Suppliers roundtable: Kitchen equipment

Efficiency, pricing, space utilisation, design and energy consumption ned to be considered


A kitchen is an integral part of any restaurant’s success. factors such as efficiency, pricing, space utilisation, modern design and energy consumption need to be considered when choosing kitchen equipment to ensure the best possible long-term solutions

Meet the experts

Simon Parke-Davis chief representative, Rational International Middle East
Simon Parke-Davis has spent the last three years developing Rational in the Middle East to make sure it can deliver tailor-made efficiencies to clients. The team based in Dubai consists of nine people, all dedicated to the same goal of providing solutions for the daily challenges faced in kitchens.

Mick Jary sales project manager, Middle East and Africa, Manitowoc
After working as a chef, predominantly in London for 14 years, followed by several roles as a food buyer, Jary joined the food service industry as an equipment manufacturer, where he discusses operations and concepts with chefs and consultants.

Philippe Bacha managing director, Solarco Kitchen Equipment
Over the course of the past five years, Bacha has worked as a partner and director with the Solarco Group based in Beirut and was responsible for the international sales for large projects with a considerable number of successful project executions. He has been the managing director of Solarco Equipments LLC since its inception.

Eduardo Cansan sales manager, Tramontina
Tramontina has been committed to producing and delivering quality products that improve lives since it was first established in Brazil in 1911. Today, the company offers the finest cookware, cutlery and kitchen accessories in over 120 countries.

David Morris regional director MENA, Winterhalter
David Morris has more than 25 years of experience in design, project management, distribution and service for all sectors in the catering industry. Having worked as an advisor to catering operators for nearly 20 years, he brings his experience of catering operation and construction to the manufacturing and supply world and heads up Winterhalter Middle East’s sales and service teams.

Hilary Barreto operations & commercial manager, Elenco General Trading
Barreto joined Elenco when the foodservice equipment division was established in 1991, having earlier worked in Kuwait. The division now employs more than 150 people, and has annual sales of AED 150 million (US $40.1 million).

Mark Kreple senior vice president of international sales, Alto-Shaam
Mark Kreple is an experienced business professional with more than 25 years of executive international business experience. This includes working with key chain accounts (McDonald’s, YUM) supplying their product needs on a global basis and with local regional chains in various markets around the world. Kreple has established branch company operations, joint ventures, licensing agreements, warehouse/logistic operations and distributors/dealers in nearly every region of the world.


MICK JARY: The main consideration has to be operational efficiency whilst incorporating flexibility and ease of use.

PHILIPPE BACHA: Some hotels expect equipment to be in use for upwards of five years and therefore should consider increasing their capital expenditure to select the brands that can offer such a life cycle with the least amount of downtime.

EDUARDO CANSAN: When hotels choose kitchen equipment, the first step is to look for reliable suppliers with good after sales service and a varied mix of products that can meet most of their needs. Price is not the only factor to be analysed; in this segment quality must always come first.

MARK KREPLE: Kitchens need to be equipped with products that not only cook with precision, but that can hold food hot for an extended time period. The main considerations should include size of equipment needed, type of equipment needed, the versatility and reliability of the equipment, and spacing in the kitchen.

HILARY BARRETO: Hotels look for dependable HACCP-compliant equipment that can perform day in, day out without frequent breakdowns. With energy saving a top priority, hotels are looking for green solutions and products that are energy efficient, safe to use and support hygiene standards.


SIMON PARKE-DAVIS: Most professional kitchens struggle with a limitation of space. For that purpose, Rational combines nearly all cooking applications in only one unit, which requires just one square metre of space.

PHILIPPE: Charcoal grilling has become a very trendy food offering nowadays and we have seen this materialise with several of our restaurant and hotel clients in the past six months. New designs of specialist charcoal ovens such as the ones from Mibrasa, Spain, ensure the perfect temperature and taste while reducing charcoal consumption by 40%.

EDUARDO: The most important considerations in design of kitchenware are functionality and practicality. When developing new items, manufacturers must focus on creating products with better performance, without compromising on hygiene. One of the favourite materials for this segment, and one that never goes out of fashion is stainless steel, which is widely used for our knives and pots.

DAVID: Our products are generally not for front-of-house but their design has to be as compact as possible, hygienic, and easy to use, clean and maintain.

MARK: We see chefs demanding equipment that will fit perfectly under their hood. Hood space is costly to build, so they want to maximise their space. They are also looking for equipment that will consistently perform so they can maximise labour and reduce food waste.

