Re-awaking Closed Restaurants in Texas

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It is no secret that Texas has been struggling to keep service and hospitality businesses open during the COVID-19 pandemic regulations period, with little to no relief. For those who were able to weather the storm on the first round of shutdowns, a number of them simply could not hold on through the second wave. Of those businesses, restaurants have seemed to take the heaviest hit with more than 10,000 restaurants closing across the state. Albeit the quick downturn, some Texans have decided to use this opportunity to quietly rebuild for the next wave of consumers. With a noticeable increase in tabletop sales, such as our Bon Chef, Front of House, and Steelite lines, manufacturers have continued to develop these products without so much as a pause. As large numbers of orders come in for plateware and kitchen equipment, we realize a new trend is beginning to emerge over Texas – people are creating new restaurants in place of those that have shut down. And the trend keeps on growing.

Consumers are chomping at the bit to get out in the public circuit and socialize at bars and restaurants. With the allure of life coming back to some form of normalcy over the coming months, new business owners have their sites set on a future – of what they believe will be – will be bustling crowds who are ready to delve into social settings once again.  Collectively, it seems we are learning what we can do better and be more progressive. Many new restaurants are looking at what is ahead and preparing hospitality businesses for what just may be perfect timing. The slow period has given them time to construct the physical space and a chance to focus on menu development. If the restaurants need to produce immediate streams of revenue, they are using advanced marketing to promote soft openings, which mainly consist of takeout and delivery.

Due to the crisis, several closing restaurants have gone up for sale at bottom line prices, allowing for inexpensive purchases of buildings or leases, equipment, and fully packaged restaurants. Upon talking with our customers about products they are most interested over the last six months, we quickly realized the substantial number of customers who plan to take over old restaurants.  It is a great time to get in on an inexpensive real estate opportunity, offering a way to expand into higher profile locations. Whether you are a food truck, chef, small baker, caterer, or bartender who has high enthusiasm to build a bar, this is the time to invest and get started.

By gathering this new information in a place of uncertainty, we now know there is a positive momentum happening in showrooms across the state and may be finding ourselves in the dawn of a reemerging hospitality scene.  With COVID’s breaking down of the current hospitality industry’s infrastructure, it is likely to birth innovation in how dining is experienced. This opportunity could allow us to rebuild the economy in ways we had not previously considered, allowing us to once again enjoy the luxuries of social interaction in hospitality settings.

How to Keep Your Food Service Business and Guests Safe Over the Holidays

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Well, it is no surprise that holiday dining is going to be enjoyed differently this year – so be sure to make the most of it by hosting your events safely. After nearly a year of protecting themselves and their families, many people are eager to socialize again and the holidays have been the focal point for this activity.  The hospitality business is no exception to the area of socializing, as our entire industry was built upon it and we too have been forced to make adjustments. In the warmer areas, like here in Texas, restaurants and event coordinators will continue to set up tables outdoors and implement masks with a safe distance between guests.

In colder states, our friends are not as lucky and gatherings may be limited to only a few guests.  Some restaurants and event managers are closing their doors all together for the holiday and reopening when times are more consistent; it’s an intermittent trend across the board.  Regardless of how your hospitality business is planning on offering holiday celebrations, we want to offer a few new tips, in addition to the already normalized public procedures:

  • Sharing Is Not Caring – This even goes for things such as serving spoons and cutlery. Instead of having buffets and family-style meals this holiday season, you can have designated servers plate food for guests. Cal Mil’s environmentally friendly bamboo serving cones & cone holders work perfectly for this Charcuterie Cone trend we have been loving. Extra safety precautions should not mean you need to sacrifice on presentation!
  • Distance When Serving Food – Whomever is assigned server for meals should practice social distancing as much as possibly when offering meals to your guests and should be outfitted with a sturdy mask and gloves. Our Bon Chef Aero Gloves are not only comfortable, but they have a stylish look so you can focus more on entertaining and less on your ensemble.
  • Have Virtual Dinner Parties – Work, school, grocery shopping, and even yoga class is online now…why not offer To Go for holiday parties hosted on a video conferencing site? It is a great way for your guests to fight off isolation and celebrate with people split up into smaller groups. Take a look at our Holiday Party At Home Pre-Fix Menu for an easy dining option or inspiration.
  • Bring Back the Tray Dinner – A long, lost friend of the Food Service industry is the tray dinner. Long ago were the days when we would supply a guest with cutlery, napkins, beverages, and a four-course meal on a tray. But this vintage staple is making a comeback this holiday season!
  • Leave a Bin Out for Dirty Dishes – Once a tacky gesture, the dirty dish bin has been making a comeback. It is an easy way for guests to leave their dishes in a bin without putting a server at risk of contracting the virus through close proximity, even if her or she is wearing gloves.
  • Ditch Cloth Napkins – Although we are big proponents of saving the planet, switching out cloth for paper napkins will save any contacted fabrics from touching laundry bins and washing facilities.

