Can You Spot a Service Idea?

  • Muh muh muh My Marsala!


    Another year, another catalog, and this year is one for the record books.

    As has been the tradition for the last 4 years, we heavily featured the Pantone Color of the Year in our design – Marsala.

    Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, had this to say about Marsala:

    “Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth.”

    As a purveyor of goods to the food service and hospitality industry, this wine-inspired color is a perfect complement to our line and a great accent to this years catalog.

    So, what is our theme for the year?

    Last year we bombarded you with information – we broke everything down for you by calling out feature sets, showed examples of what we were talking about with extensive graphics – the whole kit & caboodle. In a word, it was a bit overwhelming.


    This years catalog is a crisp, clean design that focuses more on the products themselves, with the descriptions  as an afterthought instead of the headliner.

    We expanded upon the Partnership Focus pages by flushing out each of our partners stories, as well as including information to find them on social, or download their company catalogs to special order items we don’t typically market or offer.


    Lastly, we included our revised mission - highlighting why “We. Service. Ideas.” - and what that means to us as a company.

    Have we enticed you enough to want a copy of your own? Awesome! You can get it one of two ways:

    To download a PDF version of the catalog, simply go to

    To request a hard copy of the catalog, you can fill out the form below and our Customer Service team will get a copy out to you right away.

    [contact-form to='' subject='I%26#039;d like a Service Ideas catalog%26#x002c; please!'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Mailing Address' type='textarea' required='1'/][contact-field label='How many catalogs would you like?' type='text' required='1'/][contact-field label='E-mail address' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='I would you like to receive e-mail updates on new products%26#x002c; special offers %26amp; event information.' type='checkbox'/][/contact-form]

    What are your initial thoughts? We’d love to hear what you think.

    2015 catalog glamour

    Send your feedback to us at so we can continue to bring you the best and most user-friendly catalog in our industry.

    Until next time – We. Service. Ideas.

  • Service Ideas in the Wild

    If you've been following our blog for a while, you are probably familiar with our "Service Ideas At..." posts that showcase some of our products out "in the wild" as we like to call it.

    Recently we captured all of that information with a new Pinterest board so you can see on a map where all the sightings have taken place. Pretty cool, right?

    Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 3.38.20 PM

    That being said, we would love to add your pictures to this board to populate the map. Have you seen our products when out and about? Tweet them to us, share them with us on LinkedIn, or e-mail them to us and we'll add them to the rest of our map. We'd love to represent all 50 states & beyond!

    Items available.

    Until next time!

    - Lindsay

  • Tea Time Done Right with Finum®


    Three weeks ago we featured some of Finum®’s new & flagship products on our blog.  In this week’s post we’ll dive more into the new items that we’ve brought into stock this year and go over some of the things that make each of them great in their own right.

    HotglassThe Hot Glass System is double wall glass to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. These cups come in 2 different sizes and won’t sweat on your table or leave heat marks thanks to the double wall insulation. They work great with the Tea Control™ line of teapots for an all glass look.

    Filter Stick Cup_300dpiWe’ve added disposable tea items to our line this year with the Tea Filters & Filter Sticks. The Tea Filters have an expanding base that allows the tealeaves enough room for them to expand and their flavor to truly unfold. The filters themselves are also made from biodegradable materials without any chemicals or dyes, and fit perfectly in tea cups and mugs for individual brewing. The Filter Sticks are made from plastic and are long enough for them to rest comfortably for nearly all mug dimensions. They slide easily through the filter and allow it to rest on the rim of the cup during steeping. If you’re curious to know how this system works, see the 6 Step Diagram below for more clarification.


    Bistro2The Bistro System is a self-sustained cup & tea filter system that allows you to brew to your taste without the mess. The plastic hat is ideal for aiding in the steeping process, and when you’ve reached your desired strength, flip it over and place the tea filter on it – instant drip tray! This glass cup is dishwasher safe and also comes in sets of 2 – perfect for sharing.

    Now that you know a little bit more about these products, which one are you most excited to try?

