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.