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Archive for May, 2009

Atlanta Jazz Festival

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

May 23-25, 2009 – www.atlantafestivals.com.

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National Restaurant Association Show

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

May 16-19, 2009 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. For more information, visit www.restaurant.org/show

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ALIVE! Expo Health and Wellness Event

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

May 16-17, 2009 at the Georgia World Congress Center, www.aliveexpo.com.

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March of Dimes, Dining Out

Friday, May 15th, 2009

May 15, 2009 – www.marchofdimes.com

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The 19th Annual Taste of Alpharetta

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

May 14, 2009 at Wills Park Old Milton Pkwy. Alpharetta, GA, www.alpharetta.ga.us.

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ACF Atlanta President’s Gala

Monday, May 11th, 2009

May 11, 2009 at the Atlanta Athletic Club.  For more information, visit www.acfatlantachefs.org.

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Taste of the Highlands

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

May 9, 2009 – www.tasteofthehighlands.com

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SOS Taste of the Nation Atlanta

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

May 6, 2009 at the Georgia Aquarium.  For more information, visit www.atlantataste.org

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More Energy Saving Products

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

May/June 2009

When Chris and Michele Sedgwick reconcepted their Roswell restaurant to Bistro VG, the kitchen was also updated with several new pieces of commercial cooking equipment to save time and energy.  One piece added was the electric RATIONALSelfCooking Center. Owner Chris says, “The combi oven gives my chef additional creativity with our new menu while producing a high-quality, consistent product for our customers.” The oven is programmable, allowing Bistro VG’s chef to input his own recipes, which any chef can prepare with the simple push of a few buttons.

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As Director of Construction and Development for Ted’s Montana Grill, Ed Bazor has a lot on his plate. But nothing is more important to him than his role as “Head of the Green Team.” Ted’s restaurants take their environmental stance very seriously, and it shows in their kitchen equipment. In their last two locations (Cumming, GA, and Bozeman, MT) they installed two gas-fired, tankless water heaters manufactured by Noritz. These two heaters are used in tandem to jointly ensure there is hot water on demand for frontand back-of-the-house operations. “We have not had them in operation a full year, so I can’t tell you the overall water or energy saving yet,” Bazor says, “but I will tell you that I have already seen huge benefit in cover2-2.jpgthe ability to eliminate 25 to 30 square feet of restaurant space because they hang on the wall. That is an upfront cost savings of $1,500 per year in real estate.” He also noticed his maintenance cost has been minimized because water flowed through the tanks instead of sitting in them. He states, “Neither restaurant has had one service call in the past 10 months. Even if we experience a moderate savings of energy, this equipment has saved me in real estate, installation expense, maintenance and space. I call that a significant savings overall.”

The world’s largest fast-food restaurant made a major decision to switch to electric fryers, and the results have been dramatic. The Varsity has been able to turn out their renowned food faster than ever, and its inside temperature has dropped significantly, especially in the kitchen area. “It has been fantastic,” says Gordon Muir, Varsity President and grandson of founder Frank Gordy Sr. “Our building is not just cooler, it’s more comfortable. I walked out into the lobby on a recent day when it was 100º outside, but it was cool at The Varsity. That’s a first.” Their kitchen temperature now stays below 80º. The Varsity’s 18 fryers work feverishly every day, cooking up the French fries and onion rings that helped make it famous. Not only are the electric fryers cooler, but they are also more efficient, easier to maintain and much easier to clean, according to Muir.

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Middleby Marshall’s WOW! Gas Conveyor Oven was named the 2009 Product of the Year bycover2-4.jpg the Gas Foodservice Equipment Network at the NAFEM show. This award is presented annually to a manufacturer that brings to market a natural gas appliance that highlights outstanding innovation and technology in foodservice equipment. The oven has an “energy eye” that starts the belt only when it senses product. When the belt does not have product, the energy eye puts the oven into a sleep mode to save energy. The oven cooks most products in three to four minutes. Georgia-based Stevi B’s Pizza restaurant’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations Seth Salzman says, “This oven runs 20% faster. For us, we can replenish our buffet faster, providing less waste because of our quicker reaction time.”

cover2-5.thumbnail.jpgNiagara Conservation’s commercial, high-efficiency prerinse spray nozzle is certified by the Food Services Technology Center and endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association to reduce water usage by 80%. It has an insulated handle and is interchangeable with all brands.

Power Spray’s Savings Charts

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Equipment That Saves

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

 

May/June, 2009

By Joni House Coupe

Large to Small Expenditures Bring Big Return on Investment in the Kitchen

What’s the catalyst for replacing old equipment? What finally pushes a chef over the edge and pries open the checkbook?

