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High-touch intersects high-tech in concepts within concepts

Foodservice manufacturers introduced an array of new equipment at last week’s NAFEM Show in Anaheim, much of it boasting digital controls and “smart” operating systems. Several companies showed attendees how to integrate their equipment into a concept-within-a-concept as a way of solving a problem or exploiting an opportunity. Here are three examples.

1. Small but complete kitchen

Manitowoc displayed a kitchen that included a combi oven, convection oven, beverage center for making smoothies, under-counter refrigeration, induction cooktops and panini press in a compact 15-square-foot-by-15-square-foot footprint. Recipes and seasonal menus can be downloaded from a remote location to service multiple units. This connected kitchen, Manitowoc calls it, allows operators to create “mini food factories” in smaller urban locations, kiosks and c-stores.

2. An instant gelato store

Carpigiani set up three gelato stations, showing attendees how to jump on the trend. The first was a traditional gelato scoop shop, the second produced gelato pops that could be customized with coatings and a third combined soft-serve gelato with espresso, creating the Italian dessert drink, the affogato. The options were aimed at fast casuals, coffee cafes and pizza places.

3. Mixology suite

Crafting a cocktail with fresh ingredients can takea lot of labor and time. Perlick enlisted mixologist Tobin Ellis to take some efficiencies out of the process. His “bartender cockpit” has built-in refrigerated drawers to keep garnishes, fruit and herbs within easy reach; insulated bottle wells to chill juices, mixers and selected spirits; a sectioned bin to organize different styles of ice; and a prep sink and tool caddy combo. Modules can be added or subtracted to fit the bar space.

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