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What’s cooking in kitchen equipment

Reducing labor is the No. 1 priority for foodservice operators — and these appliances can help

While Flippy the robotic burger flipper made news in 2018, it may be a while before robots are the answer to foodservice operators’ kitchen woes. In the meantime, other labor-saving equipment can help, says the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM). “Modern equipment technologies are even enabling operators to combine service and cooking labor,” notes a recent NAFEM report. “Particularly in quick-service and limited-service applications, more compact, ‘cleaner’ technologies (ventless fryers, induction cooking) mean that the order taker also can be preparing the food. This setup plays into the transparency that customers crave — letting them see the ingredients and food preparation process.”

Speed is important, too. “The faster the prep/cooking, the faster the throughput and lower the labor cost,” according to NAFEM. “High-powered combi-ovens and blast chillers are just two examples of many – in fact, new technology and design is enabling increased speed across a variety of products.” (The NAFEM Show will be held in Orlando Feb. 6-9. Visit for more information.)

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