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Day in Life of AZ Driver

 

A day in the life of Flanagan AZ Driver Johan Enns

 

A Day in the Life of a Flanagan AZ Delivery Driver

 

We're all curious about how others spend their days. We may wonder, "What does my doctor do when she's not seeing patients?" or "What does the person who serves me food do when they're not serving me?" For those of you who want to know what exactly an AZ delivery driver does with their day, we sat down with one of our very own drivers, Johan Enns.

 

Johan Enns is part of the amazing team of Flanagan's AZ delivery drivers, who help make sure food and supplies reaches restaurants and foodservice operations safely. With five years under his belt, he's no stranger to the ins and outs of the job. In a typical day, he can make between 10 and 16 deliveries, which takes him about 10-12 hours.

 

When asked what he likes about the job, Johan admits that he enjoys being out there on his own, and is happy to help out when needed. "Once you're out there and have gotten into the swing of things," he says, "it's easy to do one call at a time."

 

Enns also likes the amount of hours he works: 52-58 hours a week. “You get to go home and do things outside,” he said, noting that during the summer he has a boat so he likes to go fishing and hang out with friends on weekends.

 

“A lot of places know me and it’s nice after 5 years, you know how they want their product and how they want their products to come in and put away.” He goes out of his way to put product on shelves for their workers that may be difficult for others to put away and he has often been rewarded with lunch each time for his help.

 

He enjoys getting to know the people who work at his customers. Johan makes sure to be friendly, professional, and courteous when interacting with these people because it makes his job easier when they recognize him as someone who cares about their business as much as they do themselves.

 

Click for more information or to apply for an AZ Driver position at Flanagan's

 

 

 

 

Flanagan Foodservice at 3:20 PM
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Not all Oils are Created Equal

French fries cooking in oil

No matter how you spread or spray it, not all oils are created equal

 

When it comes to choosing oils for your kitchen, the key to increasing revenue and taste is quality and convenience, says Jeff Poulo, national sales director for Saporito Foods.

The company is a leading supplier of high quality canola, corn, sunflower and vegetable oils, imported olive and blended oils, shortenings, margarines and zero trans-fat high-performance frying oils to retail, foodservice and export markets.

 

“Quality and convenience are the most important factors to consider when choosing an oil to use and cook with. Whether you are cooking at home for your family, or you’re a chef in a busy restaurant cooking hundreds of meals, you want an easy to use, great tasting, high-quality oil,” says Poulo.

 

Oil performance and options

When it comes to High-Performance (HP) oils, Poulo says his company’s oils come at a slightly higher price point but provide better performance, which translates into better value. Specifically, HP oils last longer in the fryer, reducing cost per use and have less oil retention in food and less flavour transfer from one item to another.

 

Operators should be aware that olive oil has been affected by crop disease and production losses over the past two seasons, significantly reducing supply and causing a substantial increase in price. This has “led to an influx of poor quality, expensive, misrepresented products,” says Poulo. He advises operators to ask their suppliers how this has impacted their products.

 

Saporito Foods has a stringent quality control protocol in place with its European vendors to ensure the highest quality olive oil is delivered each and every time.

Here are some tips to help you get the best value and flavour from your oil:


Don’t be fooled by the lowest-cost options:

There are a variety of choices in the marketplace, ranging from regular salad cooking oils and specially-handled oils to high-performance frying oils. This can make it difficult and confusing when trying to choose an oil, so price becomes the deciding factor. But the lowest priced oil may not be the best choice for your application or the most cost-effective solution.

 

Crunch the numbers:

With deep frying you may have a choice between one 16L container of oil at $20 and another type of oil priced at $18 — a 10 per cent savings. But, depending on the brand, quality and application, this may only be a perceived savings before the kitchen actually consumes the oil.

 

As a simple example, if the pricier oil is a higher quality product, and lasts four days in the fryer instead of three (as the lower-priced oil may), then there’s an immediate and identifiable savings of 25 per cent on a $20 outlay, dramatically reducing cost per use.

Also, if the higher-priced oil has even as little as two per cent better oil retention level (the amount of oil that remains in the food) that’s a savings of $0.40 per 16L.

 

One extra day in the fryer, or 25 per cent better performance on a $20 item = a $5 savings per 16L.

 

Two per cent less consumption due to better oil retention on a $20.00 item = $0.40 savings per 16L.

 

The lower-priced oil can actually end up costing much more than initially anticipated.

 

The lower-priced oil can cost your kitchen $24 per 16L ($18+$5+$0.40) rather than $20.

 

These are potentially sobering numbers for any restaurant operator and shows why outcome versus output of initial cash should be considered when making any purchasing decision for your kitchen, particularly when it comes to oils.

