Supplies Review 2009:
What's Hot In Smallwares, Tabletop And Serving
Innovative smallwares, functional tabletop items and high-tech temperature monitoring systems offer fresh ways to significantly improve your back- and front-of-house functioning.
By Jennifer Hicks
In the world of foodservice supplies, where a low-tech, unique barbeque brush can be just as useful as a comprehensive temp-monitoring system, keeping tabs on new and advanced products is essential to running an efficient business.
Which is why for this year's annual supplies issue we decided to zero in on the What's Hot! What's Cool! items that made their way into the new-products pavilion at this year's NAFEM Show, organized by the Chicago-based North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers.
Among the nearly 80 items on display in the WHWC pavilion, the 23 products in the smallwares/tabletop and serving category—chosen by NAFEM staffers—represent a broad range of back- and front-of house solutions. From the aforementioned barbeque brush and new serving pieces to touch-screen timers and improved beverage service options, some surprising products got the spotlight.
In particular, the focus on higher-tech items caught our attention, including wireless technologies that allow you to monitor equipment energy usage and track walk-in temps. And there's a refrigeration temperature switch designed to control compressor, fan and defrost functions.
How Were They Chosen?
A bit about the WHWC program. The idea grew out of attendee feedback after previous shows, says Charlie Souhrada, NAFEM director of member services. "Attendees tell us the number one reason they come to The NAFEM Show is to see the product innovations, and this new gallery delivers on that request."
More specifically, the WHWC pavilion was designed to present items that deliver tangible benefits in the areas of labor and cost savings, energy efficiency, food safety and sanitation, and green design and aesthetics. All exhibitors were invited to submit applications several months before the show, says Souhrada, and NAFEM staffers evaluated each product's ability to deliver on its claims. No submission fee was required.
Within the pavilion products were divided into five categories: display/transportation/storage, prep and warewashing, primary cooking, refrigeration and ice, and the category we're covering here, smallwares/tabletop and serving.
So read on for a close look at why these products were deemed worthy of inclusion in the WHWC pavilion this year. A couple of suppliers chose not to participate in this story, so we've assembled 21 of the 23 items in the category, and we've run them in alphabetical order by brand.
And stay tuned for the next crop of WHWC products, which will make their debut at the next NAFEM Show, scheduled for Feb. 10-12, 2011. "We plan a few modifications to improve the gallery's visibility and attendee access to product information," says Souhrada, "and we're excited to offer this feature again at our next show."
GIVE THE LADY WHAT SHE WANTS
Looking for a way to give your customers exactly what they want while increasing your profit potential? Then take a look at Perfect Portions from Anchor Hocking. This family of glassware is ideally sized for tasters and flights of martinis, wines and other specialty drinks, and even desserts and soups. You get a chance to sell unique items with an upscale presentation, and your servers can have a little fun presenting the offerings. Choose from a short 2½-oz. mini martini, 2½-oz. mini stemmed martini, and 3-oz. mini wine glass, which all fit securely in a handsome wood serving paddle.
Anchor Hocking Glass
BRING CREATIVITY TO YOUR BUFFET
Bon Chef's entry in the What's Hot! What's Cool! pavilion was the Linking Alternate Heat Source. Made of 18/8 stainless steel, components of this system allow you to create a custom, elevated tabletop presentation. Directional moving windguards protect canned fuel, making your setup ideal for outdoor presentations, and each unit—in three-quarter moon shape—allows you to create a serpentine or round configuration. The compact system can replace chafing dishes and offers you the flexibility to use Bon Chef's Cucina cookware. Units can also be wired for electrical use.
SLEEK NEW SERVINGWARE DEBUTS
Browne-Halco's new Eclipse Serveware made its way into the What's Hot! What's Cool! area. Features include 18/8 stainless steel construction for durability, curved handles to prevent utensils from slipping into food pans, hollow handles to slow heat transfer, and a unique kick-stand design to keep each utensil's foot off the table.
HAVE KITCHEN, WILL TRAVEL
Cadco's new demo/sampling cart brings the efficiency of a fully equipped satellite kitchen to supermarkets, warehouse clubs and other operations. You can prep food on the maple cutting board, bake/cook/retherm in the quarter-size convection on the lower shelf, cook on the glass-ceramic drop-in range and/or keep prepared food hot for hours on the top warmer. The cart has five pan slides for extra storage and comes with three quarter-size sheet pans, two quarter-size oven baskets and an anti-fatigue mat. A handle on the side, four casters and a black fire-retardant skirt round out the package. All electrical components run on 120V, including the oven, drop-in range and food warmer.
INTRODUCING A TRULY GREEN FUEL
Green Heat made its debut at The NAFEM Show's What's Hot! What's Cool! pavilion. This new chafing dish fuel is a proprietary concentrated gel formula created from plant-derived, corn-based ethanol. Available in 1-, 2- and 3-hour varieties, Green Heat is biodegradable and does not contain any toxic, poisonous, methanol-based denaturants. Its streamlined design uses less steel, says Candle Lamp, comes in fewer cartons and uses less storage space. Plus the all-steel can is made from 50% recycled materials. Green Heat has also been certified by the EnviroKleen "Green" certification program, which evaluates manufacturing based on criteria such as toxicity, biodegradability, levels of VOCs, ozone-depleting compounds and other specific chemicals known to be detrimental to the environment.
