A Q&A with Edward Nunn, business development manager, Hatco Corporation
Q. Why is speed of service difficult for restaurants?
Edward Nunn: Although quality has improved over recent years, driven by an unprecedented level of competition and changing consumer tastes, in the age-old battle of speed versus quality, it is perhaps surprising to note that speed still wins out. Much of this is driven by the broader culture. Everything in life has become “now” oriented. Delivering contemporary quality expectations in a saturated market at speed is a really tough challenge. Offering a wider choice of baseline products, paired with a broader range customizable options, make for complex operations and procedures. Add in the industry’s legendary high labor turnover and all the training to support those complex operations has to be repeated over-and-over again.
Q. How can restaurants improve back of house efficiencies to keep up with customer demand?
A. Improved efficiency essentially means “getting more out, while putting less in.” In foodservice, this means driving higher throughput, with lower labor, food and utility costs. Kitchen technology is playing a key part.
Q. How can restaurants use equipment to improve efficiency?
A. Acquiring and using smart and speed-oriented equipment can significantly increase throughput and reduce labor in both absolute and qualitative terms (less labor overall and less highly skilled labor to deliver same results). They improve productivity and reduce food waste by eliminating the scope for operator error and by delivering consistent results. Finally, they can also slash utility costs. Smart and fast equipment facilitates better overall kitchen coordination, and fewer re-fires.
Q. What are the newest innovations that address time savings in the kitchen?
A. Precise, user-configurable preset programs maintain consistent cooking results. These can be found in Hatco’s IRNG series of induction ranges. Recently, I was in the kitchen of a chain and saw firsthand how the preset programs were a total “game changer”, eliminating dangerous, messy boil overs and preventing both dry panning and burned sauté pans. The results were no more wet floors, utterly consistent cooking results from dish to dish, a massive reduction in washing up (saving time, water and chemicals), plus less attention and hands-on required by the staff during the longer bulk
Hatco’s TQ3 and ITQ toasters employ a similar approach, with user-configurable profiles for different bread products. Even Hatco’s drawer warmers now feature a touchscreen option with the ability to hold different drawers at different temperatures and set a hold time for each. Speed ovens use forced hot air and efficient food loading to dramatically cut cooking times and maintain a high-quality standard (no microwaves!).
Another way to improve efficiency is to employ multi-tasking equipment, such as Hatco’s HCW series of hot/cold wells and HCSBF hot/cold shelves. Both hot and cold food can be stored or merchandised from the same footprint depending on the daypart or season.