Category: Blog

Securing Good Hygiene in Every Area of Your Operation

In partnership with Essity

Whether you offer takeout, delivery, or drive thru, securing good hygiene at every stage from kitchen to customer is now more important than ever. In fact, a recent survey from Essity found 60% of consumers have higher expectations of restaurant hygiene1.

With the right tips and solutions, you can implement best practices in all areas of your operation to show your commitment to good hygiene.

From the pick-up window to the drive thru, supply your staff and stock up your high touch point restaurant areas with safe appropriate hygiene products.

Enforce Good Staff Hygiene

As an operator, your goal is to create a safe environment for everyone who walks through your doors. Consider your kitchen staff to be front line workers. A kitchen needs to be clean and organized in terms of placement, traceability, and people – not only to ensure sanitary demands but also to create a good workflow.

Enforcing hand hygiene routines, investing in handwashing stations, and making sure your staff cleans systematically can help secure employee hygiene standards. Your staff should have a clear understanding of how and when to wash their hands to reduce interruptions in serving customers and ensure compliance. Utilize posters to remind them of handwashing best practices and equip their workspace with the right hygiene solutions.

Secure Takeout Bags and Pick-Up Areas

Handling take-out packages with care, providing guests hygiene products with their to-go order, adding a personalized note letting them know you’re taking every precaution for their safety, and using tamper-proof packaging are all ways you can safely secure your takeout and to-go bags.

According to Datassential, 60% of consumers would feel comfortable if offered disinfectant wipers or sanitizer to use themselves. Arming your takeout bags with napkins, wipes, and other appropriate hygiene products is important – especially for drive thru orders and diners on the go.

Pick-up areas attract a lot of traffic with several high-touch points. Not only should you include appropriate hygiene products in takeout bags, but you should also be visibly wiping down high-touch areas where food is handed over. This shows guests they are in a safe hygienic environment.

Arm Delivery Staff with the Right Tools

Using tamper-proof packaging is key in delivery services. Providing that extra step in safety gives customers the confidence that their food went straight from the kitchen to their house.

It’s not only about the packaging. Make sure your delivery staff practices good hygiene at every step until the delivery is complete by offering deliver drivers sanitizers, wipes, and facemasks.

Posters in key areas with instructions on how staff should wash their hands, encouraging employees to practice good hygiene, and separating takeout zones from pick-up zones all reassure guests that you take hygiene seriously and are practice social distancing.

Tork Has Solutions to Help

Tork understands the challenges of securing off-premise hygiene and can help restaurants to keep it top of mind.

From soaps, sanitizers, and touch-free napkin and towel dispensers to surface wiping solutions – Tork offers products and expertise that can support restaurants in their drive to improve off-premise hygiene, ensuring a safer guest experience.

Highly visible hygiene products reassure guests that their safety is paramount, while custom print items such as Tork paper napkins can help keep a brand top-of-mind.

Best-in-class hygiene, with well-placed hand hygiene and surface cleaning products, can also contribute to better organized kitchens, more motivated staff, and improved workflow.

As a Consolidated Concepts client, you can get access to savings on Tork products and solutions like these every day! Contact us today!


  1. Essity 2020-2021 Essentials initiative survey on Covid-19

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

Reduce Food Costs and Increase Orders with Potatoes

Foodservice operators are looking for quick cost-effective solutions to support takeout and delivery and reduce food costs. Potatoes are versatile and can be used in many ways. They can complement breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and keep customers coming back for more. No matter if your customers are meat eaters or plant-based only, the potato can be the answer to your menu prayers.

Here are some key insights into the potato, ways operators can incorporate them into their menus to reduce food costs and stay relevant with potato trends.

Reduce Food Costs With These Potato Trends

According to Technomic, 45% of overall consumers prefer vegetable-based meals as their protein substitute. With potatoes being a vegetable, they make for a great protein replacement in recipes. A medium 5.3 oz potato with skin provides 3 grams of plant-based protein – which exceeds that of all other commonly consumed vegetables, except dried beans.

The foodservice industry has been moving toward new varieties of potatoes for several years. Potato trends like small reds and yellows have been gracing menus as side dish options. Sweet potatoes can also be a fun choice to incorporate into your recipes. They are adaptable to any restaurant menu, nutrient dense and very affordable. Try using them in dishes such as wraps, pizza crust, “toast” and butter. Stand out from your competition by creating your own signature potato chip by using different varieties of potatoes.

