Jeremy Julian

Equipment Spotlight: Safety and Efficiency

September 14, 2016

Adding the right piece of equipment can literally change the game for a business and an industry. Today, we are going over some pieces that can help operators improve consistency, efficiency and safety. At a time when costs for labor, healthcare and insurance are all going through the roof, such issues are top-of-mind for all managers and restaurant owners.

Auto Mist: It would be fair to say that most operators and owners would prefer not to burn down their restaurant. Unfortunately, in a place where grease meets heat, such things can happen.

A quarter of restaurant fires originate from the grill, said Mark Copeland, the chief marketing officer at Mendota Heights, Minn.-based Restaurant Technologies Inc. A consistent problem in the kitchen that causes fires is when the hood and flue above the grill is coated with grease, sometimes severely so. If they haven’t been cleaned recently, the results can be disastrous.

“Once a fire gets into the flue, the fire department stops fighting it,” Copeland said, noting that it’s too dangerous for firefighters to stop those fires.

Restaurant Technologies’ Auto Mist is designed to prevent that problem. The system automatically cleans hoods and flues, spraying them with a combination of water and a special cleaner periodically throughout the day from a system of pipes. It then drains into a container that’s emptied at the end of the day.

Typically, restaurants periodically employ cleaning companies to clean the hoods and flues of grease, sometimes taking hours to do so. If the cleaning is done during closing, then the restaurant has to pay a manager to stay on that extra time. If the restaurant is open 24 hours, it has to close.

Restaurant Technologies bought the rights to the device from its inventors, one of whom was a restaurant owner who lost his restaurant to a fire from just such a situation.

Crown Grill: Grills that can cook a burger on both sides simultaneously have been around for decades. And that is nothing new. However, Taylor’s Crown Grill is advanced enough to have won a Kitchen Innovations Award. This piece comes with a touchscreen interface and can be tailored at any time to prepare a wide variety of items, from eggs and pancakes to burgers, steak and chicken. It also cuts cooking times by two-thirds. This not only saves on energy costs but increases efficiency and turnaround time.

The programming can be done from a central location, so a restaurant chain with multiple locations can program machines for its entire system, emailing the programs to managers who then load the specifications to the grill via USB.

That can help chains with both consistency and efficiency, ensuring that devices are set to the exact specifications at all locations — such as the height of the top portion of the grill, which comes down and raises automatically, as well as how long it’s down for.

The grill has a standby mode that can save on energy costs, for instance, and it has a cleaning mode that Taylor executives say can reduce grill cleaning time from an hour to about 10 minutes.

CBS NorthStar POS Order Entry System: The NorthStar POS Order Entry System, is an integrated system that is reducing cost, increasing efficiency and changing the game entirely. The cloud-based NorthStar has an enterprise-wide content management system that allows you to make changes to all modes of NorthStar (POS, Guest, Kiosk, Web and Mobile) with a few clicks from any web-enabled device. It has a sleek responsive design that allows you make changes to edit menus and add items from anywhere.

The system is also assimilated with WorldView analytics. WorldView gives you real-time analytics data that helps you to make staffing, ordering and seating decisions on the fly. Determine profitability, find top sellers and track employee performance all with the easy-to-use interface.

NorthStar also supports full EMV compliance with the ability to accept new EMV chip cards. When your customer is safe, your business is safe.

Rational KitchenManagement System: Rational’s KitchenManagement System is software that enables operators to control up to 30 of Rational’s Combi ovens from a central computer.

The system essentially gives chefs and operators a remote control to control the equipment. The system is installed via USB, which makes it a quick installation. It enables chef to prepare cooking sequences and distribute them to all of their appliances at once. That way, the chefs don’t have to program each individual oven.

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