that age. I took it upon myself to stop what I was doing and visit a school, which at the time was one of the smaller schools and really not a big deal.

How did you end up on the hotel side of the food industry? After working with Wayne Nash at March restaurant for a solid six years, I stumbled across this opportunity to work at the Essex House. I offered free work and free help. I was just an intern. I was able to stand out though, and was offered an opportunity in a new venture: the Mix NY Groupe. From there I made my way into the hotel side of the industry. How did you find success in this world of service? I entered the opportunity at the Mix NY Groupe blind. Everyone else was more of a veteran and I was taking a position of a supervisory role. But it’s all in the approach - the first impression. I tried to treat everyone with respect, no matter the situation; that was my number one rule. When you win people’s hearts, their minds follow. I know this because of

my culture; everyone gets respect. It just followed; even though some of them were there for years, they gained confidence in me and were able to look past the fact that I was young. Explain how you prepare the food and ingredients. Any differences when compared to a traditional restaurant? There’s just nothing different at all as far as bringing in the right, high quality cuts of meat. In this particular environment, I have my own virtual butchers. The whole animal may not pass through the kitchen, but we get filets. I’m still tasked with breaking down the trimmings and so forth. How do you build a team in this

specific environment? It all starts from the top. A strong leadership, starting from me, is necessary; then my chef de cuisine and sous chefs all need to have the same mindset of the executive chef. To create this strong team mentality, cooperation and camaraderie is necessary. This connects back to what I said earlier about treating everyone with respect; we’re all human beings. If you treat others with respect, you can expect the same in return. What about the skills necessary to be a great executive hotel chef? You should always focus on those who want to learn more. What keeps people here and motivated for so many years is that they’re engaged; that’s the only way a good chef can

hold down a good team, by keeping them engaged. You’ve got to continuously change, sharing new methods and trending techniques. You’ve got to keep the trash out to keep it fresh; otherwise, you’ll have complacent food. Good food is derived from having good energy in the kitchen. If there’s someone who’s angry or miserable, it’ll show in the food; so cultivate a good energy. Any necessary personal values? How have you managed to become so successful in such a competitive field? I’m the type of chef that will always be the one to push buttons, even knowing that there are certain folks out there who won’t like my food at an establishment like this. I hear and acknowledge them, but

I won’t stop; I’ll continue to push my chefs to put out nice menus and good food. I won’t keep it mediocre; I don’t want to be a statistic. I want to make sure that the doors keep revolving with customers coming in and out. There’s only one way to do that; push buttons. What advice would you give to other young, aspiring chefs? If you really want to be somewhere and show high interest, you’re going to excel. There’s no doubt. Going to school is also very important; it’s one of those things where it looks good on resumes that you graduated with a certificate or degree from a certain school, but it also gives you that foundation. Anytime you want to build up, you have to have strong foundations to rely on.


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The Advantage Of An Inspection Or PM Agreement For Your Kitchen Equipment


unning a kitchen can be an overwhelming task. There’s so much to keep in the forefront of your mind from staffing schedules to food orders to menus and weekly specials, and so much more. Remembering to do the daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly maintenance of your kitchen equipment gets more difficult the further apart the maintenance tasks are required. You’re not alone in having trouble remembering everything! The only time you may think of it is when the ice maker stops making ice, the freezer starts getting really warm and the frozen product is at risk, the steamer won’t steam or goes down, etc. You know these things don’t ever happen at a convenient time. It’s always on a Friday after 5pm and your service company is going to charge you overtime to get the problem fixed. Not to mention the stress of it all! Take heart! There is a remedy to these issues. An Inspection or a specific Preventative Maintenance Agreement is a great way to head off large repairs and emergency repairs, as well as working to bring your equipment up to manufacturer specifications for best operation. The service company will calculate a flat fee to inspect whichever equipment you want covered (all equipment, cooking equipment, refrigeration equipment, ice makers, and/or steam equipment). You can choose monthly, quarterly,

semi-annually or annual visits as determined by the needs of the types of equipment covered. Your Inspection or Maintenance visits will be scheduled per your request and you can forget about remembering to replace water filtration cartridges and air filters, cleaning coils, descaling steam generators, cleaning and sanitizing ice makers, etc. You will experience less unexpected breakdowns, have pre-planned repairs instead of emergency repairs, better working equipment that performs optimally in your kitchen. Proactive inspections of your equipment will reduce the overall cost of repairs by catching problems while they are still small. Additionally your service technician can alert you to when a particular piece of equipment is at a point where it is no longer economical to repair. You will also experience a certain wonderful peace of mind that comes with this safety net. If you answer YES to 2 or more of the following questions, you should consider an Inspection Agreement for your Kitchen equipment. • Do you have more than 15 pieces of cooking, refrigeration and ice equipment in your kitchen? • Do you have trouble remembering to change water filters, descale steam equipment or clean and sanitize your ice makers? • Would it help you to have a knowledgeable technician let you know

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when a piece of equipment is about to exceed its ability to be economically repaired? • Does your refrigeration equipment occasionally surprise you by running warm or not cooling at all, possibly causing product loss? • Are you responsible for the kitchen maintenance, yet you do not actually work in the kitchen?

