The Florida Restaurant Show was held in Orlando, Florida, on Sept. 20-22. The PMQ staff sifted through 649 exhibitor booths and more than 17,000 industry professionals who were in attendance and found some great ideas and products that you should know about. Borrowing from David Letterman, "OK kids, here is tonight's Top Ten List." These are the best ideas from the Florida Restaurant Show.
Increase Server Efficiency and Improve Customer Service
Here is a product that can improve customer service and satisfaction, speed up operations and possible reduce your server staff. With the Server Wireless Calling System by Advanced Communication Equipment, each table has a table transmitter similar to a table tent with five buttons (Order, Drink, Bill, Service and Cancel). When the customer is ready for a drink, to order, wants their bill or needs help, they simply press the appropriate button and a message is sent to a display the server wears that is about the size of a pager. This allows the customer to get service when they need it instead of waiting for the server to drop by. If they press the drink button, the server can show up with drink in hand or with their bill if that is what is needed. Managers can send messages to one or all of the staff to 86 an entr�e or have someone refill the tea urn. A more efficient staff means fewer employees and happier customers.
RESTORE YOUR OLD SIGN, DON'T REPLACE IT
Your sign is your first impression. Rather than replace those old dull, dingy, worn out signs, have them restored so they look like new. Global Sign Restoration, Inc. has a system that has been around for about nine years that refurbishes old signs back to their new luster. Not only can they restore old signs, the system works on awnings, outdoor tables, chairs and playground sets. Damage from the sun, pollution or chemicals can be repaired for less than the cost of replacement. Your image is restored for about 25 percent of the cost of replacement.
Global Sign Restoration, Inc.
Michael Pagano III
PUT A CEILING FAN ANYWHERE
Here is a great product for restaurants with outdoor seating, but no place to hang a fan. Pole Fans are self-standing ceiling fans that can provide a cool breeze anywhere and also provide additional lighting. Not only can they provide a cool breeze, they can also deter flying insects, which is a major concern with the West Nile Virus that was highly publicized this summer. They are portable, outdoor rated, and cost about the same as a normal ceiling fan and require no wiring or ceiling.
Larry Bilskie Phone: 407-696-2128
Toll Free 1-866-Pole Fan
FLAG DOWN CUSTOMERS
The way to attract customers is to draw attention to your location. Here is an idea – pennant flags with photos of slices of pizza. You can have anything printed on these. What about alternating flags with slices, your pizzerias name and a special, such as "Monday Special, $5.99 Medium One Topping." Use pennant flags in your parking lot, at festivals or even hang them around the ceiling of your dining area.
World Division USA
500 WINGS AN HOUR AND BABY BACK RIBS IN 8 MINUTES?!
Wings continue to grow in popularity. Increasingly pizza operators are asked if they have wings, either as the main entree or to add to a pizza order. Answer no and you get a dial tone. The problems for operators previously have been how to set up to cook wings and offsetting the expense of precooked wings. The solution is the Wing King. Compact in size and using patented infrared flame roasting technology, the Wing King can cook 500 wings an hour and baby back ribs in eight minutes, all without the need and expense of oil or an exhaust hood. Instantly expand your menu with signature items such as wings, ribs, chicken legs and other food and add profits by increasing sales and eliminating unnecessary expenses.
WOBBLY TABLE SOLUTION
How many times has a dining experienced been ruined by a wobbly table? Customers cannot relax for fear of having their drink spilled in their lap. A spilled drink caused by a bad table can cost you a meal, dry cleaning and even a customer. These "hydraulic" shocks self-adjust to uneven floors and stop wobbly tables. Rather than replace the table or put something under the leg, fix the problem for good. TABLE SHOX fits on nearly all tables and come in sets of four.
MAGNETIC DOOR HANGERS
Most every pizza operator agrees that the two most effective way to advertise is door hangars and magnets. Here is a product that combines the best of both worlds. Off the Wall Magnetics has created a door hangar with a detachable magnet that you can have on the top, bottom or affixed to a coupon offer. One of the unique features this product offers is die cut magnets, so you can have any shape of magnet you want. Now you can hang those coupons while leaving a magnet that customers can place on the fridge so your number is always there for quick reference. It's a message with a shelf life longer than a Twinkie.
CASH IN ON THE CHICKEN CRAZE
Everybody is getting chickened out. The Big Boys are adding chicken to their menu and now you can too, but with this product, you can be different. Chicken on a Stick can be used to create new kids menu items or be served as appetizers. Put two of these on a plate with fries or place them in a cup and sell them for $2.99. They can also be great catering items. They can be cooked in either a deep fryer or oven and come pre-skewered. You can also order them breaded or non-breaded. Our editor liked them so much they ran him away from the sample platter.
Chicken on a Stick
A COOL IDEA FOR A HOT KITCHEN STAFF
How many times have you walked into the kitchen to see your oven tenders feverishly sweating trying to get the orders out. Heat takes a toll on the body. When employees are hot, production diminishes and attitudes towards their work aren't at their best. The Heat Shield vest is a quick solution to this problem. The Heat Shield is cooled in your freezer and can provide three to four hours of cooling for kitchen staff. They can be worn under clothes or can be logoed and used as part of your uniform.
732-287-4443 ext. 107
CUT YOUR PREP TIME DOWN
Here is an economical way to cut down on the time you spend prepping. The machine is called the DYNACUBE by Dynamic. It slices, dices and cuts almost anything in just seconds. What is unique about this machine is it is manually operated, requiring no electricity or batteries. This would work great not only in the kitchen, but in situations like festivals or any other remote location such as sporting events where you are cooking pizzas. It can also be used to quickly chop salad items or just about anything that needs prepping without the risk of cutting fingers.
If you couldn't make this show put on by Reed Exhibitions, try checking out one of their other shows that may be a little closer.
Name: International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of NY
Date: January 19-21, 2003
Venue: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
City, State: NY, NY
Name: Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo Los Angeles
Date: August 2-4, 2003
Venue: Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 South Figueroa St.
City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Name: International Restaurant Show of San Francisco
Date: October 10-12, 2003
Venue: Moscone Center
City, State: San Francisco, CA
Name: Florida Restaurant Show
Date: Sept 19-21, 2003
Venue: Orange County Convention Center
City, State: Orlando, FL