It used to be you’d find hearth ovens only in pizzerias. These days, operators—from full- to limited-service—use them in a range of applications to roast and sear chicken wings, steaks and burgers as well as bake pretzels, bagels and flatbreads, in addition to plenty of pizza. Hearth cooking is an age-old technique, but a new crop of hearth ovens is making the old-world method more efficient and user-friendly.
The typically raised, angled refrigerated rail holding ingredient pans on pizza prep tables makes them ideal for assembling pizzas. Dispersing toppings onto pizza crusts is easy, and a deep prep area of 14 inches to 19 inches, with cutting board, provides enough room to prep extra large pies. (Sandwich prep tables, on the other hand, have a flat top surface and shallower prep/cutting board area of 8 inches or 9 inches. So while pizza prep tables also work well for burrito, salad or deli prep, the reverse is not true.)
Countertop, self-service hot holding merchandisers are simple enough, but they're also one of the hottest equipment categories in foodservice right now. The reason: These cabinets align with a number of megatrends—including increased snacking, the rise of grab-and-go formats for speedy customer throughput, and more recently, the boom in takeaway and delivery. Operators are placing these merchandisers front and center in school cafeterias and college dining halls, micromarts, convenience stores and other on-site foodservice locations to boost impulse sales of everything from hot sandwiches to burritos to personal pizzas.
While small operations may get by with undercounter warewashers and very large operations might require flight-type machines, medium-size establishments will find that a rack-conveyor warewasher that cleans upward of 200 or more racks per hour often is just right to keep up with output and save labor costs.
Foodservice operators have a couple ways of getting rid of food waste: send it out the back door or down the drain. Food waste disposers are the simplest, most common way to prepare food waste for its trip down the drain. They’re more sanitary and convenient than trash cans; they also reduce facilities’ hauling fees. Some areas even require them.
Automatic commercial ice maker manufacturers faced a double-whammy 18 months ago when new efficiency standards took effect. As of Jan. 1, 2018, all new ice makers had to meet updated Department of Energy Appliance Standards. At the same time, the DOE’s Energy Star program raised the bar to qualify for its seal of approval with the release of its Version 3.0 standards.
If you're drilling for oil or water, the last thing you want is a dry well. Until recently, the same was true for foodservice operators; a dry well on your steam table meant the possibility of food held at improper temperatures, excessive lime and scale buildup, scorched equipment or even a burned-out heating element from getting to hot.