Here are some advantages of an Inspection Agreement: • You can focus on your daily work without surprise failures of equipment in the kitchen, because our factorytrained technicians will find minor problems and quote repairs before they become serious issues

continued on page 92

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August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 79



What Point Of Sale System Should You Get? The one question I get asked over and over again

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping


give presentations, seminars and workshops all over the United States and Canada and if you asked me what’s the most commonly-asked question I get, that would be easy to answer. It’s, “What point of sale system should I get?” I understand more than anyone that this is probably the most important equipment purchase you will make in your business! The challenge is which one to buy. There are an overwhelming number of choices and they almost all do the same thing. So, what point of sale (POS) system should you get? Before I answer that question here, let’s talk about what a good POS system should do for you. Above and beyond the obvious of sales transactions, recording and taking payment, there is a short list you must consider when looking to invest in a POS system: • Will it take cash, credit card and gift card transactions? This seems to be a no brainer, because the whole intention of a POS is sales transactions. But you would be surprised at how many low-end POS systems don’t have a gift card system. • Does it have a time keeping module? This is extremely important because it’s not only for reporting hours for payroll, but when it connects to your sales you can easi-

the independent restaurant owner

ly see when you should start cutting labor hours as you see what your running labor cost is and how sales per half hour have been dropping. • Does it have the following reports: • DSR (daily sales report): The daily sales report, also known as an end-of-day report, is important to make sure you know what your expected cash collected is for the day to ensure you get every penny expected to the bank. • Comp and discount report: This report is for tracking any promotions and discounts you give on a daily basis. By doing so you can

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quickly see if you have service or food preparation issues that need to be addressed or a manager who is simply giving away the shop. • Transfer report: A transfer report allows you to see any items that have been transferred from one ticket to another or completely to another employee. This report is critical to catching employees who are stealing by moving one item off one ticket to another when the customer pays cash for the bill, ultimately allowing that employee to pocket the cash. • Void report: This report lets you see if you have training issues be-

remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. Download a free report to discover the #1 secret to lowering food and labor costs and running the independent restaurant you’ve always dreamed of. Learn more about how David can help you at www.

cause items are being voided often. It is also a good tool to identify and prevent managers who are stealing by voiding cash transactions. • No-sale report: This report shows when any employee who manages a cash drawer rings up a transaction, hits the no-sale button on the POS system, which immediately voids the whole transaction and opens the cash drawer. This report is critical for catching employees who are stealing when a customer pays with cash. • Item-by-Item sales mix report (also known as a product mix report): When it comes to making a real change in your business, this report is king! When you combine the counts of each item purchased by your customers with up-to-date recipe costing cards, you will immediately know your ideal (or theoretical) food cost. This number allows you to measure how your kitchen is

continued on page 82

August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 81

David Scott Peters, from page 80

performing and to easily engineer menu changes that will change your bottom line. • Labor summary report: This report is a tally of regular hours/pay and overtime hours/pay for each position worked in your restaurant. By using these numbers you will be able to schedule on budget the next week. • Time keeping report: This report is imperative to keep proper records required by state and federal government regulations and, more importantly, to submit correct payroll numbers. • 8027 tip report: This report is a great tool to easily keep track of cash/credit card sales vs tips collected and reported and to fill out the Federal 8027 Tip Report Form each year. • What kind of support does the

What do you have budgeted for a point of sale system? The top tier POS companies charge a premium for their software, hardware and ongoing support. company offer? Because it’s not if, but a matter of when your POS system will go down in the middle of the rush on a busy Friday night. Next thing to consider is the cost. What do you have budgeted for this purchase? The top tier POS companies charge a premium for their software, hardware and ongoing support. Many POS systems in the next tier down are equally as good

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as the top tier companies, they’re just less expensive. Then there is the entry-level tier of POS systems that for the most part are not worth even looking at to run a restaurant because they don’t have the reporting capabilities outlined above. In a nutshell, when buying a POS system, you must know your budget, if it has the features and reporting you need and will they be there

for you when the system goes down? So, once you’ve done your research, which POS system should you buy? For the most part, the top and mid-level POS systems do almost the same things. One may have features another doesn’t, but there really isn’t a bad choice. Unless of course you are talking to someone who HATES one of them. I can tell you this, I can find you people who love each one of these and people who hate them equally. It all comes down to two very important things: does the POS system have the bells and whistles you want, such as a real-time app to see everything going on in your restaurant in an instant and do they have great support and service? And this is how you determine which POS system is right for you.

