Ovention oven shines at the Boys & Girls Club

oven pizza consumers

From Ovention.

The speedy impingement oven has revolutionized the pizza industry and enabled operators in all segments, including noncommercial foodservice, to produce many different foods more easily and faster with better quality results.

But it may come as a surprise to find this versatile equipment starring in a community after-school program that teaches entry-level job skills to young people.

At the Boys & Girls Club of Door County in Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., the fast, compact, easy-to-operate and energy-efficient Ovention M1313 impingement oven is the centerpiece of a snack bar run by kids in the club’s Young Entrepreneurs Program.

“We’re looking to change the lives of these kids by offering them better job opportunities,” says Julie Davis, executive director of the club.

The program debuted during the previous school year (2015) with 15 kids, aged roughly 11 to 15 years old, managing and staffing the snack bar. “The kids really engaged with the program,” says Davis. “They really enjoyed it and it has been very successful.”

Club members learned real-life work habits and skills at the snack bar, from filling out a job application to passing a group job interview, choosing a menu, setting prices, handling inventory and serving customers. In addition, they learned to prepare pizza with the Ovention oven, which an area food manufacturer donated to the club.

“We actually could not have run this program if we didn’t have pizza and if we didn’t have the Ovention oven,” declares Davis. “Pizza was the glue that held the kids in there and made it fun for them to participate.”

The Ovention oven has proven ideal for the Boys & Girls Club snack bar for many of the same reasons that it is prized in schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, corporate dining rooms and fast-casual restaurants. For starters, it is safe for club members to operate. “When we ran the oven the first time, we were impressed that the space between the oven and the wall stays cool,” says Davis.

Training the teens to use the Ovention oven, with its touch-screen controls and programmable recipe features, was a snap. Which is no surprise since Gen Z has grown up with so much advanced technology. “They are very computer savvy,” says Davis. “They are not intimidated at all by the technology and it has been very easy for them to use.”

In practical terms, the oven saved the club space and money. The equipment’s small footprint fit the tight confines of the snack bar, which was shoehorned into a renovated office space. And the fact that the oven is ventless—its catalytic converters eliminate cooking emissions—avoided the large expense of installing a ventilation hood.

Not to be overlooked is the oven’s sheer speed. The Ovention oven turns out a hot and tasty pie in two and a half minutes. “Kids want pizza and they want it immediately,” says Davis.

Looking ahead to the second year of the program, Davis anticipates using the versatile oven for additional snack bar menu items as well as other food offerings at the club. 

“For a first-year trial program, it was a thumbs-up,” says Davis. “The kids are looking forward to expanding it and doing more.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion
Richard cousins

Compass Group confirmed this morning that CEO Richard Cousins was killed on New Year’s Eve in a small-plane crash off the coast of Australia. He was 58.

Cousins was scheduled to step down as CEO in March, after leading the world’s largest foodservice management company for 11 years. His planned successor, Compass COO Dominic Blakemore, has agreed to assume Cousins’ duties immediately.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news,” Compass Chairman Paul Walsh said in a statement. “It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for...

Menu Development
to-go meals

Drew Allen didn’t hesitate when asked what he expects of noncommercial dining in the future. “Change,” he says. “We have to change with the times and what our guests are looking for.”

Allen, the director of culinary services at Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices in Lebanon, Ohio, says the more the residents and guests at Otterbein change, the more diverse eating habits his team has the chance to explore. One of those changing habits, he says, is diners’ growing desire for portable, made-to-order items . That’s a theme borne out by data, too—and is true across dayparts. Roughly 67%...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation

Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

FSD Resources