Tag Archives: Servicing

19 
Nov

Are You Aware of ConnectedCooking

Rational's ConnectedCooking is the way forward for catering businesses

The world is becoming increasingly technology-enabled. Nowadays there seems to be an app or a Smart solution for almost everything. While some leave me wondering why there is a need, the same is not true of Rational Oven’s ConnectedCooking.

Since March 2017 Rational has been enabling its SelfCookingCenter® units with ConnectedCooking functionality and equipping them with Ethernet ports. More recently they’ve launched an app to create the world’s most state-of-the-art cloud-based networking solution for professional kitchens. It’s available on iTunes and Google Play Store . These advances bring real benefits to professional catering businesses.

Increasing Convenience

The app and the ports enable all your Rational SelfCookingCenter® or CombiMaster® Plus units to be connected to a single network completely automatically. As a manager you will always know what is going on in your kitchen through the dashboard. Even when you’re off-site and can make adjustments remotely through your own device in real time.

It also makes sharing your cooking programmes across all your units easier and quicker. This in turn removes time-consuming activities and ensures the consistency of food safety in your kitchen.

But ConnectedCooking is not just for larger kitchens. The secure remote access enables software updates to be installed, quickly like those on your laptop, so that your Rational is always running optimally. The app also makes it easier to access inspiration for new menus through new ideas from other foodservice professionals and Rational chefs.

Security of Food and Data

Food safety is a demanding challenge for modern kitchen operations. Ever-increasing government requirements and stringent hygiene standards require a great deal of administrative work. It’s also important to eliminate operator error as much as possible. ConnectedCooking automatically captures all the key HACCP information and displays it in a dashboard with the option to download and print.

The remote access can be authorised for your Service Partner, such as AC Services, as part of a service contract. This enables remote diagnostics for problems and can fix issues without the need for an engineer to visit. It also alerts AC Services that there might be an issue. As you would expect the system uses state-of-the-art encryption technology to keep all data secure and compliant with GDPR.

New Year Opportunity?

If your SelfCookingCenter® units were made after March 2017, you just need to connect them to your network by a LAN cable or wireless module and download the free app to get started by registering the units. If not then we would be delighted to come out in 2020 to retrofit them with the Ethernet interfaces.

Either way give the AC Services team a call on 01454 322 222 in January to discuss further ConnectedCooking functionality and how it benefits all sizes and types of kitchen. We can then make your maintenance issues even easier to solve, saving more time in 2020.

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Published Date: 19th November 2019
Category: Blog, News, Ovens, Rational, Self Cooking Centre
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05 
Nov

Don’t Delay Service Today

Don't delay service today

We were rather hoping to bring good news this week, if not about Brexit then about the Rugby World Cup. Instead, we have a runners-up medal and a delay. But fear not, we also have a pre-Christmas general election to look forward to.

And unless you have taken a break from reality this weekend, you will notice that the Christmas and New Year countdown is beginning in earnest.

It’s time to start planning and where better than the annual service for your Rational appliances.

Spiralling Costs

There are two issues for all catering businesses to remember:

  1. you want to keep your oven in pristine condition for maximum and reliable performance.
  2. you don’t want to spend any more money over the festive period than you have already budgeted for.

The cost element can be far-reaching. It’s not just the expense in downtime if you have an oven failure, but also the cost of calling out an engineer if you don’t have a contract in place. Emergency call outs for one of AC Services’ engineers can be 1.5 times or double the normal rate if it has to be the weekend.

Not having a service contract is not cost efficient. Servicing is the key to optimum performance. Here at AC Services, we constantly reiterate this point. Simply put, don’t delay service today!

As an example, we had a customer last Friday with a problem. Unfortunately, the oven had not been serviced for a few years and as we couldn’t get to them on Friday, we dispatched an engineer on Saturday. The bill for an out-of-hours call out an unwelcome £500. A problem with the steam hose and subsequently the drain hose affected the cleanjet pump. This expensive crisis could have easily been averted with a service, which would have pinpointed any problem with the steam hose.

Don’t Delay Service Today

Helen Hagger, MD of ACS offers some friendly advice. “Even though some ovens may still be in warranty, you should still organise a twice-yearly service because we know from experience that a lot can go wrong in six months,” she explains. “We often see where one small thing goes wrong, if it is not put right, it has a knock-on effect. Don’t forget that our engineers have immediate access to the majority of parts which minimises any delay. It’s all about peace of mind and pre-empting potential problems.

For further details and a no obligation quote for your Rational oven maintenance contract telephone 01454 322222 or email us today on service@acservicessouthern.co.uk.

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Published Date: 5th November 2019
Category: Blog, News, Ovens, Rational, Service plan
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22 
Oct

Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort

Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort

Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort is located in the heart of Wiltshire nestled within the Bowood Estate. The luxurious hotel is surrounded by parkland landscaped by the famous Capability Brown.

It provides an idyllic retreat, whether for weekend breaks, golfing escapes, spa pampering, weddings or simply to savour the first-class cuisine. The Estate also contains Bowood House & Gardens, home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne.

The hotel, itself, contains 43 beautifully furnished contemporary bedrooms and suites. Guests can enjoy the luxury spa with its infinity swimming pool, gym and pampering spa treatments. The golf course is particularly popular, with a full championship PGA 18-hole golf course.

Weddings, celebrations and conferences are fully catered for, with the backdrop of the surroundings adding to the ambience.

