Technology & Equipment

Equipment innovation boosts C&U success

Ingenuity has always been a key trait of college & university foodservice directors, as these operators continually look for creative and efficient ways to meet the differentiated culinary needs of students and provide services that go beyond dining halls.

kitchen cafeteria equipment innovation

That’s because thinking outside the box is often a path to success, especially with foodservice equipment. For many operators, kitchens are smaller than ever, but speed of service, customizable options and menu variety remain paramount. In fact, 71 percent of university operators surveyed said that they plan to renovate all or part of their facilities, according to FoodService Director’s 2014 The Big Picture research. What’s more, 43 percent of college and university operators say they intend to open a new dining location in the next two years.

And campus foodservice operations often provide catering, summer camp dining, concessions and conference meals as well. Thus, having cutting-edge equipment that streamlines food prep and satisfies the appetites of hungry students is essential for a smooth, successful operation.

Chris Kaschak, executive chef for Holloway Commons (HoCo), at the University of New Hampshire, found one innovative solution in Ovention’s S2000 Shuttle Oven.

HoCo serves 55,000 covers per week and offers concepts such as a salad bar, grill, brick oven and stir fry area. When Kaschak saw the S2000 Shuttle demonstration, he knew it would fit right into his vision for HoCo—so he bought two. “The first thing that caught my eye was the versatility of the Ovention oven,” he explains. “It was in a cooking competition being held in a banquet room and it had no hood.”

The S2000 Shuttle is the key featured in HoCo’s newly designed grill area. “We took out all the fryers and we had an eye out for flexibility,” he says.  The dual-purpose oven, which is both an energy-efficient oven and a precision conveyor, makes the S2000 Shuttle a logical additional to HoCo’s new layout.

What’s more, it allows Kaschak to offer menu items that are prepared directly in front of student customers, a growing trend in foodservice today. At UNH, the S2000 Shuttle is at work during lunch and dinner, preparing a variety of options out in the open—without a hood.

“At lunch, we’re using the S2000 Shuttle for fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings. We’re doing burgers and veggie burgers,” Kaschak says. “For dinner we roast veggies, and we’re doing lean proteins like pork tenderloins and chicken breasts.”

Kaschak knows speed of service is a major component of feeding 10,000 meal-plan diners as well as faculty members and commuters. The Ovention oven is “substantially faster than infrared,” he says. “Doing fries, speed is comparable to a fryer.”

The S2000 Shuttle is simple to program and operate and can be used in continuous feed conveyer mode during peak dining times. Kaschak uses it to produce toasted subs, flatbreads and similar grilled sandwiches.

For more innovative equipment solutions for your operation, visit Ovention here.


This post is sponsored by Ovention