What equipment do commercial kitchens need right now to make their day-to-day operations easier and more efficient?
Guests are very ‘value focused’ in times of crisis. As a result, factors such as health, freshness, regionality and craft become more important to them. A new appreciation of food and dining emerges, leading to a new and lasting awareness of and respect for the day-to-day work of my colleagues in the catering industry. Pasta making and fresh vegetable processing machines are just as important as equipment that supports modern cooking processes while retaining as many vitamins and nutrients as possible. On the subject customising, front cooking with mobile indoor systems is very popular with guests and delivers a genuine ‘wow’ effect. Digital technology can optimise HACCP processes, and it makes the efficient documentation and management hygiene concepts possible.
What kitchen trends and commercial catering developments are you observing?
Sous vide, overnight cooking and technology for the automatic identification and control of cooking processes are in more widespread use. Hybrid concepts that combine microwave, oven, and grill, have proven to be valuable to produce snacks. Equipment that allows kitchen operators to provide customised concepts also have a promising future. 3D printers make it possible to produce multiple perfect replicas of the same product. The continuous optimisation of modern self-cooking or vario-cooking centres means that they deliver practical everyday support and are a source of new ideas for the production teams. Requirements in other areas will become more stringent. For example, we will have to focus to a greater extent on to-go concepts with sustainable crockery or return systems, fully automated vending machines and digital order and payment systems.
What is the role of digitalisation in the kitchen equipment segment?
I believe the digital transformation will happen very quickly. Digital food recognition technology linked to the POS system will become the norm, customer flows will have to be documented and controlled, and we will be analysing consumption behaviour/food choices and creating production and personnel forecasts on the basis of the results of those analyses. In kitchen production areas it will be even more essential to introduce technology that compensates for the shortage of skilled personnel and auxiliary staff. Multifunctional connected machines will be necessary to meet customer and guest requirements and expectations. Also, good technology can help kitchen operators to meet the increasingly stringent requirements of health and safety, energy efficiency, personnel and waste management.