Helping Foodservice Businesses Enhance Front-of-House Presence
while Improving their Operations, Brand, and Profits

Mike Halles

Mike Halles

Mike Halles offers 26 years’ experience in metals design and product development for foodservice and retail applications. His vast knowledge of a variety of metals has allowed him to bring thousands of innovative products to market benefiting operators on a global scale regarding commercial durability, aesthetics, and performance.

Recent Posts by Mike Halles:

Which is Better for Off-Site Catering: Chafing Fuel, Induction Cooktops, or Butane Gas?

Off-site caterers encounter different environments and resources at nearly every event site, requiring more problem solving and adaptability skills than most traditional commercial kitchens demand. If your catering menu includes hot food options, one constant you'll need to navigate is finding the right tool for providing direct or indirect heat, or possibly both.

We're going to take a look at how chafing fuel, induction cooktops, and butane gas heat sources solve for different resources, rules, and restrictions that off-site caterers often face while serving at various venues.

Topics: Banquet Dining Serveware For Hotels

Which Is Better for Catering: Chafing Fuel vs. Induction Heat

On-site and off-site caterers need reliable heat sources to effectively serve their clients' guests. With indoor and outdoor event sites and varying restrictions on open flame, it's a good idea to build in some nimbleness to your catering operation. 

Chafing fuel is an old go-to for caterers. But induction heat has enjoyed popularity growth recently, in part because of new options on the market, making it less expensive than it used to be. They're both effective heat sources that perform similar job functions, but in different ways. Let's see how they stack up against each other. 

Topics: Banquet Dining Campus Dining Serveware For Hotels For Restaurants

Enamel Cast Iron vs Induction-Ready Cast Aluminum Cookware

Mike Halles, G.E.T.'s resident metals expert, compares cast iron to induction-ready cast aluminum at the 2017 National Restaurant Assosication show in Chicago, Illinois.  Watch the video or read the transcript to learn about what induction-ready cast aluminum is and what it can do for your foodservice operation.  

Topics: Banquet Dining Campus Dining Dinnerware Serveware For Restaurants

Stainless Steel & Aluminum Uses in Foodservice Operations

Imagine a commercial kitchen with no stainless steel or aluminum. It’s hard to do, isn’t it? That’s because stainless steel and aluminum are the most commonly used metals in foodservice. Stainless is a bit more popular than aluminum, but they’re both used in countless front-of-the-house applications.

But what’s the difference between the two metals? Why would you use one over the other, or does it even matter? We’re going to walk you through the qualities of each metal and showcase some of G.E.T.'s front-of-the-house examples where each metal shines on its own.

Topics: Banquet Dining Campus Dining Dinnerware Serveware For Restaurants

Enameled Cast Iron vs. Cast Aluminum Induction Cookware for Foodservice

It’s the perfect day in your commercial kitchen: You’ve planned the recipes du jour, prepped the meats and veggies, and turned on your stovetop. It’s time to cook! But wait … where’s your cookware? Should you use enameled cast iron or induction-ready cast aluminum? Will your choice affect the outcome of your food? Presentation? Ticket times?

Something as seemingly insignificant as the metal composition of your cookware can impact several areas of your operation in tangible ways. We’re going to take a look at the differences between enameled cast iron and cast aluminum cookware, how it can affect foodservice operations, and which heat sources are best for these metals.

Topics: Banquet Dining Campus Dining Dinnerware Serveware For Hotels For Restaurants

Cast Iron: Natural vs. Coated for Foodservice Applications

When you think of cast iron, you may imagine antique potbelly stoves or cooking by the campfire. Cast iron is a wonderful metal for cooking, as evidenced by its centuries of use. It’s just as effective today, but it isn’t quite as versatile as stainless steel and aluminum - the two most common foodservice metals.

Cast iron comes in two configurations: natural, also referred to as uncoated, and enamel- or porcelain-coated. Both options create excellent cooking implements, and they both look fantastic. In fact, cast iron's elegant look has aided in the growing interest in using it to cook and serve with.

Keep up with the cast iron trend by learning about the differences between natural and coated cast iron for foodservice applications, but know that it comes with its challenges for ease of use in kitchens and foodservice operations. 

Topics: Banquet Dining Campus Dining Dinnerware Serveware For Restaurants

Best Action Station Setups, Heat Sources, and Cooktops for Catering

Action stations, also referred to as display cooking, are popular options in high-volume foodservice for a number of reasons. Guests are drawn to the interactive experience as they watch chefs prepare their meals in real time, often leading to higher check averages because of a perceived elevated service level. Sounds of sizzling food and fresh-cooked aromas activate more senses than a closed kitchen can provide, creating a stimulating experience for diners.

From a logistics standpoint, you have several options for action station setups, heat sources, and cooktops. Let’s take a look at some of the preferred action station choices out there to help you understand which applications may be a fit for your operation.

Topics: Banquet Dining Campus Dining Serveware For Hotels

Which Kind of Metal Basket Coating is Best for Foodservice Operations?

Metal baskets are a familiar item in foodservice. They’re versatile, durable, and come in a plethora of shapes, sizes, and designs. They’re used for fried appetizers, bread baskets, shared dishes, and entrées. But with so many choices out there, how do you even know where to begin looking for the right metal foodservice basket for your operation?

We’re going to help you get started by exploring some of the coatings commonly used on metal baskets for foodservice. Why? Because most metal baskets used in foodservice are made from low carbon steel, which can easily corrode. For that reason, it’s almost always coated with a food-safe material.

By starting with understanding common foodservice metal basket coatings, you can narrow down which qualities are most important to your operation and move forward from there.

Topics: Banquet Dining Campus Dining Dinnerware For Restaurants

Grades of Stainless Steel & What They Mean for Your Foodservice Operation

Stainless steel is one of the most commonly used metal alloys. You can find it in industries from automotive to aviation to foodservice because of its excellent versatile properties. However, not all stainless steel is created equal. There are different grades of stainless steel, some of which are food-safe and some that are not. We’re often asked by restaurant operators which grade of stainless steel is the best for their operation.

We’re going to tackle this question for you by breaking down the different qualities of the two most commonly used grades of stainless steel in foodservice: 18/8 and 18/0.

Topics: Banquet Dining Campus Dining Serveware For Hotels For Restaurants