Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Frontier Energy Study Validates ConserveWell™ Savings

On the fence about switching to the newest industry technologies? Head to the Food Service Technology Center!

Frontier Energy who works out of the FSTC, and better known as Fishnick, performs efficiency and performance tests on commercial kitchen equipment and appliances, and then provides “education, viable resources and up-to-date information at no cost.”

For more than 25 years, the California-based company has employed its 40-plus standard testing methods to evaluate a range of equipment like commercial kitchen ventilation, water heating and building HVAC and lighting.

In one recent study entitled, “Dipper Well Replacement Evaluation Report” that included Server’s ConserveWell and an additional dipper well alternative, the FSTC “monitored the baseline water and energy use and then replaced the existing dipper wells with the alternative products and calculated savings at two full service restaurants.”

By replacing a heated continuous-flow dipper well with a ConserveWell, one restaurant was able to reduce its water use by 115,900 gallons in a year and save over $2,000.00 in utility costs!

For more details, you can read the full study here.

Ready to see how much you can save? Calculate your savings with our ConserveWell™ ROI calculator!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

No Price Increase for 2018!

Server Catalog

Server Products takes great pride in helping operators serve better food better and doing so in the most efficient and productive way possible while not compromising quality, lead times, function and reliability. We don’t raise prices just because we can or it’s simply that time of year. We only do so when our costs increase beyond our ability to offset them. That will not be the case in 2018. We are proud to announce we will NOT be raising prices in 2018.

Extracting wastes from our processes and controlling costs is the backbone of our “House of Lean” culture at Server Products. We take great pride in our ability to reinvest in more efficient ways to produce, while maintaining an unmatched level of quality and service. Each and every one of us at Server is committed to controlling expenses, staying competitive and helping operators serve better.

We want to thank all of our customers and business partners for their support in 2017 and wish everyone a rewarding and prosperous 2018.

All current pricing is listed in our 2017-2018 catalog.

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Read more about Server's sustainability and lean initiatives!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Keep these 5 things in mind when buying a countertop warmer

It’s that time of year again when warm comfort food is on the minds of busy holiday shoppers. Whether the day’s fare is a scrumptious soup or a satisfying plate of alfredo or beef stroganoff, these dishes are scooped and served hot to anxious patrons ready to fill their yuletide tummies.

Commercial-grade countertop food warmers are staples in foodservice operations, used to properly heat, hold and serve foodie favorites. Besides ensuring the customer’s food is the perfect temperature, these warmers allow kitchen staff to prep meals ahead of time to heat and serve later, improving the operational flow of the kitchen and decreasing customer wait time.

Typically, countertop food warmers utilize wet, indirect heat – or a water-bath ­– to properly heat and hold prepared menu items. They come in a variety of capacities and shapes to hold round soup inserts or fractional-sized pans. Like anything in life, there is a wide range of choices when it comes to quality and functionality of warmers. Below is a list of considerations when deciding on the best commercial-grade countertop warmer for your foodservice operation.

1. What kind of capacity do you require? 

Efficient operators build menus to use the same warmer across day parts, so knowing the volume of each warmed food product you go through daily will help you decide on capacity. Using a medium-capacity warmer to hold your three most popular sauces throughout the day can save you from needing to purchase multiple pieces of equipment. For example, a warmer holding hollandaise for a popular Eggs Benedict breakfast entrée can hold soup during lunch and marinara sauce for the spaghetti dinner special. For operations with many different gravies, sauces or pasta toppings that change throughout the day, rectangular full-pan warmers can accommodate up to 6 fractional pans with separation bars. This gives you the option of switching out certain pans as needed.

2. What are you serving?

Delicate cream-based soups and the aforementioned hollandaise sauce require specific temperatures or they could separate, so having precise temperature is crucial. Warmers come with one of two main heat controls: rheostats or thermostats. A rheostat control either has high, medium and low markings or a range of numbers to determine the heat. Think of it like the volume control for your dining room – if you turn your volume up during a busy lunch rush, it will not automatically adjust once the room empties. You end up pumping too much noise into an empty space, spoiling the ambience. Rheostats don’t adjust heat output as food is taken from a warmer; the same amount of heat is pumped into a dish until you manually adjust the dial, which can lead to scorching and wasting food if you don’t pay attention. For this reason, many operators prefer thermostatically-controlled warmers, which work like home heating and cooling systems – the thermostat keeps the inside of your home at a consistent temperature, and kicks in when it senses fluctuations.

