Tag Archives: kitchen equipment

Constantly Changing Menu Items? Consider a Combi Oven.

In Part 1 of an interview with Henny Penny Product Manager Dann Woellert, we discussed the basics of combi oven ownership and why they’re growing in popularity. We’re continuing the conversation and dive deeper into how combi ovens can support kitchen operators who are challenged with delivering a strong customer experience amongst ever changing menus. By utilizing a number of cooking methods, several of which can be used while cooking a variety of foods at the same time, combi ovens are increasing kitchen efficiency, customer experience and cost savings.

Is there a particular type of menu item that cooks best in a combi?
One of the biggest benefits of a combi is the wide variety of products that it can cook effectively. It allows proteins to cook faster and with more moisture, allowing the food to maintain its moistness. It lets operators cook baked goods in a moist environment. It also can also cook different foods in the same chamber, at the same time, without flavor transfer between items.  It is a product truly rooted in versatility, waste reduction and quality all in one footprint.

What are restaurants most often using combis for?
The flexibility of the combi makes it beneficial for the cooking of a variety of menu items at a variety of different types of restaurants. Fine dining to QSR can benefit from combi effectiveness. QSR restaurants for example, see the value in using combis to cook large amounts of one protein like bacon, which has large product variability, but requires consistent quality in a fast paced environment.

Are restaurants adjusting their menus to accommodate the benefits of a combi?
A key benefit of the combi is that it can help a restaurant expand their menu. A large number and variety of recipes can be stored and utilized in a combi. An operator can store seasonal recipes that are only used for a limited time, and then retrieve them again when needed.

In what areas does a combi lead to cost savings?

  • Reduced food waste as a result of more consistently cooked product
  • Higher yield on proteins due to less shrinkage
  • Shorter cook times, resulting in energy savings
  • Higher productivity
  • More energy efficient than convection ovens
  • Ease of use/labor re-distribution

Is there a lot of training associated with combis?
It doesn’t require a great deal of training to learn how to use a combi. An operator only needs to know the basics of what products lend themselves to each of the three cooking modes —steaming, convection and combi cooking. Most of the training on the actual equipment is centered on developing and programming recipes into the combi. Once these recipes are established, it is easy as selecting a product photo and hitting ‘go’.

Combi ovens have been a staple in the foodservice industry globally for decades. In the U.S., adoption has primarily been by commercial outlets (hotels, hospitals, catering) and retail. However, changes in available sizes (i.e. Henny Penny’s SpaceSaver model) and hood technology (units with integrated hoods) have removed some of the objections that are expressed in regards to adopting a combi. With combi use on the rise, it’s certainly the right time to learn more about this technology and how you can integrate it into your back-of-house operations and reap the benefits of this proven technology.

For more information on combi ovens and to see Henny Penny’s complete combi line up, visit www.hennypenny.com/products/roasting/combi-ovens or watch Chef Ben’s Top 3 Reason’s to Own a Combi.

How your kitchen equipment can drive your labor efficiency

Cartoons of the past always portrayed the future as the epitome of efficiency. The Jetsons, for example, were always the king of automation with their robot maids, conveyor belts and in home food vending machines. And though we’re all still waiting for flying cars that fold into briefcases, the main theme throughout all those distant, futuristic settings was the increase in efficiency.  In today’s fast paced lifestyle and in just about any industry, efficiency is the main goal. The food industry is no exception.

Restaurants have a perpetually growing need to improve efficiency, but often times don’t know where to begin. Before looking at the labor force or the businesses operations, it might be better to start with a close look at your equipment and consider just how much that 10, 15 or 20 year old fryer, or the absence of a combi oven might be holding the restaurant back.

Current equipment may still produce great food, but its aging operational and technical features may be costing you in the long run, specifically in two areas; labor training and labor efficiency.

