What is in this article?:
- The latest trends in restaurant equipment efficiency
- Kitchen of the future
Heat recovering ware-washing systems and lighting technology help reduce energy costs and increase efficiency.
Kitchen of the future
Talk about your notion of the ‘kitchen of the future.’
Zabrowski: During the last 10 years we’ve seen a tremendous improvement in the technology available for commercial kitchen equipment, and we’re adding a greater degree of control, better insulation and better heat transfer efficiency in appliances to get more flexibility and production out of kitchen appliances than we ever did before. The traditional cook line with built in redundancy and extra appliances that do just one thing is now changing with the use of appliances that are not that new but are gaining momentum or are more mature, such as combination ovens, or induction cooking.
One of the frustrating things about this industry is that everyone is so focused on first or upfront cost, and that ensures that you have the lowest-efficiency technology. We really want to get away from that conversation and talk about total cost of ownership. Do we really need 12 pieces of equipment on the line?
[With some multiuse equipment] you do have to change the way the menu is designed and the way food is produced, but we’re seeing more of that.
Another area where we are seeing innovation is fryers. Larger fryers are now efficient, with three baskets instead of two and faster recovery times. A single 18-inch fryer could replace a double bank of 14-inch fryers.
Anything else that is new or interesting in equipment efficiency?
Zabrowski: Other new technologies on the horizon include energy efficient charbroilers [with] a lid and burners that cycle down when it is closed. Charbroilers [typically] are on all day — though they are not cooked on all day — because of their long startup times.
The new design incorporates a thermostatic controller that reduces energy consumption when the lid is closed while keeping the cooking grate at around 650 degrees Fahrenheit. For the next phase of development, we are working with Gas Technology Institute to add an emissions control that would convert grease from the cooking process to water and carbon dioxide. Another advantage [of the hood] is that it reduces [waste] heat so that the kitchen stays cooler.
Young: Also [gaining momentum are] dishwashing machines with heat recovery systems. Instead of venting all the heat into the dish room, these systems are capturing it and putting it back into the machine so you don’t need to use as much hot water and the room is cooler. More and more dish machine manufacturers are getting into these technologies.
Zabrowski: Our ventilation manager said a [conventional] hooded dish machine puts out as much heat into a room as a charbroiler.