With high staff turnover and unskilled labour a challenge for operators, the need for highly-automated catering equipment that is incredibly easy to use and transcends any language is becoming a key priority. FEJ’s first ever special report on innovative, ease-of-use equipment provides a unique breakdown of the main areas of the kitchen and the solutions now available to make life easier. In part two, we look at induction technology.
The mainstream availability of induction technology has helped to revolutionise the commercial kitchen, bringing precision and speed to pan and hob work in a much more sustainable way.
To ensure consistency, an operator needs to invest in quality: the reliable performance of induction depends on build quality, quality of components and use of the correct pans, but also the use of ingredients that are of a consistent standard and portion size.
Induction can play a part in achieving a uniform result with even heat distribution”
“Whether a high class restaurant or high street chain, induction can play a part in achieving a uniform result with even heat distribution,” says Trevor Burke, managing director of Exclusive Ranges, which offers the Menu System range of induction equipment. “If investment in a bespoke cooker is undertaken, the range will be tailored to your menu style and Menu System’s automatic pan detection allows for optimum efficiency in delivering a constant standard,” he adds.
Burke recommends that anybody considering induction for the first time gains some hands-on experience before making any decision on purchasing so that they can fully understand the benefits the technology can offer.
“Features from Menu System, such as its patented and award-winning SLIDECONTROL and automatic pan recognition, really need to be tried to be appreciated. Induction needs to be as intuitive as possible for chefs to allow them to spend less time looking at dials and knobs and concentrate on the food they are cooking. Menu System’s induction tops have an indicator of where the power on the hob is most effective, highlighting the number of coils, and therefore the optimum position for pans. There is also an LED indicator for high visibility of the power status.”
The array of products that Exclusive Ranges supplies from Menu System, whether bespoke built or standalone, offers a combination of the intuitive feel and technical accuracy that any operator would want.
“Multi-coil induction, were each pan can be monitored and set at the same level every time, offers consistency, while the pan detection system that permits only the energy required to go through to the pan, maximises efficiency,” explains Burke. “We also have access to technology that enables connection to Menu System’s internal monitoring network across Europe’s leading systems that will give live and recorded data; really valuable for the chain operator to be able to monitor performance at a whole new level.”
First and foremost, before investing in induction, operators need to fully consider their needs in terms of menu style, type of operation, skillset in the kitchen, trading hours, budget and even the pan sizes they will use.
Burke suggests that some cheaper options available in the market will likely mean restrictions on the amount of time a pan can sit on the hob before overheating. “With Menu System there are no such limitations as the pan detection and energy management systems will monitor the power needed. If smaller pans are dictated by the style of menu served then multi-coil induction will be needed for maximum pick-up of the pan,” he says.
What technological developments are you seeing that will ultimately make induction equipment easier to operate for chains?
“We are expecting to see programable hobs in the future that can be set for multiple site operation in much the same way that commercial microwaves and combination ovens can now be pre-set with programs for certain dishes.”
3 key things to take away
1. Purchasing the best pans an operator can afford will have an effect on the consistency they can expect to achieve and help to make induction as intuitive as possible for chefs.
2. Multi-coil induction, were each pan can be monitored and set at the same level every time, will offer consistency.
3. Pan detection systems that permit only the energy required to go through to the pan help to maximise efficiency.