3. How will you be plating the food product?

Portion control doesn’t have to stop with condiments –many restaurants rely on accurate portioning to control costs, maintain published food nutrition facts and ensure taste consistency. Some warmers have more dispensing versatility than others; while most use ladles, some warmers can interface with pumps. Gravies and sauces are pumpable, which can offer precise portions regardless of who is preparing the dish. Another way to ensure a proper portion includes establishing proper protocols for the number of ladle servings per food item. Food warmers come with a variety of lids – some warmers include lids that stay open while busy wait staff fill multiple bowls on a tray, and some are designed to return evaporated moisture to your soup, noodle sauce or other food product. For prepared proteins like pulled pork or similar items, check for warmers that come with an area to hang tongs between uses. Be sure you are able to incorporate the proper dispensing tools for your operation – warmer versatility can provide serving options across day parts as well.

4. Where will the warmer be located, and does it need to move throughout the day?

Whether your warmer is located back-of-house or at a self-serve station, space is a premium. Knowing how the lunch menu transitions into dinner will help in this area. A warmer that allows cooks to top pasta dishes at lunch can move to the wait station for dinner where wait staff handles soups. Because countertop food warmers utilize electricity, keep in mind the location of available electrical outlets. Countertop warmers are modular ­– an advantage over built-in warmers – meaning they can be relocated to accommodate different day-parts or LTO/seasonal offerings. Establishments offering buffets for brunch or weekend banquets will enjoy the ability to store warmers in equipment closets when they’re not in use. For customer self-serve warmers, look for models with temperature controls in the back – this way it’s harder for patrons to accidentally change the temperature.

5. Does it have the proper certifications?

Food safety should be a priority at every foodservice establishment; in addition to the various cleaning and food handling procedures you have in place, equipment meeting proper certifications will only help your efforts. When it comes to preventing illness and food spoilage, temperature accuracy is crucial. Select a true NSF-certified rethermalizing warmer as opposed to the less expensive “cooker/warmer” units. A rethermalizer has passed the stringent NSF-4 certification, meaning it can heat refrigerated pre-cooked food (below 40° F) through the temperature “danger zone” to a temperature above 165° F within 2 hours. A cooker/warmer has not been constructed to meet these requirements, and therefore operators must first heat the refrigerated product in the microwave or on the stove. By eliminating the heating and transferring step, rethermalizers save time in both the prep stage and clean up stage.

Each warmer brand and style offers its own unique set of bells and whistles, so be sure to look for additional features such as:
· Reduced energy consumption
· Cleanability
· Digital temperature read-out or dial locks for analog temperature gauges
· Warranty

Commercial-grade countertop food warmers are an important component in the finishing or plating station in a commercial kitchen or in the customer self-serve station. It’s important to think through all considerations before selecting the best unit for your operation.

Stuck on what type of pump to buy? We're here to help!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Calculate your savings with the ConserveWell™ ROI Calculator


Replacing one continuous-flow dipper well with one ConserveWell™ can save more than 14,500 gallons of water per month, as well as reduce your monthly utility bill by over $136.

Restaurants like Frisch's Big Boy have seen significant savings – you can too! Or, see the WaterSmart Innovations study done by Fishnick.

Savings seem too good to be true? Use our ConserveWell™ ROI Calculator – just click "Check the Facts," select how many dipper wells you're looking to replace, and see how quickly your investment will pay for itself!

 Looking for even more ways to lessen your environmental footprint? Switch from disposable pumps to Eco™ Pumps and see how much you can lower your operational costs and plastic waste.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

5 Considerations when Selecting a Pump

[View full article on our website]

With endless design and material options, as well as different dispensing applications, it’s important to ask the right questions while you shop for the most appropriate dispenser. Here’s a list of questions and considerations when investing in the best pump for your foodservice operation.

What type of product will you be dispensing?

Viscosity, or how fluid a product is, determines if a product is pumpable or if a different serving method is necessary. The food’s consistency influences which style pump is most applicable, and what size and shape discharge tube will best handle it.