In years past, training your new teammate could mean tens of hours on the clock, learning how to use equipment by watching videos on DVD, studying manuals or by shadowing experienced employees.  Most of the “real” education however, came from trial and error.  This form of training unfortunately can add to your costs in the form of waste, customer frustration, cleaning mistakes and a general ding to productivity. Over the last several years, many manufacturers, including Henny Penny, have focused on simplifying operations and cleaning, resulting in easier and faster training. For Henny Penny specifically, great examples of these training and efficiency improvements can be seen in our Evolution Elite fryer and FlexFusion combi oven platforms.

For both of these products (one with a digital display, the other with color touchscreen), the focus has been placed on how people really use their equipment. Where do they hesitate, where do they get confused?  Henny Penny works hard to learn and understand the operational requirements of its customers and the habits of their teammates.  We understand how important it is too lead the user to the next step, eliminating guessing and improving confidence, which ultimately improves efficiency and production.

The FlexFusion combi oven’s touchscreen and memory contains the option of uploading your own videos to show exactly the steps of a recipe going into the oven. Additionally, it can self-diagnose or provide tips to help people understand this uber-flexible kitchen must-have.  The Evolution Elite accomplishes the same training and usage improvements with set questions that lead the user to a successful completion of their task, whether that be filtering or initiating a cook cycle.

While we are still a few years away from equipment that operates without human interaction, it is essential that equipment manufacturers do what they can to help your business.  That means freeing up your most valuable resource, your staff, to do outward/customer facing activities that help your business deliver your brand experience.

At the end of the day, it is critical for a restaurants staff to be trained and be comfortable with the equipment they are tasked to use to help the team continue to deliver the consistent, delicious food their loyal customers come to expect.

To learn more about Henny Penny’s labor, cost and time efficient equipment, be sure to visit our product page. Also, don’t be shy about checking out our YouTube page, HennyPennyTV, to see real customer’s takes on Henny Penny’s ability to put the focus on its customers’ needs.

Is your equipment manufacturer committing to YOUR business’ success?

Your business’ success is so reliant on the choices you make as you begin setting up your restaurant.  The right personnel.  The right food supplier.  The right marketing plan.  The right equipment.  And many of the equipment purchases you make need consideration beyond the product itself.  Asking your potential partners about things like warranty, service network, customer service, training, install and beyond is incredibly important.  Not understanding some of these keys value adds can be the beginning of trouble if you don’t understand what to expect.

To convey some of the differences our customers experience when working with Henny Penny we’ve engaged with our Vice President of Strategic Sales, Ryan Kutter and our Director of Technical Service, Todd Hennigan to talk about some of the frequently asked questions they get and how in these situations the Henny Penny difference can be a game changer.

Technical Support
Todd Hennigan

If something happens to my equipment, am I going to be easily able to get in touch with my manufacturer?  What happens if I experience any problems once the sale is complete?

We are truly passionate about customer service.  We have worked hard over the years to separate ourselves from the pack here. We offer a free 800 service number (domestic only) that can get you to a real person to talk to, 24/7. That’s unique.  We prioritize our calls to service current customers first.  The average hold time is less than two minutes, and even better, we have a 35 percent solve rate over the phone allowing you to avoid a service call.

If we do need to send a service technician out to you, the technician will be there within 24 hours and more than 85 percent of the time your equipment will be fixed on the first visit. Customers can also expect a follow-up call to make sure everything is still running smoothly.

 What pro-active things can be done to maintain my investment?

Annual planned maintenance will not only reduce the overall total cost of ownership of your purchase but also minimize the cost impact of unplanned equipment breakdowns. Henny Penny can work with you to develop an annual inspection plan that can include service checklist to inspect all electrical cords and O-rings (when applicable), as well as clean certain areas of the machinery.

Is the manufacturer willing to train my in house staff on equipment maintenance and repairs?  How does my team become proficient at using your equipment?

Henny Penny will not only provide a two-hour startup and operational employee training session with your equipment, but also offers training classes, free of charge,  throughout the year so your business can send  in-house equipment service employees to learn everything they can about your Henny Penny equipment.  This is invaluable as you build internal expertise which can further eliminate costs after the new equipment warranty period has ended.

