Restaurant operators have never faced so many challenges over the past 12 months, from opening and closing kitchens at short notice, to transitioning to delivery and click and collect, as well as managing social distancing from a back-of-house perspective. How much of a profound impact will it have on the way kitchens are designed this year? In this special series gauging the views of industry leaders, David Glover, UK & Ireland country manager at Wexiödisk, shares his thoughts.
Which kitchen trends do you expect to have the most impact on your business or solutions during 2021?
The trend for food delivery kitchens and takeaway services shows no sign of slowing down in 2021 given that customers will be making the most of staying at home. This change in the way consumers are eating OOH will therefore make a notable impact on future kitchen designs and the equipment required.
For example, there will be less – if any – requirement for daily washing of dine-in designed crockery, cups and glasses. Instead, daily washing of larger pots, pans and prep equipment will become the priority. This means that investing in a warewasher that can be seamlessly loaded with the most-used pieces of equipment and utensils will be hugely beneficial for kitchen efficiency.
The Wexiödisk WD-8 Hood Machine is a great example of a warewasher that fulfils these very requirements, thanks to its large 695x505mm washing compartment which has specifically been designed to wash larger items, such as baking sheets, thermos boxes and transport containers. Operators also have the option to add a foldable shelf which allows several baking trays, pots or pans to be washed at the same time.
Have you seen customers significantly adapt their kitchen operations in any way over the past 12 months? If so, do you feel those adaptations are here to stay?
As well as reducing staff numbers to adhere to social distancing in kitchens, the rise of Covid-19 has meant effective hygiene has been, and continues to be, the utmost priority for foodservice operations in order for them to operate safely.
Not only do Wexiödisk machines deliver uncompromising hygiene with every wash cycle, but they also feature an automatic hygiene control with built-in HACCP to ensure that current hygiene requirements are met.
Do you expect the Covid-19 pandemic to have a lasting effect on any aspects of the way commercial kitchens are designed in 2021?
The Covid-19 pandemic will have a lasting effect on various aspects of the way commercial kitchens are designed going forward. Kitchens will need to be more spacious, whether this means finding bigger premises, reducing staff numbers or sourcing equipment that is as compact as possible. At Wexiödisk, we do all we can to accommodate to the individual design needs of a venue, no matter their size or style.
What do you think will be the most important factors for operators when it comes to kitchen design in 2021?
An important factor for operators when it comes to kitchen design is considering the impact equipment can have on controlling air flow in kitchens and washrooms. By doing so, operators will be able to create a more comfortable, safer and cooler working environment for staff.
Our world-renowned ECO-FLOW (heat recovery) option is an ideal solution for kitchens that wish to effectively control air-flow and reduce ventilation requirements. It works by cleverly converting steam from the warewasher into energy. This recycled steam can then be used to power the warewasher in an efficient way rather than solely relying on electricity, thus allowing an operator to save energy whilst improving the climate in the dishwashing room for a cooler and better ventilated environment.
When using this option in combination with a Wexiödisk hood-type model which uniquely angles steam towards the back of the machine – and not into the washroom or face of the user-operators will further improve air flow and the working environment.