 

Dos and don’ts of fryer maintenance:

  • Never refill a wet fryer since water causes oil to break down more quickly.
  • Don’t fill baskets over your fryer to prevent food particles from contaminating the oil.
  • Never season products over fryer as spices can break down your oil.
  • Do not put seasoned, fried product back into fryer.
  • Do not overfill fryer baskets or shake baskets during frying.
  • Skim off food particles regularly.
  • Filter your oil regularly to realize the full value of better quality oils.

 

 

Visit chefconnexion.com for more expert advice and recipes

 

Written by Suzanne Boles.  

 

 

 

 

Flanagan Foodservice at 12:11 PM
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Downsizing the Menu to Upsize Restaurant Revenue

Woman in restaurant holding menu

 

Downsizing the Menu to Upsize Restaurant Revenue

 

Once a necessity during the tumultuous year the foodservice industry has faced, now smaller streamlined menus are here to stay. And with good reason. Trimming and slimming down your menu adds well deserved money back to your bottom line, benefiting both you and your customers.

 

Long before COVID-19, if you remember back that far, Technomic had already acknowledged simplification of menus. Their Canada’s Shrinking Menus 2018 report noted that restaurant operators had been gradually cutting back on their menus since 2013.

 

Technomic reported that operators were being strategic about how and where to spend their money while dealing with the labour issues in the Canadian workforce.

 

Their Post-Pandemic Playbook continues the same macrotrend, stating labour issues already felt in foodservice pre-pandemic could be worse as former employees find other opportunities.

 

They also predict that many operators will likely focus on menu items that are revenue and profitability drivers, post-crisis.

 

Simplifying the menu makes good business sense: assisting cost control, reducing labour costs and keeping customers happy.

 

Cost Control

Smaller menus naturally use fewer ingredients. A tighter food inventory provides operators with many cost-control options without hurting menu quality.  In fact, menu quality will naturally improve.

 

James Keppy, corporate chef for Maple Leaf Foods, is busy helping operators streamline menus and promoting value-added ingredients to help chefs in their kitchens.

 

“Operators need to do a few things well. No one can afford to have their menu be a book anymore,” says Keppy.

 

“Inventory items need to be reduced so that they can be controlled and better utilized in multiple applications across the menu. This inventory reduction affords little to no waste.”  

 

Technomic’s State of the Canadian Menu 2021 report agrees and suggests operators adapt products to various dayparts, mealparts, menu categories and ordering options. They state that menu streamlining will be a necessity for operators amid and after the pandemic, sticking around as a long-term trend. Multiple applications increase efficiency on several fronts, from labour to storage to spending.

 

Fewer ingredients mean you will be ordering larger quantities of your staples, allowing for bulk purchases and economies of scale.

 

The time it takes to manage inventory decreases from counting to reordering. With a tighter handle on inventory, food waste is also significantly reduced.

 

Consumers continue to look for customization when ordering. A smaller menu can still accommodate these requests. Operators can rethink well-performing ingredients and use them strategically in their offerings. But that also means eliminating poorly performing ingredients.

 

Keppy agrees. “If there are inventory items present that are costly but show low sales on the menu mix, they are a drain on your resources in both money and storage.

 

“Menu items and their ingredients that travel well are important. Maple Leaf Pulled Pork and Beef can be customized by individual operators with their seasonings and sauce and will keep their heat for delivery. These products can be used for sandwiches, build your own tacos, and for mac and cheese topping.”

 

Labour Costs

Relying on menu fundamentals is key, according to Technomic’s State of the Canadian Menu 2021 report. Operators scaled back their menus to focus on core items. Smaller SKU counts helped operators reduce operational complexity by streamlining their menus, reducing waste and staffing needs, and increasing speed of service. 

 

“Smaller menus factor in labour. This could lead to the elimination or doubling up of stations in the kitchen,” says Keppy.  

 

With fewer items on the menu, it is faster to train new employees — front of house and back of house. Wait staff will have more comprehensive menu knowledge and can effectively upsell and educate customers. Kitchen staff can quickly become experts on recipes, leading to faster service and higher quality dishes.

 

Additional benefits of having fewer moving parts, people and ingredients are increased efficiency and minimal mistakes — everybody wins in this scenario.

 

Happy Customers

Everyone wants to be happy. Smaller menus help your customers get there. It is easier for your customers to understand who you are and what makes you awesome if they aren’t getting lost in your menu.

 

Visually, the menu will be more appealing in print and online. The physical menu will have white space and room to move, taking advantage of menu psychology theories. Plus, the digital menu will be simpler to scroll.

 

“Keep the menu easy to read and therefore easier to make a menu choice… especially if your customers are reading and ordering from a phone,” says Keppy.