Candle Lamp Co.
GETTING AN EDGE
The Chef'sChoice brand offers Model 2100 Commercial Diamond Home Knife Sharpener, a new unit designed to quickly and easily sharpen all commercial cutlery, including serrated knives. Unique edge geometry is produced by the sharpener's three-stage patented sharpening process, which can produce an edge with the perfection of a razor blade, says Chef'sChoice. Built-in precision angle guides assure the correct sharpening angle and pressure and eliminate guesswork. In addition, the unit's entire sharpening module, including abrasives and guides, can be removed quickly and easily for cleaning and sanitizing at the sink or in a commercial dishwasher. Available in 110V and 220V models.
BREWING THE PERFECT CUP OF TEA
Take the guesswork out of brewing tea with the new TT1 Digital Tea Thermometer & Timer from Component Design Northwest. With it you can brew 18 types of loose, ball or bagged tea and choose from eight different brew strengths. The unit measures the temperature of the water and brew time while an instant read-out shows time and temperature during steeping. Then an alert sounds when the temperature is ideal and flavor is at its peak. A 4" stainless steel stem can be placed in a teacup, mug or teapot to measure water temperature and brewing time, while a large, easy-to-read display shows type of tea, ideal temperature, desired tea strength and target brew time. Timer measures temperatures from 30°F to 230°F and can be switched to Celsius with the push of a button.
CDN/Component Design Northwest
DINNERWARE GETS STRONGER, LIGHTER
Continental China's Nouveau collection maintains the strong, durable body that Continental is known for, but at half the weight of Continental's regular body. Nouveau offers an elegant, white wide-rimmed plate with a finer look and feel than the standard body. Its lighter weight allows for easier handling in service, says Continental, and its streamlined shape reduces space requirements when stacking. Manufactured in South Africa under ISO 9002, Nouveau is safe for use in the dishwasher, microwave and oven and offers a 5-year edge-chipping guarantee. Nouveau is available in North America through Continental's master distributer, Tableware Solutions.
Tableware Solutions for Continental China
HOW MUCH ENERGY IS YOUR EQUIPMENT USING?
With the new eConserve technology from Control Products you'd know. In an effort to help manage the rising costs of energy and their impact on operating costs, eConserve can be embedded into your next control design to reduce equipment energy usage. This wireless technology links individual equipment with utility meters, allowing real-time monitoring of building energy usage so that pre-programmed energy conservation control scheduling can be initiated. Control Products says eConserve can reduce the energy consumption of any equipment by up to 20%. The system transmits energy usage data to the Internet or an onsite computer so you can gather analyses within a single store or across the system. Typical applications include ice machines, coolers, freezers, water heaters, warmers, lighting and HVAC systems.
TRACK EQUIPMENT TEMPS WIRELESSLY
Goodbye manual recording of temps on walk-ins, hot holding and other temperature-dependent equipment. TempTrak's remote Mini Sentry sensors can be mounted remotely and from their locations signal wirelessly to the back-office PC or local area network. TempTrak software collects and records your preset temperature requirements. Then each Sentry unit monitors these preset conditions and will alert you, by a variety of methods, when a danger-zone condition exists. For example, should a cooler door be left open for an extended period of time, the TempTrak system contact sensors will generate an automatic alert notifying the designated person of the problem, for which a corrective action will be logged. TempTrak also creates automatic reports for all the collected temperatures, providing records of corrective actions and monthly reports for easy identification of problem equipment.
KEEP REFRIGERATION UNITS RUNNING RIGHT
Another monitoring device: The new TSX3 Digital Temperature Switch for refrigeration applications was designed to control the compressor, fan and defrost in refrigeration applications. When refrigeration temps fall out of their set limits or your operation loses power, an alarm sounds and a built-in real-time clock kicks in to aid your HACCP logging. During normal operation the Intelligent Defrost function manages the defrost cycle to save energy and costs. Digital input can be used to remotely trigger a defrost cycle, monitor cooler door status, or act as an external alarm. For programming multiple units, the TS2-K configuration key can be used to quickly download parameter settings.
NEXT-GEN SCALE WITHSTANDS WATER, SHOCK
The Poseidon WSC-10 heavy-duty digital portion scale offers a rugged design that's able to withstand harsh environments while delivering everyday efficiency. First off, the user-friendly scale is self-calibrating; you simply flip it over and wait for the indicator light and you're freshly calibrated and ready to go. Edlund's Dual Housing technology uses a stainless steel body to guard against corrosion, and that extra housing makes the unit completely submersible for easy cleaning. Poseidon WSC-10 also features a Scale Within a Scale design that helps protect internal components against damage due to accidental shock. Unit comes with six display options and adjustable leveling feet, and it's NSF and CE certified.
