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Date: Thu 25th July 2019

10 TOP TRENDS: Prime cooking for busy commercial kitchens

Prime cooking equipment still remains the heartbeat of traditional commercial kitchens and generally the biggest equipment cost of any new-build or refurb. With that in mind, FEJ canvassed the market's cooking leaders for their view on the biggest trends defining the market in 2019 and beyond.

1. Outlast trends with heavy duty equipment

Chefs need to bear in mind that heavy duty equipment is built to last, so it is likely to still be in use long after a particular trend has been and gone, says Shaun Hall, product development chef at Falcon Foodservice Equipment. While aesthetics may also be a key consideration in many purchasing decisions, restaurant owners need to take into account the equipment’s performance and reliability.


2. Workhorse appliances need reliable back-up

It is important that caterers purchase equipment backed by a full warranty and after-sales support to ensure peace of mind and reduce downtime, insists Mark Hogan, commercial director of FEM. “Make sure that spare parts are readily available and check the warranty. With kitchens using the same few pieces of equipment for several menu items, all-day-long, the emphasis is on reliable, long-lasting and hard-wearing appliances.


3. Space no longer has to be a barrier

Pressure to keep within capital budget is significantly shaping prime equipment purchasing decisions, particularly within small-medium scale facilities where finances tend to be tighter. However, thanks to a wider range of more affordable yet efficient models now entering the market, an increasing number of operators are looking to purchase small multi-functional prime cooking units such as mini combi ovens.


4. Increase in CPUs to impact cooking equipment purchases

Food delivery continues to reshape the restaurant landscape and that will also impact the purchase of prime cooking equipment. “There will be a definitive move by outlets towards central production unit (CPU) kitchens to support delivery services such as Deliveroo and Just Eat,” predicts Helen Applewhite, marketing manager at Lincat. “These are more efficient for multi-site operations and offer better control of recipes and quality. Items such as our Opus 800 series clam griddles and bratt pans, due to their high output and versatility, will be ideal for CPUs.


5. Multifunctional equipment offers multiple prime perks

Multifunctional equipment is the best way to get the most out of both your space and money, suggests Donald Reid, sales manager at Moffat Catering Equipment. “The more a piece of kit is used, the better value the initial investment becomes. Also, any equipment standing idle is taking up valuable floor space. Multifunctional regen ovens are essential pieces of equipment for large kitchens looking to maximise the efficiency of their available space.”


6. Cautious climate powers energy message

The current cautious economic climate appears to be driving interest in energy efficient equipment such as induction and it’s easy to see why, says Nick McDonald, commercial director at Rexmartins. “Though the initial purchase price is likely to be higher, buyers are considering the significant savings that can be made on fuel bills as part of a whole life-cost calculation. Concern for the environment is driving new product development in prime cooking equipment, which in turn is shaping purchasing decisions.


7. More operators are taking a trip down electric avenue

Ian Clow, sales director at Charvet, agrees: "I see a continuation of a trend to the more 'sustainable' option, "he reflects. "Gas burners, for example, now are more often sold with pan detectors to save energy. Induction is more expensive than gas or electric, but it also saves in the long term and it is now becoming more popular than gas."


8. Building a kitchen arsenal to exploit new trends

Antony Ward, brand manager at Sous Vide Tools, says that chefs actually appear to be increasing their arsenal of prime cooking equipment in order to keep up with current food trends and as a result they are now much more open to new ideas and concepts than they were a few years ago.


9. Trading down on specification is a false economy

When there are doubts around the economy there is inevitably price pressure. But just trading down on price and therefore product specification is a false economy as the operator will almost certainly need to replace the product sooner. Steve Hobbs, director of Grande Cuisine, cites the old adage of ‘buy well, buy once’.


10. Don’t be undone by outdated appliances

Stuart Flint, training and demonstration manager at Electrolux, says it can be tempting during economically challenging times for operators to rein in spend on new cooking equipment and ‘make-do’ with what they have by continuing to use outdated appliances. However, the importance of equipment such as combi ovens — so often the heartbeat of a kitchen — means it is vital that contractors consider the benefits that the latest products can provide.

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