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INSIDE TRACK: The pandemic has accelerated commercial kitchen design to a place far beyond its years

BioCeptor system

Imagine a kitchen where food products last 50% longer, cross-contamination is a thing of the past, and effective waste management is everywhere – as standard! This concept might sound like a fanciful hope, or hospitality pipedream, but in fact, it is attainable now… in part because of the pandemic, writes foodservice equipment innovator Mechline…

The coronavirus pandemic will go down in history as one of the most challenging moments for our industry, there is no doubt, but the post-pandemic technology boom is now on.

The wealth of understanding garnered over the last 18 months has helped accelerate commercial kitchen design to a place far beyond its years – the kitchen of the future is now!

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And front and centre are the principles of flexibility, sustainability, and safety…

Change is becoming more and more frequent in kitchens – whether it is in response to an evolving menu, food trends and attitude shifts (e.g., nutritional value, vegan choices), or a change in people’s behaviours (takeaway anyone?).

Kitchens must be able to adapt and adapt quickly – just look at dark kitchens! And with flexible design comes flexible equipment, which is smaller, portable, modular, and more intelligent.

This year, operators made the switch from manual taps to non-contact taps and basins, and installed additional hand wash stations, in response to the pandemic and the need to prevent cross contamination.

Thanks to the development of adaptable mobile variants, restaurants now have hands-free basins that can be moved between locations without fixed utilities, both front and back of house.

They are also able to transform existing basins quickly into more hygienic, hands-free solutions, due to ranges like Mechline’s BaSix which includes a conversion kit.

Sustainability is another driver of leading-edge kitchen design. With food miles, food waste and green cleaning to consider, businesses are under more pressure to be responsible, as they are increasingly held accountable by their customers and, inevitably, government intervention.

Although ‘sustainability’ might seem like a buzzword of the 21st century, that, it is not; you will find sustainability is now a prerequisite in most commercial kitchen designs, even down to what Food and FOGS (fats, oils and grease and starches) waste systems you install!

Many operators have made the move to food-life extension technology as a way of getting the most from existing stocks, to maximise their life and avoid wastage.

Take the HyGenikx air and surface sanitisation system as an example, which  has been shown to prolong the shelf-life of perishable fresh food by an average of 58% (approximately 7.5 days)—with some produce proving to last as much as 150% longer.

Operators have also opted for more environmentally-friendly FOGS management systems, which use a combination of technologies to minimise the amount of waste collections required, and, as a result, trucks on the road!

Mechline’s BioCeptor combines the traditional principles of entrapment and retention, with the natural process of bioremediation, to permanently degrade FOGS onsite –a combination that has been shown to extend the length of time between collections from 28 days to 12 weeks (versus entrapment alone!)

Good commercial kitchens have always prioritised cleanliness and safety, but the pandemic prompted the need for even more efficient and dependable hygiene measures. Now, not only must kitchens meet hygiene standards and regulations, but also customers’ expectations of a very safe eating experience.

In addition to implementing enhanced handwashing procedures, businesses have needed to ensure that their cleaning routines are maximised to keep surfaces free from viruses and contaminants which could spread infection. The installation of air and surface sterilisers/sanitisers has helped foodservice environments tackle dangerous airborne particles that can spread infection or contribute to bad odours.

For example, the advanced and compact wall-mounted HyGenikx unit is a plug and play option that will quietly go about its business—keeping staff, customers, food, and surfaces protected from viruses and bacteria, even in the hardest to reach areas.

The importance of flexibility, sustainability and safety has clearly emerged as fundamental principles of any kitchen design. With the lessons learned, equipment developed, and technologies adopted this year, operators have been able to accelerate their preparedness for the future.

And now? Kitchens can reap the rewards of better hygiene, minimal food waste and improved operational efficiencies!

Mechline is the Platinum Partner sponsor of the Kitchen Safety & Management category of FEJ Kitchen Excellence Week. For information about Mechline and its range of products, including the HyGenikx air and surface amplification system, call 01908 261511 or visit www.mechline.com/HGX

Tags : HyGenikxKitchen Excellence WeekMechlineSafety & Management
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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