Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAR 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 92 of 107

MARCH 2018 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 91 market spotlight allowing food truck operators to cook on board," Myrick says. Chicago's requirements became less restrictive around 2011. The market grew quickly during the summer of 2011, he says, increasing from 18 food trucks in Chicago at the start of the summer to roughly 40 by summer's end. "Television coverage and loosening regulations have helped increase food truck popularity and growth," Geller adds. Part of the credit for the rampant growth of food trucks goes to the evolution of food truck cuisine. What started as mainly Mexican fare, such as tacos and burritos, pizza and sandwiches, became a virtual smorgasbord of food types, ethnic fare, signature offerings and high-end gourmet dishes. Yet, because of space and time constraints, these menus generally focus on six to eight options total. "Some trucks have larger menus, and it depends if it's just handheld or plated food being offered," says Myrick. "The key for food truck owners is to determine a target market and plan the menu based on demographic preferences." As with brick-and-mortar restaurants, food trends tend to be regional. According to Geller, taco trucks are more prevalent on the West Coast, while the East Coast sees more deli fare, and southern states have a proliferation of barbecue. Silverstein's food truck menu originally consisted of Asian-inspired tacos, sliders and bowls. Today, the menu includes a variety of unique tacos, such as a banh mi taco with braised pork belly; a pad thai taco with authentic sauce, cilantro and peanuts; and a deep-fried cauliflower taco with brown sugar, arugula, coconut and toasted peanuts. Equip- ment on Silverstein's food truck includes a flattop griddle, 2-burner range, 40-pound deep fryer, 3-well steam table and salad prep table. The truck's tall boy refrigerator stores perishable ingredients. Not an Easy Road Even with more relaxed regulations, food truck operators must regularly contend with a number of hurdles. Over- saturated markets make it even more challenging to create a presence or make it difficult to secure a place to set up a food truck for business. And the winter months in states like Minnesota can put a damper on business. "I put in the time and was willing to suffer more than most," Silverstein says. "When I started my business, I didn't take a paycheck for two years and thought outside the box." Restrictions vary greatly by state and city and navigat- ing them can be challenging. For example, some states, like California, require all the food production to occur inside the BLENDERS ● Keep in mind, the more powerful the blender, the more expensive it will be, so calculate automation correctly. ● Take noise factors into consideration. More power and faster blending speeds mean higher decibels. Covered blenders offer a quieter solution. ● Because blenders work with electromag- netic waves, this equipment can create ex- cessive heat in small spaces. Ensure correct ventilation or the heat may transfer back to the blender and cause damage. ● Consider blender placement, ingredient placement and sink location for rinsing the blender. All three impact production efficiency. COUNTERTOP COOKING EQUIPMENT ● Today's countertop cooking equipment offers a variety of options geared for smaller foot- prints, such as griddles, grills, fryers, ovens, induction units, microwaves and toasters. ● Smaller equipment geared for specific pro- duction needs also is available, including countertop steamers, tortilla grills, waffle makers, gyro machines, crepe griddles, sandwich grills and rice cookers. ● With space at a premium in this segment, choosing equipment that can prepare more than one menu item or large amounts of a main offering is essential. ● Consider recovery time in relation to speed of service. LOW-BOY REFRIGERATION ● Low-boy refrigeration, or low-profile refrigera- tors, include undercounter and worktop units or any equipment that is horizontal and low to the ground. Chef bases and refrigeration equipment stands also fall into this category. ● Space considerations are key, as this type stands 36 inches tall, with 28- to 73-inch widths available. Operators can choose from one to three doors, depending on the application. ● Low-boy units are ideal for food truck use, as these models have accessible compres- sors that ensure proper airflow, despite being boxed in from all sides. ● Operators requiring additional workspace should consider a worktop type, which has a 40-inch-high surface on top designed for light food prep or storage. ● Chef base refrigerators feature two, four or six drawers and have reinforced steel top surfaces to hold heavy cooking equipment. Depending on production needs, this setup can increase efficiency in tight quarters. STORAGE ● Because improperly stored items can nega- tively impact a kitchen's efficiency, choosing the right amount and type of units will ensure smooth workflow and optimum customer service. ● Assess the shelving environment, since different materials hold up better in certain climates than others. Some shelving listed as NSF may be suitable for dry environ- ments but is not recommended for use in wet or humid areas. ● Trucks with uneven floors may require storage units with adjustable feet. What to Weigh When Purchasing Food Truck Equipment

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