Even as restaurants continue to welcome customers back into their dining rooms, strict capacity guidelines and limited seating are ensuring that delivery and takeout options remain high priority. As such, operators are looking for ingredients that help them to get orders out quickly without sacrificing quality or freshness. By using products such as fresh-dried Idahoan mashed potatoes, hash browns or appetizers, operators can create new and unique dishes  that taste great and travel well, allowing them to deliver what customers are craving without any added hiccups.

Brands such as Idahoan give customers that homemade potato taste they are looking for. Today’s diners want food that’s as good for the planet as it is for their health—with clean ingredients, sustainable origins, and, of course, amazing flavor. As kitchens pivot to meet rising expectations, many are realizing that Idahoan fresh-dried potatoes are as sustainable as they are delicious—and they have been all along.

When is the best time of year to purchase potatoes?

Given the vast number of varieties and growing regions, there are good supplies of potatoes all year, but some months are better than others for specific varieties. You can feature potatoes all year long and take advantage of featuring specific varieties when they are at their peak of health and availability. July and early-August can be challenging for the Russets as they typically are showing their age and when combined with summer heat and humidity they tend to breakdown easy.

Are there different types of potatoes?

There are over 200 varieties sold in the United States alone!  

What is the best temperature or best practice for storing potatoes?

In general, a cool area of dry storage with low humidity and good ventilation is best. Best temperature to store potatoes is 44 to 47 degrees. Colder temperatures will cause the potatoes to lose significant starch and will affect the cooking quality. Also, keep potatoes away from the lights. Keeping potatoes in the dark can help prevent greening and sprouting.

Does the pricing of potatoes change with the different seasons?

Potato prices change weekly. If you are not contracted on a product then you’re subject to the market on any given week. Varieties of potatoes change throughout the year as well. For example, Norkotah’s don’t store as long as Burbank’s so during harvest in October and November you may see both for sale. After January, supplies will move to mostly Norkotah’s. Then in May, Burbanks shift back to Burbank’s for the latter part of the season to finish up.

Potato prices appear to be trending low for the remaining year, according to produce program experts at Fresh Concepts. You can keep costs low and sales high by utilizing potatoes throughout your menu.

Where are potatoes grown?

Different varieties grow in each state. Leading US commercial production states are Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon, Colorado, North Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Maine, California, and Florida as well as many others to a lesser extent. Prince Edward Island is the largest producer of potatoes in Canada, followed by Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Alberta.

Mashed, crushed, baked, or speed-scratched, potatoes are a flexible ingredient and are a great addition to any menu. Looking to add potatoes to your menu? Contact Consolidated Concepts today and find out how your operation can save on potatoes!

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

Anonymous Objections to GPO’s

Not only is the purpose of a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) to provide operators with access to pre-negotiated contracts designed to save them time and money, but also to streamline operations and optimize sourcing strategies.

Too good to be true? It’s true!

We hear objections and questions about GPOs all the time and love to dispel rumors about what it is that a GPO like Consolidated Concepts is really capable of. 

Let’s review some common objections about GPO’s and how we usually set them straight:

GPO Programs Rarely Return Increased Profitability

One objection to joining a GPO is that the program rarely returns increased profitability because it’s assumed a GPO only focuses on purchase based management of a restaurants cash flow. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A Group Purchasing Organization, such as Consolidated Concepts, encourages restaurants to utilize programs throughout a suite of services that help them get a handle on areas such as food cost management, cost of goods sold, master distribution agreements, inventory management practices, sku rationalization, menu engineering, portioning, fixed cost reduction, and more.

The easiest place for most restaurants to start is with a cash back GPO program that helps reduce their spend and put some money back into their bottom line. From there, GPO’s can help their clients dig into their purchasing data and address some of the more nuanced factors that contribute to their profitability.

You Have to Sacrifice Quality for Price

Another objection about joining a GPO is that operators must sacrifice the quality of their menu items or products to decrease their spend. Just because something is less expensive, or you get a better deal on it doesn’t mean the quality is any less.

