Located in the Westfield retail, leisure and entertainment complex in Stratford City, Aspers is the UK’s largest casino. The appliances were specified by kitchen design and installation specialist, Court Catering Equipment Ltd, as part of an upgrade of the site’s foodservice facilities.
Aspers Casino is open 24 hours a day and closes only for a short period on Christmas Day. Its menu offer includes a variety of fast food, such as pizzas, burgers, chicken wings, hot dogs, ribs and cooked breakfasts, which are served in the casino’s restaurant and to players at gaming tables and slot machines. Speed of service and cooked food quality are the driving factors in the Aspers operation and it was these criteria that influenced the specification of the Ovention ovens and the heated holding units.
To meet the high levels of demand for pizzas during peak periods of service, they are cooked in advance, rather than to order. The Ovention ovens provide the capacity to cook two pizzas in less than five minutes. Once cooked, the pizzas are transferred to cardboard boxes and sliced, before being placed in the heated holding units. The castor mounted holding units are then wheeled to satellite kitchens on the gambling floor and the pizzas are served to order, reducing the amount of time spent by valets collecting food from the central kitchen and delivering it to the tables. Aspers Casino has seen a 14% increase in pizza sales since the introduction of the Ovention ovens and the heated holding units.
The Ovention oven uses precision impingement technology, delivering over twice the volume of hot air and better air concentration than conventional conveyor ovens. Food is cooked in a closed cavity, minimising the escape of hot air, for reduced energy consumption. Multiple catalysts break down grease into moist hot air, which is used in the cooking process, for improved quality and healthier product. The catalysts and the fact that the chamber is only open whilst food is loaded or unloaded eliminate the need for costly kitchen ventilation hood systems.
Aspers Casino’s Head of Hospitality, Paul Taylor, reported that the Ovention oven delivers consistently high standards of cooked pizza with a crisp base. He added that the accurate temperature control and humidity system of the heated cabinets keep the pizzas at optimum freshness and product quality for up to four hours.
Paul Taylor also cited simplicity of use as a significant advantage: “Cooking time and temperature are pre-programmed and food is automatically loaded into the cooking chamber with a tap of the user-friendly touchpad. The Ovention ovens have helped us improve productivity and deliver consistently high standards of cooked food quality. Operating around the clock means that there is potential for a large number of kitchen staff to use the ovens and the fact that they are so easy to operate simplifies training and maximises kitchen efficiency.”
Court Catering Equipment Ltd’s Managing Director, Nick Howe, added: “Our brief was to specify equipment which would speed up service and improve the quality of the pizza offer. We looked at various options before coming to the conclusion that the Ovention ovens and FWE heated holding units were the best solution for this specific application. The Gamble team went the extra mile in helping us with this project, including comprehensive product demonstrations and installing the equipment at Aspers Casino for a trial period.”