Lunch Lady Brownies – The Only Brownie Recipe You’ll Ever Need

JoAnne Stephenson

The Do’s and Don’ts of Purchasing a Mixer

Have you ever wished you could find recipes for all those yummy things your school lunch ladies used to make? Well, look no further. Below you’ll find a recipe that will make you long for the good old days. “Yay, its brownie day!” It’s a 50 year old school cafeteria recipe.  If you love a dense, chewy, fudgy brownie…this is the one. It’s the only brownie recipe you’ll ever need.

And, the good news is that schools today are moving back to mixing recipes from scratch. So your kids can have your favorite recipes that you remember. But they must choose the right mixer to do the job.

In many kitchens, mixers are considered the workhorses of the prep line. When properly specified, these units can decrease labor while increasing speed of service.

At Miller & Associates, we are proud to represent a mixer that was chosen “Best in Class in Floor Mixers” for 2014. Foodservice operators, dealers and consultants cast their votes for the best of the best among foodservice equipment and supplies manufacturers.

Globe Mixer was chosen for seven performance factors:

  • Product quality
  • Product value
  • Product design and aesthetics
  • Service and support
  • Sales representation
  • Product inventory and availability
  • Product information availability

It’s the “Perfect Mix”!

But don’t forget that you should consider this when purchasing a mixer:

  • DO determine what tasks the mixer will be used for. Different types are suitable for heavy dough versus general use. Decide what size mixer you will need. See a “Capacity Chart Guide”  provided by Globe Equipment (capacities are based on flour at room temperature and 70 F. degree water temperature)
  • DO decide whether a gear-driven or belt-driven type is preferable. Mixers that use nothing but gears in the head of the motor provide the most direct power from the motor to the mixing apparatus. Operators that use dough mixers typically like gears, since belts can slip or burn out when used with heavy loads, although this is not a common occurrence. Gear-driven mixers also tend to have a longer service life, but belts are very reliable and more affordable.
  • DO consider mixers for tasks such as vegetable prep, meat grinding and pasta making. Operators don’t always consider how versatile these units are for many production tasks. This can save both labor and the cost of purchasing other pieces of equipment. For example, a mixer with an attachment to make pasta is much cheaper and more versatile than a pasta maker. These units also can help operators increase the number of fresh, from-scratch items on the menu.
  • DON’T purchase a mixer without a clear understanding of how it will be used and what options are needed to accomplish these tasks.
  • DO consider water proximity if the mixer will be used for dough. Also consider where the dough rolling will take place. It’s best to have the mixer situated as close to the prep table as possible.
  • DON’T neglect the care and maintenance of mixers. The bowl also should be able to be moved up and down freely with the lift. If power is an issue, operators can inspect the mixer for electrical connection problems.

When you Knead it – Globe has the right Mixer!

Lunch Lady Brownies

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Icing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup canned milk (regular milk is okay)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • dash salt

For Brownies

  1. Beat together sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth and lemon colored
  2. Add butter slowly and blend into egg/sugar mixture
  3. Slowly blend in cocoa and flour. Stir until no lumps of flour remain.
  4. Add nuts, if using
  5. Pour into a greased 9 X 13 metal baking pan, smooth surface and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Note: If your oven runs hot, set for 325 degrees instead of 350.
  7. Remove brownies from oven, cool and ice before cutting into 24 squares

For icing
Beat all ingredients together until smooth and of spreading consistency

Ordering Procedures You Can Trust

Tammy Hutchison

Ah!  Purchase Orders!  You send them in to Miller & Associates and then the equipment appears at the ship to address, right?  That is what we are aiming for with as few issues along the way as possible!

In order to achieve that goal, we really try to take care when processing each order, no matter how large or small.  We know that it means the opening of a restaurant or school children having lunch or a hospital feeding patients, among countless other scenarios, and that does matter to us!

When we first receive your order, it is logged in and appears “open” until it is sent to the factory, so we do have a visual if it hasn’t been processed yet.  We process each PO as timely as we can.  We check to see if there is a quotation to match the order and if so, we check what was ordered against that quotation and the spec.  This helps correct any problems at the beginning and not after equipment has been built.  We check pricing / discount and adjust for you if you didn’t take enough off and contact you if we feel there is a problem that will hold up your order at the factory.  We work to give the factory all needed information, so your order may be processed there without further delay.  When the sales order acknowledgement is sent, we check the PO against the SO and then again at Invoice to make sure all is still as expected.  If there are any issues or changes needed after the order has been placed, we work with you to make sure that is taken care of so the finished product is what you need.

