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Creating Your Own Restaurant Menus? Here Are Some Tips

Posted by: Office Zone on April 12th, 2013

Restaurant menus come in all shapes and sizes. Some businesses go with something simple like a “to go” menu, where others go all out. Some simply laminate a sheet of paper and put the menu on both sides. At Office Zone we offer a wide assortment of tools (found here) that can help you crate your own in-house menu that will look professional and give you control over how it looks. Here are a few products that we offer that you may want to consider using.

Types of Restaurant Menus

LAMINATORS

One of the most common tools you will find in the restaurant trade for creating a menu is a laminator. Why is this? Because laminators provide a protective barrier that is scratch, wrinkle and moisture proof. This is ideal, especially since a menu can be re-used over and over throughout the day. You don’t want to be creating a new menu on a daily basis…right? Here are some tools our customers like to use for laminating their menus:

Intelli-Lam IL400 Pouch LaminatorPouch Laminators – The pouch laminator is the perfect tool for laminating a menu. Most of our customers use either letter-size laminating pouches or menu-size laminating pouches (found here). If you are using the larger 12″ x 18″ menu-size pouches, I recommend you use a laminator that is at least 13″ wide. This provides ample room for laminating and also gives you room in case the pouch isn’t fed in perfectly straight.

Here are two menu laminators I recommend using:

  • Intelli-Lam IL400 (found here) – This laminator is both affordable and durable. It features a 13″ wide laminating width and four rollers for added quality.
  • Akiles iLam 340 (found here) – Akiles makes great products and the iLam 340 is a great example. This laminator has a 13″ laminating width and comes equipped with everything you need to laminate menus.

PAPER FOLDING MACHINES

Many people like to give menus to customers to take home. This makes sense. I personally have menus at home for various restaurants around the community. Sometimes it is easier to simply break out a menu at home and place an order than try to look it up online. Paper folding machines can be used with letter-size or 11″ x 17″ to 12″ x 18″ paper, depending on the machine. Paper folding machines can also create some really cool and unique folds.

Over the years, I have found that restaurants like to use three primary types of folds with their menus. These are the half fold, the letter fold and the gate fold. Here are some images representing the three folds:

Common Restaurant Menu Folds

So which machine should you use? It really all depends on the size of paper, thickness of paper and volume of paper you are using. I would like to recommend two machines for folding menus:

  • Intelli-Fold DE-172AF Paper Folding MachineIntelli-Fold DE-112AF Paper Folder (found here) – This machine is excellent for folding standard letter-size paper. It is affordable, yet versatile enough to create most of the folds that you will need. It can even be used to create a gate fold, which looks great with a menu.
  • Intelli-Fold DE-172AF Paper Folder (found here) – If you are folding larger sheets of paper, you may want to use a machine like this. The DE-172AF can be used with paper up to 11″ x 17″ in size. It can also be set up to create a letter, half or gate fold.

PAPER CUTTERS

The last item you may want to consider using for your in-house menu creation is a paper cutter. These can be used to trim down your menus, cut off excess lamination film and much more. There are three main types of paper cutters you may want to consider using when making menus.

  • Rotary Paper CuttersRotary Paper Cutters (found here) – These cutters use a round cutting wheel that is ideal for precision cutting. These cutters are generally used for trimming a few sheets of paper at a time and are excellent for trimming off excess lamination, photos, paper and more.
  • Guillotine Paper Cutters (found here) – These are very similar to the arm cutters you may have seen in school as a kid. They feature a long pivoting blade attached to a base. These cutters, especially those by Kutrimmer, are excellent for cutting several sheets of paper at once. Unlike cutters of the past, these ones produce remarkably straight cuts.
  • Stack Paper Cutters (found here) – These are the cutters you need if you are trimming down hundreds of menus at the same time. They are especially good if you are cutting a large stack of letter-size or menu-size documents in half or simply trimming around the edges.

Hopefully this helps you in your search to find machines for creating in-house menus. We have years of experience doing this, so please feel free to call us at 1-800-543-5454 with any question.

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Save Now With Office Zone’s Discount Coupon Code!

Posted by: Morgan on April 24th, 2012

For a limited time, Office Zone is offering a coupon code to customers that may be applied to any equipment or supplies purchase over $35. This coupon code will be valid through the end of May 2012. Be sure to place your order with Office Zone today to take advantage of this limited-time savings.

