5 Space-Saving, Multifunctional C-Store Foodservice Equipment Products

For c-stores looking to win in the foodservice game, versatile, easy-to-use and highly functional equipment can be a powerful tool. User-friendly, compact cooking models that can fit in just about any space are increasingly crucial for cutting-edge c-store foodservice programs.

Amid the many ovens, toasters, blenders and holding cabinets that are being designed to meet the demand, one central theme stands out: How can c-store kitchens benefit from smaller, multifunctional equipment?

“Equipment companies understand that the convenience segment is more important than ever,” says Charlie Souhrada, vice president of the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers. “Space concerns continue to be huge. Countertop solutions are now a major focus; we’re even seeing equipment going vertical to optimize the space.”

Beyond size, equipment functionality is crucial as well. “One of the key trends for our industry is small-footprint models, yes, but also multifunctional, so equipment can be versatile across dayparts,” Souhrada says. “We’re seeing more and more equipment being able to prepare and maintain many different menu items throughout the day.”

What’s next for foodservice equipment? According to Souhrada, keep an eye out for even smaller combi ovens designed for c-stores, and self-cleaning equipment that can tidy up with the push of a button.

“Whether it’s rapid-cook ovens or blenders, the right equipment will be available to provide the customer with something fresh, tasty and indulgent,” he says.

Rational, Antunes, Alto-Shaam, Hatco and Eloma have all released space-saving models in recent years. Click through to see some recent offerings.

Rational

Rational

Rational, based in Rolling Meadows, Ill., recently rolled out its smallest combi oven, the new SelfCooking Center XS. Designed for c-stores and other small operations, the “intelligent” combi oven combines steam and convection heat for baking, grilling, steaming, roasting and poaching. The multiuse oven measures just 21 inches wide and 25 inches deep.

Antunes

Antunes

For c-stores serving all-day breakfast, the new Dual Zone station from Antunes, based in Carol Stream, Ill., features two independent cooking zones, which gives operators the flexibility of staggering cooking times. The compact cooker allows c-stores to prepare eggs fast and fresh on demand, rather than making them in big batches and risking freshness and food integrity.

Alto-Shaam

Alto-Shaam

The CT PROformance 6-10 Combitherm oven from Alto-Shaam, Menomonee Falls, Wis., has the ability to steam, bake, braise, roast, oven-fry and retherm signature dishes in a countertop design. Foodservice operators can stack two together or place it on a stand or countertop for versatility and quality without sacrificing space.

Eloma

Eloma

The Genius MT C from Eloma, Vernon Hills, Ill., is a compact combi equipped with MT (multi-touch) technology. It features the company's high-resolution MultiTouch display that retailers can use to comfortably access functions such as Last 20, Quick Mode and Climatic MT. This allows users to concentrate on the cooking. The oven has nine cooking methods, nine menu groups, low-temperature cooking and 400 cooking and baking programs, and a favorites function.

Hatco Corp.

Hatco Corp.

The Mini Vertical Warmer from Hatco Corp. is a solution for merchandising hot snacks. The small-footprint unit holds prepackaged snacks at optimum serving temperatures, making it an ideal warmer for cookies and brownies, according to the company. Up to eight units can be connected side by side while utilizing only one outlet connection.