Catering giant BaxterStorey believes flexibility will become a key feature of equipment choice as the business seeks to keep pace with changing consumer trends and new food formats.
Chef director Matt Hay says he regularly receives feedback from the company’s chefs on the latest innovations and insists it’s vital that the firm has an informed view on the latest developments and techniques.
“Years ago it was water baths and they went from having a solid water bath now to just heated circulators, which is interesting. People are always looking at different styles of food. Food is getting simpler and so instead of having five or six ingredients, they’ll have three ingredients and the focus will be purely on those three things,” he said.
Mr Hay said he continues to spend a lot of time assessing how the latest generation of equipment might be able to help the business, whether it be combi ovens or refrigeration.
He cites Adande’s switchable drawer units as one example of equipment that has grabbed its attention lately. “You can have them as refrigeration or they become a freezer or blast chiller, which gives you flexibility.”
The same applies to cooking equipment, where the ability to modify a counter or concept to stimulate customer interest is clearly an advantage. “One day it is a grill, the next day it is teppanyaki, the day after it is induction. We’ve got to be constantly thinking about how we can develop the offer.”
Sustainability is also a key pillar of BaxterStorey’s strategy and that is increasingly extending to equipment and kitchen practices. It has clear guidelines on food waste and recycling, while it has started to gravitate towards things like salamander grills that automatically turn on when a plate is detected underneath. Hay would like to see kitchen designers seize the initiative, too.
“I think they need to be more efficient in the way that they are thinking and not just put in a piece of equipment they can get a deal on. They have got to think about what the client wants from it long term, the longevity of the product and what it is going to do for the environment.”