Simply enter the code: SPRING05 in our shopping cart before you submit your order. Or, you can mention the code when calling our customer service department at 800-543-5454. This coupon code is good for 5% off your order — up to $200 in savings.

Saving your business money, or perhaps your own personal pocketbook, is always a good idea. Now, you can improve production and streamline operations at work with new office equipment and supplies from Office Zone, plus improve the bottom line.

Office Zone’s deep lineup of office equipment includes laminators, binding machines, paper cutters and paper folding machines, shrink wrap machines, employee time clocks, office furniture and more. Popular supplies include binding materials such as spiral coils, wire loop binding elements, plastic combs, staples, lamination film including laminator rolls and laminator pouches.

The Office Zone shopping cart has a field that reads: “Enter coupon or gift certificate number.” Once you have entered the code SPRING05 in the box, simply hit “Enter.”

At Office Zone, we are always seeking new ways to save you money and help you streamline operations. Established in 1996, Office Zone has earned a solid reputation for a large office machine and supplies selection, competitive prices and trusted customer service. Be sure to contact Office Zone today for all of your office automation equipment needs.

 

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How To Fold Laminated Paper

Posted by: Office Zone on June 6th, 2011

Folding Laminated PaperAlthough a rare request, we sometimes get asked if it is possible to fold laminated paper.  It sure is!  While there isn’t an automatic paper folder on the market today capable of doing it by itself, it can be done manually with the addition of a scoring machine.

What is a scoring machine?  Scoring machines will basically make a crease in your paper, thus making it easier to fold.  They are typically used for thick card stock or heavier paper.  They work similar to a rotary cutter, and utilize a fine edge blade on a rolling wheel.  Simply slide the wheel left or right, applying a small amount of pressure, and you have your desired crease.  Now you’re ready to easily fold anything you need.  Not only can you fold it easier, any wrinkles will be eliminated, which is the main reason you would want to score or crease the paper.

So, folding laminated paper can be done, but why would you ever need to do it in the first place?  I used to ask myself the same question about algebra in junior high.  Turns out it comes in handy now and then!  One great thing that you can laminate and fold would be restaurant menus.  They all need to be laminated for obvious reasons, and you often find them folded, as well.  Using a scoring machine, it can be done.

Can you use a paper folding machine to fold laminated material?  Unfortunately, the answer is no.  We do carry many paper folders that can handle heavy stock paper up to 110 lb. thick, as well as air-feed folders that will work on glossy paper, but laminated paper simply is too much for the machines to handle.

Paper Scoring MachinesYou may be thinking it would be better to fold the paper and then laminate it.  Sounds good, right?  The problem with that is the crease in the folded paper will cause an uneven surface, resulting in air being trapped underneath.  It can certainly be done, but the end result will not look nearly as professional as you would like it to be.  You will probably be okay using this on regular copy paper, but if you’re using anything thicker, chances are the end result will turn out sloppy.

If you have a large volume of scoring or creasing to do, the machines are available in manual or automatic.  You can find our manual paper scoring machines here and our automatic paper scoring machine section here.

Scoring machines almost always come as combo machine to perforators as well.  Instead of making a thick crease in the thick paper, a perforator will put tiny holes, in a straight line, across your paper.  This is ideal for making part of your paper to be easily torn aware from the rest of the paper.  This is similar to a check or a movie ticket.

If you need to fold laminated paper, score, crease, perforate, or simply fold large stacks of paper automatically, we have everything you need.  You can find links to all these folding machines here.

Also, if you would like us to test some samples for you on our showroom floor, we are more than willing and capable to do so.  Sometimes we get some really unique and creative requests, and we’re always happy to try new things for our customers.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact our sales department at 800-543-5454.

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How To Clean A Roll Laminator

Posted by: Office Zone on May 19th, 2011

Properly Cleaning Roll LaminatorLaminators can be extremely easy to use.  However, cleaning them can be quite tricky, even dauntingly scary if you haven’t done it before.  Why could it be considered scary?  There isn’t much damage you can do to yourself, but more than one laminator has been ruined due to improper cleaning.  It’s also important to note that cleaning your laminator is crucial.  It allows your laminator to last a lot longer, as well as making sure your laminated material comes out as smooth as possible, absent bubbles or creasing.  This article will explain how to clean your roll laminator properly, easily preserving it for years and years to come.