If being onsite doesn’t work, Henny Penny offers a robust series of training videos that are available to our partners online, which is a great tool for people who want to learn, find manuals or watch detailed (but short) videos on their products.

Talk to us about parts….

As with any manufacturer’s equipment it’s always a best practice to use OEM parts.   Our distributor and service network supports our global customers by ensuring appropriate stock is on-site, in fact our network can resolve an issue the first time over 85 percent of the time, that means they have the know how and the needed parts!

Account services support
Ryan Kutter

I’m a small business; can I expect any attention after my purchase?

Absolutely.  We truly value every partner.  Whether you are big or small, we work hard to make sure you have what you need to be successful using our equipment.   Our mantra throughout the organization is, “do the right thing.” Our distributor network, many of whom have been with us since the beginning of our company, subscribe to this philosophy too. Our goal is to make sure that no matter what you buy from us, when you are ready to invest in more equipment, you don’t consider looking anywhere else for the value you received.

Why does the price of the competition seem too good to be true? 

There is no doubt you can find cheaper equipment on the market.  After years of working with customers who have chosen that route and come to us to solve problems that either weren’t solved or exacerbated by the “cheaper” choice, there is most likely a reason it is less expensive.  You have to look at the whole package, including durability, reliability, quality of the materials, and post-purchase support.

Does Henny Penny stay in touch with me after the sale?

Henny Penny keeps in touch with its national clients with a phone call immediately after the startup of the product and periodically throughout the relationship. Smaller, general market customers can expect the same of our distributors.  We like to make sure you are happy with the product, training, and make sure you are comfortable with your new equipment.  At some point in the life of a Henny Penny product our customers will have questions or require service.  We pride ourselves on being there.  For 60 years Henny Penny has been building strong relationships, many have lasted for more than 40 years.  We work hard to innovate and engineer products that last and to deliver on a promise to help our customers deliver on their brand promise.  We focus on that every day.

Still have more questions about your Henny Penny post-purchase benefits? Visit our distributor/service locator tool to find and contact your local distributor.

Frying 101; Open vs. Pressure

Opening a restaurant is hard.  There are very few guarantees except,  you will be called to make difficult decisions with long term consequences in order to bring you closer to the future for your restaurant you envision.

Some of the earliest questions that will need answers include, ‘What type of restaurant are you opening?’ ‘What’s on the menu?’ ‘How are we preparing the food?’ And probably most important — ‘What equipment do we need to be using to produce consistent, quality product that will make our restaurant first choice when our customers go out?’

Investing in equipment for your new kitchen can be overwhelming.  It can be GREAT (so many choices!) and HARD (so many choices!).  You will need equipment to help you provide variety in your menu and ‘future-proof’ your kitchen as your menu flexes or expands.  Yes, there is a lot to consider.  A critical piece of equipment where this debate can often happen is with the fryer, which begs the ensuing question:

Open fryer or pressure fryer?

A Henny Penny Velocity Series Pressure Fryer holds all the answers when it comes to delicious, efficient frying.

First off, frying revolves around water.  The typical frying process, without pressure, can only cook at the boiling point of water, 212 degrees. The water we’re referring to here is the moisture inside of the hypothetical piece of chicken we are cooking. Pressure frying enables that moisture to boil at an even higher temperature, nearer to 240 degrees. The high temperatures in turn speed up cook times, and because the boiling point of the chicken’s moisture, or juices, has risen, less of that moisture is lost in the cooking process. This process leaves you with a piece of protein that is cooked more quickly and has lost less moisture or flavor, leaving you with a juicier and tastier yield.

While we may come off as partial to the pressure fryer, it should be noted that the open fryer is every bit as useful, even more so for cooking non proteins. You’ll find open fryers in any kitchen that are used to cook fries, mozzarella sticks or onion rings — and for good reason. They’re efficient, versatile and turn out a tasty product. But when it comes to frying proteins, be it bone-in chicken breasts, filet mignon, or even salmon, there’s no substitute to the pressure fryer.

