For a business centered on blended beverages, keeping noise in check is as much a consideration as functionality when choosing equipment. “If you have four or five [standard] blenders going, you can’t hear the person taking your order. It’s really loud,” says Davis Jaeger, food scientist and product development manager of Smoothie King.
Yet, it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. “We’re a lively brand and our cafes are upbeat,” says Lake Dawson, product development chef for Tropical Smoothie Café. “We found that we really liked a little bit of the noise from the blenders, because it helps fold the consumer into the culture of the on-the-move, active lifestyle.”
In addition to managing sound, restaurant operators are looking to new blender models to speed up production, avoid cross-contamination and create housemade sauces and other concoctions beyond drinks. “In order to get the biggest return on investment, we’re trying to incorporate [blenders] on both sides of the business,” says Dawson.
Six of his locations are testing blenders with colored bowls to separate sweet smoothies from savory sauces and potential allergens. The colored bowls aren’t just reminders for staff to keep ingredients separate, they’re visual cues that reinforce to customers with allergies that the restaurant is taking care to avoid cross-contamination, Dawson adds. “What we find is that it helps the customer trust us,” he says.