First things first: make sure to never try and clean your laminator without first turning off the laminator and giving it time to cool off (about 5-10 minutes).  Not only can you accidentally get burned, but it will make it much easier to clean.

The next thing to do is to remove the lamination rolls.  Make sure to put the machine in reverse to get all extra lamination out of the machine.  Forgetting this step can, unfortunately, can cost you precious time.

Now for the most important part.  You’ll most likely be cleaning off burnt film that was a result of leaving on the laminator too long, or turning up the heat too much.  Never, never, never use a knife, scissors, or any cutting tool on the Teflon coated boots or the silicon rollers.  Too many roll laminators have nicks on the rollers, which will cause creases in your lamination and permanent (yes permanent) damage to the crucial rollers.  Also, make sure to not use standard rubbing alcohol, as it can potentially dry out the rubber rollers and cause cracking, again making them useless.  Now that you know what pitfalls to avoid, it’s time to clean.

How To Remove Excess Film

Start by warming up the laminator to a mildly warm setting, then turning off the power again.  This will heat up the excess just enough to make it much easier to clean.  Use a clean cloth to rub off the film, turning the rollers manually as you do so.  Another great tool is to use a rubber rejuvenator substance that helps break down the glue for easier removal.  You can find more information about the rejuvenator here.

Laminator Cleaning KitAnother smart choice is a laminator cleaning kit, which can be found here.  This inexpensive tool is definitely worthwhile, and will save you a lot of time.  With this you’ll be able to avoid the indecision of what to use while cleaning the rollers.  It includes foam cleaner, non-abrasive pads, and a course-cleaning pad.  Use the non-abrasive sponge pad for cleaning off heat shoes and the coarse pad for cleaning the rubber rollers.

How often should you clean your laminator?  A good rule of thumb is every roll change.  It’s an easy thing to let the build up continue, but if you are consistent in cleaning each time you change the rolls, the process seems much easier.  Not only will your end product look crisper, smoother, and more professional, it will preserve your roll laminator for many years to come.

If you are still having trouble cleaning your laminator, or it’s just to the point of desperation, you can always contact our service department at 800-543-5454 x 129.  They will be able to coach you through the process, or, if necessary, have you send in the laminator for cleaning.  While we are primarily based in Utah, we also have technicians spread throughout the U.S. that can come to your location within 48 hours.

If your laminator is truly beyond the point of no repair, you can find our wide selection of new roll laminators here.

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Need to Laminate Photos Back to Back

Posted by: Morgan on March 11th, 2010

Question:

I need to laminate 2 photos together, back to back. What type of glue or double side tape would you recommend? I need to cut the photos along the edge.

Wayne M.

Answer:

You can actually laminate photos back to back without the aid of glue or tape. A nice thing about lamination pouches is the inside of the pouch is Tahsin TCC 6000 Photo Pouch Laminatorsomewhat tacky. That’s because the film has the glue on the inside of the pouch. This makes it easy to place an item inside before laminating and not worrying if will move during the laminating process.

We recommend the Tahsin TCC 6000 Photo Pouch Laminator for your application. This is a continuous use, heavy-duty model designed especially for laminating photos. It encapsulates photos and digital images without all of those annoying resulting bubbles, often found in the film after it’s passed through the machine. The advanced hot roller system in the TCC 6000, and the adjustable speed controls, ensure quality and trouble-free operation. The TCC 6000 also includes a handy reverse function for backing out mis-feeds and jammed items.

You mentioned that you wanted to trim the photos. You can find a wide selection of rotary paper trimmers and cutters on our site.

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Laminator Reviews

Posted by: Morgan on February 19th, 2009

Five Laminators We Recommend

When you read most product reviews, laminator reviews in particular, you’re typically reading promotional material straight from the manufacturer. We tried to take a different approach here with the following laminator review. We chose four laminators, both pouch and roll varieties, we’ve personally tried and tested — some for over five years.

Your results may vary, but we have been quite pleased with the overall performance of the following laminators. If you happen to own any of these models, feel free to let us know if your experience has been the same as ours.

