Leeds-based distributor YCE Catering Equipment joined forces with supplier Linda Lewis Kitchens (LLK) to create a new kitchen concept for the largest pub company in the UK, Ei Group.
The package included the provision of ovens and specific kitchen strategies as part of the pub group’s ‘Barrel Top’ concept. This is aimed at giving its estate of some 4,600 pubs an opportunity to generate sales from pizza.
YCE and LLK will help to provide specialist support to guarantee publicans are proficient in all aspects of developing and running a commercially attractive pizza operation.
Ei Group approached YCE with the franchise idea, after hearing about the distributor’s reputation in the area, asking the firm to act as consultants to help it develop this model, in readiness to launch into its business. Its main idea was to stand out from the crowd by targeting the casual eating market with the group’s estate using a tiered approach on range and price.
YCE recommended LLK’s Cuppone pizza oven range to support Ei Group in its mission. The dealer advised that the first stage was to test Ei Group’s pizza recipes in the Cuppone ovens.
Therefore a trial day was set up at the LLK demonstration kitchen, with the supplier’s development chef Fabio, to include the testing of specific ovens, to see which would suit the pub chain’s needs. Following testing, the group chose the Cuppone ovens and consequently launched the franchise proposal to its food council, using LLK demonstration kitchen facilities again.
The ovens chosen are the Tiziano pizza oven (LLKTZ6201S) and the Paulo pizza oven (LLKPAULO4+4). The single-deck shallow-depth electric Tiziano is said to have been picked due to its compact structure and its flexible capacity features, including its stacking ability. The bigger oven, the Paulo, is needed for the higher volume proposals and was chosen because of its success and reputation with other pizza brands.
Ei Group’s head of food Paul Farr commented: “The humble pizza is going from strength to strength with no end in sight to its popularity. Everyone seems to know what makes a good pizza and the UK is in love with the Italian dish, with newer tastes and flavours proposed all the time.
“The fully prepared frozen pizza is no longer acceptable or desirable, the more popular choice now is the fresh pizzas. The pub industry has to keep up with the trend, by introducing the addition of stone base deck pizza ovens to kitchen proposals.
“The modification of adding pizza ovens is where Linda Lewis Kitchens came into its own. LLK has immersed itself in all things pizza related, meaning it is the one stop shop specialist. Whether you need: dough mixers, dough presses, ovens or light equipment it has it covered, educating us all on the best ways to create and deliver the most successful pizza offerings.”