EDITOR’S VIEW: Patience is a virtue for the box-ticking equipment buyer

Andrew Seymour grayscale

It is fair to say that any individual with responsibility for equipping kitchens across multiple sites has their work cut out these days.

It’s no longer enough to replenish a kitchen with appliances that only get the green light because they come in under budget or which haven’t been extensively road-tested in a live environment prior to use.

If you think I’m exaggerating then you only have to look at a job advertisement Greene King recently posted on its website for an equipment and specifications manager.

The chain wants somebody to join its food development team in Burton on Trent, supporting its head of food operations in evolving its various brands through catering equipment innovation and proven kitchen template designs.

The chosen candidate will be part of a team whose aim is to ensure that all menus have cutting-edge food offers with the equipment and operational requirements to support them.

But operational requirements alone are not enough. Any equipment also needs to meet company policy on carbon footprint, generating maximum efficiency in terms of gas, electricity and water. And with 3,000 sites to its name, any decisions taken on this subject can have a sizeable impact.

Greene King lists almost two dozen areas of responsibility for the role, ranging from delivering detailed programmes for all trialled catering equipment to ensuring kitchens comply with existing food safety legislation.

The chosen candidate will need to “continually challenge existing suppliers’ ways of working”, while benchmarking key existing equipment lines and making sure specified kit is cost-effective and fit-for-purpose for both the managed and leased side of the business.

Accountability, certainly in the big chains, lies at the centre of the decision-making process these days, and with so many boxes to tick a scientific approach to specification is integral.

The only thing the ad didn’t mention, but which the chosen one will need in spades, is patience.

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