Questions to Ask When Hiring Restaurant Staff

While you may have certain questions that you’re itching to ask your potential restaurant staff hires, don’t forget to ask many of the following questions for a well-rounded look at your candidates. 

Why Do You Want to Work Here?

A great line of questioning is why they have chosen this specific restaurant. Is it the type of place they would visit as a customer? They may be a better representation of the company and understand the values you’re trying to achieve if that is the case. Do they have specific experience in working with some of the menu ingredients? You can use this to your advantage, since such employees will have shorter learning curves and greater knowledge. 

What Training Do You Have? 

The type of training is important, but how recently they had the training is important too. Be sure to ask how current their food-preparation knowledge is. Some restaurants like to have employees take a test to ensure that they still have current food-safety knowledge.

What’s Your Customer-Service Philosophy?

Even if the employee won’t be in the front of the house, a good background in customer service can still be a great asset. There are likely times when your line cooks will have to interact with customers, so make sure that they have reasonable knowledge of restaurant etiquette. 

Do You Have Technology Skills?

While you may not use a lot of technology currently, it’s likely that some types of software may be useful to you in the future. If you choose staff who understand technology well, they can do a great job of learning new inventory software and other management systems. 

Finding the right restaurant staff can be demanding. But it’s certainly worth the effort to find the right staff who have long-term intentions. If you are careful about the people you allow to represent your restaurant, it easily pays off in terms of a more dedicated and efficient workforce and a positive presentation to your customers. 

Taking the time to prepare and complete interviews can be a big task for many restaurant managers, so don’t be afraid to reach out to a food-service management-services company to get the job done without a lot of input on your end. A food-service consultant can help you to assess the factors that are most important in your new hire and go through the process of attracting and even training your new restaurant staff for you. 

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Making The Most Of Your Catered Event

If you’re planning a large event with lots of guests and you’ve decided to have it catered, it can certainly help to alleviate some of the stress. On the other hand, when you let the catering company do all the work in food preparation and planning, you may feel a little bit out of the loop. Here are a few ways you can make the most out of your next catered event so that you can relax and have a great time while still maintaining some control.

Taste The Food 

Before your guests arrive, try a small sample of everything you’ve had the caterers make. If the steak isn’t done properly or the appetizers seem to be too salty, now is your chance to try and get it corrected. Just take a little piece of every single thing on the buffet and check to make sure that it’s prepared the way you envisioned. If not, let your caterer know immediately so they can take steps to fix it before everyone shows up. You’ll also feel more confident about what you’re serving to your guests after you get confirmation that everything tastes delicious.

Get The Facts

Before you decide which catering service you want to hire, make sure you get all of the information you need regarding what services they provide. Some companies will include setup, plates and utensils, while others will just cook and transport the food to your event location. A full-service catering company will not only craft amazing food, but they’ll also be there to set up, serve, and even clean up afterward. While full-service options can cost more, it’s definitely worth the added price if you want to be able to sit back and relax with your guests. If budget is not an issue, a full-service caterer is highly recommended so all you need to worry about is having a good time.

Be Clear About What You Want

In order to have an enjoyable time at your next catered event, it’s important that everything goes as planned. This applies to the catering service you choose just like it would the disc jockey or decorators. Let the catering company know exactly what time they need to arrive, how many guests will be attending, and even what types of plates and silverware you’d like to use. The more details you can give them, the better your presentation of food will be and the more you will be able to enjoy the event worry-free. Meet with your caterer a week or two before the big event so you can hash out anything you feel may have been left out so that you can serve everyone delicious food with confidence — and have a memorable time yourself, too.

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A Vegetarian United Nations Of Hors D’oeuvres For Your Next Party

If you’re planning on catering a private party, and want to really impress your vegetarian guests, then think about serving a variety of hors d’oeuvres from around the world. Serving multiple types of different ethnic cuisines as entrees can be chaotic for the caterers, as well as overwhelming for your guests. But serving a variety of finger foods as appetizers is easy and enjoyable. Here are some different ides to discuss with the caterers before you throw your party.

Samosa (India)

A samosa is a pastry that is a popular dish that you will find in most Indian restaurants. A flour-based dough is rolled out and filled with a savory mix of potatoes, peas and spices. The dough is then folded over and the samosa is fried until it is crisp. It is normally made without any meat filling, so it’s perfect to serve if you’re anticipating guests who are vegetarian.  If you want to be sure that the samosas are vegetarian, then make sure the caterers don’t make one of the less common variants that used ground meat in the filling.