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LIZ ON TABLETOP TABLETOP SOLUTIONS New Strategies For Creating A Late Summer Catering Service Signature


t wasn’t that many years ago that catering actually took a break in the summertime. Tradition dictated that events were planned for before Memorial Day and then again after Labor Day. Like so many things in today’s world, catering is now a 52-week business. It’s not at all unusual to get invited to a Fourth of July or even a New Year’s eve wedding.

Liz Weiss is the President and co-

So whether you are the food and beverage manager at a Manhattan hotel, or managing a Westchester country club or a Hampton’s hot spot, you need to be on top of your game 24/7. My definition of that is the ability to create signature concepts that reflect both your facility and of course the current season. So let’s walk through the agenda for a typical event and talk about

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strategies to keep it fresh. The first step is to understand that the Cocktail hour is not- pre-dinner. It is a time to taste and visit with friends and family. So that means that the food should be more inventive to start conversations. The same level of thought needs to go into the drinks that you serve. They should be “lite” flavorful, but not too alcoholic to avoid

owner of Armonk, NY based H. Weiss Co. She is known nationally as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on tabletop design. The Michigan State graduate is also actively involved with WPO-Women’s Presidents Organization. Comments may be sent to

sloppiness. My suggestion is to offer drinks that are not so sweet, but

more savory. Use herbs as garnish and base for the flavor. My new favorite thing is a blood orange floater with nutmeg and a larger ice-cube with can flavor. During the summer, there is nothing better than the special cocktail to be an infused water with garnish. We have been working with our clients across the Metro New York City area to update their serving presentation for the cocktail hour. White platters are out in favor of a more organic- slate, marble, galvanized and wood etc. look. We have customers finding their signature with long bamboo skewers that are knotted and paddles from FOH that stick into melon or other fruit on the passed platter. We also like the look of a single

So whether you are the food and beverage manage at a Manhattan hotel, or managing a Westchester country club or a Hampton’s hot spot, you need to be on top of your game 24/7. bite on forks that are plated faceup on containers of lentil, seeds or nuts. The goal is to create color and texture. The same feel can also be accomplished with leaves that are used as platters/dishes and even a small galvanized piece. The idea is to avoid that Seinfeld/ Curbed moment by keeping every-

thing to one bite- a tasting without forcing you to juggle the drink that’s in your other hand. In fact, if we take a quick fast forward to dessert, maybe desserts should be an assortment of small bites that would eliminate the over eating and waste that often comes with a traditional venetian table.

We are working with many of our catering clients to present the cocktail hour offering on a nice wood top serving counters with a lighter and airier feel. Manufacturers including Mogogo, Forbes and Cal-Mil are offering higher tables- so you don’t hurt your back bending over or have a wardrobe malfunction. These taller tables also mean no need for ugly chafers. You can create a fresh new look with induction and still offer pass around for the delicacies for the look and portion control. Our H. Weiss team is here to help with updating your catering service and share our experiences as you look to keep it fresh for your customers.

August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 85



Panic at the Pickle Factory A Catering Management Software Sales Exec shares life lessons learned as a restaurant owner/operator, revealing the key ingredient that could be making or breaking your career in the non-commercial foodservice industry.


f you can run a restaurant, you can run anything – I firmly believe that. The thing to remember is you can’t let the chaos of the business control you. Something is always going to happen. Someone will call in sick, or your dishwasher will break, and you’ll find yourself working the line at lunch and washing dishes in the evening; getting your managerial work done after that. The key to it all is as simple as it is difficult – be extremely organized. You need to have a plan. I’m sure you’re saying “but I have a plan”. You know what they say about the best laid plans. I guess my point lies more in how you support them. I was in my late 20’s when I threw in the towel on running someone else’s restaurant and decided to open my own. Armed with experience and my Mercyhurst hotel restaurant degree, I was confident I had the wherewithal to give it a go myself. Just about the time this notion came around, I sat a few barstools down from a guy heading down the same tracks, and we partnered up to become the proud new owners of a 14,000 square foot train station-themed restaurant, bar, and banquet hall, with outdoor volleyball courts. Every part of the place had its own feel. The front lobby, an old train depot, was a gorgeous mix of brick, brass, and iron that you walked through before stepping into the cherry wood train room that housed the bar, bands on weekends, and karaoke on Tuesdays. Like all bars, it was also home to

