Operators adapt to shifting menu trends, service models

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Perfect for retailers looking to adapt their offering, Alto-Shaam’s Vector® Multi-Cook Oven cooks food up to two-times faster than traditional ovens

The team at Alto-Shaam has taken a record number of calls in the last two months as convenience stores, supermarkets and other retailers adapt their business models to become foodservice destinations.

Specifically, one of Alto-Shaam’s grocery store customers has been roasting and selling more than 30 chickens a day, using Alto-Shaam’s Vector® Multi-Cook Oven, as demand for high-quality, freshly-cooked ‘food to go’ continues to increase. A single Vector oven cooks food up to two-times faster than traditional ovens.

“Demand for smoking equipment has also increased as foodservice outlets look to expand their menu variety and return to traditional favorites,” director of consultant services Ryan Norman said. “The biggest trend we’ve seen is a return to familiar foods. More and more, customers are choosing mashed potatoes and other key comfort staples.”

“In times of crisis and stress, people want to feel safe and reminded of happier times with food that is easy to take out and keeps hot and fresh until home.”

Reopening on-premise dining

As states begin to lift Safer at Home orders and restrictions, the foodservice industry also continues to work together to reimagine what safe on-premise dining looks like for customers and employees.

A handful of trends and issues will likely compound both in the short term and beyond. With concerns over the state of the economy, the safety of employees and customers and business survival—foodservice operators continue to show resiliency as they expand off-premise programs and redesign their dining experience.

Rethinking space

One of the primary concerns is maintaining 6’ of social distance between customers and employees. Capacity in the dining room and kitchen will need to be reduced, as operators redesign and alter the layout of the kitchen and dining room. Many operators have built outdoor dining spaces, limited party sizes and required reservations to better manage social distancing and plan out traffic in the dining room.

In the kitchen, ventless, compact and multi-functional equipment could be the solution for enabling social distance between cooks. Exclusive Vector® H Series Multi-Cook Ovens feature up to four ovens in one, allowing operators to cook a variety of food items simultaneously while reducing labor and simplifying steps in food production. H Series ovens offer a compact, 21” footprint and are certified ventless, allowing operators to place the oven anywhere—to free up crowded kitchens, especially under kitchen hoods—while increasing food production. Featuring Structured Air Technology®, Vector ovens cook food at the highest quality, two times faster than conventional technology to keep up during peak service times.

Streamlining workflows

Equally important to the kitchen layout, kitchen workflow and reducing steps in food prep and production will be key. The right holding equipment allows operators to prepare menu items in advance, so that the kitchen is not crowded and employees are not working on top of each other.

Operators can keep product at its perfect serving temperature and hold for hours without overcooking or drying out. Alto-Shaam’s exclusive heated holding cabinets with Halo Heat® technology make time stand still in terms of product quality, with gentle, radiant Halo Heat® technology.

Maximizing off-premise success

Moving forward, takeout and delivery will continue to be a key driver for restaurants—as customers re-acclimate to dine in and operators look to diversify their business and maintain revenue streams. As restaurants continue to focus on building to-go programs in the coming months, long-term sustainment will be essential.

By choosing simple, easy-to-install equipment, operators can ensure that their existing equipment and systems are not pressured as they reopen their on-premise programs.

The easiest way to ensure that to-go orders do not disrupt future dine-in service is to dedicate a specific area for to-go orders. An existing kitchen design might not have room to duplicate equipment, which is why compact, ventless systems are crucial to support delivery and takeout programs. Ventless equipment provides added flexibility in terms of kitchen design.

Operators are able to place this equipment anywhere outside of a traditional kitchen hood—maximizing floor space while improving efficiency and workflow. From cooking to holding to chilling, Alto-Shaam offers a complete system of foodservice equipment designed for delivery and takeout programs.

Further details:

As you support customers reopening, Alto-Shaam is available to provide guidance tailored to their challenges and needs—from streamlining labor to kitchen layout to menu development and more. For more information and ongoing support, contact Ryan Norman at ryann@alto-shaam.com.