Conveyor belt servicing, AI waiters, reduced restaurant capacities – all these factors could impact the way operators run their kitchens as the market reopens, and in turn lead to an abundance of surplus catering equipment.
That’s the view of secondhand equipment specialist Ramco Foodservice, which claims to have seen a surge in enquiries from operators looking for ways to manage unwanted kit as they adjust to a radically different out-of-home market.
Prior to the pandemic, the surplus catering equipment market was forecast to reach £250m within the next few years, but that figure is likely to be surpassed if many outlets fail to reopen after the crisis comes to an end.
Recent CGA research suggests 32% of senior executives are anticipating the need to permanently close pub, bar and restaurant sites.
Paul Fieldhouse, who leads Ramco Foodservice’s business development, said it is already seeing operators remodelling kitchens to focus on takeaway services or reducing capacity to reflect market conditions.
“Fast food and takeaway chains are piloting reopenings, but not without a significant change to the way that food is prepared and served.
“We expect to see the introduction of conveyor belt service, AI waiters and a reduction in restaurant capacity, which will create an abundance of surplus catering equipment following reopening. Coronavirus has accelerated demand for the disposal of redundant equipment.”
Mr Fieldhouse revealed that in the last two weeks, Ramco has also completed two large decommissioning projects.
One was from the closure of a contract caterer’s central production unit (CPU), the other a London NHS hospital kitchen transitioning to cook-freeze catering techniques.