down into where we could seat 16 people in addition to the tables we had around the outside of it. To sum it up, this was a pretty cool pickle factory. But back to the best-laid plans. We had a plan for generating revenue every shift of the day. From 9-11 AM, we’d host corporate meetings beThis pen drawing of the building by MaryBeth fore opening to the public for Dolan hangs in my office at CaterTrax. lunch. Happy hour kicked off at 4, and we strung the volleyball courts with lights to keep us busy into the night. We did events in the banquet hall on weekends when the rest of the place was closed. My partner and I had a rule that one of us would always be at the front during service to greet guests – trying our hardest to open the door for every single one. The At the end of the day, the difference is all in those little details. other guy would usually stay in the back expediting orders its share of embarrassing antics, but and checking food before it left the this isn’t that story - you’ll have to call kitchen. New servers always waited on me for that. my partner and I once before they ever The train station building was acwaited on a customer. tually moved from across the street The coolest thing we probably ever before we ever came around and redid was our Monday night football rafsettled right in front of an old pickle fles. We bought two La-Z-Boy reclinfactory which became our dining ers and parked them in front of our room. The pickle factory had a tow52 inch TV. People would pile into the ering brick smokestack that gave the bar on Sunday trying to win a recliner building an interesting appeal, but spot and all the beer and wings they the best part about it was the giganwanted for the Monday night game. It tic, completely unmovable, cast iron didn’t cost much to fill the place durboiler that sat inside it. The boiler ing football season and after the food had a high archway you could walk critic from the Democrat and Chron-

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Tim Mulhall is a CaterTrax Sales Executive, Former Restaurant Owner and Multi-Unit Operator. Tim has been with the CaterTrax family for 6 years. In his current role as a Sales Executive he combines his colorful foodservice history with his sales experience to consult with operators across the country looking for a software solution that can meet the needs of their unique operations. Before joining CaterTrax, Tim managed multi-unit foodservice operations, owned his own restaurant, and spent 7 years in financial sales at HSBC. Tim earned his hotel restaurant degree from Mercyhurst where he was VP of the department. He was also bestowed the highest honor of Eagle Scout by Gerald Ford. Both merits he credits for his ability to find the perfect tools for getting the job done right, in the kitchen or otherwise.

icle gave us a 4.5-star rating, we were always busy – sports or not. We had a phone that rang in the sound of a train – I did say it was a themed restaurant. You’d hear a huffy Choo Choo sound every time someone called to order catering. We’d quickly take down orders in a threering binder, running through the list of the questions while the restaurant and bar swirled around us - How do you want it set up? Equipment? How many pounds of potatoes? CaterTrax wasn’t

continued on page 88

August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 87

CaterTrax, from page 86 around yet – there was no online ordering, automated production sheets, or rooms manager. We skated through our first wedding with barely anything we needed upfront. Fortunately, the guests never felt it, but we certainly did. We rented more chairs and got a new table skirt that fit the head table of the growing wedding party. My partner was particularly excellent at setting tables – all the knives lined up perfectly. Details. At the end of the day, the difference is all in those little details like the perfect table setting. Unfortunately, details are also the first things to get lost in the chaos. If you can’t stay organized, you can’t pay attention to all the little things that are kind of the reason why you started doing all this in the first place. I was working day and night, but driven by the fact that I was putting out a product people enjoyed and they were willing to pay me for it. I loved meeting new people, the rush of peak times, the comradery of working as a team, and the satisfaction of meeting goals and growing sales. But, without something holding it all together, passion is overshadowed by the stress of trying to stay on top of everything yourself. As a foodservice operator, you can’t be in every place at once even though you want to be and even though you’re trying hard to be. You want to do your figure 8’s, walk-throughs, and coach on the fly - correcting actions and praising the positive, but you can’t when you’re washing dishes or hopping on the line all the time. A restaurant, bar, banquet hall, and volleyball courts are different beasts, and while we had the experience, it was becoming increasingly difficult to stay organized as we were being spread thinner and thinner. We didn’t last. After we finally closed the doors to the train station, I got a job in financial sales – far removed from the restaurant biz. New owners have since repainted, and the volleyball courts are covered in playground mulch for the daycare

Zach Erdem, from page 72

mind, but I’m leaving such a beautiful setting where I work. When I rented here, I also jumped on the plane to go get some sun in Miami, where I have a house.

