Every foodservice site in the UK now has to be Covid-safe to operate. So with many venues featuring catering equipment front of house, how have these appliance manufacturers adapted their offerings, and how can this translate into sales for dealers?
Safety and hygiene are clearly now the top priorities at foodservice sites, as they try to attract custom in the wake of the pandemic. Diners need to feel it is safe to eat out, so many catering equipment manufacturers have turned their attentions towards products that encourage social distancing and good hygiene practices.
One sector company pivoting towards this is CED. It has added products such as crowd control barrier posts and electronic dispensers into its portfolio.
Sales director Stuart Russell detailed: “We have developed, manufactured and supplied various styles and shapes of hand sanitiser stations, wash hand basins and sterilising units over the last months in response to the coronavirus crisis, from electronic hands-free dispensers to mobile hand wash stations. Now we arrive in September we have released our latest range: we now have a full range of hygiene and barrier equipment to assist our dealers in the increased requirements for social distancing, crowd control and hygiene within their projects.”
The retractable barrier posts and rope hook guideposts are constructed with a mirror finish, and are specially designed to help form waiting lines, direct the flow of crowds, control access and enhance safety. While the sanitising post features a contactless infra-red detection cell which discharges a measured dose of hand sanitiser with a capacity of approximately 500 doses. A manual dispenser and a wall-mounted electronic model are also available.
Russell underlined: “Our sales team are available to attend sites and assist all our dealers with all new projects. We have emailable flyers and brochures available for our dealers to use and promote our products, all available to be tweaked to suit their own branding. Our in-house design team can also assist in designing and visualising any new projects, which helps in showcasing the social distancing/hygiene standards and also bringing to life their designs for their clients.”
Hand hygiene is something RH Hall has also focused on, introducing a range of Mobile Hand Wash Stations by working with its fabrications division. MD Ray Hall explained: “Our range of Mobile Hand Wash Stations offer huge flexibility as they can be sited in practically any location, ideal for operations needing to provide additional hand washing facilities. We have also manufactured a reduced height version, perfect for the planned return of pupils to school in September.
“To support our Hand Wash range, the Hallco HWT1 Hand Wash Timer offers a handy 20 second countdown, reminding people to follow government advice and help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Our Sanitiser Station is now in the final stages of production and we are looking at further enhancements to the entire range, to suit any application.”
Hall advised dealers to emphasise the following to end users: “When considering Hand Wash Stations, look for units that promote touch free operation. Foot pump operation reduces touch points and therefore helps to prevent the spread of germs.
“In reduced height versions for use by children, a changeable foot pump position means the unit can easily be adapted for use by the children themselves, or by teachers (at a suitable socially distanced position) for younger children. Models that allow for this to be done on site offer maximum flexibility in a school environment.”
Jestic Foodservice Solutions, too, has responded to the pandemic by introducing new products, including the Venixlife Touchless Hygiene Station with a stainless steel construction, which dispenses hand sanitiser gel by the use of an adjustable foot pedal, avoiding any hand to surface contact.
Plus to help combat the spread of coronavirus in kitchens and front of house, dealers can purchase from Jestic the Hydrogen Peroxide Atomiser from Italian manufacturer Moduline. The Moduline unit dispenses a fine atomised mist of hydrogen peroxide solution (7.5%), which is considered to be effective in the inactivation of the Covid-19 virus both in the air and on surfaces. The biocide action of the hydrogen peroxide is also said to neutralise other viruses and bacteria which may be present.
Steve Morris, sales director at Jestic, encouraged dealers: “It’s important to remind end users that the manual disinfection of surfaces only goes so far and that the Moduline Hydrogen Peroxide Atomiser can provide the extra level of reassurance. Not only does the unit inactivate the Covid-19 virus in the air and on surfaces, but it uses hydrogen peroxide in a specific solution, so is totally safe and does not have a corrosive effect on materials.
