My very first job was washing dishes in a small diner in my hometown. I was 14 years old, in high school, and a friend who also worked there was able to get me hired for a couple of shifts a week as well as for the Sunday rush. The church next door would empty out and nearly the entire congregation would shuffle next door to us for eggs, bacon, and pancakes. My favorite part of working there was after those busy Sundays where the crew would sit down and have their shift meal – which was really anything they wanted on the menu. I always made myself an absurdly large omelet, hash-browns, bacon, sausage, buttered toast, and a big glass of orange juice. I’m pretty sure the place lost money on me with that meal alone. The staff were fun to interact with as well. The short order cooks tended to be guys who were a little rough around the edges but were good natured and told funny stories. The servers were a bit cranky after an exhausting shift, but always tipped the dishwashers handsomely. We dishwashers were just kids, happy to be there and make a few bucks to spend on baseball cards and junk food.
I remember the days deliveries would arrive. The staff would help unload trucks of boxes with to-go containers, disposables like cups and plastic silverware, as well as the occasional piece of equipment for the kitchen. At the time, I had no idea how this volume of equipment and products might add up to impact profits significantly. I was mostly looking forward to my omelet. Looking back, I can see that keeping those costs low would be essential in staying competitive and running a successful restaurant. W.B. Mason has a wide variety of foodservice items for businesses of all sizes. In this month’s Fabulous Four, let’s explore some of the highlights.
Best New Item: Eatery Essentials Tamper Evident Sandwich Wedge Containers
This product is a new must-have for the restaurant and supermarket industries. Selling a sandwich was never more efficient, cleaner, or safer than now with this tamper-resistant packaging. Made from 100% recycled plastic, it not only provides a level of security for your food, but reduces the materials needed to package it for your customers – therefore saving cost and environmental waste. On top of all that, they stack easily in your storeroom so they will take up a minimum of your precious storage space. Welcome to the team wedge containers!
Unsung Hero: Eco-Products® Renewable & Compostable Portion Cups
This is my favorite item on the list this month. In a world where plastic is produced at an environmentally unsustainable rate, this is a great alternative. Made from PLA, which is a plant-based plastic, these containers and lids are 100% compostable and biodegradable. This is an increasingly attractive feature for your environmentally-conscious customer base and is sure to help your business stand out from the rest. They are crystal clear, sturdy, and come in a variety of sizes. Here’s to sustainability!
Product Most Likely to be Found in My Home: Dixie® Pathways Soak-Proof Shield Paper Plates
This one is a layup. Not only is this the most likely to be found in my home… it IS actually in my home. Not long ago we went through a kitchen renovation, and my family would not have survived without Dixie. Without a dishwasher or sink, we obviously needed paper plates to eat on. One thing I figured out quick, is the cheaper and flimsier alternative was not going to cut it. The list of benefits of these plates goes on forever. First, they are soak-proof and sturdy so they won’t be falling apart with the slightest amount of moisture or weight. Second, they are microwave safe, which was ideal with the kitchen renovation. Lastly, they are made of paper harvested from a sustainable resource and completely compostable, so you can sleep well knowing you are reducing environmental waste. Pass the potato salad please.
MVP: Dart® ClearSeal Hinged-Lid Plastic Containers
This month’s most valuable product comes from non-other than Dart. These to-go containers are versatile, secure, and cost-effective. With a variety of sizes to choose from, you are sure to find the one that fits whatever delicious item that your customer is taking home or to work with them. The best part about them is they are hinged and stackable so you don’t have to store a separate lid or take up valuable storage space. Simply put, you can’t effectively have take-out without these containers.
That will do it for this month’s Fabulous Four for foodservice. I just looked it up, and the diner I worked at 3 decades ago is still up and running. I’m assuming they use W.B. Mason and have saved thousands through the years. No telling whether they will still let me make my own giant omelet… though, I may pay a visit and find out!