If you can’t stay organized, you can’t pay attention to all the details that are kind of the reason why you started doing all this in the first place – like my partner and his perfect place settings.

that now lives in the pickle factory. In a cliché twist of fate, the sales road led me right back to the foodservice industry as a sales executive for a catering management company, CaterTrax. I’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge that I can share, and CaterTrax is the same in that way, drawing on the experiences we’ve all had to help others meet their goals and keep their passion alive. Our marketing team did a survey a few years back that showed the average lifespan of a caterer is 13 months. I hate that. We all do. There’s a lot of seasoned foodservice folks here who are all really passionate about this industry. It’s certainly not the pen and paper business a lot of us remember though. That we don’t hate. I don’t think technology is revolutionary because I sell it, I think it’s revolutionary because I’ve lived without it. Operators can’t be everything. For your plans to work you need to be nimble, flexible, and able to think on your feet. You have to be the type of building that’s sturdy enough to move across the street when it’s better for business. To support these plans though, you need something stable that will keep you organized amidst the revolving chaos of your day. Something like a gigantic cast iron boiler stuck fast in the middle of everything. I guess I could say that’s how we are at CaterTrax – always there no matter where you are. Book a demo today to start powering your foodservice revolution.

88 • August 2017 • Total Food Service •

Any unexpected roadblocks this season? Every year is up and down. The restaurant is designed to help people cool off, but we only had two warm days in June. The weather can really impact the success of these restaurants. Usually, we open all the doors and windows overlooking the streets, but we had to close all the doors and put the heat on in June. We weren’t happy about that. What’s the biggest difference between the nightclub business and the restaurant business? The biggest difference is that you

don’t need to deal with the kitchen. In a restaurant, there will always be someone set out to destroy your day and start complaining about the specific food, and you won’t find someone like that in a nightclub. In both businesses, marketing is so important; it’s difficult to attract people to the scene, and a lot of work goes into branding and advertising. In this regard, these businesses are probably one of the most difficult businesses in the world. Why bother, then? Why be in the restaurant business at all? I love meeting people at restaurants; it’s worth it for the people you meet and everyone you come to know. I’m at my restaurants every day. You’ll see me here or at 75 Main every night. In regards to the future, my eyes are always open and I’m always interested in expanding to other places.

August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 89

Sederholt, from page 28 ing, PR, Direct Operating Expenses or G&A. You simply can’t compete if you are losing between $4,000 to $7,000 per week - Game over. Even established iconic steakhouses like Ben Benson’s have closed their doors due to occupancy costs and now legendary Spark’s may do the same and they are doing over $18MM per year! They approached their sales projections with rose-colored glasses for sure. I’m certain they didn’t run “Best Case - Worst Case and Most Likely” projections and determine if they could survive the “Worst Case” scenario. Most starry-eyed owners don’t do this. Every new owner should do this before they consider putting the key in the door. I’m sure these guys projected some big numbers while they were falling in love with their new restaurant. In reality they were nowhere near the $4.1MM needed to be viable. Unable to see this, they invested everything they had, tapped friends and family, brought in some outside money and continued falling behind in rent and taxes. The downward spiral escalated. Despite the brutal truth, they decided to stay the course. They believe in their restaurant, their abilities and that everything will work out. Every time they book a big party they try to convince themselves that they are coming out of the woods. HUGE BLIND SPOT!! Reality Check: Early in the first year they needed to pick their heads up from the daily tasks and objectively SEE the deficiencies in their business. Instead they continued to drive the same flawed business model while it was driving them over a cliff. They have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars are in debt and now may lose their beloved restaurant. Ignore the signs at your own peril: Many restaurant owners are great at making excuses for low sales or

constant losses. “Naw, my kid’s not on drugs – he’s just tired all the time and going through a phase…” Yea, right. “Nope, that stabbing pain in my chest is just heartburn.” Wake up and smell the coffee!! Face the brutal truth - negative cash flow, insufficient sales and growing debt topped with tax delinquencies, pissed off landlords and vendors are all reason for a 911 call. The next blind spot appears when owners try putting a band-aid on a sucking chest wound! A little bit of cash may stop bill collectors from calling for a while but the real problem is not fixed. Many distressed owners seek loans from family and friends (really stupid) or financing like merchant cash advances, which get misused and abused. This accessible yet costly financing is good for growth - not for covering a black hole of debt. Don’t use this money to put your bad business on life support while you deny there is a problem. This debt, like any formal debt comes with the responsibility to repay and most of the alternative lenders will come after you personally if you don’t. I gave it straight to my friends at the steakhouse. For now they are sticking it out and seeking a new equity investor, as they can’t obtain loans with their current financial statements. If they can attract a real equity partner it will cost them dearly as equity is always more costly than debt and they are not negotiating from a position of strength. I will report back and let you know how they made out. My advice – look for the blind spots and watch your numbers obsessively and listen objectively to what they are telling you. You will sleep better at night. If you want to discuss your business questions, you can email me at

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August 2017 • Total Food Service • • 91

Jay Hill Repairs, from page 78 • Ice equipment and steam equipment will stop failing due to clogged water filters, saving you a service call fee and downtime for the equipment. • You will have ice that tastes fresh and adds to the quality of the drinks, rather than detracting from them. • Budgeting for replacement of old equipment can be done prior to its sudden failure. • Loss of product in refrigerators and freezers can be reduced or eliminated with consistent coil cleaning (dirty coils are the primary reason refrigeration equipment stops cooling). Dirty coils can strain your condensor, compressor and evaporator and lead to extremely costly repairs when they fail. • Our professional, expert technicians will be your “eyes in the kitchen” assisting you in complete and overall control of all the Kitchen equipment assets.


