There seems to be no stopping the quick service restaurant sector at the moment, with Britain’s appetite for food-on-the-go providing all the ammunition that operators need to expand their store footprints.
One catering equipment supplier to benefit from this emerging trend is Milton Keynes-based Mechline, which is able to offer a range of solutions for commercial kitchens of all sizes. The brand sells via its third party distribution network to the foodservice and environmental industries, working with partners to provide operators with reliable kit and a premium level of support.
Mechline’s partnership with Leicester-based Hay Innovations is one relationship that is paying dividends in the QSR sector. Hay is currently responsible for fitting out restaurants opened by Pepe’s,the fast-expanding franchise restaurant chain serving spicy Mexican-style piri piri chicken.
The chain is literally flying at the moment, with numerous restaurants springing up across the UK, from Manchester in the north west to London’s south west suburbs. It recently opened a new site in Wolverhampton and plans are afoot to expand in Northern Ireland.
Hay’s role is to fit out the restaurants to Pepe’s exact specifications, which has led it to call on Mechline to fulfil its remit to produce a trouble free, good looking and durable result. Hay Innovations’ managing director, Yahya Ghodanala, is committed to specifying only quality product for what he terms a ‘fit and forget’ outcome.
“We do all the shop fitting from scratch and supply absolutely everything, even down to the cutlery,” he explains. “All the franchisee has to do is provide the staff and open. With 15 outlets already up and running and more planned, we want a headache-free solution and the way to achieve that is not to compromise on quality.”
Ghodanala reveals that Mechline is now its sole supplier for all gas hoses, pre-rinse sprays, taps, gas interlock systems and ADS emergency switches after proving itself over a number of jobs to be superior to suppliers that it has used in the past.
He admits that relying on one company for multiple product lines comes with its own risks, but he is comfortable with the way things are working out. “It goes against the advice my father has always given me: ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’, but I am convinced Mechline is one very safe basket to be in,” he says.
As with most franchising arrangements, Pepe’s has a very defined approach for the way in which new restaurants must look. From a kitchen point of view, Ghodanala says the onus on quality, which is why it has specified Mechline on a repeat basis.
He insists it is “particularly impressed” with the quality of its Dormont gas hoses, as well as the GastroTechniX taps, which are of heavy-duty construction manufactured using high-grade brass finished with durable chrome plating. Ghodanala says the models that Hay Innovations has sourced are easy to clean and extremely robust and will maintain their dependability throughout their working life, which makes them ideal for front-of-house situations.
“Mechline’s German engineered GastroTechniX product range is specifically designed for intensive use in professional applications and offers an exceptional collection of durable, high-quality taps and faucets, all with a 10-year warranty,” he says.
Mechline is keen to note that ‘Dormont by Mechline’ is the only kite-marked gas hose in the UK and is BS669 Part 2 compliant. The hoses are engineered specifically to withstand the stresses on end-fittings when gas equipment is moved for cleaning and maintenance tasks.
From a functionality perspective, the enhanced ‘Safety System Plus’ Dormont gas hose configuration comprises a robust braided stainless steel hose with an anti-microbial PVC coating, as well as a ‘Swivel Max’ system at both ends of the pipe to ensure total joint movement to reduce any stress on the hose. For added safety, the ‘SafetyQuik’ disconnect coupling will only allow disconnection when the gas is turned off and isolated.
“These products work well, do the job and we don’t have to worry that we will be called out to fix any problems,” says Ghodanala.
If Pepe’s continues to expand at its current rate, it looks like Hay Innovations will have plenty on its plate, which is good news for Mechline and its other core kitchen suppliers.