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BEST PRACTICE // Kitchen automation

Kitchen technology Is automation the solution to the skills shortage? WORDS Ken Burgin

THE SHORTAGE OF skilled

Consider a conveyor oven

work of three, and everyone

If you have the volume, work

kitchen staff won’t end anytime

It’s hard to go wrong with a

goes home earlier. The same

your space 20 hours a day with

soon, and wages will never

conveyor oven and they can be

applies with reverse osmosis or

a special 4am production shift

come down. So stop waiting

used for a lot more than just

self-polishing glass washers.

that gets all the slicing, cutting,

for miracles and change the

pizza. Consulting chef Paul Rifkin

If you’re doing large numbers,

desserts and baking done before

way your kitchen operates.

says they are his number one

the latest conveyor dishwashers

the day shift arrives. The service

How can two cooks do the work

recommendation for handling

include a pre-rinse setting to

shift can arrive fresh and ready

done by three? Or two kitchen

a busy kitchen with semi-skilled

help lift stubborn stains.

to serve food without having to

hands handle the work of four?

staff. Bear in mind that menu

You’ll also need to take a hard

items will need to be designed

look at your menu and redesign

around the equipment.

laborious processes. Here are

worry about prep — different

Control workflow and timing It’s time to make the POS

Invest in a speed oven

ordering process visible in the

These ovens create hot meals

kitchen and say goodbye to

Utilise your combi oven

from cold ingredients at the

paper dockets. Large screens

With different sizes available,

touch of a button. You’ve seen

that show orders together let you

combi ovens increase the quality

speed ovens at work toasting

track the flow and production

of roasts, function menus and

rolls at Subway — they’re a

time — the whole process is

all the food you serve on a busy

combination of a microwave and

available in one view. Individual

shift. The combination of heat

a convection oven. The timer

screens can be made available

and moisture cooking reduces

makes ensures nothing gets

for different sections. Data

waste and provides total

burnt and most food is ready in

shows where managers should

control when it comes to time

30 seconds.

make roster changes and

some of the options.

and temperature. Plus, pre-set

identifies bottlenecks.

controls mean almost anyone

Clean smart

can use them. Ask the supplier to

Cutlery polishers will halve

send out their chefs who will be

the time it takes to dry and

Separate preparation and service

able to show you the maximum

polish knives, forks and spoons.

Do you still expect prep to be

potential of the machines.

One staff member can do the

done during the morning shift?

14 | Hospitality

skills for different tasks. ■

Profile for The Intermedia Group

Hospitality March 2019