To sign up for Blogs, Tips and Specials, please enter your business email address at Jay-Hill Repairs has been in business for over 45 years, striving to provide the best, most professional expert service available in our market. Our growing team of 20+ CFESA certified, Factory Trained Field Service Technicians are hand-picked and carefully trained. As the Authorized Service and Parts Distributor for most major equipment manufacturers we stock all the most commonly used OEM Parts and descaling chemicals in our 15,000 sq. ft. warehouse, ensuring the highest possible number of first time fixes. You may also pickup your parts at our Walk-In Parts Counter, or we can ship them to you. Does your inhouse staff maintain the equipment? No problem. You can always rely on Jay-Hill Repairs for expert repairs!

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Resorts World Hotel, from page 6 games but isn’t allowed to have live table games. “Like other casino operators, Genting is implementing a huband-spoke model,” said Michael Pollock, managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group, a New Jerseybased consulting firm that has done work for the company. “The model operates by having properties in densely populated areas that help to build demand for Las Vegas through loyalty programs that reward frequent customers. That helps build revenue on both ends of the business,” Pollock said. “You encourage your higher spending, most profitable customers to stick with you,” he said. “People in Queens will play more often if they can earn points redeemed in Las Vegas.” Yet Genting has had less success with other parts of its U.S. strategy. A

$1 billion project with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe for a resort with three hotels and a casino, about 40 miles south of Boston, is being delayed by a legal challenge over the tribe’s right to operate it. The tribe is contesting the challenge, and a decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior has been delayed, according to Cedric Cromwell, the tribe’s chairman. Further delays in resolving the dispute could be costly for Genting. The group has invested $347.4 million in promissory notes issued by the tribe, Genting Malaysia said in a filing with the Malaysian stock exchange on July 7, noting that recovery depends on the case’s resolution. Genting said that the new deadline for parties to file replies to opposing submissions in the case is Oct. 30. A plan to build a large casino at

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the site of the former Miami Herald building, which Genting purchased for $236 million in 2011, is also in limbo, with Florida lawmakers balking at proposals to expand gaming in the city. Genting’s Farrell said there’s little reason to expect the company will be able to move ahead. “The likelihood of anything major happening in southern Florida is very slim,” he said. Demand for Miami property has waned. The city’s condominium boom, which fueled much of the construction, led to a glut in residential high rises, and now many developers are putting off new projects. The downtown Miami site has attracted interest from would-be buyers, according to Farrell, who described it as a “premier piece of property.” “We have had several opportuni-

ties to sell that we have not accepted,” he said. “We are going to hold on to our property and see what happens.” Genting, through an affiliate, owns 88 percent of Empire Resorts Inc., which is building a $1.2 billion casino resort in the Catskill mountains outside of New York. Also branded as a Resorts World property, it is expected to open in March.

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Liz Neumark, from page 10 Let’s talk about your company. Do you have a CMO, if you will, that just runs engagements for you now? How do you handle that element of the business? We may talk more globally about our philosophy and guidelines, but it’s really in the hands of our managers on the front line; we’re not giant retail people. The retail elements of our business are really like the icing on the cake, it’s more so in our cultural institutions. We’re operating in restaurants and cafes. A company like yours has always done a great job of responding to customer needs and customer comments. Is it more complicated for you to stay on top of your “reputation” or does it make it easier for you to compete? It’s both harder and easier. Yeah, on the one hand, being able to engage instantly in dialogue with your customers is great. On the other hand, it’s

more work! But the reward is worth it. What about the actual point of production? Are you still in a central commissary environment? What equipment are you using for these large-scale operations? We’re still a centralized commissary, but whenever possible we will bring a final stage of production on-site. We don’t keep this hidden, but instead bring it to the front of the house and make it an event. We did this one time for a couple thousand people where we had a rice-making station that let people come into the tent. We had silk kettles cooking the rice right in front of the guests, and we had custom-made these giant pans set up on block bases with propane underneath to keep them hot. So the guests could see us mass-produce the rice and prep it with all the seasoning and flavor. This put all the drama, all the feeling and all the freshness right in front of the guests.