For Chef Patrick Gebrayel, it was the water dripping on his head in the kitchen at Dunwoody Country Club. “I finally got tired of the water coming down from the air conditioner registers on the ceiling,” he says.

When Chef Gebrayel dug in to investigate, he found that what was making his head wet and his kitchen hot and humid in the summer and cold in the winter was also causing incredibly high energy usage through the facility.

“The biggest consumer of energy in the kitchen is the ventilation system,” Chef Gebrayel says. He found that one of the 65-lb. doors leading from the kitchen to the banquet area stayed ajar while the hood was operating. The hood system was pulling so hard in its attempt to evacuate the hot air from the kitchen that it was literally sucking the air out of the entire building.

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Chef Gebrayel’s solution: to minimize the heat the kitchen put into the atmosphere during operation. The key was to find equipment that didn’t throw off heat or that kept the heat it generated inside the equipment itself. Once he had installed this type of equipment, Chef Gebrayel was able to slow the kitchen hood speed down by almost 70%. As a result, the building chiller no longer had to work at 100% capacity just to cool the building; the kitchen hood was no longer pulling the air conditioning out of the building.

Even if slowing your kitchen hood doesn’t seem to be an option, you can make small changes to make existing equipment more efficient and less expensive to operate. Chef Gebrayel recommends using a mechanical engineer to balance the hood, basically customizing its performance to the physical characteristics of the kitchen and restaurant.

cover-2.jpg“You don’t want salad to blow off the plates every time the kitchen door opens,” Gebrayel says. By spending $300 to $400 for hood balancing, the proper adjustment of cubic feet per minute per facility square foot can be optimized. Replacing the lights inside the hood with CFL bulbs can save in electricity costs. “They handle the vibration better,” Chef Gebrayel explains. By replacing only 12 incandescent bulbs with CFLs, Dunwoody Country Club saves $1,800 to $2,000 a year.

Although his starting motivation was comfort, he found that energy savings and a better work environment go hand in hand. As part of the $450,000 renovation of the 4,000-square-foot kitchen at Dunwoody Country Club in 2008, Chef Gebrayel went in pursuit of equipment that would enhance both efficiency and comfort.

One of the newcomers to his kitchen was the Eloma combination. “It’s a German manufacturer,” he explains. “It doesn’t throw heat into the atmosphere because it’s so insulated and the door seal is very, very tight.”

The manufacturer boasts that the oven can provide up to 46% energy savings versus a conventional oven and that Eloma ovens require no preheating. Although the Eloma requires a chemical cleaner, it uses very little – one 2-gallon jug of cleaner lasts roughly a year, even cleaning the oven based on daily use. The patented cleaning system can be started at any time, without the need to cool down the oven, saving staff time and equipment downtime.

Richard Gorowitz, Sales Manager at Atlanta Fixture, says, “Many of our customers today who are building restaurants or remodeling are looking for ‘combi’ ovens, using a combination of traditional convection cooking and steam cooking, simultaneously or independently. Another benefit of interest is that combi ovens save kitchen space and can combine functions of two or more pieces of kitchen equipment. This in turn can eliminate the amount of overall kitchen space needed.” Gorowitz observes that purchases motivated by energy savings are split about evenly between ovens and refrigeration. For operators in the market for energy-efficient walk-ins, Gorowitz recommends Bally, Arctic and Master-Bilt.

The Dunwoody Country Club kitchen also welcomed a new fryer system. “Fryers are huge gobblers of energy,” Chef Gebrayel explains.

When replacing his fryers, Chef Gebrayel turned to the “Ultrafryer,” developed for the fried chicken industry. The self cleaning gas Ultrafryer uses a baffle system, meaning the gas burner is inside a tube.

cover-3.jpgThe Ultrafryer baffles are high efficiency and its burner size is 20% of that of the normal fryer. It has twice the efficiency of a normal fryer because the heat stays inside the unit. Chef Gebrayel found that the 100-lb. Ultrafryer uses less energy than his normal 50-lb.-capacity fryers. Because the Ultrafryer burners don’t fire all the time, “it doesn’t burn up the oil,” Chef Gebrayel says, adding that the shelf life on his fryer oil has almost doubled since making the switch to the Ultrafryer.

Quality construction can make a difference in all types of kitchen equipment. Chef Gebrayel’s search for equipment that both saves money and contributes to kitchen comfort led him to a dishwasher made by Meiko.

Most manufacturers don’t insulate their dishwashers at all. Unlike the thin-walled steel boxes most manufacturers market, the Meiko has 1½-inch-thick panels. “It takes less energy to heat up and saves energy throughout the cycle,” says Chef Gebrayel.

