When most companies were on lockdown, F&B businesses were allowed to operate throughout. However, operations were only for sales via takeaway or delivery. We discussed how delivery became the saviour for F&B businesses (http://miseenplaceasia.com/food-delivery-saviour-in-disguise/), thanks to amateur home chefs who would definitely opt for a meal away from their repertoire after 2 months.
If you look at the offerings, fast food joints and simple hawker fare would seem to benefit the most - mostly for the speed and convenience. But that doesn’t mean other dine in outlets didn’t have an opportunity. Many fine dining restaurants started offering a DIY set menu where ingredients are readily prepared by chefs into special prepared packages. All the customer needs to do is a quick reheating and plating and voila - a fine dine meal to enjoy at home. Even hotpot restaurants or yakitori places started offering takeaway sets with ingredients packed and portioned and all you need to do is fire up the grill or heat up the broth.
But what if your customer wants a hot meal for 5 at home with side dishes and a starter to be ready for pick up all at the same time? And what if you have 3 delivery orders for a pax of 3,4,or 6 coming in as well? It was common scene at some eateries where riders were waiting in queues to pick up their orders.
The challenge for most operators:
- The demand when all orders come in at the same time,
- Operating with lower headcount than usual,
- Needing to “engineer” your food or its packaging to ensure food quality for delivery or takeway,
- And lastly, ensuring that the food stays warm.
This was also the similar situation for organisations that were helping out with meals for the needy or those in quarantine. With many facilities shut down and the difficulty in logistics, organisations providing food had a big challenge of preparing large meals and getting them out.
Even now with the relaxed regulations, there is strong evidence that people are still uncomfortable going into restaurants for meals. For those who have returned to work, lunch is now a quick grab and go back to your desk kind of lunch which operators must now understand. Hence your service time is now SHORT.
So it is important that you as an F&B operator look at how your menu can now be prepared in advance, kept warm and ready to be served within an instance. Food holding from your basic bain marie are common, though if left exposed in a buffet line, some patrons might choose to drop it.
That might be different if you make some changes. For example, when a chicken dish you previously served in your restaurant is now portioned, warm and ready to go, your customers will definitely visit your restaurant again for their favourite meals because there is no waiting time.
Some work have to be done to help operators navigate this. Not every item can easily go into a box, kept warm and remain the same as how your customers remember it to be. The good news is UNOX Asia and Chef Jason Manson are looking forward to working with companies on this issue.
The Evereo from UNOX a hot fridge with its unique patented technology has been specifically built to address this. “Super Holding” is one of its core features and with a tagline of “The quality of slow food with the speed of fast service” might be just the answer that you need as you shift your business to match the demands.
As explained by UNOX - just think of it like a fridge for hot items. You cook something, the Evereo keeps it warm. It doesn’t continue to cook or dry the items, but rather holds them in their original state, just as they were when taken out of the pan. When an order comes in, you just need to take it out and box or plate it and you are done! You can prepare items hours in advance without worrying about the food becoming stale or dry.
A good example of its practical application was amplified during the MCO in Malaysia by a welfare support organisation - Food Aid Foundation. Food Aid supports disadvantaged communities by preparing ready to eat meals. During the MCO period, they were also able to assist and support the service of preparing meals for returning citizens who were placed in quarantine. During this time, meals had to be prepared earlier during the day for dinner as their staff were limited and there was an 8pm curfew. And quarantine locations were purposely placed away from the cities, making logistics a concern as well. Evereo made dispatch a snap for Food Aid as they were able to get volunteers to prepare food much early during the day and kept them warm even up till dinner time.
As we move towards to the new normal of customers preferring takeaways or deliveries, the capability of preparing hot meals and keeping them warm is more crucial than ever. This business model is bringing to light that changes to a restaurant’s way of service must happen.
As UNOX believes in working hand in hand with their customers and supporting the industry in any way possible during these challenging times, UNOX ASIA has a special care package drawn up to encourage the adoption of an Evereo into the operations of F&B businesses. “Evereo - the hot fridge with a heart program” is offered to help customers get the benefits of a hot fridge with assistance from UNOX’s team members and more. The attractive program will be available July 2020 onwards.
UNOX Asia’s Regional manager, Ms Soo summarises her plans to us. “The world has changed, the demands of the customers is now safety and speed. Evereo was built and designed for this purpose as we hope more in Asia will adopt the technology offered to sustain their business going forward.”
And just like any person or business having gone through the last few months, the offering of help and a warm meal anytime certainly warms the heart.
For more information, visit UNOX Asia website at https://www.unox.com/en_my/