The Operator of the Year for Best New Concept award acknowledges that the UK foodservice market is one of the most vibrant in the world, with new operators, cuisines and business models springing up all the time.
Given the costs and challenges involved with rolling out a new venture, anybody that has successfully managed this process deserves to be applauded. The winner will be the company judged by the industry to have developed the best new foodservice concept.
We are delighted to announce that the 2018 shortlist includes the following operators:
The innovative cafe brand from Compass Group was created to meet the modern foodservice needs of customers and its kitchen operation is set up to support that goal. Temperature-adjustable multideck displays and counters are positioned to achieve a natural, orderly flow to the point of service, while high speed ovens in place of Panini grills allow it to offer a broader hot food menu and ensure each item can be heated in under a minute. Pastries are baked in an on-site combi oven, with pre-programmable controls removing any variables. Dalla Corte coffee machines with grinders that recalibrate after every fifth shot and water filter telemetry bring high levels of innovation to the beverage offering.
Cookhouse & Pub
Whitbread’s new Cookhouse & Pub concept has achieved its aim of delivering the quality food and service of an informal, all-day casual restaurant, with the relaxed vibe and affordability of a pub. Specifically designed to meet the needs of Premier Inn and local guests, the first sites feature an open kitchen design incorporating equipment that allows it to produce everything from oven-fired flatbreads to pub classics and desserts. The brand has also embraced appliances such as Henny Penny Evolution Elite fryers for their consistency, technology and labour saving, as well as their ability to produce outstanding food items from across its menu.
Ei Group has given pub managers across its 4,500-strong estate an opportunity to profit from pizza sales with a kitchen solution that offers them everything they need in one place. The ‘Barrel Top’ concept is a comprehensive package that includes a range of different kitchen plans to fit the diverse requirements and restrictions of its portfolio. A suitable set-up is recommended depending on the needs of the specific site, ranging from a full pizza kitchen with a high capacity Cuppone oven, to a table-top pizza oven, along with quality ingredients. The concept also caters for pubs currently operating without a food offering.
Multi-site travel food operator SSP is responsible for many of the brand roll-outs and new concepts that have taken place in the UK’s busiest stations and airports. This includes Factory Bar & Kitchen at Birmingham Airport, a dedicated concept inspired by the city’s heritage. Its kitchen is set up to serve an array of British classics at speed, while specialist equipment allows it offer a range of wood-fired stone-baked pizzas. The company also opened the first KNEAD coffee and bakery concept, at Euston Station, which boasts an Electrolux-led open plan kitchen where travellers can watch their food being prepared and cooked live. The compact kitchen has been designed to ensure customers are served in under one minute.
Mexican chain Tortilla is always seeking out new and innovative equipment to enhance its operations, none more so than for the launch of its small kitchen format. At only 700 square feet, its Putney store is a compact version of its traditional restaurant set-up, with a firm emphasis on serving grab-and-go customers short on time. Innovative use of prep and counter space, combined with the reliability of Unox combi ovens, means the format can conceivably function in spaces that operators of a similar nature couldn’t. Everything that its kitchen staff require to assemble a dish is designed to be in easy reach, limiting the steps they need to take and driving speed of service.
The 2018 FEJ Awards ceremony and gala dinner takes place on Tuesday 5 June, the first evening of the Commercial Kitchen show, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.