It’s never encouraged to sacrifice quality for the sake of price. Contracts through GPO’s like Consolidated Concepts cover over 165k items ranging from premium to value options. So many restaurants are rightly focused on driving sales and top line revenue; a GPO seeks to help them grow more successful by taking a closer look at the cost side of the equation. For example, joining a produce management program can help operators improve the quality, safety and traceability of their food programs.

Today’s consumer, when choosing to spend dollars on foodservice, will not sacrifice their expectations of high quality. And they shouldn’t have to.

GPO’s Only Care About Costs Not Operational Behaviors

True sustainable growth does not only come from how much you save. 

It doesn’t matter if you are paying less for your supplies. If you are not aware of over portioning and are poorly prepared you cannot run a successful operation. The right GPO helps you focus on all these areas of your operation including inventory, food waste, portioning, plate costing and above all, top line sales management.

All these areas can be more profitable behaviors along with staff training, guest management, menu flow and mix and projected food cost expectations for what is being sold.

Group Purchasing Organizations such as Consolidated Concepts, do just that. By becoming a Consolidated Concepts member, restaurant operators earn cash back for free on rebate line items their restaurant purchases every day and gets access to resources that streamline their operation.

Contact Consolidated Concepts today to start leveraging our buying power, category specialists and broadline/negotiation expertise. Utilize our contracts, partners, experts and technology to reduce costs, improve quality, streamline the supply chain and gain valuable business insights.

Solutions for Restaurant Disposables

It’s normally business in the front and party in the back when it comes to a haircut. But this isn’t a mullet and a pandemic is not a party we want to attend ever again. Nowadays, it’s more like business in the back-of-house while customers party at home. And the quality of your restaurant disposables can mean the difference of your customers enjoying that party at home or not.

Takeout and delivery are front and center for everyone in the restaurant industry right now – including customers. The food delivery services market was already growing prior to the pandemic. According to Hoffmaster, in 2019 the market was measured at $107.44 billion dollars and by 2023 it is expected to skyrocket to $154.34 billion dollars. It’s only accelerating and clearly not going away.

While 76% of consumers say a restaurants cleanliness and food safety will matter more after COVID-19, 75% of consumers say they would never visit or return to a restaurant that has been involved in a food safety incident.

With fewer touch points in the dining experience, orders are now handed through a window, dropped on a doorstep or picked up by a customer. Food is now going from the kitchen to the customer. Fewer touch points mean less contamination – which makes customers feel safer which is pretty important right now.

Let’s look at some solutions in the restaurant disosables category that are perfect for operators focused on take-out and delivery.

Convenience is a Big Factor

You get great quality food in the company of your own home. Consumers are looking for more takeout experiences right now that are safe and level up to more of a dine-in experience. Because less customers are coming into your operation, you need them to take that order home and feel like they are still getting some of the perks and fun experiences that they get when they dine-in. You want to send them home with a full experience – not just a meal.

Durable Packaging is Necessary

Customers don’t want to get a steak in a Styrofoam package. That does not send a good message. As an operator, you must think about other areas such as is your customer going to be reheating the meal when they get home? Will the food arrive fresh? You want a more higher end premium container that can be microwaved. You need packaging that holds well, doesn’t crack, and can make it through the reheating process. Products such as Hoffmaster’s Earthwise Takeout Containers, are durable, microwavable, and highly renewable. They are derived from Bagasse, the byproduct of sugarcane production. Talk about eco-friendly!

Safety is Key

More and more customers are using third party delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats. By using tamper-resistant products, you can provide a sense of relief to your hungry customers. It can be as simple as using Hoffmaster’s Peel and Seal Band. Customers feel safe because they can see the Peel and Seal Band is not torn and they know it went straight from the kitchen to their house and they can eat their food and feel confident that they’re safe.

Tamper-proof doesn’t only refer to containers. You can’t eat most food without a fork, knife or a spoon. A lot of times in the past, restaurant staff would just throw cutlery into the bag. It’s time to up the experience and think about the contamination factor there now with the pandemic. Customers want to know that their cutlery was thought of. Using Individually Wrapped Caterwrap cutlery sets can help the customer feel like they are eating at your restaurant and provides an extra layer of reassurance. Not only do you have a napkin wrapped around the cutlery, but you also have the plastic wrap.

