The Experiential menu, services, equipment & ideas changing foodservice

BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS as we approach a new year is about so much more than just replacing equipment. Experiential dining is hot, and it’s profitable. Build an experiential menu and your restaurant business by employing the latest services, equipment, ingredients and ideas that we’ve highlighted here.

Restaurant innovation runs the gamut from accelerated cooking technology to a robot that prepares salads for you. Evolve the way you do business in 2018!

Accelerated cooking technology, featuring high-speed and multi-tech ovens. These appliances offer the flexibility of performing multiple functions in one unit. One example of this trend is the Merrychef eikon e2s, which can do a variety of tasks on demand — cooking, toasting, grilling, baking and more. This unit works particularly well for smaller kitchens, where it can take the place of several larger appliances.

Innovations in holding category equipment.

Need help getting through peak periods without compromising the quality of your food? Sophisticated holding equipment can help by holding prepared food for longer periods of time without degradation. Merco offers four- to twelve-zone models that hold moist or dry food, with a quick adjustment to accommodate either. Cook in batches ahead of time and hold the food there, and you’ll be confident of the quality of the finished product.

Experiential menu

Kitchen gardens that facilitate growing your own greens.

Farm to fork never came easier than with Urban Cultivator’s indoor gardens. You can grow your own vegetables, herbs and greens right in the kitchen to achieve the ultimate in local food. Harvest your fully organic produce as you need it to ensure maximum flavour. Because the garden is fully automated, it takes care of itself so you can focus on your customers.

Technology at the table. From touch screens that allow customers to place their orders, to digital menu boards; from call buttons that flag down a server to a program that lets diners see the progress of their meals: when it comes to technology at the table, the sky’s the limit.

Induction is the cooking technology of the future.

Not only does it increase energy efficiency, it also enhances kitchen comfort because it doesn’t generate the heat that gas cooktops do. Garland’s Flexi-Hub offers precise, concentrated heat exactly when you want it; it also recognizes pot size to deliver the right amount of power.

Products that enhance your beverage program.

The popularity of beverages is skyrocketing. Nitro coffee and tea, blended teas, smoothies, frappes and more are fueling huge growth in this sector. You can be part of this growth by investing in products that make your beverage program a selling point. With Manitowoc’s Multiplex Blend-In-Cup Workstation, you can blend and serve directly in the cup. A built-in ice machine means you save time and energy, while the touch screen lets you program the drink you want, ensuring the precise amount of product is served. This helps control costs and keeps the beverage experience consistent.

Visually appealing equipment that suits open-concept kitchens and smaller restaurants. Think sleek designs and bursts of colour. The eikon e2s mentioned above is just one example of this trend. It’s both stylish and attractive and works nicely for a bistro, café or any establishment where customers can see into the kitchen.

Customer order technology is about to move to the next level with the introduction of full-menu intelligent bots for placing orders. One such product, Orderscape, is expected to arrive in Canada in 2018. This bot can be built for any restaurant with any menu and has the advantage of being voice-based, for customers who would rather speak than type when placing an order.

Remote-controlled equipment allows your busy kitchen staff to set precise timing during the busiest shifts, from anywhere in the kitchen.

And for a real taste of the future, how about a robot that helps with food prep? Sally the Salad Robot from Chowbotics can be programmed to prepare a salad in one minute. Salads can be customized with up to twenty different ingredients, and Sally will deliver a consistent product every time.

The photographs with this article were taken at Langdon Hall. They depict the attention to detail, presentation, and all things experiential that go into every one of Chef Jason Bangerter’s creations — from on-premises gardens and multisensory meals to tableware and plating.

Author

Beth Pollock is a communications and content marketing expert. Working with Restaurants Canada, she has edited and published two newsletters (RC Insider and BITE); developed the RC Show website; managed social media feeds (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram); and written press releases, blog stories, operational manuals, and an op-ed for the Globe & Mail. Beth is also a freelance writer who has written for a number of publications about food, travel, and children’s books, and has written over 600 posts on her personal blog, Of Muses and Meringues about recipes and her personal travels. She has published three books for children.