There are things you can do to help expedite the review / processing procedure.  Please put the job name on the purchase order.  That helps us locate a quotation or correspondence from your Sales Rep regarding that particular order.  Note any special background information on any variance from standard so we can pass that information on to the factory.  If you have special pricing, please send that quote or correspondence in with your order to save time.  Send all purchase orders to orders@millerequip.com so they will be logged and processed (even if someone is out of the office – that site is monitored all throughout each day).

We want to be the best “partner” you could have in the foodservice industry.  Our relationship with you is very important to us.  We look forward to your business in 2015 and the years to follow!

Federal Industries – The leader in fresh food merchandising

Greg Morris

For more than 90 years, Federal Industries’ hallmark stands for precision craftsmanship and industry leading innovation for fresh foods merchandising display cases.  Product presentation is the key to profit. Federal’s line of specialty display merchandisers brings the product to the customer in any setting. Combining craftsmanship with visual appeal, Federal works with space and design to enhance a store’s interior while meeting merchandising needs.

 

One of the largest growing segments in food service is grab-and-go food offerings. As a result of this overall food segment growth trend, we as sales reps see an increasing demand for display cases that are both eye-catching and energy efficient.

As a parent of 3 kids involved in lots of sports and other activities, our family seems to be on the run most of the time, and a perfect example of this need for good food on the go. While we all love a good fast food burger and fries, we find ourselves eating out so often, we are often looking for something different. As parents we are in a constant search for our kids to eat healthier food offerings, and traditionally it has been tough to find good, fresh, healthy food choices on the run.

Nearly every segment across the food service industry has recognized this huge demand, and all are looking for ways to attract customers as a destination place for their next quick meal. Grocery retailers have been leaders in this segment over the years, offering more and more options for quick meals to take home. These retailers not only offer fresh food in their deli display areas, but they also display the same fresh food, hot and cold, in display merchandisers near the front of the store and next to the cash register for quick and easy, impulse buys.

Restaurants have joined this trend, as many quick serve and fast casual restaurants have implemented grab-and-go merchandisers in their stores with prepared fresh sandwiches, salads, fruits, and drink offerings.   This allows many customers to grab a quick but still fresh meal, or entice customers to add to their purchase with an easy impulse buy.

Convenience stores see this trend as a huge opportunity to expand foodservice as a focal point of their operations. Grab-and-go food was a long time afterthought or last resort option for the operator as well as the customer. Now, operators are finding ways to meet the quick and convenient time demand of customers by enticing them with a variety of fresh, healthy, tasty, and visually appealing food items, both hot and cold. The keys to this growing segment are these fresh food items along with the display cases to merchandise and enhance the appeal of these food offerings. This combination attracts the customers to take notice and drive sales, both on impulse and for repeat customers as a destination.

As a target customer to this growing trend, I know grab-and-go has become a go to option for our family running from one game to the next; we can pick up good quality, fresh salads, sandwiches, and pizza that taste good and our “picky eating” kids even request to eat.

Power Soak System: Labor Savings, Happy Employees, Cleaner Pots and Pans!

Dan Nelson

I love to learn from people’s experiences and hearing fun success stories!

At this year’s Texas Association for School Nutrition (TASN) Show, we had a Power Soak unit in our booth. The display Power Soak always generates interest, because the end of our Unit is Plexi-Glass and you can watch the pots and pans tumble.

During the time set apart for Food Service Directors, I was with a customer and had just started to explain how the Power Soak unit works. A Director from another school district walked right up to the unit, looked at the first Director and said… “I have these in every one of my schools. It’s the best thing I’ve done.” I, of course was happy she had walked up. As I started to proceed explaining the function of the unit, the first director I had been talking to stopped me, and asked the second director, “really, WHY?”.

I decide to let the experienced director take over, and she said, “Well, the first thing is my ladies HATED to scrub the pots and pans. They would dread the day it was their turn in the pot room. Now they’re so happy, they walk up just toss the pan in the sink. Then they go back later, rinse and sanitize it and set it out to dry.”

“Plus, I can allocate that labor time to another task, whether it’s prepping for the next day or helping people on the serving line. No one is stuck just standing at the sink scrubbing pans.” She looked at me, smiled and said, “My old sheet pans look like new too!” The first Director again asked why, and she replied that over time, the motion of the water and other pans scrubs away baked-on material and it has made most of them look almost new. Thus, I haven’t had to buy as many new pans.”

Again she looked at me, then the other director. She pointed at me and said “You’re Welcome”. Then she pointed at the other Director and said “replace your 3 compartment sink in one school and you can call and thank me later.”

Now, for more information on how the unit REALLY works, here’s some food for thought from the gentleman who invented the Power Soak!