From restaurants to healthcare facilities and schools, Hoffmaster’s broad product portfolio is found across a multitude of industries. Complete restaurant disposables foodservice leader in the industry, Hoffmaster products support many different occasions in the industry from in-house dining, eating, catering and to-go.

  • Caterwrap
  • Placemats
  • Napkins
  • Eco products
  • Bakery
  • Cutlery
  • Table Covers
  • Paper straws

To learn how your operation can save on restaurant disposables brands such as Hoffmaster, contact Consolidated Concepts today!

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

What Operators Need to Know About Their Master Distribution Agreement

A food and beverage procurement strategy usually centers around a Master Distribution Agreement (MDA). These contracts are central to managing costs and quality and enable the operator to focus on running the restaurant rather than tracking price fluctuations and bidding products.

What Is a Master Distribution Agreement?

As a one-stop-shop for restaurants, broadline distributors offer thousands of products, sometimes as many as 15,000. The immense size of their sales and volume of goods means that they can offer their clients volume discounts and pricing incentives.

Specialty suppliers, on the other hand, represent a limited number of product lines and operate within a particular industry niche. They often specialize in hard-to-find items or locally sourced products.

So, where does the Master Distribution Agreement fit into this distribution scheme?

A Master Distribution Agreement (MDA) is an agreement between an operator and their main broadline distributor. These broadline distributors function as the go-between for foodservice operatorsand the food manufacturers. A typical MDA requires at least 80% of a restaurant’s purchases to be made from the broadline distributor.

Without this important contract, operators are missing out on locking in pricing terms and avoiding extreme cost swings.

How Do Operators Get the Most Out of a MDA?

Like any contract, details found within these agreements can weigh in favor of the distributor or the operator. Operators should pay attention to the following points to ensure the agreement is fair and works to their benefit.

  • Does your MDA allow for termination for cause and termination for convenience? In order to keep out of courts and arbitration, this clause is vital. Should an operator decide the partnership is not working out, this condition allows them to serve a 60-day notice of termination.
  • Does your MDA contain fuel surcharges? Fuel surcharges allow distributors to increase prices based on fuel costs. If diesel raises to a certain strike point, the distributor then raises the price on a per-case basis or on the total invoice. These surcharges should be removed or raised to such a point that they will not be implemented.
  • Does your MDA contain an automatic renewal clause? An automatic renewal clause means that, if a distributor is not notified 180 days before the yearly termination of the contract, the MDA is automatically renewed. The operator misses out on the opportunity to renegotiate and may accrue increased fees they are unaware of.
  • Does your contract stipulate when the MDA may be audited, or does it carry an open audit clause? Retaining your rights to regularly audit costs and obtain manufacturer’s paid invoices keeps a distributor “honest.” It’s also important to ensure that these audits may be performed by either an outside party or the operator. Don’t lose this right in your MDA.
  • Does your MDA contain a drop incentive agreement? It is more efficient and less costly for a distributor to drop a larger load than a smaller one. Your costs should go down as well. Make sure your MDA contains an agreement that your product mark-up goes down as drop sizes increase.
  • Does your MDA allow you to release data to a third party or group purchasing organization (GPO)? By releasing data to a GPO, operators receive manufacturer volume allowance funds.

Why Should Restaurant Operators Pay Attention to Their Master Distribution Agreement?

Remaining aware of the many facets of your MDA can greatly affect product costs and limit supply chain disruptions. With regular audits and price comparisons, an operator can stay on top of market fluctuations and ensure their distributor is doing the same. Options included in an MDA can significantly help reduce price volatility. Do you know your distributor’s margin, base price, and backend markup and service costs?

While large leveraged operators may have developed the internal structure to negotiate with broadline distributors, smaller foodservice operators do not carry that same advantage.

Negotiating a proper MDA can require months of complex negotiations. Consolidated Concepts, the leading purchasing partner in the U.S. for restaurants, works with hundreds of brands which allows them to benchmark and compare MDAs. Their software and electronic invoice auditing capabilities as well as their expertise save operators time, money, and potential legal issues.

For more information on this cost-saving strategy, take a look at Consolidated Concept’s Complete Guide to Your Master Distribution Agreement.  

