INSIDE TRACK: The multifunctional solution for today’s foodservice challenges

iKitchen from Rational

A smaller kitchen team, less skilled staff, social distancing, tighter budgets, sustainability commitments, a more diverse menu, a more flexible operation…these are just some of the challenges that living with Covid-19 is forcing on to foodservice operators. And they are also challenges that intelligent, multifunctional cooking systems can help overcome, writes Simon Lohse, managing director of Rational UK.

The pandemic has meant people have left the industry and taken up new jobs. Brexit has seen many of those who had worked in hospitality leave the UK altogether.

As a result, kitchens are trying to work with fewer staff. Some are having to shut down for part of the day, simply to give the team a break. Intelligent cooking systems that can take over some of the work will help alleviate the pressure.

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Using Rational cooking systems is like having extra commis chefs helping in the kitchen, thanks to their artificial intelligence.

An example: both the iCombi Pro and the iVario Pro monitor the food as it cooks, and if staff need to do something, such as turn a steak in the iVario or take cooked food out of the combi steamer, then the cooking systems will alert them. Because the Rational systems save staff time and offer flexibility, they allow fewer people to produce more food.

Multifunctional cooking systems can also help with social distancing, creating a healthier, safe working environment, with the equipment working as an extra member of staff.

Connected appliances bring benefits in terms of social distancing, too, because they reduce human actions in the kitchen.

For example, using our ConnectedCooking platform, there’s no need for anyone to come in to update control panels, as it can be down remotely.  Similarly, HACCP data, such as cooking temperatures, can be collected without even visiting the kitchen.

Different skill levels in the kitchen are another workforce pressure. The iCombi Pro and iVario both feature intuitive operating touchscreens that guide the user through the production sequence, using logical work steps and clear, interactive instructions, making the cooking systems quickly accessible for all staff, including the new generation of chefs that have grown up embracing technology. 

Using our ConnectedCooking platform, there’s no need for anyone to come in to update control panels, as it can be down remotely”

The iCombi Pro combi incorporates a range of innovations that deliver up to 50% higher productivity as well as reducing cooking times and energy consumption by up to 10% compared to its predecessor.

Four advanced intelligent systems provide unprecedented control over every aspect of the cooking process, allowing operators to prepare a range of different food at the same time with precise results.

Similarly the iVario consumes up to 40% less energy and up to 70% lower water consumption compared to conventional cooking methods.

Although connected loads have been reduced compared to its predecessor, it has up to 20% higher searing capacity. Its pressure cooking option, available on iVario Pro models, is up to 35% faster, compared to cooking without pressure.

Some chefs may be concerned by the prospect of working with new catering equipment, moving away from the traditional to advanced technology. With Rational, there’s no need to worry.

We offer a comprehensive support and training programme, both on site and online, so that operators can quickly learn how to use the iCombi Pro and the iVario confidently and efficiently, helping to make them comfortable to embrace today’s challenges.

Want to know more? Rational has recently introduced a series of sector-specific Live online webinars, covering areas as diverse as food to go, hospitals, pubs, hotels and restaurants, which have proved to be both popular and useful for operators, visit to register.

Rational is the Platinum Partner sponsor of the Cooking Platforms category of FEJ Kitchen Excellence Week. For information and brochures, or to find out about free Rational Live demonstrations, call 01582 480388 or visit

Tags : cooking platformsKitchen Excellence WeekRational
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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