By: Janice Cha
Check out the related article "Happy Houli-days."
Menu/Segment: Upscale/casual dining
Headquarters: Leawood, Kan.
Number Of Units: 105
Facility Size: 6,500 sq. ft.
Number Of Seats: 224 + 70-80 on patio
Check Average: lunch, $11; dinner, $13-$14
FF&E Package: $780,000 ($300,000 for kitchen equipment)
Expansion Plans: 13-18 company-owned and franchised stores to open in 2009
LABEL FOR FLOORPLAN:
Houlihanís, Cranberry, Pa.
- QSR computerized order-tracking system
- McCall/Manitowoc reach-in refrigerator/freezer
- Delfield/Manitowoc prep tables
- Restaurant Technologies oil management system
- Aztec wood-burning grill
- Captive-Aire hood
- Blodgett/Middleby convection oven
- Blodgett/Middleby steam-jacket kettle
- Hoshizaki ice machine
- Robot Coupe food processor
- Kolpak/Manitowoc walk-ins
- Merco Savory/Enodis heat lamps
1. SMARTER, FASTER KITCHENS
Houlihanís prototype kitchens cut average order production times by 2 mins. when they began using a computerized kitchen automation system from QSR Automations. The system simplifies kitchen management and eliminates the need to print or call-out orders. Individual items are routed to specific preparation stations based on cook times. Changes made to items at each station are simultaneously indicated at the expeditor station, so servers and managers can check order status at a glance. Houlihanís is currently testing for a planned upgrade to QSRís ConnectSmart Kitchen, which can also display menu cards and training videos.
2. PATTIES WITHIN EASY REACH
At Houlihanís a reach-in refrigerator/freezer by McCall stores product for handy access. The DT2 features a top-mounted compressor that McCall says allows for more storage space and puts the evaporator within easy reach when service is needed. Inside, a Windrunner system circulates chilled air throughout the cavity. An exterior digital thermometer lets you check temperatures without having to open doors and lose your chill. The doors come with self-closing cam-lift hinges and a safety stop that holds the door open with no overswing. The DT2 features three shelves per section, adjustable in 1"-increments, that support 250 lbs. each.
3. PREP TABLES AT THE READY
A grouping of Delfield cold prep tables helps Houlihanís finish plates all the faster. One of these units is the 4448N Megatop, which combines both storage and assembly area into a compact space. The prep table, which holds 18 1/6-sized prep pans (up to 6" deep), includes such features as an air screen that keeps product cold without drying it out; a front-breathing design so the unit can be built into an existing lineup; and an energy-saving temperature monitor that triggers the defrost cycle as needed. The unit maintains its chill with R-404A. UL and NSF approved.
4. OIL MANAGEMENT 101
Houlihanís uses the MaxLife Total Oil Management Solution to store, handle and dispose of frying oil. The program includes two tanksĖone for fresh oil, one for wasteĖand a locked outdoor fill box. Usage is remotely monitored by supplier Restaurant Technologies and oil is refilled or picked up as needed. The oil is never exposed to air or to handling by employees, enhancing its usable life. In addition, there are no service costs, no deliveries or pickups to schedule and no waste.
5. GETTING THAT WOOD-FIRED TASTE
The morning prep routine at Houlihanís includes loading the Aztec wood-fired grill with wood and stoking the fires for lunch service. The wood burns hot (averaging 800°F, says Aztec), so food cooks fast while retaining moisture. And the wood smoke adds a distinct flavor to the food. Houlihanís relies on a 48"-wide unit that comes with seven cooking grates and 960 sq. in. of cooking space. Choose from six models ranging in widths of 30" to 66". All units come with double firebox doors and ash drawers.
