High street chain Le Pain Quotidien has said it is “pleased” with the outcome of a refrigeration trial that could end up saving it thousands of pounds in running costs a year if it chooses to roll it out across multiple sites.
The company, which operates 28 outlets and made sales of £38m last year, installed an integral refrigerated grab-and-go cabinet from Aircell at its Soho to display sandwiches, baguettes, salads and soft drinks.
Over a three-week test period, energy consumption of the cabinet was measured as 33% less than the store’s existing open front multi deck display.
This reduction in energy consumption would represent an annual saving in electricity costs of £365, according to Aircell, which is part of the same Lowestoft-based business that produces the Adande drawers.
Le Pain Quotidien’s estate manager, Steve Howard, is delighted with how the unit performed, so much so that the chain purchased the prototype ‘Crivat’ Aircell cabinet after the trial ended.
“I am pleased with the performance of the trial cabinet in terms of consistent temperature and lower energy consumption,” he said. “We have enjoyed positive feedback from guests, regarding product presentation.”
Le Pain Quotidien has not publicly stated if it intends on putting the system into more of its stores. As it stands, the cabinets aren’t available commercially until the first quarter of 2018.
The ‘Crivat’ model used by Le Pain Quotidien features patented technology that delivers a tighter holding temperature, meaning that food stays fresh for longer while minimal cold air spillage improves customer comfort levels.
It also has a larger shelf display area than competitive display cases with similar footprints, ensuring that there is more product on the shelves. This reduces the potential for shelf stock being exhausted and consequent lost sales, especially during periods of peak trading. It also reduces the frequency of shelf restocking.
During the trial, cabinet air temperature was measured to a bandwidth of 4°C compared with an average range of 11°C in the store’s existing open front multi deck.
Ian Wood, managing director of Applied Design & Engineering, which owns Aircell, said: “We are delighted with the results of this field trial, which has demonstrated that the ‘Crivat’ Aircell cabinet offers tangible benefits for food to go operators. We are currently conducting further field trials in the UK and mainland Europe to gather further performance data. We are expecting our grab-and-go cabinets to be available commercially in the first quarter of 2018.”