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Taking Self-Serve Vertical

Q&A with Tyler Eilenfeldt, Vollrath product manager

What type of smart technology has Vollrath developed for self-serve?

Tyler Eilenfeldt: Vollrath’s new SerVue™ refrigerated slide-in provides space-saving vertical dispensing for a wide variety of salad toppings through automated, touchless dispensing. It is ideal for numerous applications, from schools to healthcare to business and industry.

Vollrath SerVue unitThe verticality of SerVue maximizes the space while showcasing the foods freshness and streamlining the serving process.

TE: While traditional salad bars are horizontal, this vertical unit offers benefits others don’t have. Customers view food in see-through containers, behind refrigerated doors, verifying its freshness. With SerVue’s dispensing method, salads are not cross contaminated with other ingredients or serving utensils. The infrared sensors located near the bottom of each canister detect the presence of a bowl or plate and dispense ingredients accordingly. 

What are the biggest benefits with this technology?

Vollrath see-thru canistersIndividual, sealed canisters clearly showcase ingredients without cross-contamination and spills that are inherent in a traditional open food bar.

TE: With all ingredients stored in individual canisters, there is no inadvertent mixing of ingredients. Plus, with people now more hesitant to share serving utensils like in a traditional salad bar format, SerVue evades this with its touchless dispensing method. Enclosed refrigeration helps keep ingredients fresher longer and requires less labor.

TE: Absolutely. Along with providing the theater of food visibility, added safety and utmost sanitation, the total cost of ownership is another benefit. Total cost of ownership is lower, since SerVue requires less upkeep than a traditional salad bar and reduces food waste due to the refrigerated ingredients staying fresher longer. While it can take an hour or more to clean a traditional food bar, with SerVue, operators can skip this step and reallocate employees. This ensures labor is better utilized. In addition, because ingredients are safely contained until distributed, expensive breath guards are no longer needed. Operators can choose portion sizes for distribution, from extra small to extra-large, which adds versatility but, even more importantly, reduces waste. SerVue also speeds up the salad bar service, taking just about 20 seconds to dispense down the line compared with a minute or more with a traditional salad bar.

Describe SerVue’s components.

TE: SerVue maximizes vertical space. Because it’s smaller than a standard self-serve unit, it enhances an operation’s flexibility as it can be put up against a wall and accommodated to fit into existing serving lines. SerVue has two canister sizes, the small canister holds 5.4 quarts, which is equivalent to a half-size long 4-inch deep food pan while the large accommodates 9 ½ quarts, equivalent to a full-size 2.5-inch deep food pan. Each unit is equipped with eight interchangeable containers giving flexibility to the operator. For larger volume operations multiple units can be placed back to back or adjacent depending on the footprint and available space. Measuring just 21 inches deep and 51 inches wide, the unit can be easily retrofitted into an existing space. SerVue is the result of continuous improvement from our engineering team, and we see great potential for it in the future.