Samosas are usually served with a mint chutney and a tamarind dipping sauce.

Dolmades (Greece)

This is a famous appetizer from Greece. Grape leaves are wrapped around a savory rice filling. The grape leaves provide a sharp, almost bitter contrast to the savory filling. The rice filling is seasoned with fresh parsley, olive oil, salt, and lemon. Dolmades are served with a yogurt dipping sauce.

Falafel (Middle East)

This is perhaps the most famous vegetarian dish in the entire Middle East. It’s a staple of the region. If you visit Israel, Lebanon, or Palestine, you will encounter falafel shops everywhere. A falafel is a simple patty that is made from chickpeas. The chickpeas are mashed and mixed with salt, parsley, cumin and coriander. They are then deep fried until golden brown.

Falafel is delicious served with tahini sauce, which is made using sesame seeds. You can have the caterers make the falafel so that they are small enough to be picked up using toothpicks, as opposed to the larger sized ones that are often eaten in a pita bread as a main course.

Mini Spinach Quiche (France)

Mini quiches are an excellent finger food because they are tasty and not messy. Each tiny quiche will come in it’s own crust. The filling is an egg, cheese, cream and spinach mixture that is flavored with nutmeg and shallots. The ideal size mini quiche is one that doesn’t require utensils, but rather can be eaten in two or three bites.

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Planning A BBQ Party? Pick The Right Bread, Slaw And Sides

If you’re throwing a party, and you are serving BBQ, then make sure to pick the right slaw and bread. There are several different styles of BBQ, and they all have their own particular breads, slaw and sides. Below is a discussion of the proper accompaniments for two popular meat styles: North Carolina or Lexington BBQ (Pulled Pork) and Memphis Style (Ribs.)

Lexington Style BBQ (Pulled Pork)

Red Slaw

If you’re having a party where Lexington style BBQ pulled pork is being served, then you might like to use red slaw. This is coleslaw that is made without mayo. It has a tangy, distinct flavor that is popular throughout BBQ joints down in North Carolina. 

Plain White Bread (Sliced)

Plain white bread, sliced, is an essential for any pulled pork style BBQ. The bread should not be toasted. It’s a simple, classic part of any pulled pork style BBQ plate. Even though it is the classic bread, some people who are not accustomed to BBQ might not like it. There are people who really hate plain, white sliced bread; they just think it is too soft. So, for these people you could offer small rolls. These would serve the same function as the sliced white bread, because your guests could use their rolls to make sandwiches with the pulled pork and sop up the sauce. Don’t pick anything fancy, such as sour dough or whole wheat. Pick a basic white roll.

Baked Beans

Baked beans are the classic side dish for pulled pork BBQ. The sweet molasses in the beans is a perfect counterpoint to the rich, smokiness in the pulled pork. Make sure to get a baked bean dish that is made with brown sugar and molasses, rather than corn syrup. The corn syrup based beans are too sweet and have none of the complexity of the brown sugar and molasses version.

Memphis Style BBQ (Ribs)

Memphis Style Slaw

If you’re serving BBQ ribs, then you will want to opt for a white slaw. A great example of a white slaw is Memphis style. It is made with mustard, vinegar, and mayo. It is tangy and it’s not weighed down with too much mayo. It’s crisp and crunchy. It provides a great companion to the sweet, smoky sauce that will be on the ribs.


Fresh cornbread is an essential part of any BBQ plate that has ribs. You should chose a cornbread that is not heavy with sugar, or speckled with cracked corn. The classic cornbread to accompany BBQ ribs will be a cornmeal and flour base with just a touch of sugar.

Macaroni and Cheese

This side should be a real mac and cheese, not something from the box. It needs to be rich, heavy, and browned on top. Some recipes call for evaporated milk, while others will use a classic roux. Whichever style you choose, make sure it’s made from scratch and doesn’t come from a box.

Now you’re all set for your BBQ party! If you don’t want to do the food yourself, contact an event catering company.

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250 Years Of Ipas

It’s no secret to anyone who occasionally enjoys a cold one that India Pale Ales (IPAs) are experiencing their moment in the sun. With the explosion in the popularity of craft beers over the past 5 years, the once-humble IPA has proliferated to encompass a dizzying array of options: double hopped, triple hopped, Belgian IPAs, session IPAs and black IPAs to name a few. But before its rise to glory, the IPA has had a nearly 250-year-old history that spanned the globe.

