Industry evolution is driving innovation in the foodservice equipment world, writes Steve Maahs, president and COO at Alto-Shaam…
In the span of a year, the foodservice industry has been tested and challenged like never before.
As highlighted by the latest research data from Technomic, the pandemic has transformed consumer behaviour on a truly global scale, further accelerating trends including the shift towards off-premise offerings, as well as the adoption of new solutions and technology that enhance foodservice operations.
The pandemic has forced restaurants, caterers and all foodservice operators to adapt their entire processes and offerings.
Forced closures and dine-in restrictions mean that more and more consumers are turning to off-premise food options.
The shift is primarily driven by an increase in delivery, narrowing the gap between delivery and takeout.
The rise of curbside pickup contributes to higher takeout, with just under half (44%) of consumers saying they have been using curbside pickup more often than before the pandemic.
Creating greater efficiencies
For many operators, the need to identify greater efficiencies in space and food production has presented one of the biggest challenges.
Essential efficiencies have included the reduction of costs, waste and labour, as well as catering to social distancing measures, while maintaining food quality.
Versatile and multi-functional equipment can play a key role in maximising operations.
In particular, we have experienced increased demand for more compact, ventless and multi-functional equipment to expand off-premise programs and to reduce operating costs.
Our Combitherm combi ovens and Vector Multi-Cook ovens, for example, allow operators to execute a variety of cooking applications while maximizing food quality and consistency, even when cooking in high volume.
Additionally, Alto-Shaam holding solutions with exclusive Halo Heat technology are designed to safely hold food at its optimal temperature.
High quality holding equipment has helped our customers streamline processes in to-go programmes, from takeout and delivery to grab-and-go- across industries, such as supermarkets, c-stores and quick service restaurants.
Managing limited time offers
Menu innovation also continues to play a key role, with increased demand for new offerings and limited time offers (LTOs).
For operators, managing an LTO has many challenges, the greatest of which is logistical, and ensuring consistency of delivery across multiple outlets.
Today, however, technology is helping to make life easier. We launched ChefLinc, our cloud-based, remote oven management system, to put operators in total control of their operation wherever they are.
With intuitive recipe management, pushing recipes from the cloud to ovens not only eliminates the likelihood of keystroke error, but also the need for unnecessary traveling to manually program recipes into ovens.
Although the crisis is far from over, Alto-Shaam will continue to launch new solutions and technological innovations that support operators in realizing greater efficiencies and improving long-term profitability.
Equally, we will continue our commitment to providing the highest level of service and support for our customers and partners, including offering more virtual and in-person events – to meet them where they are.