“Treating a front of house area with the Moduline Hydrogen Peroxide Atomiser can be carried out quickly and easily. In fact, it will be possible to re-enter the treated environment after 20 to 30 minutes from the end of the spraying cycle without any risk to staff or customers, as the main components of the mixture are water and oxygen.”
Over at Filta Group, it has added temperature screening stations to its specialisms. The Thermo Guard Solo and Thermo Guard Hi-Flow offer non-contact measurement to avoid physical contact, designed to protect foodservice staff and other customers.
The Solo, available as a counter stand, short stand (60cm), tall stand (100cm) or wall-mounted model, takes the temperature of one person every two seconds to enable steady and safe traffic into restaurants and other venues. The Hi-Flow model, with set-up included from Filta Group, offers screening of up to 30 people per second.
Commercial director Edward Palin commented: “This technology helps to protect staff, customers and the operator whilst giving extra visibility to paying guests of the hygiene measures being taken – something which is going to be a requirement now and for quite some-time in the future.
“With approximately 60% of Covid-19 cases reporting a heightened-temperature, fever-screening systems such as the Thermo Guard provide an added layer of protection. It is not an all-encompassing solution, of course, but when used alongside other hygiene measures it can help reduce the risk of a ‘stop-start’ lockdown situation like that which we have seen imposed in a number of areas such as Leicester, Aberdeen and parts of Greater Manchester.”
He underlined that for dealers: “We are here for sales guidance and technical support, able to join dealers on presentations, be it face to face or via Zoom/Webex. Filta is holding significant stock of cameras and we are happy to support dealers with enhanced volume pricing.”
Elsewhere, Proline is helping operators to convert their premises into a safe space, with its glass screens, which are designed to be used in foodservice environments to combat the spread of Covid-19.
The screens, which are added to counters and gantries, can also help employees communicate with customers.
Estimating manager Paul Curran said: “We believe protective screens will play an active role supporting businesses in their safe return to work. In addition to shielding customers and workers from Covid-19, to reduce the spread of the virus.
“We are offering a range of fixed and motorised screens that can be attached to new or existing counters. Our Proline engineers can also advise on and install the most appropriate solution for each venue.”
At fellow British manufacturer, Victor, the firm quickly adapted following lockdown, building a portfolio of both acrylic and glass social distancing screens. It has already provided over 300 sites of a major high street chain with counter-mounted service screens.
Hayley Dean, commercial manager and Steven McGarvie, general manager, reported: “Another sector in which we have seen a huge demand for this type of product is education. BI Service was one of the first customers to partner with us to provide a solution for existing sites with foodservice counters. We retrospectively installed a series of screens to service and contact areas to prepare for the reopening of these sites.”
They advised dealers: “Customer confidence and trust must be obtained by providing a visual representation of food safety and hygiene. We have found that many sites are now veering away from the traditional shallow sneeze screen and are instead looking to offer assisted service by introducing fully enclosed gantries, reducing the risk of contamination.”
Victor Manufacturing has also recently introduced a lease purchase option on all standard and custom products to help customers manage the costs involved.
Thinking along similar lines, German brand livecookintable has expanded its existing range of cooking and buffet equipment with the ‘Be Safe!’ line to bring added safety and hygiene: new screens such as buffet guards and splash guards can now be installed on its existing products. Signature FSE supplies the brand’s products to the UK.
Additionally, all livecookintable equipment can be delivered with antibacterial materials. Laminate veneer with antibacterial surface on table tops, vegan synthetic leather with antibacterial surface for the blinds and the consistent use of inert stainless steel are claimed to eliminate 99.6% of all bacteria and microbes in time. Stainless steel in austenitic grades, such as 1.4301/AISI 304, is said to be known for its antibacterial features and commonly used in hospitals, labs and commercial kitchens.
The livecookintable furniture system includes its own airwall that cleans the air of smells and viruses (1,100metre3/h), including the microbiological load, while also helping to keep the physical distance due to its positioning between guest and chef.