 

Smaller menus increase the perception of quality over quantity and don’t overwhelm indecisive guests.

 

As ticket times decrease, customers get their orders faster, and that makes them ecstatic.

 

Gearing Down to Go Up

“Do what you are good at and what you are known for while still offering items that appeal to the general groups of meat eaters, vegetarian and vegans, healthy eaters and indulgent consumers. If you are a chicken place, offer fried, grilled and a plant-based version,” says Keppy. 

 

He also reminds us that “no matter what you offer, always consider the quality and appearance on the plate as well as in the takeout container.”

 

Shrinking your menu is all about dollars and cents, and just makes good sense. Your operation will be stronger, more focused and even better than before. Your customers will thank you, and so will your bank account.

 

 

 

Visit chefconnexion.com for more articles and expert advice

 

Written by Cheri Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flanagan Foodservice at 9:42 AM
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Does Restaurant Catering have a Future?

People enjoying a meal

 

Does Restaurant Catering have a Future?

 

Could catering help restaurants bolster their bottom line? The question may seem counterintuitive since catering, like other areas of foodservice, has been hard-hit by the pandemic. But restaurateurs who have weathered pandemic restrictions and public hesitancy about dining out may be considering whether or not to add a catering operation. 

 

The pros and cons of adding a catering operation

Glenn Whitehead, owner of Plant Matter Kitchen and Plant Matter Café in London, Ontario, says, “Adding any possible revenue stream is probably just good common sense, to be honest. […] If you own a business right now and you’re open, then offering whatever you can is certainly something that I would strongly suggest.”

 

Jeff Dover, principal at fsSTRATEGY Inc., a foodservice and hospitality industry consultancy, adds, “The pro is that catering is more profitable than the restaurant business. Some of the fixed costs that impact the profitability of restaurants are known. You know how many orders, of what, and at what time. It also makes use of kitchens and kitchen labour that are idle or have excess capacity during COVID.”

 

On the con side, he points out that pandemic gathering limits affect the size of events, decreasing demand for catering. And many businesses that used to have staff meals catered now have those staff working remotely for the foreseeable future. No staff = no office catering.

 

Is the future in event or office catering?

Which has a better future: event (e.g., weddings) or office catering? The answer depends on whether you’re looking at the short term or beyond.

 

Dover says he’d choose event catering because these contracts “are typically larger and can involve alcohol-generating additional revenues.” He also notes the pent-up demand for event catering. 

 

Public health restrictions, however, continue to restrict catering demand for such events. Whitehead is well aware of the pandemic’s impact on this part of his business. He catered hundreds of events before COVID-19 took hold, but that business dried up once restrictions hit. “Basically, we haven’t done a thing in a year,” he says.

 

Many variables influence when a hundred or more people will be able to get together again, Whitehead says. He doesn’t anticipate catering large events of any kind before mid- to late-2022. However, he does see opportunity in catering office lunches, especially in office towers where there are multiple businesses open with non-skeletal staffing.

 

Think of catering differently

 

Adding a catering operation requires fresh thinking about what catering means and how to plan carefully, especially as the third wave of the pandemic is making its presence felt in Canada.

 

Whitehead says, “Looking for other [revenue] streams is a critical piece to try to get enough sales to cover things and keep moving forward.”

 

Rather than the traditional weddings and conferences, foodservice operators looking to get into catering need to consider smaller-scale approaches that can generate revenues in the short term. In addition to the office lunch trade, options include catering meals for small gatherings at people’s homes and meal kits, both of which have become more popular during the pandemic.

 

Technomic, Inc., which provides insights to the foodservice industry, reports that for the second quarter of 2020 in Canada “45% of younger consumers, including Gen Zers and millennials, are buying more meal kits now from restaurants compared to before the pandemic.”

 

Whitehead says that with people being more cautious but also bored of cooking, restaurants can offer them more variety through items like meal plans and seasonal kits. “It’s a little bit less catering and more meal kits, but I would put it under that same category.”

 

He has always offered a meal plan service, with clients who come twice a week to pick up several days’ worth of assembled meals. “They don’t have to do anything but heat them up,” he says, “so that’s certainly an option that I think will continue to grow.”

 

Tips for adding a catering operation

Operators exploring adding a catering operation should think about the following considerations.

 

  • Investments — The equipment you need depends on the type of catering you’re doing. Dover suggests you may need smallwares for preparing and transferring food, and equipment to reheat or finish food on site. Whitehead advises you keep any investments to scale.
  • Menu — “Play off your existing menu,” he says, “because every time you add or change something, you’re adding to your food costs [and potentially] everything else, like labour.” Dover suggests you select menu items that travel well, and you should also consider special diets.
  • Marketing — “Try to get the word out without investing too much money, effort, or energy,” Whitehead recommends. He suggests marketing through social media and flyers attached to pickup and delivery orders.
  • Feedback — Improve your catering efforts based on the feedback you receive, Whitehead advises. 
  • Adaptability — If there’s one thing we know about the pandemic environment, it’s that restrictions and rules can change with little notice as the situation evolves. Factor flexiblity into your catering operation. 

