Foodservice equipment manufacturer Manitowoc has upped the stakes in the food-to-go market by revamping its Merrychef Eikon e2 series to create its smallest but most powerful high-speed oven to date.
The new Eikon e2s unit represents the first major overhaul to the brand’s popular e2 range for more than three years and will be available to the market from the end of October.
After consulting key customers during the development of the line, the brand has addressed a number of design issues to create a product that it firmly believes is best-in-class.
One of the most notable enhancements is the redesigned cooking chamber, which delivers ease of cleaning and improved safety thanks to its seam-welded cavity and large rounded edges. And despite having a width of just 356mm, the internal capacity of the chamber has been increased to the extent that it can now accommodate a 12-inch pizza, which its predecessor couldn’t, and twice the number of toasted sandwiches.
As well as responding to customer feedback over cleaning and loading, Manitowoc has successfully reduced the noise the unit makes during operation and standby, making it ideal for front-of-house locations such as cafés, sandwich bars and delis.
Speaking to FEJ yesterday at Manitowoc’s Sheffield factory, where the oven is made, national sales manager Steve Hemsil said the product reflects the way the market has developed over the last few years.
“One of the biggest growth areas in the catering industry is the coffee shop and the food-to-go aspects, whether that is a large supermarket or a small concession in a train station or an airport. So we created the unit with a number of briefs, which were based preparing fresh food hot and quickly, with aesthetics and from a noise and size point of view.”
Enhanced cooking techniques means the unit can perform up to 20 times faster than a conventional oven, according to the firm, while warm-up and cool-down times have been improved and ovens can now be sited next to each other.
An icon-driven touch screen interface promises simple operation, while a USB memory stick can be used to transfer more than 1,000 different cooking programmes, to ensure menu consistency for operators with multiple locations.
For the first time, Merrychef is also making the units available in red and black to go alongside the classic stainless steel appearance, while the overall frame of the product has been slimmed down to give a sleeker look.
“The aesthetics of it are very important for those that are using it front-of-house,” said Hemsil. “Now customers have the ability to either tone them into their surroundings or to at least make them fit alongside some of the other equipment they have.”