Trends

Keeping the foodservice equipment marketplace up to date with the latest menu and concept trends.

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Greenville County Schools in Greenville, S.C., reflects much of what school foodservice has become. The 44th-largest K-12 district in the country maintains fully equipped kitchens that produce 80,000 chef-driven meals a day for its 76,500 students at 106 schools and centers. “Our program has evolved from a typical K-12 school foodservice program that served highly processed products to one that scratch cooks the vast majority of our meals,” says Joe Urban, the district’s director of food and nutrition services. “The major shift started with the 2010-2011 school year, and it took us about four years to transition the entire district.”

When Amy’s Ice Creams set up shop in Austin, Texas, 35 years ago, its premium scoops were an anomaly among the frozen yogurt shops that were in their heyday at that time.

Theater, transparency, freshness, engagement, customization — foodservice customers today want it all. Action stations occupy the unique position to satisfy those demands, bringing prep, assembly and/or active cooking out from the back of the house and into the front-of-the-house spotlight. Coast to coast, in market segments from corporate and campus dining to K-12 schools and healthcare facilities, serveries now sizzle with stations built around myriad concepts. Action stations give customers diverse choices, the ability to get what they want how they want it, and a bird’s-eye view of their food prepared or assembled just for them.

The American consumer never seems to grow tired of that irresistible combination of bread, cheese and sauce. These days, pizza styles reflect specific regions, places or traditions, with a greater emphasis on dough.

Long a favorite dessert for many Americans, consumers are getting more curious about different flavors and even textural variations of ice cream available around the globe. Consumers can continue their culinary exploration with the many new types and flavors of ice cream on menus today.

As consumers continue to eat cleaner and more healthful foods, operators are taking notice. And action.

With the heat of summer on the horizon, now is a great time for operators to make sure their refrigeration and HVAC equipment is working as it should. In short, it’s tuneup time.

Restaurant industry sales forecast, consumer confidence stats, off-premise dining stats and more — a recap of the latest data from the National Restaurant Association’s 2019 State of the Industry Report and its webcast on the state of current affairs.

With the movement toward ever-decreasing kitchen sizes, when does small become too small? Is efficiency sometimes sacrificed as a result of reducing the kitchen footprint? Or can equipment completely compensate for the reduction in space? When designing a smaller kitchen, finding the sweet spot requires a combination of efficiency and space saving.

When Starbucks launched its Starbucks Reserve Roastery concept, many in the foodservice industry took notice, not the least of which were those already operating hybrid coffee-to-cocktail concepts. Starbucks’ notable presence in the space brings attention to the segment.

What happens when the architect wants you to design a bar and restaurant, but the chef hasn’t even been chosen? Not knowing the menu can be a foodservice designer’s worst nightmare and it’s becoming a bigger reality these days, especially as more urban developers get into the restaurant game. The fact that menus, chefs and concepts now change faster than ever only adds to the dilemma and requires designs be more flexible to withstand the tests of time.

Countertop griddles can be small enough to work in a food truck or large enough to be the workhorses of major brick-and-mortar operations. Here are a few tips for maintaining these pieces of equipment.

In a perfect world, every restaurant kitchen would have thousands of square feet of working space, contain all of the latest equipment and include an ergonomic design to maximize the flow of both staff and product through the space. But, it’s not a perfect world. Most foodservice kitchens are small — in fact, some
are downright tiny. Yet, even with small kitchens, many operators find ways to thrive.

From water filtration to ground faults, foodservice operators should plan for systems and components that impact equipment performance.

If the kitchen is the heart of a foodservice operation, dish rooms are the lungs of the facility — dirty serviceware in, clean ware out. Despite their importance, however, dish rooms are often the last design element considered when building or renovating a restaurant or noncommercial dining space.

Ryan Rongo, LEED AP, project manager at S20 Consultants Inc., provided a debrief on  the latest regulation-related changes he’s facing as he works on large-scale university, B&I and sporting/stadium projects. He’s found ongoing legal and financial requirements are having a direct impact on equipment specification.

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