Tag Archives: Rational Ovens
Commercial Kitchen is the multi-award nominated trade show for the UK’s catering equipment industry and attracts over 2,000 visitors.
Visitors and exhibitors
Exhibitors came from all parts of the industry, with over 80 leading industry suppliers showcasing innovative catering equipment, devices and services. The show attracted representatives from big names like EAT, Pret, Costa, Sainsbury’s, Subway, Tesco, Debenhams, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Casual Dining Group, ASK Italian, Mitchells & Butlers, Zizzi, Greene King, Thwaites, Whitbread, Gate Gourmet, Merlin Entertainment Sodexo, Brakes, National Trust and Bourne Leisure.
In addition there were visitors from the widest range of public and private sector industries from independent restaurants, schools and universities, to local authorities and attractions.
There were plenty of people to see and hear at the show. Conversation sessions included Vivek Singh, executive chef and founder of The Cinnamon Collection, Claire Clark MBE and Robert Quehan, head chef at The Redwood Bistro, Bishopstoke Park.
Panel discussions covered pub kitchens, sustainability, kitchen design, the important role of equipment distributors, multi-site restaurant innovation, foodservice consultants, hospital kitchens and prison kitchens.
Rational Oven Award
The show also featured the Commercial Kitchen Innovation Challenge Awards where the top ten exhibitors to have secured the most visitor votes were invited to pitch their new innovations. The results saw four companies receiving gold awards, four being awarded silver and two taking home bronze. The Rational SelfCookingCenter XL was awarded silver.
AC Services (Southern) was delighted to see the Rational appliance recognised and appreciated for its reliability, performance and innovation.
A Show to Attend?
For those in the catering business, it’s worth considering whether to attend next year’s Catering Equipment Show. Perhaps the words of two key attendees may help.
. “We are always looking for the latest in technology to improve our kitchens’ efficiency and food quality. Commercial Kitchen is the perfect event to identify tomorrow’s technology today and network with industry experts,” Kumour Uddin, executive group chef at Anglian Country Inns .
“As someone who wants the best equipment for our teams and customers, Commercial Kitchen and the Catering Equipment Show is a good and very relevant show for me. I look forward to attending again and watching this important event grow over the coming years.” Dirk Wissmann, senior equipment buyer at Pret A Manger.
Here’s a little known fact. The great British pub actually started life as an Italian wine bar dating back almost 2,000 years! The invading Roman army in 43 AD brought us Roman pubs known as tabernae. Initially selling wine, these tabernae were built alongside Roman roads and in towns to help quench the thirst of the legionary troops.
Local people however, started to stock tabernae with ale, the native British brew and tabernae quickly became taverns. And taverns became inns, inns became public houses and the pub was born.
Today the British pub sector is huge with over 80% of pubs (nearly 50,000 outlets) independent small businesses. According to a recent report, the industry employs almost 900,000 people. While the number of jobs has increased by 29,000 from the previous year. Investment in the industry is 40% higher. Up from £1.2 billion in 2015 to £2 billion in 2016. Brewing alone sustains over 100,000 jobs.
Conditions have improved slightly over the past five years. This is driven by a stronger consumer backdrop and one-off sporting events which have accelerated sales. However, high operating costs and legislative barriers are constantly holding many operators back. Industry value added, which measures the industry’s contribution to the overall economy, is anticipated to grow at a compound annual rate of just 0.7% over the 10 years through 2021-22. The pub industry is determined to increase these figures.
Unless it has escaped everyone’s notice there is an election coming up. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has therefore decided to publish its own manifesto for the brewing and pub industry. The manifesto outlines its priorities for the beer and pub sector to thrive over the next five years.
The BBPA calls for urgent yet sensible measures to ensure the future of the pub industry, which has been battling for a number of years. To tackle high rates of UK beer taxation, there should be a freeze in beer duty over the course of the next Parliament.
In the wake of Brexit, the manifesto calls for a free trade deal with the EU without additional paperwork! It has been reported that the beer and pub industry forks out £12.6b in tax each year. While Britons pay 40% of all EU beer duties, we drink just 12% of the beer.
A key proposal is more investment in training and skills, and access to those with the right skills including an immigration system that supports the necessary staffing levels for the sector. BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments:
“Our manifesto sets out the key priorities for our sector for the general election. As a vital industry employing around 900,000 people, we will be using it to engage with serving politicians and candidates throughout the campaign.”
British pubs are surviving despite the odds and have diversified into other areas, notably the serving of food. If you are a pub owner or manager with a kitchen that is constantly in use and looking to upgrade to a more reliable oven, consider a Rational oven. Then contact us to install and maintain it cost efficiently.