    For those of you who may be new to drinking tea, and aren’t really sure which type you should try or how you should prepare it – no worries! We put together a series of posts on the 4 main categories of tea and how to prepare them. You can check them out here:

    Black Tea Black Tea

    Black Tea — most common variety of tea

    Black tea is the most widely known and recognized form of tea. Used often in blends of iced tea or “bagged” tea, it contains about 20% of the amount of caffeine you would find in a cup of coffee. It has also been linked to maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol, as well as maintains a healthy cardiovascular and circulatory system.

    Green Tea Green Tea

    Green Tea — the health enhancer

    When green tea was first discovered in China, only the wealthy and elite drank the expensive beverage. It was essential for seafarers since green tea consumption prevented scurvy. Produced primarily in China and Japan, loose green tea typically has 5-10% of the caffeine in an average cup of coffee.

    Oolong Tea Oolong Tea

    Oolong Tea — the “black dragon tea”

    Oolong teas are known for being flavorful & for having sweet aromas. They contain about 15% of the amount of caffeine you would find in a cup of coffee, and can be a healthy part of your weight loss plan by promoting a healthy metabolism and aid in digestion.

    White Tea White Tea

    White Tea — the most delicate of all teas

    White tea was the preferred drink of royalty as far back as the Tang Dynasty in China (618-907 A.D).  White tea has very little caffeine, 1-2% as much caffeine content as one cup of coffee, and brews a light color and flavor.


    As always, we welcome your feedback and comments. Let us know which product you’re most excited about – we’d love to hear from you.

  • We. Service. Ideas. - Brew It

    why-service-ideasOur main focus for July & August is “Brew It.” Now we don’t mean that in the traditional sense, like with an airpot brewer or a Mr. Coffee machine. We’re thinking more along the lines of hand made coffee, which is becoming an increasingly popular trend in the coffee industry.

    close up drip coffee

    Looking at our catalog, it may not be readily apparent what items would fit within this category — below are some examples of the types of products we’re talking about.

    009-Alfi-Filter-GlamourThe Coffee Filter from Alfi® seems like an obvious choice. The concept is simple: a BPA Free plastic coffee filter that rests in the mouth of the carafe. It works with a variety of Alfi® carafes, and has a long spout to ensure there is no accidental spillage when brewing. The handle on the side makes it easy to remove when done, and it works best with Size 4 filters. Below is a video that showcases how easy it is to use (fun fact – it’s in German, so you’ll want to put on the subtitles if you aren’t fluent).

    Brick PressWe also offer French Presses, such as our Brick Press, that allow you to steep your coffee or tea to your individual taste level before depressing the filter mechanism in the list to trap the grounds/leaves in the bottom of the press. Not sure how to use a French Press? Note our helpful “How To” guide below.

    Brick Press Instructions

    If you’re looking for something that’s all stainless, the Coffee Maker from Alfi® is another great option. It utilizes a double wall stainless body to help keep your coffee hot for 1-2 hours and operates the same way as our French Press.


    If tea is more your speed, then look no further than Finum®. For the past 160 years, Finum® has positioned itself as an inventive manufacturer of household filters and coffee/tea tools. Their Tea Control system is by far their most popular model, and comes in a variety of sizes to suit your needs. Not sure how it works? Check out this helpful video to learn how to brew with the Tea Control carafe.

    HotglassIf you’re looking for a complete set-up, might we suggest accessorizing with the Hot Glass system of double wall insulated glass cups. The heat won’t transfer to your hands or the table, and they are available in 2 sizes.

    Bistro2If you are planning to brew just 1 cup of tea, the Tea Glass System and Bistro System may be good choices for you. Each comes with a glass cup and stainless steel tea filter that sits inside the cup during brewing. Both come with a plastic hat that works great during the steeping process, but also, when flipped over, doubles as a drip tray for the filter once you have reached your desired tea strength.

    So whether you’re looking for pour over coffee, a French Press, or individual tea methods, we have you covered here at Service Ideas. Which one is your favorite? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below, or #Tweet to us.

  • Space Savings with Stackable Buffetware


    We’ve been talking about our Wall concept for a little over a year now, and recently put together a “standard” set-up that is available for purchase. That standard set-up is known as the Totem Pole.

    Totem Pole Exploded Diagram Exploded diagram of the Totem Pole set-up

    Don’t let the name fool you — our Totem Poles are not constructed from red cedar — but are instead crafted with 18/10 stainless steel with BPA Free plastic containers.

