UNITED TRIMEN AND VOLLRATH TALK:
Trends in foodservice equipment
For 149 years, Vollrath Foodservice has been providing high-quality, commercial cooking and serving equipment that provides efficiency and ease of use in the demanding environment of commercial kitchens and foodservice operations. Vollrath is one of United Trimen’s trusted smallwares and equipment partners, so we sat down with Alain Goyette, Regional Sales Manager for Vollrath, to ask him about what’s new and trending in his world.
What are you seeing as current trends in restaurant smallwares and equipment?
A: Right now, what I’ve seen the most of is a demand for cooking equipment, food-prep equipment, cold beverage merchandising and display, and food warming. It’s mostly replacing equipment, rather than something totally new to a restaurant. Since the pandemic, restaurants have been trying to adjust their revenues and might not be quite ready to invest in something new.
In the US, we’re seeing a lot of frozen and refrigerated beverages, like slushies and freshly made, refrigerated juices. And as much as we saw a drastic drop in buffet and convention center places, we’re seeing that coming back. I’m even getting some projects coming back that were put on pause in early 2020.
Warming equipment is a very popular Vollrath item, and something’s that trending. Why do you think that is?
A: The advantage for the customer with the Vollrath warming equipment is energy savings. For our water-based warmers, we’re welding a countertop warmer with different materials that have emergent elements. We want 100% of the energy to go to the water to heat the food. Other manufacturers will just wrap an element around the well and lose a lot of heat – and in turn, a lot of wasted energy.
And in today’s world, space is everything. Our warming equipment can be installed on the side of a wall, two units side-by-side. Many other brands need ventilation. That’s wasted space.
Five years ago, Vollrath came up with an induction-technology food warmer. The big advantage of that unit is it doesn’t even need water. With water-based warming equipment, you have to remember to replace the water. But then people forget, end up blasting the heat, and burning the end product. With induction, you can select the exact temperature maintenance for the food, so you know the yield will be good.
What is the life cycle on products like these?
A: Depending on volume and maintenance, it’s hard to say. Vollrath has a long lifecycle, typically five to ten years, and we offer products with extended warranties.
What other new or updated tech are you seeing in this arena that business owners and operators should consider?
A: Induction and space saving are huge right now! In the equipment world, we’re reintroducing a new type of salad bar. It’s a self-contained salad bar called “SerVue.” We’ve had a lot of interest from customers since we’ve introduced it. People are loving is that nobody can touch or breathe on the food.
Another advantage of SerVue is the long-term maintenance of food temperature. It is enclosed, so the products stay fresh. For example, if you wanted to offer a protein on your buffet, like diced ham or chicken, this unit offers a closed cover, so food can stay moist. In an open buffet, these types of things are thrown out after just a couple of hours.
The third advantage is labor savings. When you have a salad bar, someone has to set it up right before the event to ensure it’s at safely at temperature for guests or patrons arrival time. But with SerVue, food remains temperature-controlled. Imagine this scenario: Universities being able serve fresh food after-hours when staff have gone home. Before it would be impossible to have a fresh salad bar without people. Well, not anymore.
Okay, last question! Why Vollrath?
A: In our industry, a lot of different smallwares and equipment providers are importers. Vollrath is a sixth generation, privately owned, family company. We’ve been around and will be around, and we really know the products. And the other difference is being privately owned; we’re trying to create and supply products that fix or help the end user.
With a wealth of experience catering to a wide range of experienced partners in the food service industry, United Trimen is your go-to for highly personalized solutions in food service equipment and smallwares.