Sometimes we have to go above and beyond the call of duty and for Kevin, a senior engineer at AC Services (Southern), a passing enquiry saw him catching a flight to Barcelona and spending a night on a luxury yacht.
The story unravelled a week before the Bank Holiday weekend in March, when MD Helen Hagger took one of the company vans home. A neighbour expressed an interest in the logo on the van and when Helen explained that the company was the service partner for Rational for South West England, the neighbour became even more interested. Lee Marshall is head chef on a 60m private yacht . He is familiar with Rational ovens as he was having problems with the 6-grid Rational cook station on board the yacht.
According to Lee, “whilst cruising from the Seychelles to Italy the oven decided enough was enough and stopped working. I had contacted Rational international but they were unable to help as I couldn’t access the service area of the oven. On my return to the UK, I was informed that the Italian engineers (Rational) wouldn’t attempt to service/fix the oven unless we pulled it out of the galley and on to the hard stuff, which is something that wasn’t going to happen as it weighs a ton!”
The upshot of the conversation was that Lee asked Helen if she could help find out what was wrong with the on-board oven. And the logistics of solving the problem on a floating boat somewhere off the coast of Italy began! Being Bank Holiday, there were few engineers available at such short notice for a foreign trip. But when he mentioned that the yacht would be travelling to Barcelona the following week, a resolution became more likely.
USB and Passports
Helen provided Lee with a Rational usb stick to download the HACCP and service data. This would give him a pointer as to what was wrong with the oven. Lee rang in on the Monday morning and engineer Jon talked him through how to download the data.
It became apparent that a physical diagnosis was required so Helen asked both senior engineers if either of them would like to go to Italy or Spain. Despite the lack of a passport, Kev volunteered. The essential passport was fasttracked a few days later and in the meantime, Kev liaised closely with Lee.
With Helen away on holiday and with a limited phone signal, the onus was on Kev to solve the problem. On her return, Lee was still adamant that he wanted AC Services to sort out the oven, despite Rational service partners being available in both Italy and Spain. Helen’s return to work on Tuesday saw estimates of the cost of the repair including Kev flying to Barcelona. The captain of the yacht gave the go-ahead, the flights were booked and all the parts required were sourced and packed.
Fast Track Service
By Friday morning, the oven was under repair, with on-board engineers helping Kev to get the oven out to gain access to the left hand side panel. The problem was quickly and efficiently solved. By lunchtime, Kev was finished and free to take a look around the yacht and a browse around Barcelona. He even had time to take in some rays on the beach before he flew back the next day.
Lee is now delighted with his fully operational Rational oven. “Helen was very positive and after she contacted the office I was put in touch with Kevin, one of the engineers. He asked all the right questions to ascertain the fault and what he might need to fix the problem. I highly recommend the services of AC Services Southern and will undoubtedly use them again.”
There has been plenty of speculation in the media recently about schools. Labour has announced an ambitious plan to put VAT on private school fees and use the money to fund free meals for all primary school children.
No doubt this is a backlash against Theresa May’s plan to bring back grammar schools but it has inevitably caused some disagreement.
According to the National Association of Head Teachers, school budgets are currently “at breaking point”. Some schools, faced with their first real-terms spending cuts in decades, are making staff redundant. There are more pupils to every class and some subjects are being scrapped.
So parents are understandably a bit sceptical about Labour blowing £1.5 billion on lunches.
New Build Schools
However, the government has already pledged to build more schools, among them 140 new free schools which are destined to create a further 70,000 new places. This comes on the back of the pledge to create more grammar schools. The budget allocated for the changes is £500 million. But existing schools may require a lot more to bring themselves up to the standard of the new ones.
Teaching unions have said that although £216 million has been set aside in maintenance and refurbishment grants, as much as £6.7 billion is needed to return all school buildings to a good condition.
The government’s £0.5B package is also earmarked for public transport costs or minibuses for children from poorer families to go to grammar schools that are between two and fifteen miles from their homes.
School Meals Investment
All government-funded schools must offer free school meals to every pupil in reception, year 1 and year 2 and the funding is and will continue to be £2.30 per meal.
For kitchens, this money can go further with a bit of imagination and the right appliance for the cooking. When buying capital items, it is always good to consider all costs not just the ticket price of the oven. A reliable and well-known model such as the Rational oven range cuts down on maintenance and enhances performance. With a maintenance plan with AC Services (Southern), schools can be assured of immediate service should anything go wrong, and a routine service on a regular basis.
