With an estate consisting of around 1,800 sites nationally — comprising tenanted, leased, franchised and managed pubs — and employing more than 12,000 people throughout England and Wales, Marston’s Inns and Taverns is a leading pub operator and independent brewer.
One of the more recent sites in the company’s estate is the purpose-built Chalkhill Blue pub in Andover, which is part of its growing rotisserie chain of the same name.
Combining Marston’s ethos for quality food and value for money, the kitchen design and fit-out needed to encompass a range of equipment conducive to the informal and relaxed, family dining experience it promises.
Bryan Major, manager of the site, says that with a menu focusing heavily on freshly produced, home-cooked food, the right equipment was essential to providing a quality and level of service which is demanded by its customers.
“As you would expect with a rotisserie restaurant, much of our menu was focused around chicken in one way or another,” he says. “We were keen to ensure it wasn’t just a delicious taste that enticed the customer, but a complete sensory experience. By having a rotisserie in a front-of-house environment, the customer would benefit from the sights and aromas associated with this unique cooking method, as a result of which we knew we wanted equipment that was not only consistent but also looked great.”
We use the rotisserie twice a day for lunch and dinner throughout the week, and with an element of up-selling from the front-of-house team we have found it to be an exceptional aid to increase sales and boost return custom”
As with other establishments in the Marston’s Rotisserie chain, Major was provided with the details of the team at Jestic, which exclusively imports Rotisol in the UK. “With our menu being heavily influenced by rotisserie chicken and with a desire to have the equipment in a front-of-house environment to enhance the intrigue, it was crucial for us to have equipment that not only produced consistent quality but also had the right aesthetic appeal for our customers,” continues Major, who says the Andover restaurant can serve up to 180 covers.
After much time spent researching different products on the market, Marston’s kitchen development team specified the Rotisol Millennium range for the rotisserie chain, with its fully adjustable cooking parameters and tempered glass front doors for style and safety helping to sway their decision.
“As a focal point for customers when they first enter the Chalkhill Blue, the Rotisol rotisserie gives us a real point of difference to other pubs and restaurants in the local area,” says Major. “Being very much a family-orientated establishment, we also find that children are fascinated by the cooking process, often standing to watch while our chefs remove the delicious, cooked meat from the spits. We use the rotisserie twice a day for lunch and dinner throughout the week, and with an element of up-selling from the front-of-house team, we have found the Rotisol to be an exceptional aid to increase sales and boost return custom,” he adds.
The ‘deluxe’ black enamel finish, complete with brass trim on the Rotisol Millenium at the Chalkhill Blue, ensures the appliance stands in pride of place within the restaurant area of the establishment.
But it’s not just the front-of-house team that enjoy the benefits of using the rotisserie, as second chef at the Chalkhill Blue, Craig Paddy, alludes:“The way the Rotisol is able to evenly cook the chicken, producing a really moist, succulent meat that we can utilise in numerous dishes on our menu, is outstanding. It’s not just chicken we cook either — we use the appliance to cook gammon for our ham, egg and chips and delicious ham hock, and for the various joints we cook for Sunday roasts. From a chef’s point of view, the rotisserie also gives us the chance to use a cooking method we may not have experienced before. With precise temperature control and the ability to alter the turning speed, the Rotisol is also extremely versatile when it comes to cooking different foods.”