Not only does the pressure fryer turn out a superior product in terms of flavor, tenderness and moisture, but it will yield a healthier product as well. In sealing in those natural flavors and juices, you’ve also sealed out and absorbed less oil.

While both the open and pressure fryers are comparable in operating costs, the pressure fryer will result in better oil life.  Shorter cook times at lower temperatures as well as the lack of protein moisture mixing into the cooking oil means your oil will stay cleaner longer. Both products are also about equal in maintenance costs and labor time. Like any piece of machinery, if you want it to last, it should be taken care off. Aside from wanting to update equipment to keep up with current technology, there’s no reason one machine can’t last 10 or 15 years with proper care and maintenance. Diligently maintaining the gasket on the lid and cleaning your deadweight daily in your pressure fryer will add tremendous life to your equipment.

To learn more about Henny Penny’s fryer options visit https://www.hennypenny.com/products/frying .

Improve your guest experience with consistent food quality

The dining experience that creates a loyal customer, one that chooses your restaurant when discretionary dollars are being spent, is based largely on the ability to ensure that they are not disappointed by the consistency of the food quality.

While it’s important that you perform all the basic ‘blocking and tackling’ that create a great overall dining experience like great tasting food with excellent service, it is every bit as important that your game plan is executed consistently.  What is delicious on Tuesday night should be just as delicious on Saturday night. Furthermore, consistency doesn’t just go a long way with your guests,

but your crew will appreciate it and your wallet will thank you for it.

As a business, falling short of providing that consistent experience can be easy to do, even despite having a seasoned and well-versed chef. Weekends provide larger crowds, which produce stress on labor and preparation. Stress can lead to mistakes or cut corners, which can lead to inconsistency in flavor, texture, even timing.

Since the number of guests is not under your control, the first step to improvement is to lessen the stress on your staff. In any trade, the right tools can be used not to replace a laborer, but to assist them. The kitchen is no different. Having the right equipment can allow your staff to put their focus where it needs to be.

A Henny Penny FlexFusion combi oven for example, allows you to cook foods at low-temperatures over many hours, even days, and still maintain the utmost levels of moisture and tenderness. Whether you are roasting overnight or doing light sous vide production, your staff should be focusing on items that need to be prepared in the moment, not on items that could have been started yesterday. Not only are today’s combi ovens a time saver for your staff, but they cook with greater accuracy and consistency than traditional ovens. Ovens today have the ability to save and store programs as well as deliver messages in the moment. These processes go to the heart of consistency, creating the right environment for an item that can be duplicated every time.

Open fryers such as Henny Penny’s Evolution Elite series are no different. The programmability in these machines makes operation simple, efficient and consistent. Once you add in the built-in filtration, you have oil that lasts twice as long. And with oil quality being one of the main factors of consistency when it comes to a fryer, you’ll want to be sure you’re producing the same product with the same color and flavor every time. Perfecting your oil filtration and usage will also mean long term cost savings.

Henny Penny's SmartHold holding cabinets allow restaurants to cook in larger batches and maintain temperatures and moisture levels for extended periods of time before serving.

Henny Penny’s SmartHold holding cabinets allow restaurants to cook in larger batches while maintaining perfect temperatures and moisture levels for extended periods of time before serving.

Pairing your fryer with the versatility of a SmartHold holding cabinet, you’re now able to offer dishes that take longer to cook, such as fried chicken, and serve them quicker. The holding cabinet allows you to cook in batches and hold food at perfect temperatures and moisture levels, again allowing staff to place their focus elsewhere.  Proper utilization of a holding cabinet means not having to worry about that food until the moment it’s needed, increasing service speed and customer satisfaction.

