As one of the most innovative suppliers of combi and bakery ovens on the market, Unox is well aware of the different elements that go into new menu development. Investments in dedicated UK-based resources are supporting operators as they diversify and expand, as UK managing director Scott Duncan explains.
Menu development is such a vital part of the work that operators carry out. Do you think the pandemic has fundamentally changed anything about the core process of menu development among multi-site foodservice operators?
One of the ways that operators have been able to survive has been through flexibility. Where businesses might have had a set menu before, they’ve had to think outside of the box and be more flexible. In many cases this meant changing what they were doing on the menu and it’s been fascinating to see the level of menu diversification as operators have adapted to survive the pandemic.
It’s also important to consider the challenges around staffing and the operational impact of that. Menus have been restricted or diversified to take these challenges into account, noting how much time each dish takes to prepare and what staffing resources are available.
You get involved with a lot of menu development work with your customers. What is the most rewarding aspect of this?
I’m proud of the role that Unox has played in enabling such flexibility. It’s fantastic to see the way that some of our customers have not only survived the pandemic, but they’ve opened new revenue streams, diversified their business and in some cases are thriving as a result.
Which parts of the market would you say have been most active in terms of new menu development during the past year?
I think the casual dining and QSR sectors in particular have had to be more flexible than most. They’ve been the ones impacted most by the shift towards click & collect/delivery and they’ve been the ones bringing new products onto existing menus to satisfy changing customer habits.
What sort of support does Unox offer to multi-site foodservice operators in the UK?
Obviously our products are key and innovations such as the Bakerlux Speed.Pro and Evereo hot fridge both demonstrate our commitment to innovation, with an in-house global R&D team of 42 engineers working on pioneering solutions such as these.
However, I’m a big believer that we need to do more than simply supply innovative products. It’s really important that we work alongside our customers to help innovate their menus and that’s why we’ve invested in a team of active marketing chefs and a development chef.
They work closely with customers to help drive menu innovation, get the most from their equipment and produce dishes in the most time-effective, cost-efficient way. By combining the expertise of our team with the innovative possibilities of our products, we’re helping operators to diversify their menu and maximise profits, even through the difficult times.
Are there any areas of support or functions that you are seeking to expand or adapt moving forward?
We’re continuously investing in the UK with the support of the global Unox business. The active marketing chef team, who operate regionally, has been increased from two to five people and we’ve also added two key account managers who work directly with our dealer partners and large groups.
They offer an Individual Cooking Experience, which is an onsite one-to-one bespoke cooking session with the end-user cooking their food and using the oven the way they would use it in real life. It’s not just a demo, it’s a personalised session for the chef to really dive deep into the equipment.
Unox is known for its range of combination and bakery ovens – can you give us any insight to new product developments or innovations that might be coming down the line?
We’re looking forward to launching the new ChefTop Mind.Maps Big Compact Plus at this years’ trade events. It’s a high-performance trolley combi oven offering maximum performance and all the benefits of the existing range but with a width of just 650mm.
Unox is sponsoring the Operator of the Year for Menu Development at the 2021 FEJ Awards www.myunox.com