SHORTLIST: Operator of the Year for Innovative Kitchen Design

Operator of the Year for Innovative Kitchen Design

The Operator of the Year for Innovative Kitchen Design award recognises the significance of a well-designed kitchen to achieving a happy team of chefs, impeccable service and outstanding food.

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

Franco Manca

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With dough made fresh on-site every day and its iconic dome-shaped solid-fuel ovens at the heart of the operation, Franco Manca’s template for authentic pizza production has proved hugely scalable as it has expanded throughout London and beyond. Trade at sites in suburban locations soared during lockdown, with its kitchen infrastructure proving agile enough to meet increased demand from delivery and click and collect. Franco Manca has also demonstrated best practice in areas as FOG management, where the roll-out of the latest grease recovery units across its estate has made the cleaning process easier for staff and averted potential closures caused by fat accumulation. 


Itsu has deployed robotic equipment to make significant changes to its on-site kitchens and save prep time, reduce food wastage and speed up the time it takes to serve hot food. The healthy fast food chain’s ‘Store of the Future’ concept limits customer touchpoints and uses the latest technology to quicken orders. New maki and nigiri sushi robots have been introduced to guarantee consistency and productivity. Traditionally, sushi chefs mould nigiri by hand, but itsu’s advanced robot technology removes unnecessary handling, decreases food wastage and increases speed time for production, as one Nigiri robot can make 4,800 pieces in an hour.


Targeted investment within its kitchens has paid dividends for Loungers by allowing it to achieve quicker service times and improved margins. The company, which operates nearly 170 sites, has being working through a major ‘kitchen reset’ project that has seen back-of-house improvements carried out across the estate on a phased basis. Key prep processes have been improved and a focus on developing dishes that are easier to execute at peak times has created more efficiencies for its kitchen teams. Alongside this, the company has continued to add more resource to its menu development team, focusing on ingredient rationalisation and quality. Over the course of the year its dishes have improved and continued to become more consistent.

RUH NHS Foundation Trust

A £100,000 investment in the kitchens at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust has seen the organisation slash its utility bills while significantly reducing food waste. Five new computer-controlled multifunctional cooking systems have replaced an outdated estate of boiling pans used across its kitchens, which has led to improved temperature consistency and halved the amount of time it takes to cook certain menu items. As a result, the RUH is now buying 10% less meat, without reducing the amount of protein served in its dishes. With chefs creating more than 45,000 patient meals a month, the Trust has also seen a significant reduction in energy costs and water consumption.

YO! Sushi

YO! Sushi’s iconic conveyor belt delivery system is fundamentally linked to its kitchen operations, but it has had to rethink the entire set-up in the wake of Covid restrictions. A significant investment in a new ‘to table’ conveyor system and digital ordering system has resulted in a unique and fun dining experience which also helps ensure the safety of diners and staff alike. Customers now order from their mobile to minimise interaction with staff and pay their bill in advance. The kitchen then makes the dishes to order and an interactive traffic light system turns amber to inform customers when their food is on its way and green when the food arrives directly at their own table via a conveyor.

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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