Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2019

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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24 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JANUARY 2019 a pro you should know No one is cracking open a can [anymore] and we're seeing chefs squeeze as much out of the season as they can. Cris Gross VP Sales and Marketing, Stafford-Smith Inc. L ast fall Cris Gross assumed a new role at Stafford-Smith Inc. as VP sales and marketing. The new role comes with a renewed focus on street sales. After two decades as regional sales manager, the FE&S 2009 DSR of the Year says he is enthused about building even closer connections to customers and helping guide the slew of Stafford-Smith new hires into the industry. FE&S: You have a strong passion for food and restaurants. How do you stay on top of all the changes in the industry and equipment? CG: I love to try new restaurants as often as I can and take a look at how our customers are embracing new technologies and think- ing outside of the box in their four walls. But we don't just focus on independents, we serve all markets as a company, even including grocery and military. If we're going to be successful as a dealer, I believe the more bases we cover the more we are able to ride out shifts in the industry and economy. FE&S: What are some trends or pat- terns you're seeing in the restaurant industry? CG: Well, being in Traverse City we see trends months after the big cities see them, but overall, there continues to be a big push toward fresh and local. No one is cracking open a can [anymore] and we're seeing chefs squeeze as much out of the season as they can. There's also a little bit of a chicken craze happening around here. One brewery we work with decided to steer away from the traditional gastropub burger and meat shop concept to focus on some craft fried chicken items and sandwiches. FE&S: How are these trends impacting equipment selection? CG: If fried chicken is on the menu, there will of course be a need for more pressure fryers and holding units, and maybe less space allotted to griddles and charbroilers. In terms of the farm-to-table movement, this has impacted equipment on the stor- age end. We've had to help these restau- rants go heavier on their walk-in cooler space, or in some cases, just add more reach-in and undercounter refrigeration throughout the kitchen. Another trend we're seeing on the equipment side is this continuation of sous vide, but in a format that will [more easily] pass health department inspections. We're working with Wahlburgers, which is Chef Paul Wahlburg and his celebrity brothers Mark and Donny's Boston-based burger concept, and they have invested in multi- use ovens, which look like traditional cook- and-hold ovens but that use controlled- temperature water vapor to cook foods slowly and consistently. The staff can load up one of these full-size ovens with 400 raw burger patties at 10 in the morning, set the oven to cook to 135 degrees F, medium rare temperature, and then, just before service, the burgers are flash-grilled in 60 seconds to finish. This has dramatically saved on ticket times during the lunch rush. We're seeing more chains like these focus on driving down ticket times while also maintaining high food quality. Cris Gross VP Sales and Marketing Stafford-Smith Inc. Kalamazoo, Mich.

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