CURVE IT, OR COLOUR IT?
Sometimes Garden Centre operators like to think outside the box when they want to create visual impact in a restaurant.
Curved foodservice counters have been around for decades and they are popular because customers queuing have a better view of what’s on offer than if the counter were a straight line.
“The same goes for a curved cook-line,” says Charvet UK Sales Director Ian Clow. “The cookline in these instances can feature a one-piece top, which is easy to clean and looks fantastic!
“The curve draws the eye and the customers can see more of the professional heavy-duty cooking equipment which says, ‘we are really serious about food!’. It all adds to a ‘theatre’ experience, especially when there is lots of movement from chefs using Plancha, wok, chargrills, induction or gas hobs.
“Another way to add theatre to your catering cookline is to use coloured cooking ranges which allow operators to create or reinforce their brand. For bespoke cooking suites, ‘virtually’ any colour can be created in enamel, including the vibrant orange and lime green currently in vogue, matched with stainless steel silver or gold-coloured brass trim. For modular suites, interior designers and operators can choose a selection of colours to match their branding or colour scheme.
“It’s often forgotten, but garden centres need to attract good chefs and cooks. Having a professional line up of heavy-duty gas, electric or induction equipment tells the chef every day that their employer values their input and has invested in some of the best equipment on the market for them to work on.”
HEAVY DUTY OR…?
Garden centres can cater for thousands of covers in a day, from breakfast through to lunch and afternoon tea. Says Ian Clow, “they really do require equipment which is proven heavy duty, and which will stand up to the punishment of producing high volumes of food for up to 12 hours daily.
“Features to look out for include a fully welded chassis – for maximum strength – and one-piece tops, curved or straight, which add more strengthening and a seamless quality to the kitchen but also make cleaning down much quicker and easier.”
“Equipment must be flexible as menus change over time and innovations such as multipurpose Plancha are becoming increasingly popular for customer-facing cooklines.
“They look great but their best quality is that they do two jobs. Featuring one large cooking plate divided into four cooking zones, they can either operate at the same heat or independently, providing the option of one big surface to boil up big pans in the morning, or separate zones that suit teppanyaki, traditional Plancha cooking or finishing fried bacon for hot rolls in the morning.”