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

Navigating the Restaurant Supply Chain When You Reopen for Indoor Dining

One of the most important things to ensuring your business is successful when you open your doors for indoor dining again is the navigation of the restaurant supply chain during and after the pandemic. As restaurants look towards patrons eating inside their operations again, many operators are balancing new sanitation guidelines with limited available inventory. Communication is the most important factor in operators successfully navigating the restaurant supply chain and surviving a pandemic.

Consider your indoor dining reopening as a soft opening. What contingencies do you have in place if there is gap or long wait for inventory when preparing for a successful reopening? Here are 3 things operators should be doing to manage the restaurant supply chain and ensure inventory is stocked for a successful dining room reopening:

Communicate with Distributors and Suppliers

It’s important that your distributors know your forecasted expectations in regard to your purchase volumes and any changes that you’ve made to your order guide. As more restaurants open for indoor dining, foot traffic increases, and distributors start to get busier, there will be an even larger focus on first come, first serve. So be ready to get your inventory and par lists together so your distributors have your order.

Here is a checklist of key things you should communicate to your distributors and suppliers before your indoor dining reopening:

  • Items and specs for substitutions
  • Daily communication schedule
  • Changes made to your purchase volume and order guide products
  • Disposables needs
  • Any new chemical or sanitation needs
  • New orders for non-perishable items like PPE, paper, plastic, and dry items

Conduct Inventory and Place Orders

Conduct an inventory count and place an order with your distributors to get all items to par level. Operators will have a better chance of receiving most, if not all, of their needed products if they order ahead of their indoor dining reopening. Make sure to speak with your distributor representative to discuss where substitutions can be made for those items that may have limited supply. Have that conversation in advance so you are prepared when it’s time to open those doors and let your customers back in.

Take an in-depth look at your needed supplies and the items listed on your menu that are more susceptible to a disruption in the supply chain now that more people will be dining inside your establishment. When it comes to inventory to support your take-out and curbside pick-up, these items are in higher demand now than ever. Communicate with your distributors about what disposable items you need and how frequently you will need them.

Know State and City Sanitation Guidelines

While you may be nervous that distributors and suppliers will be low on certain sanitation items, the truth is much different. Many manufacturers and suppliers of cleaning and sanitation products have been increasing their stock to ensure businesses can meet new federal and state sanitation guidelines. Not sure where to source the right products on spec? Consider connecting with your existing suppliers and distributors for product recommendations.

When it comes to understanding and managing the restaurant supply chain, our team of experts are ready and available to help! Contact us today!

4 Ways Restaurants Can Reduce Costs in 2021

2020 will be known as the year restaurants lost unfathomable amounts of revenue. Even worse, many were forced to close permanently.

It may be argued that restaurants that closed were running rather inefficient operations and were not focused on utilizing best practices on both the revenue and cost side in order to drive profitability.

One of the most important lessons that restaurants did learn this year is they need to use all the resources that are available to them to drive their own success.

Much attention has been paid in the media, on webinars, and among the public audience, to the creative ways in which restaurants are attracting new customers and meeting the shift in customer demands. That same creativity needs to be applied to the cost side of the profitability equation.

Here are some impactful ways that restaurants can reduce costs in 2021.

Sku Rationalization Can Reduce Costs

Deciding whether a product should be kept or discontinued can reduce inventory costs and cut down the complexities in procurement, production and distribution.

Spend time looking at your menu item performance and food cost metrics. Walk through each menu item and the ingredients they use. Ensuring that ingredients are being cross utilized is paramount in driving profitability at your restaurant and is helpful to the front line operation.

By focusing on sku rationalization, you can help ensure that your restaurant chain is maximizing on profitability while also avoiding potential risk of spoilage. Finding high quality and cost-efficient solutions to replace ingredients you aren’t using or selling as much can minimize SKUs while maximizing taste and profit.

Assess Utilities and Fixed Costs

Every penny counts these days. Often, operators don’t realize how much utilities costs can play a huge factor in monthly operational costs. Try switching the type of light bulbs you are using, upgrading your HVAC system or adding window tint.

By making changes and improvements such as these to your operation, you can reduce recurring expenses, save money and increase your bottom line.