Certain pumps can handle particulates – think dressings with seeds, tartar sauce, and salsa; many house-made sauces have variable-sized particulates. Other pumps are shaped to prevent thin products like drink concentrates and syrups from dripping. Be sure the pump can handle the food you need to dispense – a clogged or dripping pump won’t do your operation any good.

Knowing if the product will be heated, chilled or kept ambient – or room temperature – is crucial when selecting the type of material; some plastics cannot be used in heated applications, so stainless steel may be necessary. Certain pump varieties can keep a product like fudge warm and fluid – even in the discharge tube – with a spout warmer. Whether it’s a taste preference or you’re dispensing a dairy-based product, the ability to keep an entire pump chilled will affect your selection as well. Potentially hazardous foods require a chilled discharge tube. Certain certifications, such as NSF, signify if pumps are safe for your particular product. A lack of certification could be a liability.

What type of container are you dispensing out of? 

Food manufacturers offer a wide breadth of container types: 1 liter bottles, a 1 gallon or 64 oz jugs, a 3, 4 or 5 liter bucket, a #10 can, various sized pouches or bags with fitments, and many others. Fountain jars, food pans or stainless steel jars hold artisan sauces for dispensing from cold tables, warmers and more. If you’re looking to be more cost effective and Eco-friendly, research if your desired foods are available in pouches before deciding on which pump to purchase.

Product volume also influences container types – high-demand foods require larger containers. Ketchup in three-gallon pouches will utilize a different pump than beverage flavoring in a bottle or fountain jar.

Certain pump vessels are branding-ready. Many food manufacturers are procuring their own pumping systems for their product and branding them accordingly giving the operator an attractive and complete system for handling their product.

Each food holding method integrates with a pump differently – resting on top of a pan, piercing a fitment, threading onto a bag, etc. Be sure your pump is the right size and has the correct pickup mechanism.

How important is portion size to you?

While some pumps come with one preset portion, such as 1 oz disposable pumps, others offer precision and adjustability. Pumps with accurate, reliable portion control save money, as well as keep flavors consistent at each location in a chain. Over-portioning costs hard-earned money, so if exact portions are a must-have, invest in a pump with more capabilities.

Where will the dispenser be located and how will it be used? 
A dispenser at an amusement park or stadium concession stand must be more tamper-resistant than a back-of-house pump, and should be able to handle a higher volume. For these situations, pouched dispensers are ideal – the airtight seal prevents contamination, and pouch changeouts take minimal time. If pouches aren’t an option, look for pump and container assemblies with threaded or locking lids.

If a pump is located at a self-serve condiment station, is it easily accessible for children and customers with wheelchairs? Many pumps have in-counter models to keep them at an appropriate height. Are there other ergonomic considerations to keep in mind? Look for pumps certified as ADA compliant, meaning they can be operated with less than 5 lbs of pressure, and don’t involve unnatural wrist movements.

Some pumps can be assembled in stations where an assortment of flavors is needed, such as the classic ice cream shop fountain rail or a wing restaurant’s back-of-house finishing station.

How labor-intensive do you want your pump to be?

While CO2 dispensers are common in high-volume locations, they are expensive, cumbersome to change, and often spit product while engaged. Mechanical remote dispensers are available at a fraction of the cost, and are much easier to load and unload.

Plastic, disposable pumps, while initially inexpensive, add up in cost but require no cleaning – just throw them away with an empty container. For a slightly larger investment, you can purchase higher quality pumps that last decades, but require cleaning. Some of these more durable pumps have clean-in-place capabilities for quicker cleaning.

While product pouches are relatively new to the industry, they promote higher product evacuation and reduce cleaning labor. Containers like gallon jugs and #10 cans currently provide more options for food product, but unless they are scraped out near the end of use, a lot of product is wasted.

Food pumps and dispensers have a long history in the foodservice industry. From dispensing soda flavors in a 1950’s corner drug store to providing the same precise shot of pumpkin spice in a global coffee chain shop in Chicago, USA as in Melbourne, Australia. They stand the test of time because they improve operational efficiency, control costs and maintain product quality. Picking the right pump and asking the right questions can make all the difference.

Test out these questions with our equipment finder!