Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUN 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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JUNE 2018 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 61 experience desired, especially with regard to speed of service. Menu is always the first consideration, according to Huber. What kinds of ingredients will the salad bar feature, and how diverse will it be? "You have to understand the menu direction from a big-picture standpoint," Huber says. "Then you can start to dig into how many and what type of wells you might need, what to think about in terms of mechanical infrastructure, what size pans make sense and what the configuration might be based on available square footage." Huber adds that designing flexibility into the space is crucial, noting that equipment advancements make doing so easier today than ever before. "You absolutely need to be able to convert food wells from refrigerated to heated," he says. "In the old days, the way you did that was simply put heated wells in throughout and when you wanted them refrigerated you'd just turn them off and ice them down. Now, several manufacturers offer hot/cold wells and even hot/cold/frozen wells that give operators ultimate flexibility." Daniele Scelza, CEO of DS Concepts, a foodservice consultancy with offices in San Antonio, Texas, as well as London, England, and Rapallo, Italy, also encourages clients to think through the full scope of items they'd like to feature on the salad bar early in the planning phase. Usually, that means much more than just the salad components, per se, and designing for them at the outset makes for a more efficient, attractive and user-friendly experience. Specifically, Scelza says, consider whether the salad bar will include both hot and cold items and if the facility plans to include add-on features such as a carving station, antipasti area, bread station and hot foods. If the station will include hot foods, Scelza always recom- mends avoiding steam, opting for induction equipment and keeping hot food areas segregated. "It's best to avoid steam and humidity," Scelza notes. "That's especially true today because pretty much all equip- ment has electronic components that can be damaged by heat and humidity, but also because the steam generated could ad- versely impact the fresh items on the bar. Induction is best in that setting, and it's also safe and easy to clean. But regardless, whenever a salad bar will incorporate both hot and cold items, we design it so that the technical spaces below the counters for each area are isolated and independent of each other. And you have to always make sure that all of the equipment is well ventilated. Compressors that are inside a closed environment under the salad bar need to be able to breathe." After menu considerations, volume and speed of service represent the next biggest strategic drivers for salad bar de- sign. How many customers could use the salad bar during a given service period, and what are their expectations for get- ting in and out quickly? While a full-service restaurant can design for a more leisurely experience, for example, ensuring fast, convenient service — often incorporating takeout — is a big consideration for other operators. "One B&I project that we did had roughly 4,000 people needing to come through in an hour every day. It was a very meeting-intensive work environment. Most of the custom- ers got out of one meeting at noon and had to be back for the start of another one by 1 p.m.," Huber says. "A lot of through- put was required, a lot of takeout was required, and the opera- tor wanted to offer a very wide variety of items on the salad bar as part of a health-focused menu platform. That type of scenario dictates a very large salad bar because generally when you allow self-service at a salad bar, people don't necessarily move as quickly as employees would. They take their time making up their minds about what they want. You have to keep that in mind and give yourself enough real estate." In most cases where volume is high and speed is impor- tant Huber recommends freestanding designs over straight- line salad bars positioned against a wall. Providing 360-degree access, with generous aisles all around, ensures that guests can comfortably "leapfrog" around each other to get to the items they want to access on the salad bar. "The trade-off, however, is serviceability," Huber adds. "Straight-line salad bars are designed to be cleaned, re- freshed, refilled and maintained from behind and can be placed within steps of back-of-house refrigeration. That's great operationally. Freestanding, island-style bars are a more efficient use of space, but they require more built-in refrig- eration, separate drainage and electricity, and employees can't actually be cleaning and restocking during service without getting in the way of guests." Scelza also prefers freestanding salad bars in instances where volume will be high and speed of service important. And while utilizing ice on bars can be attractive and effective for maintaining temperatures, this format is more complex and labor-intensive, especially in freestanding island salad Large scatter-style salad bars with many points of access help to facilitate both variety and throughput in corporate feeding and other large-volume settings. Courtesy of Foodservice Consultants Studio

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