Monitoring Inventory and Costs of Goods Sold

Using technology to track your inventory and recipe costing can show an operation their true costs of goods sold. If you are taking inventory once a month or even once a quarter, you could be losing money and not even know it. By conducting stock management checks on a daily or weekly basis, you can keep up to date on the latest price changes and what’s selling and not selling (which can also assist you with your sku rationalization!).

Keeping track of your inventory can also help with maximizing promotions and menu innovation using the products that sell the most – and even products that are set to expire soon so you don’t waste them.

Partner with a GPO to Reduce Costs

Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO’s) can leverage the buying power and purchasing data from all their operators to offer the best pricing on contracts, data services, and expertise across all foodservice segments. Partnering with a GPO brings instant savings to your operation in areas like produce management, staff uniforms, sanitation and inventory costs.

All these are just a few ways in which restaurants can see significant savings to their operation and maximize the margins that they earn from the revenue they bring in. By choosing a GPO like Consolidated Concepts you get access to a fully customizable service that brings you instant savings on thousands of items. Contact us to learn how we can bring you buying power, category specialists and broadline/negotiation expertise to your multi-unit operation. Utilize our contracts, partners, experts and technology to reduce costs, improve quality, streamline the supply chain and gain valuable business insights.

Why Understanding the Produce Management Process Matters

Have you considered utilizing a produce management program for your restaurant?

If you haven’t yet, now’s the time to start considering one.

Produce management programs offer a wide variety of benefits to multi-unit restaurants. One major benefit a restaurant receives by joining a produce management program is full visibility throughout the produce process.

You may be wondering why understanding the produce management process matters, or how your operation could benefit from such visibility.

To fully understand the importance, let’s start by looking at where the produce comes from.

Produce Management: From Seed to Fork

While it may sound simple, growing and harvesting produce for use in the foodservice industry is a complex process.

Unlike leisure time gardening, commercial production of produce requires consideration of several key factors. Things like producing to scale, factoring in transportation logistics, and building out allotted time before consumption are all steps in the produce management process that growers need to consider.

This is important to know because, these factors directly impact the product you end up buying for your restaurant.

As a result of the mass production behind commercial growing, the produce received in restaurants does not always look the way most people expect it to. This does not impact the quality of the product. However, being familiar with the process helps restaurants better understand what is and is not within spec, and what is acceptable for their application.

Additionally, the process for harvesting produce varies depending upon the commodity. Some items are planted and harvested mechanically, while others require human hands.

For example, let’s look at a staple item like tomatoes. Growers harvest tomatoes by pulling fruit at a proper ripened state while pruning the bush. Once harvested, individuals sort the tomatoes by characteristics like size, shape, and color.

Which takes us to our next point…

Finding the Right Produce for You

By understanding the process of how produce is grown and harvested, you will have a better understanding of spec variance among items.

Let’s look back at our tomato example. Growers harvest the fruit and sort by size, shape, and color. When restaurants understand this process, it provides a great opportunity for them to get involved in choosing the right produce specifications for their needs.

By utilizing a produce management program and having visibility into the produce process, restaurants can be more involved with choosing the right items for them.

What does this mean?

Working with produce experts ensures each item that comes through your doors meets the exact needs of your restaurant.

Working with a produce management program and having visibility into the process can help you source quality ingredients that are just right for your restaurant’s need. But, did you know it can also help emphasize food safety?

Risk Management

When you work with a produce management program, you have the confidence of knowing each product that comes through your doors meets high quality and spec standards for your restaurant.

This is beneficial for multiple reasons. First, you can ensure your guests are getting the best quality foods. Next, it’s incredibly important in instances of product recalls and foodborne illnesses.

Despite best efforts, foodborne illness is a real threat to restaurant stability.

When news of an outbreak or product recall hits, many restaurants choose to proactively discard any items that could be potentially be affected.

This discard of product can cost restaurants big.

When working with a produce management program and having such visibility, you can receive confirmation in a matter of minutes on whether your produce is affected by any outbreaks or recalls.

This is a huge plus for several reasons. Not only can you avoid discarding stock unnecessarily, but you can also pass that comfort onto your guests. They can have comfort knowing the produce they’re eating is not from the affected areas.

Produce Management is a Best Practice

If you haven’t considered joining a produce management program, now is the time to seriously consider it.

Across the foodservice industry, more and more restaurants are partnering with produce management experts to help identify and source the right products to their operations. It’s truly a best practice that you will want to incorporate into your operation.

