CASE STUDY: Storm-hit diner bounces back with help of high-end microwaves

Kay Gelder, owner, K’s Burger Bar

The owner of a burger bar that was very nearly wiped out by a huge storm explains how the  business has reinvented itself and developed a menu supported by the latest high-end microwaves.

It may look like the archetypical sleepy seaside town, but Wells-Next-The-Sea in North Norfolk has seen its fair share of dramatic events over the years. Early in December 2013, the town was hit by the largest storm surge in decades.

Kay Gelder, owner of K’s Burger Bar based right next to the quayside, had to act fast. “We were told to move all our equipment to the rear of the shop, but in the end that’s where the floodwater came in.”

Luckily not everything was destroyed, with the diner’s Samsung commercial microwave ovens amongst the equipment that survived. While not having to replace every piece of equipment was one less thing to worry about, the size of the task facing them proved daunting. Following the flood, Kay considered quitting, closing the diner her family had owned since the late 1950s, but her daughter convinced her to reopen.

“I love the 1960s, so when my daughter suggested a new Sixties theme, it was perfect,” says Gelder. Six months later, and the diner – now renamed simply K’s – was back open for business. Cheerfully decorated with memorabilia from the decade, and with a menu that combines traditional American diner fare with fresh local seafood, K’s has retaken its place at the centre of the town’s traditional seaside entertainment offerings.

Like most seaside towns, business is highly seasonal, but during summer they see a brisk trade with hungry holidaymakers stopping in to grab a quick meal throughout the day. Service needs to be quick and reliable, and to that end Kay’s Samsung commercial microwaves play a vital role.

“We’ve currently got two Samsungs,” Gelder explains. “John Lee of Ripples in North Walsham advised us on the best equipment, and it was him who recommended them to us. We’ve been very pleased with them. We use them for so many things.”

From reheating baked potatoes to cooking chilli or melting cheese sauce, Kay’s CM1919 1850w and CM1519 1500w microwaves help her and her staff keep things moving quickly during the busy summer lunchtimes.

“The rush usually starts about ten in the morning,” she explains. “It then keeps going steadily until about two in the afternoon, but then we’re open until ten at night, so they’re in use throughout the day.”

Constructed from stainless steel, with simple manual controls and five power settings, the microwaves are tough enough to withstand the demands of any commercial catering kitchen. The interior cavity can hold a 2/3 gastronorm pan, with 30% more capacity than standard compact commercial microwave ovens. The flexibility provided by this extra space is invaluable in helping meet demand during the busiest times.

Despite this level of use, the Samsungs are more than capable of handling the pace, claims Gelder. “We’ve had one of our Samsungs for nearly 20 years. We did try one from another brand, but after a while it developed faults, so we ditched that and replaced it with another Samsung.”

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