Tesco packs cooking equipment punch to boost food-to-go sales

Tesco Extra branch, Swansea

A Tesco Extra store in Wales has undertaken a massive equipment refit in a bid to create a combined hot delicatessen and food-to-go department that greets customers as they arrive in store.

The branch, in Llansamlet near Swansea, wanted to provide an enhanced and more convenient shopping experience for customers seeking to buy takeaway food. The hot food-to-go menu offer includes a wide range of products, including whole chickens, chicken portions, pastries, ribs, pizzas, hot sandwiches and Panini, freshly cooked using the latest combi and baking ovens.

The supermarket brought in Uxbridge-based foodservice provider, Fri-Jado UK, to install the cooking and merchandising equipment, and helped it get to grips with some of the logistics challenges the re-fit posed, including limited available floor space, an open plan cooking area and the high visibility of cooked product.

Fri-Jado UK supplied an eight-spit rotisserie stacked with a six-grid combi oven and a six-grid convection oven stacked with another six-grid combi oven.

The rotisseries and the combi ovens incorporate a pass through feature, which allows raw product to be loaded from the rear of the oven and cooked food unloaded from the front, eliminating the risk of cross contamination.

The pass through feature also creates kitchen theatre, maximising the visibility of the cooking process for customers.

The combi ovens were supplied with environmentally responsible fat separation systems, which prevent grease passing into the drain, thus eliminating contamination of the watercourse. In addition, Fri-Jado UK installed two pizza ovens stacked, one on top of the other, in a space saving configuration.

For the display of cooked food, Fri-Jado UK installed an eight foot wide two-tier serve assisted hot counter and a four foot wide two-tier self-service hot counter, both from the company’s HD range.

The counters have square glass profiles, which together with internal illumination enhance the visibility of the food on display, promoting impulse purchases. They benefit from a combination of hot air and heated shelving, ensuring temperature consistency throughout the cabinet, maintaining fresh product over longer periods, without deterioration in quality or appearance.

Access for service and restocking is facilitated by sliding drawers and flaps on the service side. These also serve to prevent the escape of hot air, maintaining a stable cabinet temperature and promoting energy efficiency.

Fri-Jado UK’s sister company, TEC Line Limited, handled all aspects of the installation and commissioning at the store.

In addition to the supply and installation of the equipment, Fri-Jado UK has played a role in the development of the Tesco hot food to go offer, including the establishment of new cooking programmes for the ovens and rotisseries, following trials at its test kitchen.

The company has also worked with Tesco in the creation of a four-day all-inclusive staff training package, which allows operators to become fully familiar with the equipment used in the store’s hot delicatessen and food-to-go department.

Mike Littlewood, managing director of Fri-Jado UK, said: “Our successful execution of this project demonstrates, once again, our ability to act as a single source of supply for food to go retailers, not only in terms of equipment supply and installation, but also comprehensive after-sales support, including menu development, product demonstrations and comprehensive training regimes.”

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