Foodservice Equipment Reports


It was, again, a happening. For the sixth biennial MUFES for commercial chains, more than 100 spec/buyers, facilities types and suppliers came together in February at the Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, for two days of intensive, high-level technical education, roundtables and a heavy dose of networking.

The operators at MUFES 2012 came from chains both large and emerging, and the sessions were geared for spec/buyers who’ve been around the block a few times. No fluff. All nuts and bolts. Every session was tailored to provide information attendees could go home with and implement, in tangible terms, right away.

The meeting kicked off with an optional day of extracurriculars including golf and a wine tour, a good chance for fun and networking. Then came the work part.

Global Tips, LEDs & LEED

The heavy brainwork began the next morning, as Bob O’Brien of NPD Group gave the audience the broad view of global foodservice development patterns and opportunities, a macro backdrop for sessions that were to come. Later, Joe Phillips, recently retired from NSF Int’l., gave listeners the bullet points on certifying bodies, procedures and requirements in various key markets around the world.

Then the sleeves rolled up as the drilling went deeper. Richard Young, of Fisher-Nickel Inc., which operates Pacific Gas & Electric’s Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif., gave the group the latest updates on LED lighting, from technical advancements and applications to new federal standards and tips on how to sort the more reputable suppliers from the fringe types. Following on that, Brinker Int’l.’s Mark Slayton addressed how Brinker managed its recent LED retrofit and what he discovered along the way.

Facilities modeling for LEED was next up with a full 90-min. session. Dave Zabrowski, of Fisher-Nickel and the FSTC, illustrated modeling starting with lab data, and then Adam Jarboe, Yum! Brands, explained how he uses field submetering to augment lab data and refine real-world numbers related to actual locations, climates and so on. Independent facilities-efficiency consultant Vern Smith, who does a lot of work with Fisher-Nickel and the FSTC, examined the relationship between the kitchen and the rest of the facility, and Nick Shaffer, U.S. Green Building Council, gave the audience the heads-up on LEED changes for ’12.

Filtration Sessions & New Icemaker Study

Day Two kicked off with not one but two sessions on water filtration. Brian Madden, Sandstone Group, went in-depth for an hour on the contaminants and strategies for filtering for cooking equipment. In the following hour, Scott Hester, Refrigerated Specialist Inc., took the same kind of detailed approach to the much different issues in filtering for refrigerated equipment.

As the meeting began to wind down, it didn’t really wind down. Don Fisher, of Fisher-Nickel and the FSTC, kept the audience on its toes as he took the crowd through never-before-seen test results on icemaker performance and a look at how demand-shifting can save operators a lot of money by producing ice at off-peak hours.

With all the hosted sessions finished, a full round of roundtables let attendees move around for follow-up discussions.

Stay tuned to FER for future articles on the individual sessions.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Water Filtration For Cooking And Refrigeration