In a survey of catering establishments last year, 75% said the industry is in a great place and they were enjoying increasing trade despite the economic downturn. But there are some growing challenges.
Catering colleges, universities and apprentice schemes are providing more training places than ever before. At least 23 major institutions provide full-time courses. Just ten years ago, kitchen work and fast food outlets were almost the epitome of jobs not to aspire to. Today things are very different – perhaps encouraged by TV food programmes, enthusiastic youngsters are queuing up for opportunities in catering.
Greasy fast food outlets are being squeezed by caterers offering diverse and gourmet menus. Humble dishes like chicken and burgers have been reworked into artful and healthy luxuries in chains like Nando’s, Bill’s and the Gourmet Burger Bar, with ample fresh salad vegetables, exotic sauces, choices of breads and fillings. As the industry raises its game, morale amongst staff rises accordingly.
Rising property prices put pressure on kitchen sizes. In London, there is even a vogue for renovating underground Victorian toilets into café bars. With space at a premium, multifunctional catering equipment and workstations of integrated appliances often provide solutions. Smaller spaces are also harder to ventilate, cool and drain, so catering suppliers are replying with energy-efficient pumps and extractor systems. If you need commercial catering equipment in Leicester and its vicinity, try https://washtechservices.co.uk/.
Modern appliances are often multifunctional, energy-efficient and faster to clean. For example, some oven doors now slip directly into a dishwasher.
Recent inventions include 3D food printers, a self-stirring pot from Panasonic, a robot chef from Sereneti and better “magic corners” to utilise every inch of that precious kitchen space.
Trade veterans highlight deep cleaning as an area in which vigour has declined. Ironically, it is public sector places like council canteens where budget cuts have had the worst effects.
We assume basic hygiene rules are adhered to, but poor cleaning means poor maintenance. Grenfell Tower tragically highlighted the potential dangers of unmaintained kitchen appliances. Greater risks usually come from unmaintained cooker hoods. Statutory recommendations can be found here: http://www.riscauthority.co.uk/free-document-library/RISCAuthority-Library_detail.rc44-recommendations-for-fire-risk-assessment-of-catering-extract-ventilation.html.
Unserviced equipment becomes less efficient, requires more repairs and has a decreased lifespan. Impaired kitchen ventilation can squander that precious morale, leading to staff absenteeism and turnover.