Front of house light equipment such as displays, cutlery, crockery and other funky gadgets, play a vital part in the smooth running of a foodservice operation. While dealers would usually concentrate on back of house and prime cooking equipment in a kitchen scheme, they may also be called upon to supply these smaller items, and so they need to keep up with the relevant trends and requirements.
According to Foodservice Equipment Marketing’s (FEM) marketing and sales manager Mark Hogan, finding the right balance between function and aesthetics can be tricky: “Although the aesthetics are important, it’s vital that the equipment can withstand the demands placed on it. For peace of mind and reliability, always buy equipment from a reputable source.”
He cautioned dealers: “If you’re supplying replacement equipment it’s tempting to go for like-for-like, just for convenience. But it’s always worth considering what else is available. Modern equipment is often easier to use, safer, more energy-efficient and more reliable.”
When it comes to displays, he feels end users are looking for equipment that draws customers in and makes the most of the space available, as well as being able to be adapted to suit changes in menu, settings and demand. “Modular display systems, such as FEM’s Pujadas CUBIC range, allow operators to purchase components over time and build the display up – and change it – as the venue, menu or budget dictates,” he said.
For the niche area of barware supply, Mitchell & Cooper’s Bonzer brand is a well-known name. “Bars are often a venue where the delicate balance between style and quality needs to be struck,” said MD, Guy Cooper. “For those with a cocktail offering in particular, the need for equipment to exude style and class helps to attract and impress potential patrons. With such equipment being used so often however, and with speed and panache at the forefront of mixology, the importance of quality and longevity can’t be underestimated.”
With the Bonzer name having been established for 87 years, Cooper advised distributors: “Looking for equipment from a reputable manufacturer, with a proven track record for quality, is therefore the best route to ensure that items purchased perform well and last. A key element to consider however, is how such equipment will fit within the bar environment, and if the style of said equipment matches the quality promised.”
Elsewhere, melamine specialist Creative Retail Display believes that more distributors should look outside the box for display supply. Design director Steven Pendrous detailed: “A common mistake that we see on a regular basis is real wood, porcelain and enamel products being used front of house. The display may look stunning at first, but then the problems start; the wood splits, the porcelain chips and the enamel flakes off. This is one reason we have focused so heavily on developing easy to clean, durable, and user friendly melamine alternatives that are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, and provide the end user with an excellent return on investment.”
On the subject of trends he added: “We have seen a huge sway, over the past few years, away from the clinical and somewhat utilitarian approach to displays, with the advent of a more eclectic and vibrant mix of texture, pattern, and colour. The warmer tones of copper and wood have also featured heavily, creating a more natural look that accentuates that ‘just been made’ theme.”