There are other ways of making the money go further. Create more exciting recipes and cook from scratch using healthy ingredients such as vegetables. Reduce wastage by investing in an oven that can keep food at the correct temperature throughout the meal serving times.
There is no way of predicting the future of the educational system, but if you are involved in school meals, then at least preempt any proposed changes and make sure that you are equipped with the most appropriate and up-to-date kitchen knowledge.
Call the team at AC Services to see how we can service and maintain your Rational and Frima equipment economically on 01454 322 222.
We spend a lot of time here at AC Services Southern talking about current events and our customers so we decided to update you about our team. The last year has been extremely busy with innovations and new schemes introduced on both professional and personal levels.
Firstly, we purchased another new van. The old one served its purpose well but was frankly getting too small for the expanded range of stock that our engineers have to carry. This is due mainly to the launch of new Rational ovens, which inevitably leads to extra parts. Because these new ovens are so new and made by Rational, there is not much likelihood of unreliability. But we like to be prepared just in case, which is why the extra stock parts need to be on hand should the occasion arise.
Helping You, Helping Us
Secondly, we have inaugurated our new proactive service scheme. This has been introduced as a part of our extended customer service. The office will make a courtesy call to those who have had appliances serviced within the last 12 months as it approaches the year anniversary. This timely reminder helps in two ways: it spreads and compartmentalises the AC Services Southern’s workload and it minimises the risk of clients calling us out as an emergency or at the last minute.
There are also fewer staff currently in the office. Kelly is on maternity leave until October and you will be delighted to hear that both mother and daughter doing fine. We are eagerly awaiting the first visit of the baby to the offices. Vicky’s duties have been undertaken by Sian Vaulters in AC Services Southern Accounts Department. A trained book-keeper with a career in admin and support, she relished the chance to have a job closer to home in Yate as this allows her to walk to work. Our MD Helen Hagger has also been stepping into the breach more frequently, helping to maintain the high response times and quality of service that has never wavered.
Slim and Trim
On a personal level, the office has been trimming down. There are numerous members of staff who have embarked upon a health, fitness and slimming regime. Dave and Helen have been battling it out to see who can lose the first stone, a victory claimed by Helen with Dave not far behind. Helen has taken a leaf out of Sian’s book and has undertaken the walk to work, when she does not have to deliver parts out to engineers in the field or go to other appointments.
While we’re on fitness it was great to see the honours equally split with the Boat Races at the weekend. We have a number of clients in the Oxford Colleges and despite having a daughter at Cambridge, who is also a rower, Helen managed to put aside her maternal loyalty in support of Oxford in the men’s races.
So in conclusion, we are delighted to report that all is well in AC Services Southern and we are continuing to thrive. We look forward to the unknown challenges that face the catering business within the next few months.
Just half a mile from the world famous Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust lies the 18th century Tudor Arms Lodge and Freehouse, a noble name for an establishment that truly lives up to its heritage.
Dating back three centuries, the building began life as a licensed beer and cider house for the Irish Navigator Soldiers who dug the nearby Gloucester to Sharpness Canal by hand. Today, it still serves a range of beers and alcoholic beverages to locals and visitors alike.
Country Pub of the Year
The fully-licensed premises is a family-operated freehouse, and has frequently been awarded CAMRA’s “Gloucester Country Pub of the Year”, but it also offers bed and breakfast accommodation as well as a sumptuous range of food served throughout the day.
In order to provide such tempting delicacies as garlic roasted breast of chicken on a bacon and mushroom sauce with crispy leeks and choice of potato, not to mention the full English breakfast available to guests, the Tudor Arms relies upon its Rational SCC Electric 101 Care Control oven.
“We installed the oven seven years ago,” comments general manager, Richard Sims, “and we are still as delighted with its performance now as we were then!” The freehouse has an ad hoc arrangement with AC Services (Southern) when it comes to maintenance.
“Obviously we get the required service as part of the maintenance programme, but we use AC Services when and if we have a problem, and although these are few and far between, it gives us great peace of mind to know that the company is at the end of a phone should something go wrong,” continues Rich.
“We turn around a couple of thousand covers every week, which shows how busy and popular we are. We not only get the loyal local trade but we also get visitors to the Slimbridge sanctuary which keeps us extremely busy particularly in high season. So our oven needs to be fully functional at all times. We can say with all honesty that the service is excellent.”
The Tudor Arms also boasts a large meeting hall which is ideal for conferences or meetings and its charming exterior invites guests from far and wide.
