Corporate social responsibility policies, spiralling utility bills and the uncertain economic climate are spurring more and more businesses to invest in greener machines. Product Zone discovers the benefits environmentally friendly equipment has brought to six operators.
RATIONAL SELFCOOKING CENTER COMBI STEAMERS
PRICE SCC61 electric 6-grid, £8,420; gas 20-grid, £22,420.
WHAT IS IT?
SelfCooking Centers are intelligent, micro-processor-controlled combi steamers that require no staff training to use and can cook up to 15% faster than conventional combis, saving time and money.
• Dimensions: 847mm (W) x 771mm (D) x 757mm (H); 879mm (W) x 791mm (D) x 1782mm (H)
• Meals a day: 30-80; 150-300
• Connected load: 10kW; 43kW
• 9 automatic operating modes
Case study: The Grand hotel, Tynemouth
The Grand is a 45-bed seafront hotel and banqueting venue which hosts 100 wedding receptions a year, holds events for up to 450 diners and runs an 80-seat restaurant and two public bars serving food.
Co-owner Nigel Hastie opted to replace the kitchen's two ageing 20-grid combi steamers with two gas 20-grid and two electric six-grid Rationals to cover banqueting and à la carte demands.
Rational, along with installer Heaton Catering Equipment, helped him win an interest-free loan for the £60,000 project from the Carbon Trust by proving the new equipment would use 218kW less energy per day, slash power consumption by 27% and annual energy bills by £7k.
The combis' self-cleaning feature has also reduced labour costs, said Hastie. "With the old combis, we used to deep clean them every Sunday night and had to bring in extra staff."
BENEFITS Access to interest-free loan from Carbon Trust; reduced labour costs; consistency
A700 ROCKET COMPOSTER FROM TIDY PLANET
WHAT IS IT?
The Rocket Composter converts cooked and raw food waste into sanitised, high-quality compost in 14 days with the addition of woodchip.
• Dimension: 3m (L) x 0.9m (W) x 1.6m (H)
• Motor: 0.75kWh
• Weekly power consumption: 26kWh
• Power: single-phase 240V, two 13-amp or 16-amp sockets
Case study: River Cottage headquarters, Park Farm, Devon
TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall uses the Rocket Composter at his River Cottage headquarters to convert all his food waste into compost to feed his kitchen gardens, a "Plate to Plant" process that dovetails neatly with its existing "Plot to Plate" ethos.
"Our ethos at River Cottage is to promote a sustainable way of living that celebrates the best of local produce," said Fearnley-Whittingstall, who has also installed a wind turbine, a biomass boiler for heat and hot water, and rainwater collection to water the gardens.
"Composting is a fantastic way to support this and the Rocket will allow us to dispose of food waste sustainably, removing the need for this to be sent to landfill, where it only serves to damage the environment," he adds.
Already, River Cottage is saving about £100 per tonne on food waste disposal. Most is now composted in the Rocket before it is added to garden waste where it speeds up the composting operation.
BENEFITS Speedier composting; reduced waste disposal costs
WINTERHALTER TWINSET ENERGY+ WAREWASHER
PRICE GS515 Twinset, £20,894; Energy+ version, £28,384
WHAT IS IT?
TwinSets bridge the gap for outlets with steep daily fluctuations in demand that don't need a full rack conveyor model but can't cope with a single pass-through.
• Dimensions: 735/1610mm (W) x 749 mm (D) x 2235mm (H)
• Capacity (500mm x 600mm racks per hour): 140/60/30
Case study: Cloverleaf Restaurants, Birchwood Farm, West Yorkshire
The 300-seat, new-build Birchwood Farm pub-restaurant installed the Twinset in June to become one of its first UK adopters.
Cloverleaf's joint founder and director Gary Douglas expects to it save him about £2,500 in annual running costs and is already noticing other benefits.
He says: "It's not only the advanced technology that saves costs, it's also the flexibility of operation. It means we can use both warewashers at busy times, but just one during quiet periods - that cuts consumption of water, chemicals and energy by 50%."
BENEFITS Reduced running costs; increased flexibility; less labour-intensive
HOBART CRPRO-061/1-10 COMBI PRO SIX-GRID COMBI OVEN
WHAT IS IT?
Thie convection, steam and combination cooking options provide fast, even, consistent and reliable results across almost any style of cooking, from poaching to baking and regenerating.
• Dimensions: 810mm (H) x 887mm (D) x 918 (W)
• Capacity: 6 x 1/1 gastronorms
Case study Casamia restaurant, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol
Michelin-starred chefs and brothers Jonray and Peter Sanchez-Iglesias like to keep wastage to a minimum in their Italian, Spanish and French fusion-style restaurant.
"With the purchase of our new Hobart Combi Pro six-grid oven, we've almost halved the energy we use - the bill is so low, we're expecting them to come round to double-check we're not on the fiddle," said Peter.
Jonray adds: "We were like kids at Christmas when the combi arrived, it is so versatile and opens up so many cooking methods - the possibilities are endless."
BENEFITS Increased versatility; time savings; quality self-clean mode
FRIMA VARIOCOOKING CENTER 311+
WHAT IS IT?
The center is an energy-efficient, multi-purpose, computer-controlled cooker that can boil, shallow fry, deep-fry and - on + models - pressure cook. As a substitute for kit such as fryers, tilting pans and kettles, it can save up to 50% in kitchen space.
• Dimensions: 1542mm (W) x 914mm (D) x 1100mm (H)
• Working capacity: 150 litres
Case study in a British prison
A British prison, which cannot be named for security reasons, reduced its energy costs and CO2 emissions by 64% by replacing its existing equipment with two 311+ VarioCooking Centers.
They shaved up to 127,400kW off annual energy use, based on 9am to 4pm operation, seven days a week. This cut energy costs by £8,918 a year - at a unit cost of 7p per kWH - saving 69 tonnes of CO2.
BENEFITS Reduced energy costs and carbon emissions
MOFFAT CHILLOGEN BQ90CM BANQUETING TROLLEY
PRICE £11,781, including 90 stainless steel plate covers
WHAT IS IT?
Chillogen banqueting trolleys are quick-chillers, refrigerators, oven-regenerators and hot cupboards in a single cabinet.They will rapidly chill cooked bulk or plated food, then refrigerate it. At a preset time, they regenerate the food and keept it warm ready for serving. Regeneration time - a full load of plated meals in less than an hour - is one of the quickest on the market, thanks to elements that heat up 55% faster than standard ones.
• Dimensions 1,370mm (L) x 880mm (D) x 1695 (H)
• Shelves: 15
• Capacity: from 60 covers (12in or 13in plates) to 90 covers (10in plates)
• Power rating: 6kW
• Power source: can run off two 13-amp plugs
Case study: Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds
RAI, catering provider to the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, hosts more than 500 events a year and, over Christmas, serves more than 27,000 meals across 23 days - a whopping 1,000-plus diners at a sitting.
The "huge" energy-savings offered by the multi-tasking, four-in-one cabinet were not the only considerations behind RAI's decision to draft 20 Chillogen cabinets into action.
"These trolleys can replace four or more major pieces of equipment - they're an oven, fridge, rapid chiller and hot cupboard, all in one," said RAI marketing director Chris Owen. "That's a huge saving, not only in investment and running costs but also in terms of space and carbon footprint."
"Once the food is plated, we don't have to handle it again until the waiters serve it," Owen added.
Energy and man-power savings in 2009 - an unusually quiet year for banqueting - approximated £64,000.
BENEFITS Reduced energy consumption; lower running costs; space saving.