    So what is the purpose of the Totem Pole? Well, as the name implies, it is a vertical buffet presentation to offer space savings, especially in areas where counter space is hard to come by.

    Each totem starts with a weighted anchor piece (they weigh a whopping 17.2 lbs), and has 4 separate pegs so you can choose where & how you would like to start assembling your set-up.

    What comes next is entirely up to you. The standard Totem Pole comes with 2 bowl supports (an 8.25” diameter), a cereal dispenser (3 Liter), a juice dispenser (7 Liter) and an airpot rack (6.25” diameter). Depending on how much counter space you have to work with, you can space your rack out so it is constructed on 2 pegs, or have everything assembled on all 4.

    The poles that attach to the different pieces are hollow in the bottom, giving you the flexibility to mix and match them in whatever order you see fit. You can also use everything, or only a couple of pieces at a time depending on what your presentation needs are at any given time.

    3.7 Liter with Black Lid 3.7 Liter with Black Lid

    Our Totem Pole airpot rack is designed to work with our CTAL series of airpots, and when you order the Complete Totem Pole Wall Concept, it comes with the 3.7 Liter CTAL airpot (CTAL37BL) as part of the kit.

    This item is now in stock and available for purchase. Call our Customer Service Team at 800-328-4493 or download the sell sheet for more information on this product.

    Do you have one currently? How do you use yours? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below or #Tweet to us.

  • Laserforme — How does it work?


    At last year’s NRA event, we showcased one of our newest partnerships — Laserforme — a completely custom laser cutting service that is done in Canada. But how does it work? Let’s go through the steps together.

    The first step is to choose a blank form that you want to have your text or artwork laser cut out into. We currently offer a variety of blanks in both brushed and polished stainless steel — from baskets to breadstick holders, to condiment caddies, wine chillers and trays. We can also take sheets of metal that may be cut and bent to suit your needs, such as table tents.


    Once you’ve chosen your blank, you can choose from 3 different fonts OR submit your own artwork. Font choices are Diner, Modest & Script. These fonts were chosen for their ability to be easily cut into the steel without the loss of legibility. If you are submitting your own artwork, we ask that you submit it in vector format in an .AI, .EPS or .PDF file.

    Laserforme Fonts

    Once we get an idea of what blank you want and what your artwork requirements are, we move on to the rendering phase, where the designers at Laserforme place your artwork onto the blank to give you a visual proof of what it will look like upon completion of the project.


    After the rendering is approved, we move onto the quoting phase. For each laser cut, you must buy a minimum of 36 pieces. All of the pieces are produced in Canada from 18/8 stainless steel. Depending on the complexity of the artwork, lead-time can be anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

    LaserForme Bowl

    If you’re still a little confused, below is a video from Laserforme that illustrates the process as well.

    So, what types of products can you create using Laserforme? The possibilities are endless! Below is a showcase of just some of the projects that have been generated utilizing Laserforme’s laser cutting technology.

    Interested in learning more? Contact us to learn more about artwork requirements, and to discuss your options. We’d love to help you craft a piece that is 100% unique and distinctly yours. You can also download our latest brochure by clicking here.

  • We. Service. Ideas. — Celebrate Alfi®

    Carl & Sophie Zitzmann Sophie & Carl Zitzmann

    If you are a frequenter of our blog, then you are probably familiar with the name Alfi®. For those of you that are newer, this name may/may not ring a bell for you – so let’s change that, shall we?

    Alfi® is a brand of high end, high quality carafes & beverage containers founded in 1914 by Sophie & Carl Zitzmann. They began manufacturing aluminum containers in the Thuringian town of Fischbach, Germany — and quickly found a cult following of enthusiastic customers. The containers they developed kept hot things warm and cold things cold, which was a revolutionary and practical concept at the time.

    Today, Alfi® is the market leader in insulated containers worldwide. Even though they have since moved operations to Wertheim in Franconia, Alfi® continues to keep with the traditions and values of their originators — by developing products that set new standards in design, construction, and sustained quality.

    Juwel HistoryTheir flagship carafe, the Juwel, was introduced in 1918 and continues to remain a trendsetter in today’s market.