“The Tudor Arms is just one of our long-serving customers who use us on an ad hoc basis,” comments Helen Hagger, MD of AC Services. “Having purchased the Rational oven from one of our trade shows seven years ago, the Tudor Arms saw its potential for large-scale catering and with our backing and support 24/7, the premises are assured that the appliance is always in perfect working order and should anything go wrong, we are only a phone call away.”
As usual it is a great opportunity to see what’s new and to meet the RATIONAL Head Office Team led by MD Simon Lohse pictured left.
1973 and all that…
Since 1973 RATIONAL has secured successful relationships with many countries around the world. The group is the world market and technology leader in the field of hot food preparation for professional kitchens, employing more than 850 people in Germany and a total of over 1,600 worldwide.
RATIONAL has been listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since its IPO in 2000, and is currently included in the MDAX.
According to RATIONAL UK’s managing director, Simon Lohse, the new relationship being unveiled now is about to improve customer benefits for both RATIONAL and its sister company FRIMA.
From January 1 2017, FRIMA activities will be integrated in the local RATIONAL organisation enabling faster penetration of the market and offering existing customers more comprehensive after sales services and local partners better support locally for the FRIMA products.
Says Mr. Lohse, “this is an exciting change taking place within the RATIONAL group joining together two leading and knowledgeable expert sales teams, delivering maximum customer benefit to our partners.”
FRIMA is part of the RATIONAL Group and with more than 22,000 units installed in Europe alone; it is the undisputed market leader in multifunctional cooking equipment. Its patents include the VarioCooking Center® which is already on an exemplary road to success in the UK due to its unique customer benefits. Energy savings of up to 40% compared to conventional technology can be achieved thanks to the patented heating technology and the built-in cooking intelligence.
Under the new arrangement, specialised sales staff for RATIONAL and FRIMA will have joint access to the local RATIONAL support functions such as application consulting, technical service and customer service. For customers and partners, there will be competent local points of contact for both segments of the RATIONAL Group without any change to the market presence.
At AC Services, we are delighted with the new arrangement which consolidates RATIONAL’s intention to provide the highest level of customer care across the board. MD, Helen Hagger is confident of the move.
“It goes to show that despite uncertainty about domestic economic, some organisations such as Rational and Frima have proven that intelligent partnerships can be achieved successfully and to the benefit of the economy as a whole,” she comments.
We haven’t forgotten you: although we are having some time off, we are still working both in and out of the office before the holidays begin.
Here are AC Services Christmas 2016 opening times:
- Wednesday 21st December – normal opening hours – 8.30am to 5pm
- Thursday 22nd December – normal opening hours
- Friday 23rd December – normal opening hours
- Saturday 24th December – office closed
- Sunday 25th December – if you’ve done the wise thing and had your appliances checked, then the day should go without a hitch as we are closed!
- Monday 26th December – another day off for us leafing through the cookery books for leftover turkey recipes.
- Tuesday 27th December – office closed, engineer on call
- Wednesday 28th December – and we’re all back normal opening hours 8.30-5.00
- Thursday 29th December – normal opening hours
- Friday 30th December – normal opening hours
- Saturday 31st December – takeaways will be doing a roaring trade. Office is closed , engineer on call
- 1st January – closed.
- 2nd January- office closed, engineer on call
It’s back to normal working hours on Tuesday 3rd January for the new year.
If you have an emergency with your appliance telephone 01454 322222 and press the appropriate option so we can help you as quickly as we can. Please be aware there is no on call service on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day. If you have a non-urgent issue, by all means leave a message for when the office is next open.
REMEMBER Check cleaning stock now
For stock parts and cleaning products, the last date for guaranteed Christmas 2016 delivery for an order to be placed is Wednesday 21st December at 12 noon. We recommend that you CHECK your stock now, to make sure that you have everything you need. Leave nothing to chance!
At this time of year, even though we are fully aware that Christmas Day is always 25 December, it always seems to explode rather than creep up on us.
Trust a company that has over 20 years experience of festive seasons, there is always something that you might have forgotten. And from our experience, it’s often ordering oven cleaning products.
Look at it this way: the difference between receiving your Rational cleaning products before Christmas or waiting until afterwards, is an awful lot of time-consuming and tedious manual cleaning and worst case scenario, appliance failure when you need it most.
The most important piece of equipment in your kitchen over the Christmas period is your Rational oven. Its performance is critical to your reputation and your baseline profits. It really doesn’t matter whether you have the top chef in the country, without his basic weapon he is as useful as a chocolate teapot.
For commercial caterers, Christmas is all about planning. You have ingredients to buy, turkeys to source, extra staff to employ, menus to design…the list is seemingly endless. It’s a rare breed of manager who plans everything to perfection months ahead.
