Making the most of Outdoor Dining opportunities

Making the most of Outdoor Dining opportunities

Outdoor Dining


Summer is upon us, and outdoor dining – a ‘hot trend’ according to MasterChef finalist John Calton – is hoped to attract more people than ever. With spending expected to increase by an average of 14.2% over the period, now is the time to get involved.

Operators can take full advantage of outdoor space by furnishing it with tables, chairs, and picnic benches. Outdoor seating can increase revenue by up to 30%, so the investment can be expected to pay off long-term.

With the arrival of summer comes a natural increase in beer intake. With an outdoor suntrap available, beer sales can increase by between 10 and 15%, making summer the perfect time to invest in beer mats, bar trays and quality plastic glassware. When the sun comes out to play, customers will too – and they will want to take their drinks with them.

Summertime provides plenty of opportunity to entertain, and venues should be looking to maximise sales by providing sun-starved Brits with beer garden space for all. To find out what Stephensons can do to help, download our outdoor dining report here or give us a call on 0161 483 625.

How To Care For Kitchen Knives

How To Care For Kitchen Knives

Keep your professional chef knives in peak condition by following these top tips from Stephensons catering equipment suppliers.

Don’t Leave Knives In the Sink

There’s nothing worse than leaving sharp knives in dirty sink water where an unsuspecting kitchen porter might cut themselves when washing up. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also damage the knives. Knives can get scratched, bent, broken and corroded when left in the sink so wash you knives, dry them and put them away straight after use.

Wash and Dry Your Knives By Hand

Avoid putting knives in the dishwasher to prevent blade damage during the wash cycle. Rather than leaving knives in the dish rack to dry off, prevent mold and mildew growth by drying your knives by hand as soon as they’re clean.

Don’t Use Hard Chopping Boards

Purpose built chopping boards are the best for blade longevity. These boards are soft on the blade and prevent permanent knife damage. Avoid using solid surfaces such as metal countertops, glass, marble or granite and invest in plastic or wooden chopping boards.

Store Knives Separately From Other Utensils

Storing knives with utensils and other cutlery can cause damage such as nicks and scratches. We strongly recommend storing knives in knife cases or wallets to keep them in peak condition or using a magnetic knife rack in the kitchen.

Sharpen Your Knives

Consider taking your knives to a professional knife sharpener at least once a year and use a sharpening steel, whetstone or professional knife sharpener to retain a sharp blade on a daily basis. View our knife sharpeners and accessories for more information.

Mother’s Day Tips for Restaurants and Pubs

Mother’s Day Tips for Restaurants and Pubs

Set lunchtime roast menu + free champagne + children eat free= Mother’s Day success! Read on to find out why…

  • The importance of Mother’s Day for restaurants and pubs
  • Top tips for making the most of Mother’s Day in the catering and hospitality industry
  • Mother’s Day 2016 is on 6th March
  • Blog by Stephensons catering equipment suppliers

In 2015, Maggi revealed that over half of adults take their Mums out for a meal on Mother’s Day.

Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) also conducted research into Mother’s Day behaviours; from the 1,000 people they quizzed, 54% said they eat out on Mother’s Day.

As well as being a popular day for eating out, Mother’s Day attracts larger parties than normal. UFS Pub Expert, Chris Barber said, “We’ve found that more than half of those who eat out on Mother’s Day were in a group of five or more, and 63% chose a lunchtime menu.

“With most people wanting to eat within the space of just a few hours, it’s important that publicans are geared up to turn as many big tables in as tight a window as possible, without rushing their guests.”

  • 54% of people eat out on Mother’s Day
  • 48% want a set menu
  • 40% say a roast is the perfect Mother’s Day meal
  • 63% of those eating out dine at lunchtime              UFS Pub How to Guide for Mother’s Day

Going out for a meal on Mother’s Day is cherished by Mums across the UK. Research from Cussoms Mum & Me shows that Mums rank being taken out for a meal 3rd on their list of important things they want to do on Mother’s day (behind spending time with their children and spending the day out with their family). Indeed, Mums ranked being taken out for a meal as more important than having a lie in and seeing their own Mothers.avebury red crockery mothers day pubs restaurants

There is no doubting the lucrative potential of Mothers Day for pubs and restaurants, but what can be done to attract families on this special day?

When choosing where to eat on Mother’s Day, The Help Desk have revealed that 48% of people are tempted by set menus, 37% are tempted by free champagne and 15% look for establishments where children can eat for free.

Interestingly, a roast is the most popular Mother’s Day meal for both Maggi and UFS survey respondents. According to Maggi, 90% of adults are likely to celebrate Mother’s Day with a roast and 40% of UFS respondents would choose a roast as their ideal Mother’s Day meal.

Tips for pubs and restaurants on Mother’s Day:

  • Create a set menu to keep operations simple and quicken turnover
  • With most people aiming to eat in the early afternoon, have pre-arranged seating times to fit in as many groups as possible
  • People eat out in larger groups on Mother’s Day so rearrange tables to accommodate 4 or more seats
  • Shout about your Mother’s Day promotions on social media ahead of the big day
  • Use an A-frame board and signage to promote your offerings
How to Crowdfund for a Restaurant

How to Crowdfund for a Restaurant

Originally seen as the alternative finance solution for start-ups who are refused funding from banks, crowdfunding has also become a popular option for mainstream and established companies. Read this blog to find out how to crowdfund for a restaurant.

Stephensons logo - how to crowdfund for a restaurant

With a large chunk of the financial outgoings required at the start, restaurants are exceptionally top heavy. Kitchen equipment, rent, crockery, cutlery, starting inventory, licenses and a monetary float are all required before a restaurant can open. As such, crowdfunding has become an increasingly common solution.

So what is crowdfunding?