The construction of the Meiko dishwasher provides “cool-tothe- touch” exteriors even while the dishwasher is running at full cycle. Meiko states that by reclaiming heat generated during the wash cycle and using that “waste” heat to prewarm the rinse cycle water, its dishwashers conserve energy during operation.

Chefs can find equipment like this Meiko quickly by spending time at trade shows like the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, where scores of equipment manufacturers have models available for inspection and handling.

To save even more electricity and make the kitchen more comfortable, Chef Gebrayel advised chefs to “kill the heat lamps!” He recommends using heated countertops instead. Not only do heated countertops save energy, but they also save counter space and clear the line of sight between the kitchen team and the front of- the-house team. As an alternative, Chef Gebrayel suggests using 110-watt retractable lights and providing the capability of using three or seven lights so that not all are on during off-peak demand for the heat lamps.

Savings can occur in more than just energy bills. Kitchens can cut their ongoing water bills as well by installing equipment that by design uses less water.

The Dunwoody Country Club kitchen renovation included installation of foot pedal sinks. As compared with sinks turnedon by hand levers, Chef Gebrayel’s foot pedal sinks introduce a subtle difference in the hand-washing process. The user turns the water on by stepping on the foot press at the base of the sink. They wet their hands, step off the pedal and thereby turn off the water. At that point comes the soap and then the 20-second count starts. They step on the pedal again to turn the water back on and rinse.

The water doesn’t run constantly throughout the process, and dirty hands never touch a sink lever. The results are better sanitation and reduced water consumption.

The operators who will survive in the current economic environment are those who take action to drive down their operating costs. A safer, more efficient kitchen saves in terms of employee morale and retention in addition to energy costs.

“Any time you turn something on, you’re using a resource: gas, electricity, water, whatever,” Chef Gebrayel says. Increased expenditure in the back of the house requires increased revenue generation in the front of the house. “I want to ease the pressure on the need to chase more and more revenue” just to break even he says. Finding and installing equipment that saves operating costs is a major step along the road to better margins.

Shed More Light on the Subject
Spending a little more to save a lot more over the long haul drives Chef Gebrayel’s decision on how and where he invests in lighting. From a total cost of ownership standpoint, Chef Gebrayel found that replacing his 26 four-bay fixture T8 tubes with three T5 tubes saved money on his electric bill and produced a “really bright” kitchen.

The T5 tubes offer 10,000 hours of life (three-and-a-half to four years of continuous use) versus the T8 tubes’ life of 4,000 to 6,000 hours. Chef Gebrayel boasts that his T5 bank consumes 25% less electricity than the T8s did. To maximize the effect of the brighter tubes, Chef Gebrayel installed fire-resistant plastic wall covering in bright white. The wall covering reflects even more light with benefits that go beyond energy savings. “A bright kitchen is a safe kitchen,” Chef Gebrayel observes.

Low-Tech But High Savings
Sometimes, performance isn’t about the latest technology. Chef Gebrayel relates his experience using flooring made of PVC from recycled milk jugs. The flooring is cost effective from the start because the material is permanently installed over the existing flooring. “You don’t have to pull up ceramic tile or resurface,” he says. The main attractions of the milk jug flooring material are its resistance to heat and the incredible footing it provides. Chef Gebrayel tested his new flooring by pouring hot oil on it and having his banquet manager walk through the kitchen in street shoes. “He just didn’t fall down,” Chef Gebrayel laughs. Even the workers compensation inspector was impressed to the point where Dunwoody Country Club received a reduction in workers’ compensation expenses. Another side benefit is that the flooring has reduced breakage. Plus, “We no longer have floor mats,” Chef Gebrayel says. “We clean the new surface periodically with enzymatic cleanser.” It’s cleaner, safer and easier than most conventional flooring systems. Who would’ve thought a milk jug could do so much.

Get the Facts Before You Spend
Chef Gebrayel warns that equipment marketing material is usually just that: marketing material. Brochures may be a fine place to start, but for comparative technical and performance data, Chef Gebrayel relies on other sources. Some of his favorites:

  • www.fishnick.com. This website has a wealth of technical information, from white papers to self-conducted site survey forms. It’s sponsored by Fisher Nickel, an engineering consulting firm, in conjunction with Pacific Gas and Electric Company, but is fuel neutral and presents research conducted on all types and models of foodservice equipment.
  • North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM). Chef Gebrayel recommends NAFEM shows as great places for hands-on research. “You can educate yourself,” he says, by finding equipment “that’s better constructed for a lower price and better warranty than some big-name models.” Here’s the link to NAFEM’s list of innovative equipment and products.
  • Gas South and Georgia Power. Chef Gebrayel sites these energy partners for bringing more than utilities to their corporate customers. “They will help you understand the energy usage of particular equipment,” he says.

>> Click here to read about Energy Saving Products.

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