Humans are naturally social creatures, and it is no surprise that a lot of us do not want to break tradition during the holidays.  Effects of not socializing at all has brought about concerns about mental health concerns and some people have reached their virtual visiting limits. So be sure to come up with creative ways to accommodate your guests over the holidays.  Remember to contact our team or stop by one of Preferred Source’s three showrooms for tabletop and equipment needs for your holiday presentation.  Best of luck and happy holidays!

Middle of Nowhere, Here I Come!

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Due to the nature of the current pandemic, it is no surprise that our customers are beginning to uproot their events in cities to head out to well… North, South, East, AND West. With densely populated areas, we tend to see upward trends in COVID-19 cases, leading to a lack in group gatherings.  Closing social activities has led to a depressed nation and pushed the public into a new line of creative thinking. Where smaller, more rural facilities used to be a drag to drive out to, they have now become the holy grail of new-found freedom – and people are flocking to them.

Some of the rural areas in Texas offer amenities that cities do not have the space for.  Because of this, events have become more appealing to a wider audience.  Where convenience and versatility used to be the most sought-after types of locations for events, locations with scenic views, diverse heritage, and unique rural culture are now budding in popularity.  Wimberly is a great example of a charming small town where visitors can adventure around Blue Hole Regional Park, Jakob’s Well, or Devils Back Bone and then head to an event at the Wimberly Valley Winery or plethora of local art galleries after their excursions. Another rural area that has gained a lot of attention for events has been New Braunfels. This town located between Austin and San Antonio, boasts the famous Guadalupe River.  Running directly through town, this river offers many spaces to host scenic outdoor events. In addition to its German heritage, New Braunfels is filled with live music, shops, and restaurants. This is an ideal area for event guests to feel more spaced out in nature than in its city counterpart. In addition to unique small towns, we are seeing events being staged at resorts and barns all over the Texas countryside since the onset of COVID-19 social distancing regulations.  With solutions like Cal-Mil’s Midnight 3-Tier and Porcelain Risers, or Front of the House’s Copper Linked Risers for a more rustic look, guests are able to feel comfortable with spaced out food displays at these events. It seems people are becoming accustomed to their “new norm” and it will be interesting to see if it remains once restrictions are lifted.

All-in-all, COVID times have changed the landscape for Texans event habits, but perhaps for a more organic social setting. With it being less likely to transmit the virus in areas with lower populations, these areas are prospering with high demand. Having the ability to hold larger audiences with social distance protocols in place, a great deal of resorts and event space is being booked out through next year. Having only a 45 minute to couple hour drive basically to the middle of nowhere, Texans are choosing rural destinations overstaying at home and it has helped strengthen the economy of the state tremendously.  So from the staff at Preferred Source, we say consider your rural destination options when planning your next social gathering and stay safe out there, folks!

Preferred Source: #GiveBack #Giveaway

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Hey Texas! Preferred Source is looking to support the fine folks of the hospitality industry who have been greatly effected due to COVID-19.

With that said, we would like everyone to nominate their favorite industry employee for a chance to win a $100 gift card to a restaurant of their choice!

How to participate:
1. LIKE this picture on FB or Insta! ✔️
2. Must follow @PreferredSourceReps on Facebook or @PreferredSource on Insta and @Eat and Drink To-Go (Texas) on Facebook
3. Tag all of your Foodservice friends and establishments that you think would love this!! (Examples: hotel employee, restaurant employee or foodservice distributor sales rep, server, bartender, food and beverage director, chef, cook, restaurant owner)

*Unlimited entries but needs to be a new friend each time!*

**Giveaway runs for Austin & San Antonio until May 10th Winners announced on Monday, May 11th**

This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook.

A message to our partners and friends…

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Over just a few weeks, communities around the world have found a common enemy: COVID-19.  Endangering the health and livelihoods of our industry friends and partners, it’s already wreaked havoc on hospitality in ways we never dreamed possible.  Our hearts and thoughts go out to those in our community already affected by this pandemic and we are both humbled and amazed at how our hospitality community has rallied to help each other.

The Preferred Source Team stands with you and are available via phone or email to help with your questions and needs surrounding samples, orders and future needs.  We will continue to work safely and look forward to the moment when we can come visit you onsite or in one of three showrooms again.

If you know a local restaurant, chef or hospitality business helping our fellow industry folk during this time,  please share with us, so we may honor them as one of our many local heroes.

Stay safe.  Stay positive.

Mark, Ken, Danny, Jacquelyn, Jennifer and Jeff

We Believe #HeroesDontAlwaysWearCapes

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