Continuous motion washing is defined as full submersion ware washing utilizing heated water, detergent and agitation without a fixed cycle time.

Operational Fundamentals

One way of looking at a continuous motion commercial ware washing system would be to consider it an additional staff member that can be given tough washing/scrubbing tasks. Since the soils on pots and pans vary widely, there is typically no set cycle time. Rather, the employees assisting with pot and pan washing just need to come by when their schedule permits and remove, rinse and sanitize clean items. If an item is not 100% clean, the employee can either quickly finish it off with minimal effort or simply drop it back in and get it on the next stop.

This is why one of the training messages is “You just need to get the pots and pans to it and through it. It will do the tough scrubbing and washing work.” This being said, some of the newer systems on the market incorporate “batch washing” processes and alert systems. These are typically used in commercial foodservice operations where pot and pan washing is a “shared function.” The batch washing alert system lets any employee or manager know when the items in the system should all be 100% clean and ready to rinse and sanitize.

System Design and Performance Fundamentals

Revisiting the definition above, heated water and detergents are givens, but the agitation is where the commercial ware washing systems on the market gets set apart. This is where the “Three R’s” of continuous motion ware washing come in – Rotate, Reposition and Represent. Items must be rotated and kept moving freely in the system to get clean. To optimize washing, ware items must naturally and freely reposition as they rotate in the system. Finally, ware items must consistently and repeatedly represent in front of the wash jets to effectively strip away loose soils.

It is critical to remember that in a continuous motion washing application, the loose (un-racked) ware items must be rotated through the stationary wash jets. This is the exact opposite of spray washing where rotating wash jets are moved through stationary (racked) ware items. Many pot washer systems try to rotate mostly square or rectangular ware items in a circle in a rectangular tank. With longer distances for the wash water to travel and gravity working against them, ware items tend to pile up or “log-jam” in the system, and can cover and restrict the pump intake and not get properly washed.

Look for systems that rotate the ware items vertically from an end view of the wash tank, like the Power Soak system. These systems lift the ware items up towards the front of the tank, and then the current carries them towards the rear of the tank where gravity drops them back through the wash jets. Ware items continuously rotate, reposition and represent so washing is even and fast. In addition, these ware washing systems outshine other systems from a standpoint of ergonomics and gentle washing.

On these last two notes, there is much more to discuss and consider. We will continue to cover key facets of continuous motion washing in the next Power Soak blog. Or visit our website <www.powersoak.com to learn more now!

(Source Credit: John Cantrell Power Soak Product Line Director)

Marketing Insight for the Food Service Industry

chrismiller8124

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Anyone can sell insurance, real estate, cars, etc. But why do they? When you define the “why”, you can start infusing that into all that you do.

We are constantly marketing ourselves, both personally and professionally – even if we are unaware, we are still doing so. This is why we need to be mindful and intentional about marketing to avoid others defining who we are and what we’re about. In acknowledging this, we can make the most of every opportunity we have to define who we are.

In an era where information, choices and alternate options are just a few clicks away, we must consistently be sending messages that compel others to stick with us. Those messages are not limited to words or esthetics – a cool logo is a fantastic start, but it doesn’t sell what you offer. Your passion, people, product, reputation and services are more visible and carry more marketing weight than any symbol or any website. Creating opportunities for your customers to succeed has a direct effect on your success.

So what does marketing success look like in the Food Service Industry?

In general, building marketing stature for a commodity type product can be difficult. This requires a greater emphasis on your services and your product. If your product is substandard and you can’t get it there on time, no marketing program can change that. Customers who buy commodity items from you are more than likely going to buy other products you sell – from somebody. Develop programs that create value for your customer to consider your entire product offering. Show the advantages they’ll have in areas such as logistics, purchasing, service and other methods your market may dictate.

But most products we sell are far beyond commodity products. Success demands a strategic plan to assure we are in the specifications, that we use our product knowledge to accurately quote projects, that our prices are competitive, that our relationships with all involved are second-to-none, that our products are on the jobsite when needed and that we have top-notch service after the sale. We constantly partner with our manufactures to develop programs and promotions that create exposure of their products. Some of the exposure is broad, such as website features or regional trade shows, while many are targeted to specific industries or customers – taking advantage of current market conditions and construction opportunities.

Miller & Associates represents many manufacturers in the Texas and Oklahoma region that produce some of the most respected, innovative and reliable products in the food service industry. It’s satisfying to walk into an establishment that has our products, knowing not only has our manufacture succeeded, but every person that works with that product is now setup for success as well. That’s the “why” behind what we do at Miller & Associates.