DISPLAYWARE GETS CENTRAL AMERICAN TWIST
Elite Global Solutions brought its Belize line of displayware to the What's Hot! What's Cool! pavilion at The NAFEM Show. Inspired by the hand-carved wooden bowls of Central America, the Belize collection offers a modern sensibility with a rustic charm, says Elite. Made of melamine, Belize pieces are fade, stain and scratch resistant and can be run through the dishwasher. Choose from square, oval and round bowls; rectangular trays; and slotted and solid spoons. Colors include black, white, yellow, banana crepe, weeping willow green, sunburn terra cotta and cranberry.
Elite Global Solutions
MULTIFUNCTION TIMER DEBUTS
Food Automation-Service Techniques has introduced the (FASTIMER) TT-500 LCD Touch Screen Timer. An intuitive, picture-based screen interface makes operation and programming easy, says FAST, and your staffers can time a virtually unlimited number of products. You can also add your own unique product pictures via a built-in USB port. A Product Build feature guides your crew through step-by-step instructions for building a finished food product, and Xwire wireless technology makes the TT-500 compatible in a networked kitchen. The unit also allows you to reduce training time, says FAST, improve execution and move easily into new menus and dayparts. The TT-500 can be customized for your unique requirements, and its icon-based menu prompts are easy for your staffers to
Food Automation-Service Techniques
GET CLOSE TO THE FIRE, SAFELY
The Hell's Handle from Mercer Cutlery also found its way into the What's Hot! What's Cool! pavilion. This turner features specially formulated handles that withstand temperatures up to 450°F while remaining cool to the touch. The handle absorbs 50% less heat than standard polypropylene, says Mercer, and the blade is made of stainless steel. A dual-textured finish on the handle improves grip and slip resistance. NSF certified.
GOOD LOOKING SERVER IS FUNCTIONAL, TOO
The aesthetically pleasing Stanley ErgoServ Cold Beverage Pitcher features double-wall stainless steel vacuum insulation, condensation-free construction and a CleanCoat protective cover. Its design features an ergonomic handle and shoulder to make pouring easy, and the server is NSF certified. Capacity is 1.9L; warranty is 5 years. Pitcher is part of the Stanley ErgoServ Collection, which includes stainless steel carafes, brew-in carafes, creamer carafes and airpots.
Pacific Market Int'l.
BETTER LIVING THROUGH MICROCONTROLLERS
The What's Hot! What's Cool! pavilion also welcomed the Renau Single Wire Communication Network, which combines the UCM-700 display interface and HMC-10 Hybrid Micro Controller. Renau designed the network with five quick-access buttons to make recipe selection instantaneous. It allows for real-time changing of time and temperature, and can easily be programmed for different markets and dayparts. Overall the module with process controller lowers operating expenses by reducing labor, training, support, replacement and energy costs, says Renau. And since the HMC-10 micro controller is designed for the foodservice industry, its componentry is fully encapsulated for humidity, temperature and shock protection.
DELIVER SKILLETS HOT AND SAFELY
When you're moving a steaming skillet from stovetop to tabletop, you need a holder to get it there safely. Enter the stackable Hot Solutions Insulated Skillet Holder, which features a 15"-dia. skillet opening, side rails, rolled edge and notched foot. Features include construction of plastic with polyester-blend insulation. Able to withstand 500°F, the holder never gets more than warm to the touch to keep waitstaff safe, and its insulation prevents heat transfer to the table. Custom colors, shapes and molded logos are available. Dishwasher safe; low temp washing recommended for longer life.
LIVEN UP YOUR BEVERAGES
Ever wish you could spice up the flavors of your normal beverage service? Now's your chance, with the SureShot FlavorShot system. Built around a quick-change cartridge system, you can add concentrated flavors to coffee, tea, cappuccino, espresso, hot chocolate, blended beverages and more. Using patented technology, FlavorShot can accurately and repeatedly dispense as many as 10 concentrated flavors, and SureShot says that directly adding flavors increases available counter space and minimizes labor. Bonus: These premium beverage flavors contain no sugar, fat, preservatives or carbohydrates.
SureShot Dispensing Systems
SQEEZE, BRUSH, REPEAT
The SaferFoods Silicone BBQ Brush from Tablecraft saves time by allowing you to dispense and brush in one easy step. The brush top fits all 63mm Wide Mouth Squeeze Dispensers, and high-temp silicone makes the brush dishwasher safe. U.S. patent pending.
IS THAT COFFEE FRESH?
Rounding out the What's Hot! What's Cool! products in this category was the Thermal Carafe with Fresh Zone Stopper from Thermos Commercial. The Fresh Zone Stopper has a built-in level gauge to indicate the liquid volume inside the carafe, plus a Fresh Zone indicator dial that allows you to set brew time so you can monitor freshness. The new carafe can hold hot liquids for up to 6 hours as opposed to 30 minutes in a glass carafe, says Thermos. The carafe and its Fresh Zone Stopper are completely compatible with existing coffee brewers and they both feature NSF certification.