The information mentioned above touches only on some of the great benefits that your restaurant could receive from joining. If you are interested in utilizing a produce management program for your restaurant, connect with us to learn more! Our produce experts at Consolidated Concepts would love to speak with you.

Additionally, Consolidated Concepts is able to help multi-unit operations find other cost saving opportunities. Contact us today, we’d love to meet you!

How to Approach Your COVID-19 Menu Strategy

Across the country, restaurants are adapting to a new normal. It’s impossible to say whether this ‘norm’ will be temporary or lead into a longer-term way of things. Regardless, restaurants are making changes to their food procurement and operational processes to keep operations running and profitable.

Food Procurement Approach

For some, this means operating as take-out only. For others, this means constructing new seating arrangements to meet local or state guidelines. Many restaurants are even adjusting their food procurement strategies and working with experts to maximize cost saving opportunities.

Regardless of how your restaurant is adjusting operations to serve customers, one of the biggest areas you should focus on is your menu offerings.

While the decision may be tough, adjusting your restaurant’s menu during COVID-19 can help ensure you make efficient food procurement decisions and generate profit.

Not sure where to start?

Our team of food procurement experts created some tips and strategies you can follow to help adjust your menu.

Keep reading to hear from our food procurement experts and learn about a few ways your restaurant can approach your COVID-19 food procurement and menu strategy.

Revise and Limit Your Offerings

While it may seem like reducing your menu offerings could hurt your operation when reopening, revising and limiting your menu is key.

Diners understand what is going on and are ready to encounter limited menus as places continue reopening. Removing some less popular dishes will not impact their dining experience but could save you big.

Our food procurement experts recommend looking at your sales report and identify your slow-moving items. Or, use the matrix below to help guide your decision making. This could be a great opportunity to remove those high cost, low profit dishes from your menu.

At the end of the day, if a dish is costing you more to have on the menu than you are making by selling it, consider removing it.

Menu engineering matrix is key part of food procurement process to help  operators identify if their menu item should stay or be removed.

Rationalize Your SKUs

Now more than ever, it’s critical to ensure your ingredients are cross utilized. Not only will this help drive profitability, but it will also help streamline font line operations.

Our food procurement experts recommend spending time looking at your menu item performance and food cost metrics. Your high profitability, high popularity items may justify requiring a few unique ingredients to them. However, dishes that are less popular or profitable may require you to re-think the SKUs required.

If you do have some items that are profitable but less popular, it’s important that you make sure each ingredient used is also being leveraged in one or two other dishes.

By focusing on SKU rationalization, you can help ensure that your restaurant chain is maximizing on profitability while also avoiding potential risk of spoilage.

Balance Scratch vs Prepared Items

In the restaurant industry, labor and cost savings are key. To help achieve that, our food procurement experts recommend you consider balancing some prepared items into your menu.

Many restaurant professionals prefer creating items from scratch. However, current times require that you seriously consider what value scratch items are truly adding to the dish.

The foodservice industry offers a lot of high quality and cost-efficient solutions that you can utilize in your restaurant to help you save on time, labor, and inventory. Things like soup bases, sauce mixes, and dehydrated potatoes are a great option to help you minimize SKUs while maximizing taste and profit.

Ask your distributor reps and brokers to introduce you to value-added products and make sure that they fit your restaurant chain and menu application. Or, connect with us for personalized consultation (it’s free!)

Hear From Our Food Procurement Experts

This article only scratches the surface on ways you can approach menu engineering during COVID-19 to focus on profitability.

To learn more, we sat down with one of our food procurement experts to dive deeper into ways restaurants can approach menu engineering during COVID-19. Click the video below to watch.

It’s impossible to predict how long we will be feeling the effects from COVID-19. For that reason, it is critical restaurant reassess their food procurement and menu engineering process to maximize profitability.

By following these tips from our food procurement experts, your restaurant can save on costs and ultimately reduce expenses. In this time of uncertainty, that’s crucial. The decisions may be tough to make, but they could be necessary for the success of your operation.

For additional help, the food procurement experts at Consolidated Concepts created tools and resources to help restaurants learn more. These resources provide additional information on menu engineering as you adapt your restaurant to current times. You can download the entire reopening guide, or access an easy-to-follow menu planning checklist.

