Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2014

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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"We have either a pair of 48-inch broilers or a 48-inch and 36-inch broiler that get up to 1,400 degrees F," Cox says. "This is the most unique and restrictive piece of equipment we order, since this particular model sears in the meat's juices." Meat, with the exception of the bone-in rib eye, is cut to order and stored in undercounter drawer refrigeration ad- jacent to the broilers. Other equipment includes a stovetop, kettle, walk-in cooler, small walk-in freezer and warewasher. All of the equipment specifed for III Forks is heavy duty, since durability is of the utmost importance for this chain. With the recent escalating price of beef, steakhouses like III Forks have had to make menu adjustments without compromising the concept. "What doesn't work in the steakhouse business is shifting people away from steak toward chicken or fsh," Watson says. "Instead, we look at portions and alternative cuts that are a better value for customers." Despite these challenges, III Forks continues in expan- sion mode. At press time, a new 6,000-square-foot site was preparing to open at Los Angeles International Airport. A number of locations are also planned for the Middle East in the next few years. "We anticipate more openings in top U.S. markets in the next 12 to 24 months," Watson says. "This is where the best opportunities are for our brand." FE&S included a couple of cook-and-hold ovens, since ours were very old, as well as a grill. But we didn't make any major changes, as the kitchen was not the focus of the renovation. FE&S: What are Murray's best-selling and signature menu items? TM: Our menu changes three times a year in late winter, summer and fall. More than 80 percent of what we sell is either beef or steak. Traditional items are ofered year-round, although we may tweak them on occasion. Staple oferings include traditional cuts of steak, including flet, porter- house and top sirloin. We specialize in 2 dinners for 2, which include a chateaubriand and the Silver Butter Knife Steak, which is a 28-ounce sirloin. Both are carved and plated at the guest's table. Other popular items are lamb chops, pork chops, chicken, walleye, salmon, lobster tail and pasta dishes that change every couple of months. Au gratin potatoes are our most popular side, in addition to traditional mashed potatoes, asparagus and a spaetzle dish. We ofer seasonal vegetables as well. FE&S: Describe your production process and back of house. TM: Our steaks are aged for 30 days at a local meat plant. When we receive the meat, it's held for a couple days before being hand-cut and served. The broiler is custom-made in a larger size to handle our big steaks. The cookline also includes a six-burner sauté station, deep fryer and convection oven. The kitchen level includes two large walk-in coolers, while there are two others in the basement for storing produce and dairy items. We also have a few reach-in coolers and one stand-up freezer. FE&S: What are the main attributes you look for when purchasing equipment? TM: Much of the equipment we've had is more than 20 years old, including our grill and ovens. It's important that units ofer consistent results and are both durable and reliable. We can't aford to have equipment break down constantly. FE&S: With consumers' increased focus on healthful eating, what challenges have arisen at Murray's? TM: People's awareness of their salt intake and general health issues have become bigger factors in how they are eating. One particular challenge here stems from the way we season our meat, which we feel sets us apart. It's a unique seasoning that a small few consider too salty. Still, 99 percent of our cus- tomers prefer the unique taste of our steaks that is due to this seasoning. Even though more people are watching what they eat, there will always be people looking for good steak. People will eat healthy four or fve nights out of the week, then not hesitate to visit a good steak restaurant. FE&S: What does the future hold for Murray's, and how will you continue to persevere in this segment? TM: We're always very conscious and cognizant of not becoming old and realize we have to keep refreshing our brand to keep it interesting, inviting and appealing. It's about the overall experience, and we are very aware that we can't rest on our laurels. Expanding may be in our future, but it would have to be the right situation. Some of the equipment at Murray's has been in use for two decades. III Forks updated its décor to a lighter palette with clean lines and a contemporary look. JANUARY 2014 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 81

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