Stockpot – Prime Cooking

The greatest consideration during 2017 will be energy consumption. More and more operators want to see a reduction in energy consumption in the kitchen both for the sake of ‘green credentials’ and for the bottom-line results.

The other key consideration is value for money over the investment period. Depending on the operator’s brief, the life expectancy of the product may be 2-3, 5-7 or 10 years, depending on the specification and cost. Every product at every level is built with a fundamental life expectancy based on its component materials, its size and performance. The worst situation is where a client does not fully understand these differences and just sees a price tag. It is just not possible to pay little in price and get lots in terms of specification – price and specification go hand in hand.

The more the chef engages with the manufacturer of the product the more he/she will benefit. Undertaking the installation of new prime cooking equipment, either as part of a new build or redesign, is also the perfect time to review how the kitchen actually operates and with it an opportunity for the chef to change working practices in order to make personnel more efficient, maximise the available space and produce a more comfortable working environment. Undertake a time and motion study and watch the brigade working around the suite/cook line. Are they spending more time going backwards and forwards to ancillary items than actually cooking? And, if so, can these ancillary items be better located next to or even into the suite/cook line.

In consultation with the manufacturer/supplier the chef should look at the way each aspect of the cook suite/cook line is working. Are they making best use of all the appliances? Could they, for example, benefit from replacing two or more pieces of equipment with one that is multi-functional? And what about considering pieces of equipment that can perform different jobs at different times during the day? Remember, no matter what equipment you have, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always had!

One of the biggest misconceptions in the marketplace is that ‘traditional’ gas equipment is not energy efficient. Open gas burners can be energy efficient – look at the “eco-flam” product from CAPIC which ensures that the main burner is only on when there is a pan in contact with the top. Expect to see more applications of technology such as “eco-flam” and the use of induction technology in different items of kit and in particular bulk production equipment.

No conversation about the equipment would be complete without a mention of the current exchange rate. The weakness of Sterling is putting pressure on all businesses, both at home and abroad. Even those companies producing equipment in the UK may be using a large quantity of component parts supplied outside the UK so they will feel the pinch just as much as the manufacturers of the fully imported items.