Innovations in kitchen technology, particularly around self-extracting cooking systems, are proving to be a major driver of growth in the contract catering sector, a leading foodservice caterer has said.
Nathan Jones, director and co-founder of H+J, which serves schools, venues and workplaces, said that while clients typically retain control over the equipment their facilities use, it is increasingly providing advice on additional items of equipment that enhance service through improved speed and capability.
“Certainly in recent years we have added a number of high speed contact griddles and self-extracting combination ovens,” he said.” We are seeing the improvements in self-inducting/extracting equipment as being a real bonus to clients who previously thought they could have no primary cooking on site. The manufacturers who have embraced this trend will be the winners.”
H+J, formerly known as Habour & Jones, carries out an annual condition report of all its kitchens and runs the rule over specifications for new equipment. It works closely with a number of manufacturers including Electrolux, Rational, Winterhalter, Bonnet and Foster.
Mr Jones said the days of the traditional big kitchen were “dwindling” and with space at a premium, catering facilities are being squeezed into smaller spaces, particularly in new builds.
“Ventilation requirements and changing regulations to electric and gas mean that you can’t just change the kit when it breaks down; the systems to support need to be reviewed, for example installing a gas interlock system or fire suppression systems which are often required by insurance companies,” he said.