The Airedale Group has completed a project for Drake & Morgan at Heathrow’s Terminal 4.
The Commission is a new 175-seater casual dining and cocktail bar operated by hospitality management company Delaware North.
Since the site is ‘airside’, there are lots of restrictions – for example, getting service engineers in for breakdowns takes time. The airside restrictions were further complicated by build hold ups, resulting in Airedale’s window for installing the kitchen being cut from 10 days to just 3.
Nils Braude is operational director for Delaware North’s travel sector. He said of the outfit: “Installation was challenging, but Airedale put in a good shift and we opened with everything working!
“Space in an airport is at a premium, so the kitchen had to be as small as possible. For example, with the refrigeration we needed maximum storage in the smallest possible space. With the cooking equipment, it had to be fast and compact.”
As it’s a high-pressure site with a constant stream of customers who often want to be served quickly, the catering equipment had to be reliable, efficient and capable of delivering a high performance.
Therefore, Williams refrigeration and Falcon cooking appliances were chosen for the appliance specification.
Being in an airport, the equipment also had to be electric-powered. Braude added: “In the current market electricity is very expensive. So we needed energy efficient refrigeration, and cooking appliances that gave instant heating power, without costing a fortune and creating an unworkable environment.”
The kitchen features a mix of Williams counters and undercounters, for both chilled and frozen storage. There are several specialist models, including a meat cabinet, a fish cabinet and a Thermowell, a chilled countertop unit for holding fresh ingredients safely. There’s also a bespoke coldroom.
“With refrigeration, reliability is key,” said Braude. “Particularly in an airport, due to our huge workload and because we can’t just get engineers airside at the drop of a hat. Williams is top of the range and is known for its reliability. We also know if it does go wrong it can be easily fixed.”
The Commission also has a Williams walk-in coldroom at the back of the kitchen. “It’s a bespoke unit that offers a large amount of storage in a small area,” detailed Braude. “Staff are in and out of it all day and we need the temperature to stay consistent. We use it for pretty much everything that comes up from the stores, for the restaurant and the bar. It’s our holding area, our halfway house. Williams gives us the temperature control we need.”
Airedale national accounts development manager Richard Greasley explained: “Originally the coldroom was specified with integral refrigeration, but during the build it became clear that we’d need a remote system,” he said. “Williams did a great job in turning everything around very quickly.”
Two key cooking appliances are the induction range and the rise and fall grill, both supplied by Falcon. “We looked for equipment that fitted in a very small space, with high production outputs and accurate, consistent cooking temperatures,” said Braude. “Longevity was also very important for us. We don’t want to have to replace the equipment for a good few years.”
Greasley added: “We buy a lot of Falcon kit. We recommended the rise and fall grill because of its combination of performance and energy saving.”
Braude concluded: “The new kitchen is performing very well, very smoothly. All our chefs are comfortable in it, and have been from day one. We’re hitting a very good ticket time for all the food items, which is thanks to the design, but also to the performance of the cooking appliances and the refrigeration that the guys rely on. It’s all in the right place, the workflow suits us really well, and I have a happy kitchen team as a result.”