6. HOT AIR PATROL
The cookline at Houlihanís puts out plenty of effluent, but the restaurant captures it all using three Captive-Aire ND2-PSP canopy hoods. The ND2-PSP unit comes as a wall-type configuration or a two-piece back-to-back island configuration. The unitís double-wall front increases rigidity and helps guide effluent to the riser and away from the front of the hood. The grease drain system features a removable cup for easy cleaning. The NDís aluminum filters can be removed for cleaning, although you also can choose optional s/s and ETL-listed high-velocity cartridge filters. The hood is approved for use over appliances that generate temps of 450°F to 700°F. A 4í hood can operate at 150 cfm/ft. or 600 total cfm.
7. DUAL GAS FLOW ENHANCES OVEN EFFICIENCY
Blodgettís Zephaire G convection oven helps Houlihanís bake its breads, main dishes and a few desserts. The Zephaireís deep baking compartment holds five 18" x 26" baking pans in left-to-right or front-to-back positions. Outside, the porcelain door handle and triple-mounted pressure lock with turnbuckle assembly enhance safety. Inside, a dual-flow gas system combines direct and indirect heat (ranging from 200°F to 500°F) for efficient baking. Maintenance is easy thanks to removable dual-tube burners plus a pressure regulator and gas cut-off valve located in the front control area.
8. THE TILT FACTOR
Most soups and sauces at Houlihanís are made in a pair of tilting steam-jacketed kettles from Blodgett. The KTT line, available in four capacities of 6 gals. to 20 gals., features a factory-sealed distilled water enclosure so you donít need to vent or refill the steam jacket. The "Clean Lock" feature holds the kettle safely in a cooking position or tilted at a 105° angle for cleaning. Cooking temps range from 165°F to 285°F. Floor models come standard with pressure gauge, safety valve, integrally mounted controls and low-water warning light and shutoff.
9. CUBES FOR THE CHILL
Houlihanís relies on Hoshizakiís Modular Crescent Cuber (a.k.a. the KM-1601MRH3) to generate all the cubes it needs. The unit, which measures 30"W x 27"D x 41"H, keeps up with demand by producing up to 1,508 lbs. of individual crescent cubes per day. Built-in benefits include Hoshizakiís s/s evaporator, internal components protected by HoshiGuard Antimicrobial Agent, a CycleSaver function that reduces energy use by cycling only as needed, and an EverCheck alert that signals when maintenance is needed. Model meets California Energy Commission guidelines and is approved by Energy Star.
10. MAKING PREP A BREEZE
Robot Coupeís R301 Ultra Dice combination food processor/vegetable prep machine features a 3.5-qt. stainless steel bowl with a larger hub size than before. The unitís vegetable prep attachment lets you do continuous-feed slicing, shredding, grating, dicing, French fry cutting and julienne cutting. Meanwhile, the bowl attachment is designed to function like a vertical cutter-mixer, so you can mix, chop, purťe, blend, mix and even knead dough. The machineís cutting edges include a smooth-edged S-blade, a grating disc, a slicing disc and a dicing kit. Unit comes with a 2-hp single-phase motor and a 1,725-rpm rating.
Robot Coupe USA
11. OPTING FOR HEAVY-DUTY WALK-INS
To store its bulk frozen and chilled foods, Houlihanís opted for a walk-in cooler and freezer system by Kolpak. These custom-built units feature heavy-duty adjustable door hinges that improve installation and add to energy savings. Also of note: 4"-thick urethane insulation that provides more than twice the insulating value of fiberglass, says Kolpak, and resists sagging, moisture an odors. Other details include T inserts between metal panels that eliminate frost conduction between compartments, and fully coved corners with a 3/8" radius for easier cleaning.
12. BRIGHT LIGHTS, HOT FOOD
Spotlight the action, highlight the food. Houlihanís does that using a row of 10 Merco Savory hanging Heat Lamps above its expo station. The lamps come in a rainbow of high-gloss colors, including polished nickel, brass and copper, and are crafted from heavy-duty, mandrel-spun aluminum for durability. The finishes are easy to clean and unaffected by heat and grease vapors. Shades come with standard mounting or "Trac-Heat" track mounting systems.
Check out the related article "Happy Houli-days."