Banner American ValueLam 4500

ValueLam 4500When you walk through the front doors of our Office Zone home office location, the first thing to greet you is an enormous, wide-format ValueLam 4500 laminator. But don’t let its intimidating looks deceive you; this is actually a low-priced, low-maintenance machine. Its high-capacity dimensions let you perform laminating and mounting jobs up to 44-inches wide.

We’ve experienced nothing but clean, professional results with our ValueLam 4500. In fact, we recently laminated a ¼-inch foam-board mounted full-color poster with the ValueLam and the results were impressive. The colors on the poster became significantly more vibrant and made an overall more eye-catching image.

GBC Pinnacle 27 EZ Load

Pinnacle 27 EZ Load LaminatorThe thing we like best about the GBC Pinnacle 27 EZ Load is the simple fact that it’s easy to load! That’s a common complaint or hassle with roll laminators — it’s so darned tricky to load the film. The Pinnacle 27 is capable of laminating things up to 27-inches wide. This easy-to-operate roll laminator features unique roll lamination cartridges that are easy to put on and take off the machine. This laminator quickly warms up in about 10 minutes.

Sircle Corp. SircleLam LA-330

The SircleLam LA-330 is a relatively new pouch laminator on the market. It uses both hot shoe and heating plate technology and a total of four-rollers. What does this mean? It means that this laminator may be used with photographs and other temperature-sensitive documents. This can be used in a school, the office or at home. The LA-330 features a back-to-front feeding style.

SircleLam LA-330This laminator takes hardly any time to warm up, approximately three-minutes. It has an LED indicator that lets you know when it’s fully heated. It also has a feature that most pouch laminators to not have – a reverse button. This does not un-laminate your document, but it will help you back out a mis-fed item or prevent a possible jam.

Banner American PL12A

We decided to leave the best for last. The PL12A is simply a high-quality, high-volume, industrial-strength pouch laminator. Its independent heat and motor control system lets you leave the machine on stand-by (heat ready) for hours at a time without hurting the motor. This means you can instantly re-start laminating at any time.

The PL12A pouch laminator has a 12″ mouth — ideal for most jobs. Over the years, our customers have used the PL12A laminator to laminate: restaurant menus, maps, promotional signs, legal-sized documents,PL12A Pouch Laminator certificates, photo ID’s, luggage tags, photographs, scrapbook items and more.

The PL12A was constructed with long-lasting metal gears and a powerful motor that extends the laminator’s life. Its four-roller lamination system provides a clear, professional finish. The machine also has a temperature-control knob on the bottom of the chassis. This helps you fine-tune your lamination to achieve the best-looking laminated result possible.

Be sure to contact Office Zone for all of your laminator needs.

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Paper Cutter Tips For Scrapbookers

Posted by: admin on December 31st, 2008

Scrapbooking is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States. Scrapbooking involves a wide assortment of materials, supplies and equipment. This involves various types of paper, scissors, paper cutters and laminators. If you have recently tried looking for scrapbooking equipment online, you have probably noticed that there is no shortage of choices.

Carl RT-200 Paper TrimmerThe difficult thing, when starting up this hobby, is finding the right equipment that will last for hundreds, if not thousands, of scrapbook pages to come. It may seem overwhelming, but do not be discouraged. This article will give you a few tips on choosing the right paper cutter for your future scrapbooking projects.

Although there are now many scrapbooking software programs available today, many scrappers still prefer old-fashioned cutting and piecing things together. They enjoy the texture, the socializing with friends and the overall finished product. Many feel printing a scrapbook page out on a printer simply takes away from the true spirit of scrapbooking.

As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of pieces that go into creating the ideal scrapbook page. One of the most important pieces is the paper cutter. This is because a paper cutter is required to cut pictures down to size and make other modifications to the paper and decorations.

There are many paper cutters to choose from. The two most popular scrapbooking paper cutters are arm paper cutters and rotary paper cutters and trimmers. Both types of paper trimmers are compact and easy to use.

Arm paper cutters use a pivoting arm with a blade on it. This arm is brought up and then back down to create the cut. Arm paper cutters have been around for some time, and although many safety modifications have been added, the overall design has not changed for years. These paper cutters aren’t as popular with scrappers. This is because many inexpensive models tend to make crooked cuts. This isn’t to say that all arm paper cutters are like this. Some paper cutters, from brands such as Kutrimmer, are very solid and durable.

