Caterer relishes chance to scale after equipping kitchen with latest British kit

Grazing production kitchen

A fast-growing workplace caterer that relocated to a state-of-the-art production kitchen earlier this year could double its business following the investment it has made in additional space and new equipment.

Grazing Food spent more than £400,000 moving from the centre of London to a purpose-built CPU in Bermondsey and managing director, Sam Hurst, told FEJ that it has provided it with sufficient resource to scale the operation as it is probably only utilising 50% of the kitchen capacity available to it.

“We are working six days a week for about 12 hours a day at the moment, but that leaves another 12 hours every day and another whole day that we could be using,” he said. “This kitchen was built with future growth in mind, so while we have got a lot of growth we can do with the set-up we have put in place, we have got quite a lot of expansion capacity as well.”

The cookline is the engine room of the kitchen and contains a 120 litre Blue Seal bratt pan combined with a series of gas cooking appliances from Falcon’s new F900 range. Grazing first saw Falcon’s F900 line up close at a show and Hurst admits it was instantly impressed.

“We liked the added depth you got with it,” he says. “Falcon is a known brand to us, we’ve used bits of their kit before. We liked the fact we were buying British, it was well-priced and it ticked a lot of boxes. In the past we have used Imperial stuff, which is also well-priced and quite solid and basic. We didn’t want to go to up to something that was really super heavy duty, so it was a nice middle-of-the-range ground — solid, expandable and relatively easy to service. It also just looked good, so that was part of the reason as well.”

The other fundamental pillar to its cooking operation is a fleet of Rational combination ovens, including one 20 grid, two 10 grids and a six grid. Space has been left to accommodate more as the business expands.

Hurst says the £400,000 it cost to open the new production kitchens represents a “sizeable” investment. “To be honest we could have blown twice that amount!” he says. “But it is important that we invested because this place is our future. Okay, we have got some Polar counter fridges because they are cheap as chips and come with a two-year guarantee, but actually they are fine and we have used them before. There are some areas where you can get away with a few less extravagant or less robust bits of kit, but for everything else we want it to last. We want to get at least five to seven years out of a piece of kit and for it not to cause us headaches along the way. The last thing we can afford is for a piece of kit to go down and then suddenly we’re not able to get on with the day’s work.”

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