Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2018

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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Page 57 of 100

JANUARY 2018 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 55 s today's foodservice equipment gets more high- tech, training becomes that much more challeng- ing — and it becomes that much more important to ensure operators get the most from their investments. That's why manufacturers' reps and other mem- bers of the foodservice equipment supply chain continue to leverage a cadre of resources, from video technology to test kitchens, in order to step up their educational efforts. "The biggest challenge is getting operators and everyday users to care about the new equipment," says Richard Young, senior engineer and director of training at the PG&E Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif. "You can buy all the top of the line, most efficient equipment on the market, but then you put them in the kitchen with humans. It takes all of us to work as a team to get the users to under- stand and know how to operate the equipment to get the most out of the money spent." Here are a few incentives and best practices Young's team suggests: Offer paid training. Companies that pay for their cook staff to go to a training center or other demo/test kitchen see better results in the long run. Also consider training more managers as a way to combat high employee turnover. Assign leadership over each piece of equipment. That person then becomes responsible for the on/off schedule as well as maintenance and efficient operation. Ownership equals care. Communicate the cost savings. Use visuals like pie charts and graphs to help employees see the difference they make every day when they use the equipment correctly. This particularly resonates with younger employees, who tend to care the most about efforts to help the environment. Align with service and maintenance crews. Young's team points out that some operators might be tempted to hose down a piece of equipment at the conclusion of ser- vice. This may have worked in the past, but today's energy- efficient/high-tech equipment like combi ovens have controls that are not waterproof. Train staff on how to properly clean and maintain foodservice equipment. Seek the best service techs. Energy-efficient equipment (and all equipment for that matter) needs to perform optimally to save on energy and keep operating costs in line. It's best to invest in certified technicians (such as a CFESA technician) to ensure proper maintenance. Also, ensure equipment is installed properly. For example, an efficient fryer could be 20 degrees F off after installation if not calibrated correctly. Consider a preventative maintenance program. A well-thought-out, preventative maintenance program helps avoid performance and energy issues even more. Energy-efficient equipment has specific parts that tend to require more attention, including automatic ignition systems, thermostat controllers, burner blowers, rubber gaskets, condensate coolers and oil filtration pumps. Check inlet water quality. In hard water areas, consider filtering or adding a water softener to lessen the need for constant deliming and descaling and to prevent equipment from breaking down faster. Start at the culinary school level. Teach culinary students how to use newer equipment like combi and high- speed ovens in different ways. Younger students tend to be more tech-savvy and are often more willing — and more excited — about using higher-tech equipment. Using Demo/Test Kitchens Zink Foodservice Group, a manufacturers' rep firm, relies on its six remote kitchens, plus a test site at the company's Westerville, Ohio, headquarters to train operators on a more local level. "Our overall goal is that our customers don't have to drive over two hours to see and test out the equipment," says David Ash, director of culinary operations. Test kitchens offer a chance for potential buyers to conduct presale demos so they already know how to use the equipment when they buy it. The kitchens also offer op- portunities for hands-on cooking, menu testing and recipe development after the purchase. It's often easier for operators to get through a new menu launch outside their own kitch- ens to avoid distractions from day-to-day activities. Ash also travels regularly, training users on equipment after installation and offering follow-up help. This combi- nation of pre- and post-purchase training is key to helping customers get the most out of their equipment. "Our customers are all so different, so being able to offer these different ways to train really helps meet their needs," Ash says. "In a perfect setting, you have two demos — one for general cooking staff and another one for managers and chefs so you can show them more programmability and password-protected features. Roughly a month or two after an initial demo, I will go in for follow-up training as needed." Understanding Different Segment Needs Operator training needs will differ by industry segment, according to Chris East of Chrane Foodservice Solutions, a manufacturers' rep operation that serves Oklahoma and "Chefs are always looking for something new to inspire them because the work can get laborious and redundant at times. Most are always looking for something new to inspire them, and usually it's new foods — but the irony is, if they can understand more about the equipment and find different ways to use it, it changes how they approach the food." — Chef Mark Deusler, Food Service Technology Center

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