Rotary paper cutters are now the cutter of choice for scrapbookers. Rotary cutters use a round wheel to slice through paper. This wheel is similar in appearance to a pizza cutter. The wheel sits in a housing that slides along a rail. These types of paper cutters are especially popular with scrappers due to their precision and ability to cut photographs. Many rotary cutters have interchangeable blades for creating a variety of cutting patterns. Carl rotary cutters, specifically the RT-200, is popular for this reason. Rotatrim is another popular brand due to is solid construction.

corner rounderLast, but not least, are the corner rounders. Corner rounders are popular for rounding the corners on pictures and paper. Most agree that rounding the corners, also a minor change, affects the overall appearance of the photograph. Corner rounders are often available with a variety of different cutting diameter dies. This usually varies anywhere from a 1/8-inch corner to a ½-inch corner.

Paper cutters continue to grow in popularity with scrappers and this popular hobby doesn’t appear to be running out of steam anytime soon. Contact Office Zone for more information on paper cutters.

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Should You Purchase A Pouch Or Roll Laminator?

Posted by: admin on December 29th, 2008

Laminators and lamination technology have been around for decades. Not much as changed, as far as the film is concerned, but there are a few “modern” changes that have made lamination easier, faster and more professional. There are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before purchasing a laminator.

Laminators protect and preserve documents. This may be a menu for a restaurant, a treasured photograph Pouch Laminatorsor a stack of business cards. Some higher-end laminators can even be used to mount photographs, maps and posters to foam core board.

There are two primary types of laminators. These are pouch and roll laminators. Both ultimately bring about the same result and quality, but use slightly different methods to do this. Pouch laminators are typically smaller and are designed to laminate smaller documents. Roll laminators are designed to laminate many small items or larger documents such as posters or maps.

The largest documents usually laminated by pouch laminators are 8 ½ x 11 in size, although the length isn’t as much a limiting factor as is the width of the document. Roll laminators are usually around 25 inches in width, however, some industrial roll laminators can exceed 60 inches in width for laminating banners and other large material.

Pouch laminators use lamination pockets, referred to as pouch lamination film. These pockets are usually sealed on one side and open on three sides. Documents are then inserted into the pocket and run through the pouch laminator. This usually involves the assistance of a carrier, which is a non-stick manila-colored folder. The pouch is placed in the carrier to prevent the film from jamming in the machines and keeping hot glue from getting on the rollers.

Roll laminators use two separate rolls of lamination film. One is on the top and the other is on the bottom. The film is slid onto a metal mandrel, much like wrapping paper is on a cardboard core, which supports and dispenses the lamination film. The film is wound through the roll laminator prior to use. Once fully heated, material can then be run through the laminator.

A few modern changes that have manifest over the past few years with both pouch and roll laminators. Many laminators, both pouch and roll, now have digital readouts that indicate the temperature, speed and other settings. Adjustable temperature and speed control are both features that are now found on more than half the laminators on the market, where it used to be a small percentage. Many roll laminators also include cooling fans that help cool down the film as it exits the machine. This helps to prevent wrinkling and warping.

Lamination film is one of the most important parts of laminating something correctly. Years ago, when owning a laminator was cost prohibitive, pressure sensitive lamination film became very popular. Machines were not typically used and the film was manually applied to the document.

The downside to the pressure sensitive (cold) lamination film was the uneven application that resulted in wrinkles and bubbles. Pressure sensitive film is still used today, but primarily for heat sensitive documents and materials. The film is no longer manually applied, but is now used in conjunction with a cold laminator.

Hot lamination film is now the film of choice. While the glue is warmed in the laminator, silicon rollers evenly apply pressure to the film across the entire document. The more rollers in the laminator, the better the results. Film is available in a wide variety of sizes and thicknesses. The thickness of the lamination film is referred to as the mil. The mil thickness is measured in thousandths of an inch. Five-mil film is five-thousandths of an inch thick.

Laminators continue to be a popular tool for protecting and preserving documents. The type of laminator you buy or use depends entirely on the volume you need to laminate, the size of the document you need to laminate (thickness, length & width), future use, location where the laminator will be used and who will be using it. Contact Office Zone for more information on both roll and pouch laminators.