The UK Crowdfunding Association describe crowdfunding as, ‘a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money. Until recently, financing a business, project or venture involved asking a few people for large sums of money. Crowdfunding switches this idea around, using the internet to talk to thousands – if not millions – of potential funders.’

Choose the right type of crowdfunding

  • Reward crowdfunding: Sites like exchange donations for special rewards, such as a free meal when the restaurant opens. This crowdfunding method allows investors to experience the success of the restaurant first hand and get something back for their financial outlay.
  • Debt crowdfunding: This type of crowdfunding allows for money to be lent without the need for a bank loan. Instead, investors expect their money to be returned with interest at a later date.
  • Equity crowdfunding: In equity crowdfunding, money is exchanged for a stake in the restaurant. As with any other similar investment, the value of the purchased shares can go up or down depending on the success of the restaurant.


If you want to launch a crowdfunding campaign, you’d better get started yesterday, according to The Wall Street Journal. Successful crowdfunding campaigns take months of preparation and work. The perception that crowdfunding removes much of the legwork required to set up a restaurant is wrong; campaigns require an extraordinary amount of work before they even reach a crowdfunding site.

Speaking to CNBC Claire Merquita, General Manager of Pozible, said, “People should build their networks before they launch, go to relevant events, build up a social following and let everyone know their campaign is coming. Preparation ensures you’re getting off to a strong start and not scrambling for ideas.”

How to crowdfund for a restaurant - naturally med olive wood

Create a compelling and accurate pitch

Often in the form of a video, a crowdfunding pitch is your opportunity to sell your restaurant idea to potential investors. If you do not have good video editing skills, it is worth paying a professional to make sure your pitch does your idea justice.

Ensure your video is as good as possible to attract attention. It is also essential that your video includes accurate business information; mistakes can cast a shadow on your pitch and confuse potential investors.

The unique selling point of your pitch will be YOU! Let your personality and passion shine through. Claire Merquita told CNBC, “Crowdfunding supporters are looking for a great story, something to capture their imagination that ties in with what’s relevant in their lives.”

Is it worth it?

Now you know more about how to crowdfund for a restaurant, it’s worth considering the effort required to be successful. Crowdfunding for a restaurant is a time consuming and draining process that does not guarantee investment.

Bon Appétit say, ‘The campaign might not work out. It might take more time and energy than expected and cost you a good chunk of the money you wind up raising. But it might introduce you to investors you never had access to.’

An unsuccessful campaign can also damage the restaurant’s brand and have a long-term negative impact. On the other hand, a crowdfunding campaign can increase awareness even if the financial target is not met.

Opentable say, “Although crowdfunding is a time-intensive endeavor, it will reap more than just financial rewards. For one, it frees you from having to take investor money. A successful campaign will create a base of early supporters because they are invested in your project.”

The restaurant industry is notoriously risky and restaurants are exceptionally difficult to fund from the outset. Crowdfunding platforms can alleviate the start up costs and also indicate whether the restaurant will be popular when it opens.

Crowdfunding success is difficult to attain, but with a carefully planned strategy, compelling pitch and airtight business plan you can maximise your potential.

How to Crowdfund a Restaurant seasons by porcelite

5 ways to boost your Easter presentation

5 ways to boost your Easter presentation

In the spirit of Easter, Stephenson’s have put together 5 easy ways to improve your Easter presentation.

Mini Tubtrug:
This funky mini tub is a revolutionary twist on the very popular classic tub. The Mini Tubtrug is available in a wide range of colours and looks fantastic as an Easter display for small seasonal chocolates or as a table decoration.

Rustic Plant Pots:
Our Rustic Food Presentation Pots are a great way to impress at Easter. This versatile pot makes a unique bitesize Easter decoration.

Cupcakes on cake stands:
Easter cupcakes are always a fun and creative way to celebrate Easter and indulge in some seasonal delights. Display your Easter baking on one of our cake stands for a more impressive look.

Mini Eggs in 70ml Kilner Jars:
Colourful and unique presentations using Mini Eggs and Kilner Jars are easy to do and look fantastic. These jars are durable and versatile for use over Easter and beyond. Try our 70ml Kilner Glass Spice Jar for Easter decorations and view our full Kilner range.
Eggs and soldiers in Stainless Steel Egg Cup:
What would Easter be without runny eggs and buttered soldiers? Our Stainless Steel Footed Egg Cup is a classic design for that iconic Easter look.

Top Tips for a Wimbledon Winner

Top Tips for a Wimbledon Winner

Catering equipment suppliers Stephensons, offers some top tips for the classic Eton Mess dessert to help you celebrate Wimbledon in true British style.

Wimbledon kicked off this week with tennis players from across the world coming together to compete for the coveted title. Visitors are also flocking to the ground to watch the matches whilst enjoying refreshing strawberries and cream.

Strawberries have long been a staple feature at Wimbledon and over the course of the tournament 8615 punnets are consumed per day, along with hundreds of litres of fresh cream.

To celebrate the start of the tournament, here at Stephensons, we’ve pulled together a recipe for a delicious Eton Mess dessert. The classic Eton Mess is not only a quintessential British dessert in itself but combines the classic flavours of strawberries and cream – the perfect accompaniment for watching a game in the sun.

You will need:

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp caster / fine sugar
  • 100g ready-made meringue
  • 450g fresh strawberries
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar


First place the double cream in a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and then whip together with an electric whisk until the cream reaches a light and fluffy consistency. When the cream has reached soft peaks that can stand on their own with the peaks falling slightly.

Following this, break up the meringues into chunks and combine with the cream. Slice the strawberries into halves then stir into the in strawberries and meringues.

Fill an elegant glass bowl with the cream, meringue and strawberry mixture and chill for 30 minutes. To finish, sprinkle icing sugar over the dessert. Serve chilled.