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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70 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JANUARY 2019 functional by design Lisberger, who specializes in the higher education market, feels deli sta- tions' enduring popularity is due in part to their flexibility and strong merchan- dising appeal. "Customers today are interested in the 'see it, eat it' style of foodservice," he says. "They want their food to have the ultimate in freshness, to see it being made and made just for them. Deli stations deliver on all of that, and they're great opportunities for visual merchandising because of the variety and freshness of ingredients. A well-designed deli station really draws people in." Well-designed stations today, Lisberger adds, in many cases must accommodate broader menus and often must do so within smaller footprints. They also must accommodate what for many operations is a growing percent- age of to-go sales, which may necessitate a second sandwich-making area as well as a designated area or storage unit for staging orders for pickup and delivery. Checking all of those boxes starts with careful review of menu plans and anticipated volume, says Kip Serfozo, whose work has focused on the business and industry, healthcare and hospitality segments as a design project manager at Cini-Little's Atlanta office. "Consultants and designers really need to understand the menu first — everything from how many types of bread the operator wants to offer to the variety of sandwiches planned," he says. "That information, plus an estimate of volume expected during peak service periods, helps to inform how large the station needs to be and how it should be equipped." Variety and Visuals While traditional items form the core of deli station menus, most of those menus now offer much more than sim- ple cold sandwiches with a bag of chips or side of coleslaw or potato salad. Operators often add subs, wraps, pani- nis, along with grilled and/or baked op- tions to the mix. They also offer more side items and toppings, Lisberger notes. "They're covering the standards but incorporating more healthful salad options and bolder, on-trend condi- ments and toppings as well," he says. "All of that impacts design, layout and equipment decisions. Simply offering hot sandwiches, for instance, requires more space and specialized equipment. Keeping the 'see it, eat it' concept in mind, I like to put in conveyor-style ovens for toasting. They offer greater visual appeal than enclosed microwave impingement ovens for hot sandwiches. They do take up more space, but those types of equipment choices, as well as things like rack ovens for baking bread fresh on-site and maximizing the use of glass-fronted displays, add a lot to the station's visual appeal." Perennial deli favorites such as pas- trami and roast beef aside, Serfozo says today's deli menus in general incorporate more fresh vegetables and a broader selection of cheeses, necessitating larger refrigerated sandwich tables. And, while customization a la QSR leader Subway's model remains popular, he sees an emerg- ing shift toward more focused deli menus touting signature sandwiches in efforts to trim labor costs and speed throughput. "Offering the ability to customize sandwiches is still important, but we see operators beginning to move toward offering fewer overall selections and building a core menu of high-quality 'signature' sandwiches," Serfozo notes. "Fully customized, made-to-order sandwiches take a lot of time and labor, so some clients are promoting a slate of maybe six specialty selections with strong appeal in order to speed up service and minimize waste. We're also seeing more demand for built-in grab- and-go merchandisers near the register, where customers can just select a pre- packaged sandwich, side and beverage and quickly be on their way." Whether the menu is small and focused or broad and fully customiz- able, deli stations and sandwich-making lines are relatively simple. Serfozo and Lisberger suggest thinking through the sandwich-building process step by step and laying the line out accordingly. Typically, that means starting with breads, followed by meats and cheeses, and progressing through fresh toppings and condiments. Keeping hot-sandwich-making equipment on the back line helps to keep cold ingredients on the front line fresher longer. Enclosed lower cabinetry ensures ample storage and a neat appearance. Photo courtesy of Cini-Little International Inc.

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