While we are still waiting for the resumption of physical events, catering equipment buying group Cedabond made a notable entry into the oeuvre of online seminars with its Foodservice Innovation Showcase and Awards. Held on 12 May, the event aimed to emulate the buying consortium’s usual heavy equipment forums, where the latest product developments are presented to round robin groups of dealers.
The agenda kicked off with CEDA director general Adam Mason setting the scene in a ‘state of the nation’ address. “As an association, we’ve spent the last 14 months ensuring the survival of businesses and jobs and retaining talent within the industry,” he said. “We have been buoyed by the resilience, enterprise, the ingenuity of our members and certain suppliers to pivot their thinking and take advantage of the albeit limited opportunities available.”
He was positive about the road ahead, reporting: “For the last 2 months we have been encouraged at the levels at which some are operating. Orderbooks in the medium term are starting to fill to reasonably healthy levels. As a sector we are in a good position to rebuild and reignite hospitality.”
First up in the supplier presentations was AutoQuotes, which introduced AQ Visual, a visualisation tool which enables commercial kitchen designers to create detailed 3D designs to share with end user customers as video walkthroughs, augmented reality on a mobile device, or virtual reality via a headset. Designers can add equipment from manufacturers’ catalogues as they do on the AutoQuotes platform. One click then exports the full list of equipment and accessories into AutoQuotes itself.
Next, Charvet’s Ben Aird and Gary Allen revealed the cooking equipment manufacturer is about to join AutoQuotes, as well as summarising the wide range of Pro Series appliances it offers, all with premium finish options.
First Choice Group’s Neil Vincent then detailed the investments the spares specialist has made throughout the lockdown period: extending operating hours and order cut-off times, installing four extra lean lifts at its Cannock distribution centre and launching business intelligence customer portals featuring access to real-time data, as well as now being fully digitally transactional.
For Foster and Gamko, Ewen Cairns previewed the refrigeration manufacturer’s new online virtual showroom. The photo-real platform allows dealers and end users to see the company’s full product range in situ, enabling a speedy response to enquiries. Cairns emphasised that the facility can be both a training aid as well as a sales tool.
Halton showcased the infrared radiation index sensor technology in its ventilation canopies, which can determine the operational status of the equipment below. Its Marvel system can identify when cooking equipment is powered on and off and so prevents the ventilation from needlessly functioning.
Next up, Falcon’s Paul Bayer demonstrated the cooking equipment brand’s new logo and website, designed to be more than just a place to download product information. The manufacturer has expanded into the grab and go, care and hospital markets and can now offer the Connected Kitchen app to monitor any kitchen appliance.
Hoshizaki’s Chris Currie highlighted its BeerMatic automatic beer dispenser, suited to pop-up events and bars. The water-cooled system allows the ambient keg to be chilled as the pipes pass through. Two different drafts can be attached to each different font, delivering 88 pints from a 50litre keg. Plus Currie demonstrated the self-serve Beer Station which Hoshizaki developed in conjunction with Victor Manufacturing.
MCS Technical Products’ presentation detailed how its service department has been transformed by the implantation of in-house-developed software to increase productivity and streamline the service administration. The session underlined the supplier’s CookTek brand, which specialises in heavy duty induction cookers that are 94% efficient.
Hobart highlighted the advanced technological capabilities of both the Bonnet cooking equipment range and its warewashers, including its world-first Two Level Washer, which builds up rather than out, to double capacity. It also previewed the Smart Connect 365 app which will be able to connect to its wi-fi-enabled dishwashers.
Jestic’s Lee Cogger then focused on the Moduline brand, particularly its 21 models of hot holding equipment. The latest innovation is the multi-temperature drawers which hold food at different temperatures in each drawer to make service quicker and easier. This range can be configured for landscape or portrait loading and to accept various sizes of gastronorm pans.
The subsequent presentation saw Mechline outline its grease management solutions including GreasePak and BioCeptor, which can last for 90 days between servicing. Plus the video illustrated the air and surface sanitiser, HyGenikx, which nullifies odours, prolongs the life of produce and reassures diners that the restaurant environment is safe.
MKN then took centre stage to detail how it has produced intelligent professional cooking technology for improved performance, efficiency and results, for over 70 years. It feels its products are perfectly designed and meet diverse requirements, while respecting natural resources.
Metcalfe-supplied brand Hallde demonstrated its RG-250 diwash vegetable preparation machine, which processes up to 1,000 portions per day/10kg per minute. It includes stainless steel cutting tools which can make more than 50 different cuts. The heavy duty machine has an ‘ergo-loop’ handle to enable a leverage effect.
Next, Maidaid underlined the 2 year warranty available on its undercounter warewashers, as well as its large stockholding and free next day delivery when ordering before 3pm. The supplier can spread costs to suit end users, and its offerings are backed up by an in-house technical support team, as well as sister companies Crystaltech and Caterparts.
Welbilt’s turn focused on the Convotherm maxx combi oven and the Crem EX3 espresso machine. The maxx includes an extra shelf for expanded capacity, as well as LED lighting and a triple glass door. Touchscreen-operated, the oven has wi-fi and LAN connections, plus climate management technology.
Supplier presentations concluded with new Unox UK MD Scott Duncan revealing the manufacturer’s e-miXion initiative to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030. This involves a 10-point action plan including generating 3.75MW of energy per hour through solar panels on its Italian factories’ roofs, as well as producing an O2 factory (planting the most oxygen-rich trees) to offset emissions created during the construction of further facilities.