And we know that the oven is probably the last thing on your mind, especially as Rational ovens are so thoroughly reliable. Rational ovens are one of the best professional kitchen cooking appliances on the market today. They can be pre-programmed to perform almost any combination of cooking methods, including roasting, grilling, frying and broiling.
But work on the scenario that it’s better to be safe than sorry. The best way to prepare your oven for the extra strain it’s going to be under during the coming weeks is to ensure it is fully serviced in advance.
There’s really only one bullet point to tick off:
- Make sure that you have plenty of oven cleaning products in stock. Most professional ovens, (and Rational Self-Cooking-Centres in particular), have automatic cleaning programs built into their software. When used with the right Rational cleaning products (which ACS Southern always hold in stock), you get cosmetic and hygienic cleanliness.
So, while you’re planning for Christmas, make sure you schedule some time for Rational oven cleaning and order your approved cleaning products now. As a reminder, we supply all the assistance you need to service and maintain your oven, from Rational Grill Cleaner, Rational Rinse Aid, Rational Oven Cleaning Tablets for the SCC (SelfCooking Center®) range and for those with Care Control, Rational Care Control Tablets and accessories.
Finally, there is still time to book a service. We will be working up to the Christmas break and are more than happy to come along and check your appliance. We won’t be able to do it on Christmas morning as we are closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and again on New Year’s Day.
So enjoy the countdown to the big day and make sure your oven is in working order. Call us now and we can talk you through the options available on 01454 322 222 to make sure the Christmas season goes ahead without too much drama.
There have been a few changes in the world in the past few weeks, some good, some worrying, some downright outrageous. Toblerone restyled falls into the latter category. Pre-Christmas sales are firmly in the good category, we all love a sale and particularly just before the festive season hits with full force.
AC Services (Southern) is entering into the spirit as it does every year and is repeating last year’s ONE WEEK ONLY sale on its cleaning products for the Rational oven range. It’s a simple concept: order any cleaning product (excluding water filters) and get 10% off at the checkout using the voucher code clean16.
Last year, the offer was warmly and eagerly received by customers. It was a timely and cost-effective reminder for caterers and kitchen owners to stock up on products before the seasonal rush.
As Helen Hagger, MD of AC Services explains, customers often don’t realise that they are running low or forget to order in time. “We want to encourage people to be organised and stocked up with their cleaning requirements in advance,” she says. “Paying by debit card on the website using the voucher code takes just minutes! We intend this to become an annual pre-Christmas event where our customers can also book a service if they need it.”
Rational Cleaning Products
AC Services provides a full range of Rational oven cleaning products targeted at ensuring long-term care as a key to lifetime performance. Remember, if you have more than one oven, then you may need different cleaning product combinations.
The range includes:
- Rational Oven Cleaner Tab (x100): highly concentrated tablets specially developed with a new complex set of active ingredients designed to guarantee maximum cleaning power.
- Rational Oven Care Tablets (x150) with special scale-dissolving ingredients contained to prevent limescale building up, giving reliability without a water softener and the need for time-consuming descaling.
- Rational Rinse Tablets (x50) highly effective care products ensuring active protection.
- Rational Grill Cleaner (10 litres) for use with a hand spray gun.
- Rational Rinse Aid (10 litres).
For water filtration, which is not in the sale, the products are either the Brita Purity 1200 Quell ST Filter Cartridge or the Brita Purity 600 Quell ST Filter Cartridge.
There are some simple tasks that can be carried out on a daily basis to ensure optimum performance of Rational ovens. We urge customers to introduce them into their daily routine.
- Avoid downtime by cleaning your appliance every day with the relevant Rational Oven Cleaning Products so that the high quality of stainless steel is maintained for hygiene reasons.
- Wipe down the door gasket at least daily with non-abrasive cleaning agents.
- Clean the drip tray collector.
- Check the air filter regularly: your appliance will let you know when the air filter needs cleaning. On table top units the customer can clean this themselves in the dishwasher; on floor units, AC Services will need to replace it.
- Apply vegetable oil or grease to the inside of the cooking cabinet at regular intervals (every two weeks or so) to prevent corrosion.
This is a ONE week sale ONLY. We know that you have lots of other things on your mind at this time of year, but this is also the time when we all forget the routine tasks like ordering your Rational oven cleaning products.
To order your Rational oven cleaning products, simply go to our on-line shop. Or call us on 01454 322222 for more advice of how to keep on top of your Rational oven cleaning and to book a service.