A rapidly-growing natural fast food business with aspirations to reach 100 stores has told FEJ how its investment in a £1.5m production kitchen fitted with the latest catering equipment will transform its operation.
Wrap It Up! expects the purpose-built kitchen to be ready before the summer and said it has gone to great lengths to specify equipment that it believes is best suited to preparing products for the dozens of stores it aims to open in the coming years.
Managing director, Tayub Mushtaq, said it had purposely chosen “top end” kit to help it scale its production capabilities.
Describing some of the items of equipment specified for the kitchen, he said: “We are going for Irinox blast chillers. Irinox only do blast chilling equipment and each blast chiller is £45,000 to £50,000. We are going for Rational combi ovens for cooking as well as Frima for its VarioCooking Centers. Potentially we are looking at Foster and Williams on all our refrigeration, our cold rooms, despatch rooms and freezer rooms.
“We’re putting down polyurethane resin floors and that is alone is £40,000 to £50,000. There is a lot of capital being invested into the central kitchen but ultimately it allows us to scale up and build for the future.”
Mushtaq said the equipment it has selected will allow it to produce the same product that it currently does, but use just 30% of the labour.
“At the moment we cook over seven days for our 12 stores but with the new kitchen that would be two days. Everything is scaled up dramatically. Our chilling capacity at the moment is 10 trays in a blast chiller. In the new kitchen we’ll have two 20-grid Rational trolleys going into two chillers holding up to 80 trays. So you’re talking about going from 10 trays to 80 — that’s eight times the volume.”
He added that the Frima multifunctional system would allow the company to cook 60kg of liquid foods such as minced beef, rice or black beans in less than half an hour, compared with the four hours it presently takes using gas.
“It is much more efficient, much more consistent and most importantly our labour cost will come down by about 60% to 70%,” he said.
As well as providing food for its stores, Wrap It Up! will use its investment to apply for SALSA accreditation as well. If successful it means the company can technically cook products for third party customers, such as supermarkets.