Contact us!

Do you have additional questions on menu engineering? Or, are you interested in learning about other ways Consolidated Concepts can help your operation find cost saving opportunities? If so, contact us!

At Consolidated Concepts, our team of food procurement experts are dedicated to helping your business thrive. Plus, did we mention it’s free to join?

5 Reasons You Should Switch to Paper Towels from Air Dryers

Now more than ever, proper hand hygiene is no longer an option – it is a responsibility.

Recent world events have magnified the importance of restaurants enforcing proper hand hygiene at their locations. With so many touchpoints throughout an operation, following the correct hygiene procedures can help ensure the health and safety of both your patrons and your staff.

Additionally, hygiene and cleanliness in food service operations can shape patron perceptions 1.

A recent study revealed that customers will continue to be concerned about hygiene following the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in areas like restrooms and back of house 1.

While using the right soaps and hand products are a big part of the hygiene process, it’s equally as important to focus on the steps you follow after washing. The proper hand drying products helps maximize sanitation while helping to reduce the risk of spreading germs.

Two of the most popular hand drying solutions for restaurants include traditional restroom paper towels and bathroom air dryers. While both products can be effective for drying, paper towels have the upper hand regarding sanitation and efficiency.

Still not convinced? Here are 5 reasons why you should switch to restroom paper towels from bathroom air dryers.

1) Hygiene

From a hygiene viewpoint, paper towels are superior to electric air dryers and paper towels can dry hands efficiently, remove bacteria effectively and cause less contamination of the washroom environment.

Use of paper towels is especially important in facilities where hygiene is most critical, such as hospitals and health clinics 2. But really, anywhere people need to turn off faucets or dry their hands after washing them, paper towels are preferred 3.

2) Consumer Preference

This one’s easy! Consumers prefer automated paper towel systems over air dryers 2.5 to 1 3. Can’t beat those stats!

3) Efficiency

Air dryers may be less practical because of the longer time needed to achieve dry hands, with a possible negative impact on hand hygiene compliance.

Because it takes longer for people to achieve dry hands from an air dryer, many may dry their hands ineffectively when using them. This could lead to a possible negative impact on hand hygiene compliance 4.

4) Noise

One thing that goes without question – bathroom air dryers are noisy.

Many hand dryers operate at levels far louder than their manufacturers claim and at levels that are clearly dangerous to children’s hearing 5.

Restroom paper towels are a great option to alleviate the excess noise.

5) Spreading Germs

Air dryers spread germs.

Jet dryers disperse 20 times more virus than warm air dryers and over 190 times more virus than paper towels 6.

Infographic on how paper towels have the upper hand on drying

So, when it comes to drying hands, it’s easy to see why restroom paper towels are the “clean” winner.

Manufacturers like GP PRO (Georgia-Pacific) provide several great options of touchless paper towel dispensers. Products like the enMotion® Paper Towel System and the Pacific Blue Ultra™ Paper Towel System offer operators convenience and hygienic benefits for their restaurants. Both are easy to use and easy to maintain while helping to minimize waste.

Best of all? Consolidated Concepts clients can access these and more products from Georgia-Pacific at competitive pricing!

Contact Us!

Interested in learning more? Contact us today to add Georgia-Pacific paper towel dispensers to your operation, or to learn more about ways Consolidated Concepts can help your operation.


  1. GP Topline Trends PDF
  2. Huang, C., Ma, W. and Stack, S. (2012) “The hygienic efficacy of different hand-drying methods: A review of the evidence”. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Vol. 87 No. 8, pp. 791-798
  3. GP PRO Proprietary Research: CPT-18-1829
  4. World Health Organization Guidelines for Hand Hygiene in Healthcare (2009) (Section 11.1.5, pg 31)
  5. Nora Louise Keegan, Children who say hand dryers ‘hurt my ears’ are correct: A real-world study examining the loudness of automated hand dryers in public places, Paediatrics & Child Health, pxz046,
  6. Kimmitt, p. T. And Redway, K. F., “evaluation of the potential for virus dispersal during hand drying: a comparison of three methods.” National center for biotechnology information (NCBI), U.S. National Library of Medicine. Journal of Applied Microbiology, February 2016, volume 120, issue 2, 478-486