    The Juwel’s timeless design spawned the creation of the Opal in 1930, and then the Saphir in 1968. All three carafes feature the same stopper lid and hinge design, which allows for easy one-handed operation.

    Opal-Saphir-Achat1985 saw the creation of the Kugel ball carafe — a timelessly modern piece that has been available in a variety of colors & finishes since its inception.

    Kugel Ball Kugel Ball

    The Achat was developed in 1989, harkening back to the same stopper lid and hinge design as the Juwel and her sisters, but with a modern body & unique silhouette that draws the eye.

    Bottle-Mug-Bottle2007-2010 saw the generation of the more personalized beverage service with the construction of the isoBottle, then the isoMug and the elementBottle. Each of these pieces comes in a variety of colors and patterns for an experience that speaks to the consumers’ particular tastes.

    We have been a proud partner of Alfi®’s for the past 20 years, and are honored to be a part of their rich history by providing you their extensive line of high quality products.

    We hope you will join us in wishing Alfi® a Happy 100th Anniversary – here’s to 100 more. Congratulations!


  • #NRAShow, here we come!

    There’s nothing quite like springtime in Chicago – the tulips are blooming, the view of the lake is exquisite, and it also marks another National Restaurant Association Show.

    This will be our 57th year exhibiting at the NRA Show, which just seems like an insanely long time, doesn’t it? Don’t let the number of years fool you – we have some fun things planned for the booth this year that we think you’ll enjoy.


    NRA Group 2014

    There will be 10 Service Ideas representatives at the show this year, including our 3 newest recruits: Tina Zoellmer in Purchasing, Keith Enscoe in Business Development and Viviyan Kennedy in National Accounts.

    Craig Bahl Craig Bahl

    We will also be joined by some of our partnership brands throughout the show: Craig Bahl from Steelforme Canada/Laserforme will be keeping us company, along with Susan LaGreca from PMI/Stanley® Commercial. Be sure to stop by and find out what’s new from the people who know the products best!

    Several of our sales representatives will also be attending the show as well as rotating in and out of the booth to assist in answering your questions.

    We look forward to seeing you at the show this weekend - let us know if you didn't get a personalized invitation to join us at the booth — we want to make sure we're giving you the star treatment.

    Twitter_logo_blueMake sure you are also keeping an eye on the show's special Twitter hashtag — #NRAShow — as we'll be tweeting updates at the show as they occur. We'd love to engage with you on social, so don't forget to follow our Twitter handle — @Service_Ideas — ahead of the show so we can continue the conversation after the fun has ended.

    We hope you have an amazing time at one of the Industry's best trade shows - and we'll see YOU at The Show!

  • We're on YouTube!

    We are pleased to announce our first YouTube video that introduces our company. We hope you'll let us know what you think!

    [wpvideo J8CIysHA]

    Bonus Points if you can name every one of our associates that appeared in the video! Let us know how many people you recognize by commenting on this post.

  • See you at #SCAA2014!

    SCAA Masthead

    Even the infamous April showers can’t damper our excitement for this years’ 26th Annual Specialty Coffee Tradeshow & Exposition in trendy Seattle, WA.

    We’re going to be doing something a little different this year with our booth layout, and have lots of “new” things to showcase.

    SCAA-Booth-LayoutHere’s a teaser: we’ll have a new face working the booth with Joe this year, although he’s not a stranger to the show itself. We hope you’ll be sure to stop by and give him a warm welcome into the Service Ideas family.

    Not sure where we’ll be on the show floor? We’re gonna be chilling at Booth 15088. Here’s a snapshot of who our neighbors are.

    We’re so excited to take part in another Specialty Coffee event. Be sure to check the show hashtag on Twitter — #SCAA2014 — to see what we’re Tweeting during the event.

    And if you happen to see something in our booth that gets your ideas brewing, tell us by #tweeting to us at our handle, @Service_Ideas – we’d love to hear what you’re excited about, or answer any questions you may have.

    As an added bonus, we'd like to offer you a FREE 2-Day Pass to the show on us. Click here to register for your FREE attendee badge for the show.

    We look forward to seeing you at the show next week, and hope you’ll keep us in mind when planning your route. See you in Seattle!



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