Q: How can caterers prepare for a smooth return to normal?
LB: The worst thing would be to let culinary standards slip. It’s almost like everyone is a new customer. We promote “SBMO” — smaller batches more often — because combi ovens and our iVario tilt skillet cook more quickly and there is much more consistency. This approach reduces waste and improves taste and food quality, allowing caterers to maintain consistency. With the right cooking technology in an operation, food preparation becomes much more precise and agile. This reduces waste from overproduction and enables a rapid increase in production when required.
Q: How can caterers manage labor challenges?
LB: Intelligent equipment can replace headcount in the kitchen, allowing staff to effectively do more things at once. The RATIONAL iCombi Pro cooks food intelligently and cleans itself. The iVario Pro can replace practically all other conventional appliances. Boiling, pan-frying, and deep-frying are all possible with the iVario. The intelligent platforms of the iCombi Pro and iVario Pro complement each other and makes production or a la carte cooking simple, with the press of a button.
Q: As special events come back, what can caterers do to scale from smaller to larger events, while still managing labor?
LB: We suggest smoothing out the production process using what we call Finishing®, which is accomplished by producing food during the day in the iCombi Pro or the iVario Pro, blast chilling and then retherming in the iCombi Pro prior to serving. The labor and food savings are well documented. It also reduces staff and stress in the kitchen. This process allows caterers to only cook what is needed, saving time, energy, labor and waste. More importantly, it gives them the ability to consistently serve high-quality food items.
Q: Any final thoughts for caterers?
LB: Make it easy on staff. The RATIONAL iCombi Pro and iVario Pro offer the same operating system. They can be programmed so that staff can make signature dishes at the touch of a button. And they are both very easy to clean and maintain. Staff love that the iCombi Pro cleans itself automatically, even overnight. The iVario is the most flexible of cooking equipment. It’s easy to use without having to worry about monitoring, burning or boiling over. Intelligent foodservice equipment is the future, and RATIONAL is at the forefront revolutionizing the way commercial kitchens operate.