Building in Flexibility with Design and Equipment Choices

While using multi-use equipment and building in flexibility can handle that issue, training is even more critical, says Coca. Especially with some institutional projects taking as long as four years to come to fruition, in that time there could be a chef change. The problem is many design consultants are not contracted for the implementation or training part. That means one could have all the ideas in the world for using a rapid cook oven, but if the new chef doesn't know how to use the equipment that flexibility benefit is lost.

"In many cases we've given our clients a contemporary foodservice model but then they're operating like an old servery, doing all the cooking in the back of the house."

In fact, Coca has made it a personal effort to go back to older clients to see how new cooking staff members are using the equipment and offer some training where needed. Writing operating procedures and uses for the equipment into training manuals can also help.

Corey-Ferrini also sees ongoing training as a challenge. Many manufacturers will allow operators to try out equipment for free before purchase, and her firm works with clients in test kitchens to experiment. Manufacturers can also help recommend new cooking techniques for some of these multi-use equipment.

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