10 Foodservice Equipment Trends


Everything was coming up convenience stores at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. Foodservice equipment manufacturers at the trade show, held May 19-22, targeted the retail channel with new products and technology. Prepping, cooking, chilling and displaying continue to get faster, smarter, smaller and more aesthetically pleasing, and beverages, pizza and breakfast were the menu themes from exhibitors. What follows are 10 trends and products spotted on the show floor that can help c-store retailers improve their foodservice games.

1. Induction for soups

induction soups

TurboChef revealed its new Sinaqua Souper line, which uses induction heat to both retherm and hold soups. Two separate timers allow operators to track when to stir product and when to change it out. The company also showcased its new Eco Oven. A sister oven to TurboChef’s Sota high-speed oven, the Eco Oven has a 30% smaller footprint with the same size cooking cavity.

2. Smart displays

smart displays

Hatco’s Intelligent Heated Display features LED lighting and an all-glass display area for maximum product visibility. Up to eight different timers can be set for various products held within. Humidity can be set to the percentage. And a USB port allows for easy firmware updates.

3. Fast cooking

fast cooking

Ovention’s newest oven is the Milo, which cooks with an infusion of decoupled air and infrared heat. It offers the same fast cook times as Ovention’s Matchbox oven, but with no conveyor and therefore a smaller footprint. And like the Matchbox, the Milo doesn’t require a hood. Also in the line, the Double Milo provides two cooking cavities.

4. Building a c-store suite

building a c-store suite

Alto-Shaam displayed a suite of products recommended for a c-store operation. It included the company’s heated shelf merchandiser, quick chiller, cook and hold oven, Combitherm oven (with catalytic converter for no hood), drawer warmers and Vector multicook oven.

5. Sweet solutions

sweet solutions

In addition to its Egg Station, Antunes showcased its new partner, Nordic Waffles. The turnkey offering includes frozen batter and a waffle maker, which produces soft, chewy waffles in less than 2 minutes that can be used in multiple applications.

6. Safe stores

safe stores

Daymark now offers a complete solution for menu management and labeling. The MenuPilot app can help operators with recipe costing and calorie counts, pushing the details to both digital menu boards and printed labels for grab-and-go products. MenuPilot also tracks equipment maintenance.

For retailers offering delivery, the system can print tamper-evident labels, so consumers can be assured their food is delivered safe and untouched.

7. Intuitive coffee

intuitive coffee

Curtis took this year’s NRA Show to launch its new GemX coffee line. Its FreshTrac technology replaces audible alarms and mechanical timers with a customizable system of three LEDs that glow and flash, letting operators track coffee freshness from across the room. IntelliFresh delivers digitally controlled pulses of heat and features encapsulated “brains” inside each satellite with four sensor points to monitor brew level and status.

8. Combis for convenience

combis for convenience

Rational joined other equipment manufacturers in targeting convenience stores for its line of combi ovens. In a mock c-store within its booth, Rational chefs demonstrated how c-store operators could cook an entire menu from a Rational combi, from breads and meats to sandwiches and sauces.

9. Blending food and beverage

blending food and beverage

Vitamix chefs picked up on the trend of caffeinating foods with an acai bowl made with coffee. Blueberries, bananas, matcha green tea powder, acai and coffee went into a blender and came out as a spoonable snack charged with caffeine but no coffee flavor. Vitamix chefs also made a smoothie with kombucha, hitting on two beverage trends in one product.

10. Connected kitchens

connected kitchens

Welbilt showcased its Kitchen Connect system, which connects Welbilt equipment to the operation. It brings the internet of things to the commercial kitchen, tracking usage, maintenance, HAACP compliance, recipes and crew behavior in one place.