With just these three pieces of equipment, you’ve made it easy to prepare food, freed up your staff and delighted you return customers with a consistent meal that has been cooked identically to their previous visit. Of course purchasing new equipment won’t be the source of success by itself. Execution trumps implementation, and in order to properly execute, a chef or restaurateur must first have a plan in place to properly manage around peak hours and slow hours, to eliminate food overages and shortages and to properly motivate and get the most out of their staff. Manufacture consistency in these areas and the rest will follow suit.

You pleased your guests the first time, that’s why they’ve come back. Make sure you’re doing what it takes to validate their faith in your restaurant, your process, and your food.

To hear more on this topic, be sure to take advantage of our archived webinar, Quality to Table: Creating Repeat Customers, with guest speaker and Corporate Executive Chef, Benjamin Leingang. To register and view the webinar for free click HERE. For more ways to improve your guests’ experience, be sure to subscribe to Henny Penny’s Our Take blog HERE. More information on the products mentioned in this article can be found at www.hennypenny.com/products.

A New Perspective on Equipment: How Investing in Upgrades Today Is Helping Operators Prepare for Tomorrow

With growing competition and a constant struggle for market share, today’s foodservice operators face more pressures than ever before. You are surrounded by evolving — and sometimes conflicting — corporate initiatives and customer demands, requiring everything from menu expansion and decreased store footprints to more transparency, higher staff wages and much more.

As you evaluate your list of desired upgrades and needed store repairs, it’s often easy to look at cooking equipment as just another expense. However, it’s important to realize that the equipment you choose for your kitchen does much more than simply cook food. The right equipment can make your facility’s system stronger as a whole — providing greater flexibility, maximizing smaller kitchen space, streamlining workflow and even building in cost and labor savings.

Two particular product categories worth considering are combi ovens and fryers:

Combi Ovens

Popular in European kitchens, combi ovens aren’t as widely embraced in U.S. facilities — perhaps due to lack of awareness. But the benefits they provide are invaluable to high-volume operations and low-traffic businesses alike.

• Healthier foods: Consumers are demanding healthier options while still expecting the usual menu items. Finding the right balance may seem difficult, but combi ovens can help operators enhance any menu, as these ovens can roast and steam proteins and vegetables while also baking desserts and other hearty side dishes.

• Smaller footprints: Cooking with a combi oven eliminates the need for convection ovens and steamers, clearing valuable floor space. And for even the tightest kitchens, more compact options like the Henny Penny FlexFusion Space$aver combi oven can fulfill a variety of cooking needs.

• Flexibility: It’s hard to predict the menu trends of the future, so it’s important to have equipment that can accommodate a wide variety of foods and cooking methods. A combi oven can often handle a wide variety of current menu items, while also providing flexibility for the future.

Fryers

From QSRs to fine dining and even non-commercial kitchens, fried foods are often a menu staple. However, fryers are often looked at as one in the same, despite the many differences in volume, specialty and innovative features.

• Flexibility/Space Savings: Some menu items are better suited to pressure frying—a method that locks in flavor and moisture—while others are meant for open frying. However, when space is at a premium, a pressure fryer can double as an open fryer to provide maximum flexibility.

• Volume: Some fryers are designed especially for high-volume kitchens and can help increase throughput while reducing oil costs. However, if you select a high-volume model that you don’t truly need, you might actually be wasting oil and energy.

• Cost-savings: With Henny Penny’s next-generation Evolution Elite open fryer, operators can realize the cost- and labor-saving potential of Smart Touch Filtration™, the latest advance in built-in, push-button filtration from Henny Penny. With a suite of oil-conserving features, the Evolution Elite allows for 40% less oil in the frying vat — savings that goes straight to the bottom line.

Equipment as an Investment

With careful purchasing choices and knowledgeable industry partners like Henny Penny on your side, it’s easy to make equipment a net positive for your operation. Keeping in mind how each piece functions as part of a larger system, you can create an efficient combination of equipment that maximizes space, saves time and labor, and builds a foundation for growth and expansion for years to come.