SHORTLIST: Operator of the Year for Equipment Innovation

Operator of the Year for Equipment Innovation

The Operator of the Year for Equipment Innovation, sponsored by Jestic Foodservice Solutions, acknowledges that the introduction of new equipment to a kitchen — be it in the form of cooking, refrigeration, warewashing, beverage or any other category — can have a profound effect on a foodservice business’ operations.

This award recognises the time, investment and sheer hard work that goes into rolling out innovative equipment across multiple sites.

We are delighted to announce that the 2020 shortlist includes the following operators:

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Farmhouse Inns

The Greene King brand has invested heavily in innovative equipment to enhance kitchen operations and improve food consistency and quality across its 70 sites. This has included the roll-out of EKA combi ovens from Italy, which were specifically identified to produce best-in-class home-made Yorkshire puddings. Other strategic equipment choices that have benefitted its operations include the deployment of Hobart steamers to produce fresh steamed vegetables consistently and expediently. The introduction of targeted equipment has helped support Farmhouse Inn’s mission of providing a vast range of tasty pub favourites as well as a traditional daily carvery with a choice of fresh vegetables and succulent roasted joints of meat.


London-centric Gail’s Bakery has demonstrated how the very latest cooking technology can deliver multiple benefits across an estate that now spans more than 60 units. Energy efficient Unox Bakertop ovens have been chosen to achieve an extremely even bake while maintaining accurate temperature, vital for ensuring consistency throughout its stores. Gail’s is now utilising many of the advanced features offered on the ovens including Data Driven Cooking, which has enabled it to create and upload recipes to all its sites remotely and instantaneously, preventing any unnecessary loss in productivity. Downloadable energy consumption reports provide it with access to vital data that it has used to reduce wastage and increase profits.

McMullen & Sons

Hertfordshire pub group McMullen & Sons’ aim has always been to keep the Great British pub alive and as well as brewing 100% natural British real ales it has done that by creating new menu ideas based around a platform of six different food concepts. This has been supported by investments in kitchen infrastructure, including the installation of a combination of Unox Cheftop combi ovens and Evereo hot food preserving units into a number of food-led sites. These units have been built into a single column, offering its pub sites the most effective solution in terms of cooking and holding menu items while helping to maximise margins on food costs.


Nando’s has embraced networked cooking, enabling an entire fleet of appliances to be controlled and monitored remotely. Key performance metrics can be measured from a central point and menus can be altered across multiple sites. Having the ability to track every single appliance it owns has also resulted in some significant maintenance gains, with service partners able to identify units at risk of breaking down before they do so and either schedule a site visit, or fix them remotely in some instances. The technology, which is enabled by Rational, provides it with detailed analysis of how each machine gets used, allowing it to offer restaurant managers precise suggestions about how to improve usage on each one.


The QSR sector is a highly competitive one where attention to detail back-of-house is key, as Wingstop demonstrated with a review of its oil management processes that led to an investment in Frontline’s Smart Oil Management system. It automatically pumps used cooking oil to a storage tank ready for collection, eliminating the risks of staff handling hot oil. The used oil generates an income for Wingstop as it is recycled into biofuels and renewable energy. The storage tanks are constructed from heavy-gauge stainless steel, feature anti-theft electronic locking mechanisms and are linked to a data-fed web interface, giving it a complete picture of used cooking oil volumes and a valuable aduit trail of its assets.

Eligible senior industry professionals will be invited to vote for their winner in an online vote over the next two weeks.

The winners of each category will be announced throughout Kitchen Equipment & Awards Week, which commences Monday 30 November.

Tags : Kitchen & Equipment Awards Week
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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