Technological advances in kitchen equipment are helping foodservice operators remain flexible through these times when it’s hard to find (and keep) competent kitchen staff. “If restaurateurs want to survive, they’re going to have to rely on technology that enables them to make the most of what they have for a workforce,” notes John Benner, Director of Sales for Thermodyne Foodservice Products. Fortunately, thanks to the “smartphone effect,” as people become more comfortable with technology in their everyday lives, they have also become more comfortable using advanced technology in their workplaces.
One piece of equipment that’s increasing in popularity with operators is the cook-chill unit. Because these units are so versatile, they go a long way towards making kitchens more flexible. “Anytime you have a piece of equipment that can do multiple functions, it’s going to enable you to be more efficient in your kitchen from the standpoint of not just taking up kitchen space but also enabling you to plan ahead,” says Benner. A cook-chill unit such as the Thermodyne 700DP or 1500DP can function as a refrigerator, a rethermalizing/reheating cabinet and a holding cabinet, making it one of the most valuable pieces of equipment a kitchen can have.
Making Production Easier
There are lots of ways cook-chill units are helping operators perform more efficiently. Take breakfast service, as an example. Traditionally, staff has had to be on-site early to take items out of the cooler, begin the reheating
process and move the food to a holding cabinet once completed. With cook-chill, “the equipment will do that automatically,” says Benner. “It’s going to go from a refrigerated state to a reheating state and reheat the food per HACCP guidelines.” And all this can be remotely controlled, so a crew member who might have been coming in at, say, 4:00 a.m. to start cooking might not have to come in for another hour or even later. That can mean a significant savings in labor costs.
Another way that Thermodyne cook-chill units are helping operators is by assisting them in record-keeping. By using the included temperature probe, the Thermodyne keeps a constant record of cooking temperature, which can be remotely accessed. “If the health department wants to see what your temperature settings are, the unit is going to give them that data so they can confirm everything’s being done according to guidelines,” Benner says.
Thermodyne offers two cook-chill units to fit every kitchen: the 700DP model holds up to 10 steamtable pans; the 1500DP unit holds up to 20 pans. Both units help save labor and product costs because they allow operators to refrigerate, automatically reheat and hold prepared foods, with no kitchen staff required for monitoring. They are NSF-approved and can be custom programmed for different mealtimes for every day of the week.
There are many ways a Thermodyne cook-chill unit can help operators get through these challenging times, Benner says. “I encourage operators to think outside the box because it offers a tremendous amount of flexibility.”