Ei Group’s head of food Paul Farr says latest kit offers pubs a route to abandon ‘undesirable’ frozen pizza

Ei Group’s head of food, Paul Farr, believes the chain’s recent investment in a new pizza concept for its sites reflects a growing need for the pub industry in general to move away from fully-prepared frozen pizza and embrace equipment such as stone base deck ovens that are driving current trends.

As revealed by FEJ last month, Ei Group’s new ‘Barrel Top’ concept is aimed at giving publicans across its 4,500 sites access to a range of different kitchen templates and catering equipment so that they can deliver a quality pizza offering to boost profits.

Ei Group worked alongside distributor YCE Catering Equipment and pizza equipment supplier Linda Lewis Kitchens (LLK) to devise the layouts and equipment package, opting for the Cuppone Tiziano pizza oven and Cuppone Paulo pizza oven.

The single-deck shallow-depth electric Tiziano was selected for its compact structure and flexible capacity features, including its stacking ability, while the Paulo, which is a larger oven, is needed for higher volume proposals and was chosen because of its success and reputation with other pizza brands.

Mr Farr said: “The humble pizza is going from strength to strength with no end in sight to its popularity. Everyone seems to know what makes a good pizza and the UK is in love with the Italian dish, with newer tastes and flavours proposed all the time. The fully prepared frozen pizza is no longer acceptable or desirable, the more popular choice now is the fresh pizzas. The pub industry has to keep up with the trend, by introducing the addition of stone base deck pizza ovens to kitchen proposals.”

He added: “The modification of adding pizza ovens is where Linda Lewis Kitchens has come into its own. LLK have immersed themselves in all things pizza related, meaning they are the one stop shop specialists. Whether you need: dough mixers, dough presses, ovens or light equipment they have it covered, educating us all on the best ways to create and deliver the most successful pizza offerings.”

Specialist support will also be offered to guarantee publicans are fully proficient in all aspects of developing and running a commercially attractive pizza operation.

After deciding to target the casual eating market by using a tiered approach on range and price,

3i Group tested its recipes in the Cuppone ovens at LLK’s development kitchen in Oldham (main image). It then used the facility again to launch the franchise proposal to its Food Council.

Full roll-out is now underway across its estate for those that want to adopt the concept.

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