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We also did some Chinese pancakes for them. We did these vegetarian style, but also with Peking duck that was griddle-cut and assembled right in front of the guests; we would never do an operation like this years ago, but we now embrace these creative changes. It’s interesting how you’ve grown into many things that you probably thought you’d never see yourself in. What’s an example of one of your more radical projects? That could not be more true. It’s interesting that operationally, we’re so strong. There are all of these new opportunities, too; we’re shifting towards this experiential marketing and many edge events, so that’s where we find ourselves doing things that no one could even conceptualize before. An example would be that we were helping the Taste of New York and the MTA by offering hospitality to disrupted train riders for awhile. We did this at

nine different points on Long Island and we were working with existing vendors who are in the Taste of New York program; these are small vendors, a new matzo chips guy or a little beef jerky guy in Montauk, and we’re giving out their products. We’re pulling together the whole distribution system. Would you say that the quality of catering, or its sophistication, has increased over the years? I’d say the quality is pretty consistent. However, we feel that the level of sophistication, broadly speaking, has gone up. I always knew food was fashion, but we have to think about it even more so. Our visual engagement and presentation engagement have always been quality; the same goes for the deliciousness of our food. But we add all of this to the knowledge that our guests are eating out more and now, people are looking for more creative food. We have to keep this in mind moving forward.

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CT Dining Tax, from page 2 towns is a bad thing for Connecticut,” Fonfara said. “There are some big winners in that approach and there are a lot of losers. Unless you have a distribution formula that makes it fair for towns that only have a couple of restaurants versus those that have several, it’s unfair to have an approach that doesn’t share some of those revenues.” The budget still needs approval from the General Assembly, and

some lawmakers have cast doubt on its chances of survival. Several municipal leaders said it’s too early to decide whether the restaurant tax would be welcome at the local level. Even Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who is considering bankruptcy, would not say if he’d adopt it. “Until there’s a full budget proposal to review with clear revenue projections for cities and towns, it’s

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difficult to comment on any particular piece on its own,” he said. “We have to see what the whole thing looks like.” Until then, bar and restaurant owners are weathering the uncertainty, and contemplating having to raise their prices. “People come to us because we aren’t a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Doug Barber, who owns Berkins Blend, an Internet café in

East Glastonbury. “If our prices become like a Starbucks because of the sales tax, it could be a problem.” Sarah Maloney, head of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said the inconsistencies in pricing among communities would cause confusion. “I think it’s going to be: ‘Why is it more expensive here than it is there?’” she said. “Not everybody’s going to know why it’s going up, they’re just going to notice that it’s going up. So that’s a problem.” Edna Flynn, who runs Flynn’s Grill in South Glastonbury, said he understands the pressure the state is under. But he worries about losing his elderly customers who stop in for breakfast and lunch. “I think it whacks everybody, but the older people on fixed incomes will really see it,” he said. “It may come down to either paying taxes or going out to eat. And people have a choice of whether or not to go out to eat. You have to pay taxes.” Still, some managers remained hopeful. “We should be able to hang on,” Barber said. “Coffee is a real habit and people have their favorites, so I think they will still seek it out. They want to see the mom and pop survive and people have been supportive of us.” Jimmy Cosgrove, who owns Salute, an Italian eatery in Hartford, said the dramatic increase in the sales tax would probably “annoy” some patrons, but it wouldn’t discourage people from stopping by. “I don’t think people mind paying the extra one percent if it goes to the cities that they’re trying to support,” he said. “It’s not going to change your plans. If anything, I think it will make people feel better about themselves because they’ll say, well, you know what, we’re supporting Hartford even more.”

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Applebee’s Layoffs, from page 4 If Applebee’s completely follows through with its concierge service, nearly 2,000 employees will be heading for the exit. Tankel discussed this same issue with Varney in January, back when he had ‘only’ fired 500 employees. “We can’t raise prices anymore,” he said at the time, rather candidly, so they had to take drastic measures. The lost workers, he explained, could be replaced with tablets that are placed on customers’ tables. “Increasing minimum wage is technology’s best friend,” Tankel concluded. Zane Tankel is the Owner of Apple-Metro, Inc. and has been Chief Executive Officer since 1994. Mr. Tankel served as Chief Executive Officer of Zane Tankel Consultants Inc., a sales company since 1990. He served as Partner of Regis Philbin, Jackie Mason and Mikhail Baryshnikov in Columbus restaurants in Manhattan. He owned and operated a graphic arts company with five plants in the United States, doing short run printing and color separations. He sold three of the plants to Potomac Graphic Industries and continued to operate plants in Detroit, Michigan and Cambridge, Massachusetts until mid-90s. He was the Owner and Operator of Cameos, a fine dining restaurant in Manhattan. He was founder of the advisory board for the Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem. He serves as the Chairman of Apple-Metro, Inc. He has been Director at Aly Energy Services, Inc. since October 2012. He serves as a Director of Perkins & Marie Callender’s Holding LLC. He served as a Director of Morton’s Restaurant Group Inc. since February 2006. He served as a Director of Allis-Chalmers Energy Inc. from February 7, 2007 to February 23, 2011. He served as a Non-Employee

Director of Perkins & Marie Callender’s LLC (formerly, Perkins & Marie Callender’s Inc.). He served as Director of American Achievement Corp. since July 2000. He served as Chairman of the Metro Chapter of the Young President Organization (YPO). He served as Chairman of the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation. He was elected by the international body as a member of the Chief Executives Organization.

