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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62 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JUNE 2018 functional by design bars. If space allows, he suggests non-iced, rectangular bars with duplicate offerings on both sides as the best way to avoid bottlenecks. "For optimum flow and speed of service, the best solution is always to have a two-sided bar with plenty of space around it," Scelza says. "That way, people can use one side or the other, and everyone doesn't have to be moving in the same direction, waiting for the person in front of them to make their selections." Ensure Ease of Access Indeed, designing space around the salad bar to ensure easy access by guests and employees alike is as important as the design of the physical bar itself. The last thing any operator — or guest — wants is to have a beautiful, appealing salad bar that's frustrating to use or service due to traffic jams and clogged aisles. Determining flow begins with how and where to access plates. Depending on the operation, desired guest experience and budget, options here can range from utilitarian-style portable dish caddies or plate lowerator trolleys positioned at the end of the bar, to custom built-in shelves beneath the countertop. And, in operations where the salad bar includes a takeout option, plate storage planning needs to incorporate space for packaging and other to-go supplies as well. "You have to think carefully about how all guests will use the bar, and carefully design for throughput. In most cases, it requires more space than you may think you'll need," Huber says. "Usually, a 36-inch aisle width is sufficient. But for salad bars or other areas where someone will stand at a counter or a tray slide, I usually try to give at least four feet of space: one foot for the person standing there and three feet around them so traffic can keep moving. In a restaurant situation, you also want to be sure to allow generous space between dining tables and the salad bar area. Nobody wants to be sitting trying to enjoy their meal with other guests hovering around trying to use the salad bar nearby. You have to think about things like that or you'll have real problems." Real problems can occur, too, with service and mainte- nance if accessibility isn't carefully considered during the design process. Whether it's finishes or equipment, Scelza advises taking a compartmentalized approach. "Salad bars can require a lot of service and maintenance," Scelza says. "If something breaks down, and something always will, how will the technician get in to repair it? You don't want to have to disassemble the whole bar. Everything has to be easily accessed for quick and isolated repair, wheth- er it's in the hot area, cold area, lighting or even finishes, which need to be chosen not just for looks but for durability. Ideally, every component should be able to be accessed and dealt with independently of the others." Accessibility also comes into play, of course, for guests. That means proper container sizes and placement, and spoons and tongs that are sufficiently long and appropriate to each food item. That not only ensures that customers can comfortably reach what they want but also helps with clean- liness and with cost control, as portioning is easier. Supplies of clean utensils should be stored within or near the bar for easy and quick replacement by staff. To that end, one custom solution that Scelza's team has developed for salad bar clients is to install small water wells for spoons, similar to those used in ice cream parlors, which have water running continuously to keep utensils clean and fresh. The ingredient side requires an eye toward both quality control and aesthetics. For instance, to keep greens looking fresh and appealing, Scelza suggests incorporating automatic misters, similar to those used in retail produce and seafood displays, above that section of the bar. And, just as with display kitchens, he says salad bars increasingly are designed with high-end, natural-looking finishes and strategic lighting to increase their appeal. "It's all about making sure the food on the bar looks great because when it does, it sells itself," Scelza says. FE&S This U-shaped, tossed-to-order salad bar design includes steaming and grilling stations for proteins and identical sections on two lines for quick and easy access to refrigerated ingredients. Image courtesy of DS Concepts

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