Foodservice Equipment Trends: Manufacturers Grab Awards, Kitchens Getting Smarter

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Foodservice Equipment Trends: Manufacturers Grab Awards, Kitchens Getting Smarter

By Bob Ingram - 04/04/2010
In addition to configuring state-of-the-art foodservice equipment, several manufacturers are making news as well in the awards department of late. Here’s who got what from whom:

  1. Two Hobart products – the Bluetooth Combi oven and the AM Select Ventless warewasher – are included on the Food Consultants Society International (FCSI) “10 Most Innovative Products for 2010” list. Hobart’s patent-pending Energy Star qualified AM Select Ventless is the first ventless door-type warewasher to feature an energy recovery system that can save $5,000 in energy recovery, reduced HVAC use, and elimination of a vent hood and fan installation, as well as saving as much as $1,400 annually in energy and water at five hours of use daily. Hobart’s Bluetooth-enabled Combi oven offers convection, steam, and combination modes from one device and there is an optional barcode scanner and software kit to create and program recipes like scanning a barcode.
  2. Champion Industries has received two 2010 Kitchen Innovations Awards from the National Restaurant Association for their Heat Recovery with TempSure technology and new flight machine. The Heat Recovery System increases incoming water temperature from 60F to 110F with no need for a hot water heater and is available on Champion’s multi-tank flight machines, which use as little as 84 gallons per hour, and whose patented Quad Rinse System has a production capacity of over 19,000 dishes per hour.
  3. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has presented Continental Refrigeration with a 2010 Energy Star Promotion Award, ITW Food Equipment Group-North America with a 2010 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award, and named Manitowoc Foodservice as a 2010 Energy Star Partner of the Year. The Energy Star awards recognize companies for their efforts in educating customers about the use and impact of energy-efficient products.

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High-tech, smart kitchens aren’t just a trend, but a necessity for the future, according to Howard Kosel, VP of high performance kitchens at Manitowoc Foodservice, who says that the cooking equipment of tomorrow will be expected to multi-task, cook, steam, and brown, while refrigeration will become more versatile, meaning that freezing, refrigerating, and chill-blasting technologies will be integrated into one piece of equipment.

“Today’s appliances are smart,” Kosel points out. “They self-diagnose, anticipating pending failures, and then readjust themselves. The equipment monitors temperatures around the clock. If temperatures fluctuate beyond acceptable parameters, the system sends out an alert and will make appropriate adjustments.”

He goes on that the kitchens of the future will thrive in fast-paced environments. Accelerated cooking techniques cook food in 5, 10, and sometimes 15 times faster than conventional methods. By combining hot forced air and microwave technologies, rapid cooking is achieved. Multi-tasking hybrid ovens minimize the kitchen footprint and can increase output, allowing menu variety in a limited space because the ovens are capable of cooking a broader range of products, so operators can save on space and energy while delivering high quality food faster.

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Electrolux has introduced the air-o-stream Touchline combi oven that is the result of 1,200 interviews with end-users all over the world. Meals can be prepared with a single touch of the user-friendly High Definition Touch Screen that features 262,000 colors, 30 languages, and internationally-recognized icons and food images.

“The new intuitive interface is perfect for all types of customers and kitchens requiring Automatic, Manual or Pre-Set cooking. Operating the oven can be as easy as you want it to be,” says Angelo Grillas, director of marketing for Electrolux Professional North America.

The oven’s highly-efficient, low-pollutant gas burners allow for CO2 emissions that are10 times lower than limits set by Gastec (the Dutch government certification, which is the strictest in Europe) and 100 times lower than the European Standard Limit.

The air-o-steam Touchline also offers several additional green features: gas burners and a heat exchanger that increases efficiency, ensuring up to 20 percent gas consumption savings compared with traditional burners; Low Temperature Cooking (LTC) controlled by the patented Lambda sensor, that reduces food weight loss by up to 50 percent, thus eliminating significant waste; and the new automatic cleaning green functions that allow users to choose between the “Skip Drying Phase,” “Skip Rinse Aid,” and “Reduce Water Consumption” options, thus optimizing savings and reducing operating costs up to 50 percent.

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A compact checkweighing scale that features all stainless steel construction for easy wash-down and is NSF, USDA-AMS certified, and OIML approved is available from Alliance Scale, Inc.

The Alliance/OAHAUS Model CKW Checkweighing Scale has a dedicated target key and a numeric key-pad for fast entry of set points and the flexibility for positive or negative checkweighing, with 2-second stabilization. Ideal for food products sold by net weight, this compact table top scale has a stainless steel NEMA 4X/IP66 wash-down enclosure, with a stainless steel column and a 304-stainless steel platform and frame.

The unit lets users enter set point by range, weight, or percent variance from target and has a bar graph and audio-visual alarms. Offered with a space-saving 10” or 12” footprint, it operates on 100/240VAC (NiMH battery optional). An RS232 interface is standard and an RS485 is optional.

The Alliance/OAHAUS Model CKW Checkweighing Scale is priced from $1,095.00. More information at