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He is a member and Director of the Board of the Metropolitan President Organization (MPO), which is the New York chapter of the World President Organization (WPO). He is also a founding director and member of the Executive Committee for Bridging the Rift as well as a founding member of The Federal Law Enforcement.

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Western Pest, from page 14 • Entry Maintenance: Pests cannot contaminate your food if they cannot enter your restaurant. Make sure doors are kept closed at all times and that any potential entryways, including holes and cracks, are sealed. Install air curtains and tight-fitting screens where possible. Ground inspection is not enough; roofs should also be maintained to help prevent the appearance of roof rats and other rodents. • Counter and Floor Sanitation: Not only will frequent cleaning make your facility less attractive to pest threats, it will also remove any bacteria or viruses that pests have spread. Sanitize floors, work surfaces, sinks and drains on a regular basis, and vacuum any food debris that may have accumulated over the course of the day. • Hygienic Practices: Ensure that all employees are practicing proper hygiene, such as washing hands fre-

quently and keeping hair away from food and food surfaces. Microorganisms and bacteria from pests can live on external surfaces and spread by touch. Simply washing with soap and water can help eliminate many foodborne bacteria. Although food can become contaminated at any point during the production cycle, pests in your restaurant increase the risk of disease outbreak. By understanding the pest threats and associated contamination risks, restaurants can help ensure a safe dining experience Jennifer Brumfield is a Training and Technical Specialist and Board-Certified Entomologist for Western Pest Services, a New Jerseybased pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets. Learn more about Western by visiting

DO YOU SERVE THE LATEST TRENDS IN BEVERAGES? We do and we’d be happy to help you!

Citrus Honeydew Strawberry Mango Tangerine Green Tea Blueberry Cucumber






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Bobrow, from page 16

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Cognac 375ml Jamaican Rum- find a natural one without added sugar or caramel color 2 cups Double Simple Syrup (2:1 Turbanado Sugar to boiling water) 10 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice 4 oz. Grand Marnier or Cointreau 3 oz. Grenadine Whole pineapple sliced and grilled until nicely caramelized 2 oranges sliced into rounds and grilled 1 package of organic raspberries

Prep: 1. Mix all the ingredients in a large punch bowl 2. Add a block of ice to dilute and add coolness to the punch 3. Serve in tea cups with a smile Another great Professor Jerry Thomas drink is known simply as the Gin Punch. I think it’s a must do in your repertoire because gin is a very popular drink- there always is some left to use in punch. Quite refreshing and thirst quenching during the hot months in the late Summer. Classic Gin Punch- influenced by Professor Jerry Thomas Gin Punch Ingredients: • 1-750 ml bottle of Barr Hill “Tom Cat” Gin (distilled by hand from Raw Honey and local grain and aged in a whiskey cask) • 375ml Champagne • 1 cup raspberries- pureed • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice- un-strained but seeded • 1-12 oz. bottle of cane sugar

based Ginger Beer (like QGinger Beer) Prep: 1. Shake with a Boston Shaker until frothy and serve with about a cup of fresh raspberries and orange/lemon pinwheels 2. Serve in a large punch bowl with plenty of ice The final cocktail of this series is made with a combination of rum and rye whiskey. I’ve chosen to use the magnificently made Barrell Rye Whiskey #001 and their equally salubrious Whiskey Barrel aged Jamaican Rum. Pretty amazing stuff together, the interplay of wood against smoke and char surrounding the dry coffee tinged sweetness of the rye whiskey. Rum and Whiskey Punch Ingredients: • 1 750ml Bottle Barrell Rye Whiskey • ½ 750ml Bottle Barrell Rum ( Jamaica) • 1 cup Double Simple Syrup (as above) • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice • Crushed Ice • Grilled Orange Pinwheels Prep: 1. Fill Glasses with the Crushed Ice to cool 2. Into a cocktail mixing glass, fill ¾ with bar ice 3. Add the liquid ingredients 4. Stir, stir, stir 5. Strain over freshly crushed ice in the glasses and garnish with grilled orange pinwheels

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August 2017 - Total Food Service  
August 2017 - Total Food Service  

From - Total Food Service's August 2017 Digital Edition features an exclusive Q&A Interview with Benjamin Prelvukaj & Benjamin...