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Future of Foodservice Industry – from the drafting board of a Food Service Consultant and Commercial Kitchen Designer

Food Service Consultants - HPG Consulting

The food, services, and food services industries have witnessed a paradigm shift with changing technology and business landscape. But the fundamental design approach to equipment and facilities remains constant. Here we would like to explore if there are positives to this constancy or if there is a need to transform, if yes, how?

The past year has brought to focus a lot of questions including the existential ones such as will commercial foodservice get back to its previous self or if it will change to something completely different. At present, we approach Commercial Kitchen Design as axiomatic with principles set by nature herself and needing no further scrutiny.

This raises a rather important question, whether the old principles of Commercial Kitchen Design and BOH Services will fit the new normal or standard enforced by the global phenomenon of contagion. The pandemic changed the business and office landscape across industries, decimating many of them. Could it be possible that such an unparalleled event not merit a shift in our approach and thought on the design of Commercial Kitchens and BOH services? Why do we seem to be as focused on the PIM and MEPs rather than tackling the more fundamental question of what is the future of kitchen design and Commercial Kitchens? Even before the pandemic swept and enforced remarkable constraints on us, much slower and subtler emergencies have been knocking at our doors for decades even, remember climate change anyone?

Brave New World

With the new normal enforcing tectonic shifts in all industries, it is but logical to relook at our approach to commercial kitchen design. The ghost kitchens have risen to meet the challenge albeit temporarily and superficially, patching together a solution with the available standard equipment and codes to deliver the products we are familiar with but under very different circumstances.

Ghost kitchens are in fact an inspiration for us to go back to the drawing boards and constitute think tanks by foodservice consultants to draw up a blueprint for the future course of action. Although the growing influence of technology and the omnipresent and omnipotent dynamics of economics have changed the kitchens from enclosed, individual departments to open-architecture even bringing it to center stage focus. Yet, amidst all these changes, the fundamentals have remained the same.

Old wine in a new bottle

Well, when it comes to wine, old wine in a new bottle is welcome. But when it comes to technology which by definition is something that should keep advancing making our life and work better and easier, old in new is most unwelcome and useless. That seems to be the state of most manufacturers of Commercial Kitchen Equipment. A digital or even an IoT version of equipment is rarely a groundbreaking change.

Yet, all hope is not lost. There have been many innovations over the recent years in food production and service to allow for a transformation that is total and complete, redefining Commercial Kitchen Design forever.

Raison d’être for a Food Service Consultant

The role of a food service consultant is to respond to the brief of the client, suggesting innovations and improvements which however unlikely it might be that the client will pursue it. It is the paramount duty of the Foodservice Consultant to assist the client by educating her/him about the most advanced equipment and systems in a commercial kitchen or laundry. Obsolescence is a reality we all live with, so future-proofing is a must by the foodservice consultant. 

The design solution has to be modular and scalable to allow for additions in the future as and when new opportunities present themselves in the future. 

Commercials Kitchens of the future: Chimera?

Will the evolved technology of robotics, material handling, process control, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence among others, ever make a mark on the kitchens of the future?

Analogies with other industries, connected to Commercial Kitchens or not may provide the inspiration to borrow technology and systems that are transferable across domains. The positive of cross-industry inspiration is the technology would be mature to reduce costs of adopting due to lowered R&D costs. 

The role of a food service consultant is to question everything while not letting it paralyze their action. This balance between skepticism and action is where progress is made, be it the invention of new drugs or Commercial Kitchen Design.

The food, services and food services industries have witnessed a paradigm shift with changing technology and business landscape. But the fundamental design approach to equipment and facilities remains constant. Here we would like to explore if there are positives to this constancy or if there is a need to transform, if yes, how?

The past year has brought to focus a lot of questions including the existential ones such as will commercial foodservice get back to its previous self or if it will change to something completely different. At present, we approach Commercial Kitchen Design as axiomatic with principles set by nature herself and needing no further scrutiny.

This raises a rather important question, whether the old principles of Commercial Kitchen Design and BOH Services will fit the new normal or standard enforced by the global phenomenon of contagion. The pandemic changed the business and office landscape across industries, decimating many of them. Could it be possible that such an unparalleled event not merit a shift in our approach and thought on the design of Commercial Kitchens and BOH services? Why do we seem to be as focused on the PIM and MEPs rather than tackling the more fundamental question of what is the future of kitchen design and Commercial Kitchens? Even before the pandemic swept and enforced remarkable constraints on us, much slower and subtler emergencies have been knocking at our doors for decades even, remember climate change anyone?

Brave New World

With the new normal enforcing tectonic shifts in all industries, it is but logical to relook at our approach to commercial kitchen design. The ghost kitchens have risen to meet the challenge albeit temporarily and superficially, patching together a solution with the available standard equipment and codes to deliver the products we are familiar with but under very different circumstances.

Ghost kitchens are in fact an inspiration for us to go back to the drawing boards and constitute think tanks by foodservice consultants to draw up a blueprint for the future course of action. Although the growing influence of technology and the omnipresent and omnipotent dynamics of economics have changed the kitchens from enclosed, individual departments to open-architecture even bringing it to center stage focus. Yet, amidst all these changes, the fundamentals have remained the same.

Old wine in a new bottle

Well, when it comes to wine, old wine in a new bottle is welcome. But when it comes to technology which by definition is something that should keep advancing making our life and work better and easier, old in new is most unwelcome and useless. That seems to be the state of most manufacturers of Commercial Kitchen equipment. A digital or even an IoT version of equipment is rarely a groundbreaking change.

Yet, all hope is not lost. There have been many innovations over the recent years in food production and service to allow for a transformation that is total and complete, redefining Commercial Kitchen Design forever.

Raison d’être for a Food Service Consultant

The role of a food service consultant is to respond to the brief of the client, suggesting innovations and improvements which however unlikely it might be that the client will pursue it. It is the paramount duty of the Foodservice Consultant to assist the client by educating her/him about the most advanced equipment and systems in a commercial kitchen or laundry. Obsolescence is a reality we all live with, so future-proofing is a must by the foodservice consultant. 

The design solution has to be modular and scalable to allow for additions in the future as and when new opportunities present themselves in the future. 

Commercials Kitchens of the future: Chimera?

Will the evolved technology of robotics, material handling, process control, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence among others, ever make a mark on the kitchens of the future?

 

Analogies with other industries, connected to Commercial Kitchens or not may provide the inspiration to borrow technology and systems that are transferable across domains. The positive of cross-industry inspiration is the technology would be mature to reduce costs of adopting due to lowered R&D costs. 

The role of a food service consultant is to question everything while not letting it paralyze their action. This balance between skepticism and action is where progress is made, be it an invention of new drugs or Commercial Kitchen Design.

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