HILARY: Chefs love to show off their skills on beautiful appliances that present a sparkling clean look that delights customers and attracts them to frequent the establishment.


SIMON: Compared with conventional appliances, the Rational SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses requires significantly less energy, water and raw materials by transmitting heat to the product by means of steam, hot air or a combination of the two.

EDUARDO: Tramontina’s products, besides having quality and resistance for continuous use, also offer benefits in terms of energy saving. For instance, our tri-ply bottom stainless steel pots allow users to save energy and time. This is enabled by the special bottom, which has layers of aluminium to conduct heat more effectively to the whole pot at the same time.

DAVID: Throughout our range we have a variety of ‘heat recovery’ features, which offer our customers improved sustainability and large operational cost savings.

MARK: Our newest line of combi ovens, the CT PROformance Combitherm convection-steamer oven, is 40% more energy efficient than conventional cooking technologies, uses 80% less water, and has 60% greater production.


SIMON: For sure design will gain even more importance in the field of kitchen equipment. However, it is more of a “soft” factor in the purchasing decision. The decisive factors will continue to be an intuitive operation, resource optimisation and work relief.

MICK: With more front-of-house cooking becoming the fashion, aesthetics are a must. With this move to theatre-style cooking, more catering designs now incorporate interior designers who demand options on equipment finishes — not just on the fabrication, but colour finishes as well.

DAVID: Aesthetics are important mainly in customer facing areas; this includes under-counter dishwashers in bars etc. Our machines have a range of optional features such as glass doors and coloured lighting.

MARK: Aesthetics are generally ignored when purchasing equipment; walk into any commercial kitchen and you will see stainless steel tables, sinks and ovens. While aesthetics can be overlooked, visual appeal is necessary when considering the customer’s view. Breakfast buffets using hot wells and heated display cases should match other equipment in the front-of-house.

HILARY: Aesthetics are very important when choosing kitchen equipment, particularly for show kitchens where we have single top or mono block kitchen suites.


SIMON: Our SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses will pay for itself in the shortest time; on a footprint of just one square metre it replaces or cuts the workload of all conventional cooking appliances by 40-50% and reduces the space required by more than 30%. Additionally, it consumes up to 20% less energy and even shortens production time by up to 30% thanks to rolling load. Overall, we can say that the profit exceeds the finance costs right from the very start.

MICK: Two of the main considerations today for equipment purchasing are life cycle costing and the return on investment given by the new kitchen. The life cycle cost has to be taken from “cradle to grave” or delivery to disposal, which we at Manitowoc take into consideration – its ROI should always be within two to three years.

EDUARDO: There are studies behind every launch, project, line or product. That is the time when we concentrate our efforts on building strategy and market positioning. You will never find a low-quality Tramontina item, since we preserve the quality and performance above all else. The price will always be fair and competitive in the category of the products, but never off the porch or be decided without prior study.

DAVID: We provide customers with amortisation calculations to show how much money they will save in the running of our machines and how quickly they will pay for themselves.

MARK: Product quality is essential to the food service business, especially the hotel business. Quality food is important to the hotel’s overall reputation. When travellers are looking for a hotel, they first turn to online reviews to pick the best location. The better the food you have, the more you will sell and the more hotel rooms you will book, making your investment in quality equipment worth it over time.


MICK: The big mistake is usually price versus quality along with total cost of ownership and energy efficiency. This can very often lead to a complete kitchen refurbishment within the first two years of its life and is therefore a bad investment. Clients should always fully understand exactly what they are purchasing and the full capabilities of the equipment. Preferably the chef should be allowed to work with the equipment before any commitment is made, thereby ensuring the correct specification along with a full understanding of available options.

PHILIPPE: We often see that hotel operators might not be up-to-date in the range of product offerings that exist internationally. It is our role to better educate and inform them about the range of options they have available to them.

EDUARDO: The most common mistakes are being price sensitive, and buying items at a low price and often a low quality, from an unknown origin. The perceived saving is temporary, since frequent replacements will be needed.
DAVID: A close relationship with the developer’s procurement processes and priorities ensures a higher level of reliability and longevity in the kitchen installation.

MARK: Hotel equipment purchasing mistakes happen when insufficient planning occurs prior to a purchase. Purchasing managers need to consider the long-term effects in the kitchen, including oven size, pan capacity, return on investment, ongoing serviceability, hood space requirements, stacking capabilities, and product output.

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