If you’ve ever tried an IPA, you know that bitterness is at the core of this popular beer type: brewers use varying configurations of hops and time in the brewing process to create a beer that is bitter with a hop-dominated taste. They measure this flavor using IBUs, or International Bittering Units; the higher the IBU, the more bitter the beer.

However, this reliance on highly hopping their brews has not always been only a style preference. The first IPA was brewed in the 1780s by a brewery in London that wanted to serve the British population in India (at the time, a British colony). They needed something that could survive the journey across the Atlantic and Indian oceans, a journey that took months and destroyed the flavor of the porters typically produced in Britain. The India Pale Ale was designed to be crisp and refreshing in the Indian heat and get better with age as it made the journey to the British troops stationed in India.

For a period of time, IPAs were a hit; British troops clamored for more and IPAs began to enjoy popularity at home in Britain and abroad. They were shipped to other tropical colonies, often brewed as “export ales,” and sporadically brewed in North America. However, with the advent of refrigeration and the whims of the British population, IPAs had lapsed into obscurity by the early 1900s.

It was the Americans who resurrected the IPA in the 1970s. These IPAs were highly hopped and highly alcoholic. For several decades, they enjoyed relative obscurity as the purvey only of brewers and British ex-pats. The modern popularity of IPAs in the United States can be traced back to the mid-90s, when IPAs first began to appear on the market for mass consumption. As it turned out, people loved the crisp taste and bitter sensation of an IPA. Since then, IPAs have exploded in popularity, with sales increasing every year since.

If the IPA trend has you stumped but you’d like to see what it’s all about, ask a bartender for a suggestion of a good brew to start with. In many bars that cater to craft beer aficionados, you can also order a flight, or a sampling of 5 or 6 beers to see what you like best. 

To learn more, contact a company like Hoboken Beer & Soda Outlet.

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Remove Scratches From A Glass Stove Top And Keep It Damage-Free

If your stove has a glass top that contains visible scratches, learn how to remove them with the following methods. After the scratches have been removed, keep the glass top protected to prevent additional damage.

Use The Following Materials

  • glass cleaner
  • lint-free cloths
  • baking powder
  • water
  • spoon
  • cup
  • buffing cloth
  • cerium oxide
  • range cover (made out of soft material)

Clean The Stove Top And Remove Visible Scratches

Use a lint-free cloth and glass cleaner to remove dirt and food residue from the stove top so that you can clearly see where each of the scratches are. Mix equal parts of baking soda and water in a cup until they form the consistency of glue. Apply a small amount of this mixture to a buffing cloth and move it around in small circles over each scratch. As the scratches fade, add more of the baking soda and water mixture as needed. Remove the residue left behind by the mixture with a damp cloth. If any scratches are still present, move on to the next step.

Add Cerium Oxide For Deeper Scratches

Cerium oxide is often used as a metal polish and is a suitable product to use to remove scratches from glass surfaces. Apply a small amount of this substance to a clean buffing cloth. Use firm pressure as you rub the product over each scratch. Continue adding more cerium oxide to the cloth if necessary. Rinse away the cerium oxide with a damp cloth. If any streaks are on the stove top, remove them with glass cleaner.

Protect The Stove Top From Damage

After the stove top is restored to its original condition, keep it protected by always lifting pots and pants upwards when removing them from the burners. Inspect the bottom of each piece of cookware before using it to make sure that no food particles are stuck to the bottom, which could cause new scratches to appear on the stove top. Purchase a protective cover for your stove that doubles as a cooling area.

Many covers have soft material on the bottom which will protect the glass on your stove from damage. Hot pots and pans can be placed on the cover when it isn’t on your stove. When preparing to cook, place the cover on one of your counter tops. Remove the pots and pans of cooked food from the burners and place them on the cover until they have cooled down. After you are finished eating and have cleaned off the stove top, cover it until you are ready to use it again. All of these tips will keep the glass top damage-free. Click here for more information about cleaning Garland stove parts.

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Last year was the first year that nobody stepped up to cook for our small campground. Having three kids under the age of six, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to do it, so I started looking for options that would eliminate much of the cooking from the schedule each day. That was when I came upon the idea of having a caterer come and serve the dinners each night. How did this all work out? Did everyone enjoy the food? How much more did it cost? You can find out all of these things and so much more on my blog.

February 2017
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