 

Written by Marlene Cornelis.

 

Visit chefconnexion.com for more expert tips

 

 

 

 

 

Flanagan Foodservice at 3:07 PM
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Food Photography: Make your Meals Look Great

Lady holding iphone taking picture of chicken and mushrooms

Food Photography

Make your meals really look good enough to order

During the pandemic, the need for outstanding visuals to sell your food is even greater than before, when competition was already fierce for food dollars. That’s where professional-looking food photography comes in.

 

Consider food photography being worth not only a thousand words, but a thousand dollars in revenue for your restaurant brand. In a digital world that’s easily influenced by visual storytelling, this is the impact that high quality styled food images can have in attracting new business to your restaurant.

 

According to the TripAdvisor “Influences on Diner Decision-Making” survey from 9,500 international diners, 60% of respondents from the US reported that online photos influence their dining decisions. The impact of online photos proved even higher in Spain at 72%, followed by Italy with 67%, France with 64%, and the UK with 52%. This is definitely something to keep in mind when trying to attract tourist (and other) diners.

 

For restaurant brands large and small, the importance of capturing high quality, well-planned menu photography remains the same – HIGHLY IMPORTANT! And during the pandemic, the need for outstanding visuals is even greater.

 

So, when is using a phone to take your restaurant brand’s photography a good idea?

For chefs or restaurateurs, if you have basic photography knowledge and understand lighting, angles, product positioning, shot styling, and are tech-savvy with the latest editing applications, then go for it! 

 

TIP: Scroll through Instagram to find inspiration and shot examples to guide your photoshoot.

 

However, if you are like most of us, with little photography expertise beyond selfies, and even less time to spend in this area, and if you want to put your best visual face forward, here are some other solutions to create a professional profile at reasonable cost:

 

1. Hire New Talent

Aspiring photographers or recent photography graduates are a great place to start as they need projects to build their portfolios and often have very affordable rates. Try posting a free ad on jobsites like Indeed.com and on your restaurant’s social media pages to attract résumés.  

 

2. Find the food influencers

A food influencer is an Instagram user with an above average following who focuses on curating and sharing food and restaurant-related content that produces user engagement to influence consumers’ decision-making. 

 

These are savvy photographers and editors who are always on the lookout for new content to curate! 

 

TIPS:

  • Find and follow Instagram influencers whose content relates to your restaurant brand. For example, pizza places should find influencers who curate and post content about pizza.
  • Invite influencers to your restaurant to taste the menu and enjoy the overall brand experience. If you put on a great show, they will likely take LOTS of photos!
  • Get the photos! Discuss if you can use their photos to post on your digital platforms. NOTE: Some may request a fee per image.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Social media etiquette is always giving photographers or curators credit for their photos by tagging them in the post. This helps to promote their skillsets and personal brand in return for photo use, which sometimes is enough to eliminate fees. 

Whether you choose to take your own photos, or use a trained photographer, understanding how to make your food look its best from the kitchen preparation to the final shot can help to achieve your desired look.  

 

Your website and social media channels might be the first experience and interaction potential guests have with your brand. You have one chance to attract business from that first impression.

 

This is why it is so important to put your best shot forward!

 

TIPS:

  • Select menu items that are unique to your brand and also present well.
  • Decide on a consistent element to your brand photography. Whether it’s a backdrop, tabletop surface, or prop, this helps to define your brand.
  • Go for natural lighting. This means shooting near windows. If your restaurant interior is dark, then rent lighting and reflectors to achieve a natural lighting affect to avoid the “flash.”
  • Develop a shoot schedule and shot list. This should outline:
  • The item details, or combination of items. Consider the kitchen and bar prep time when arranging the shot list.
  • Which dishware and glassware the items will be shot in.
  • The angle of the shot and lighting details.
  • What props or people will be featured in the shot.
  • An example image of the final look you are trying to achieve.

Consumers will search your website and scroll through your social media channels to read reviews and look at photos of your menus and space before deciding whether or not to book a reservation or order from your restaurant. Those visuals may mean the difference between choosing your place…or the eatery down the street.

 

 

 

Written by Katen Engineer and shared with permission from chefconnexion.com.

 

 

For more expert advice click here

 

 

 

 

Flanagan Foodservice at 2:39 PM
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Flanagan Foodservice
Name: Flanagan Foodservice
Posts: 98
Last Post: April 28, 2022

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