Dining Experience

The hotel is open all day for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. It also caters for corporate events which means that the kitchens are always busy.

Replacing the old ovens over four years ago, Rational supplied two 201E SCC WE units for the main banqueting and conference kitchen, and a 101E SCC WE model for the brasserie. After the initial two-year warranty scheme, the hotel chose a maintenance contract package from AC Services (Southern) which, according to Steve Foster, Maintenance Manager at the hotel, is working perfectly.

The Rational ovens serve their purpose perfectly,” he comments. “They are not only reliable but robust and we have them serviced twice a year, once before the seasonal rush at Christmas.

Because we invested heavily in the ovens, we are determined to keep them maintained and extract the maximum amount of performance so apart from ensuring they are regularly and properly cleaned on our part, we can rely on AC Services to provide back-up at all times, not only with regular servicing but in case there are any problems. An engineer is sent out within 24-48 hours and the issue is always resolved with no disruption to our daily operation.”

This is vital to the chefs at the Bowood Hotel who provide the very best in cuisine using where possible, local suppliers. The hotel is dedicated to understanding and appreciating the importance of provenance, believing that the secret to crafting seasonally exceptional cuisine begins with the careful selection of only the freshest, sustainably reared meat, fish and fruit and vegetables.

Oven Ready

According to Steve, “the catering team is always striving to create both dynamic and contemporary menus for our guests to relish and savour during their stay no matter what the occasion might be.

This requires a reliable and capable oven, and the Rational ovens, supported by the maintenance package from AC Services, provide exactly what is required.

The Shelburne Restaurant serves daily delicious food from seasonal menus every day “prepared with passion and served with flair”. The Clubhouse Brasserie offers a menu ranging from traditional fish and chips to a Club sandwich. Weddings and conferences give the kitchen staff the creativity to provide the best cuisine possible, with the Rational ovens helping with this aim.

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Published Date: 22nd October 2019
Category: Blog, Case Study, News, Rational, Service plan
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22 
May

Dining at the Bristol Lido and Glassboat

Bristol Lido

More than simply a swimming pool, the Clifton Lido in Bristol has gained a well-earned reputation for fine food. With a restaurant and a poolside bar, the former restored Victorian swimming pool has been designed for contemporary luxury.

Having first opened its doors in 1850, the swimming pool changed hands many times until its final closure in 1990. The threat of turning the building into flats was ever-present until 2006, when the Glass Boat company purchased the site. And following an extensive restoration project, the Lido opened to the public two years later. It now boasts a Grade II listing and a record as the oldest heated outdoor swimming pool in Britain.

Restaurant and Bar

The restaurant overlooks the pool on the original viewing gallery. It offers a relaxed and informal space with floor to ceiling doors sliding back to allow entry for the elements. The menus incorporate Moorish and Mediterranean cuisine, with a strong Spanish lilt, with ingredients sourced from small-scale hand-picked suppliers.

The set menu offers delicacies such as raw rhubarb, fennel, salted almond and goat’s curd salad for starters and warm North African mezze with falafel, tahini sauce and warm flat bread for mains followed by Basque-style burnt cheesecake, rhubarb and creme fraiche Pedro Ximenez and raisin ice cream for dessert.

The transformation of the venue into a chilled-out restaurant has been a resounding success, with “relaxed and unpretentious dining; where suits and robes sit cheek by jowl to enjoy great ingredients.”

Rational Oven Bristol

According to maintenance manager, Paul Wyatt, the kitchen equipment has been instrumental in this success, with a three-year old Rational electric oven working hard in the kitchen to supply perfect cuisine to diners.

We have an ad hoc contract with AC Services (Southern) with the oven” he explains. “It is serviced once a year but the company is always on hand should any minor problems arise.” Typically these issues comprise of general wear and tear due to the oven being constantly in use, but rarely, if ever do any big problems arise.

Glassboat Bristol

Glassboat Bristol

Paul has an affinity with Rational, as part of his job is to also look after the Bristol Glassboat restaurant.This is owned by the same company, and situated on Welshback in Bristol’s historic floating harbour. The venue has fast become an iconic eating house in Bristol, with tables that look out to the water through large, restored wooden windows, with views around the harbourside and to the city.

The restaurant opened 30 years ago, with the original boat dragged from the muddy waters of the river Severn and lovingly restored in the early 1980s. The Glassboat Brasserie menu consists of a classic French menu, carefully chosen and prepared using the best ingredients.

The food is simple in style but exquisite in taste, with a massive choice: rabbit terrine, cornichons, celeriac remoulade, provencale fish soup, aioli, rouille, crouton, fried pigs head, smoked eel and potato pancakes are just some of the delicacies on the menu.

And yet again, behind the success lies a Rational 101 SH oven, five years old and still going strong. “The big advantage of this appliance is that it is self cleaning,” continues Paul. “The chef just turns it on and it is ready for use. The reliability and performance is outstanding and plays a huge role in the continuing success and reputation of the Glassboat.”

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Published Date: 22nd May 2019
Category: Blog, Case Study, News, Rational
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11 
Dec

AC Services Christmas Opening Times

AC Services Christmas Opening Times 2018So the big day is not far away, for which the country stocks up on totally unnecessary items for the festive period just in case they are needed. It’s amazing what you find on your shelves in February.

But rejoice, it’s at least another year before we hear those dreaded words again – Black Friday – and to put it in a political context, it’s only two more Brexit ministers till Christmas.

Shops have initiated Operation Santa Claus Frenzy and kids are busy writing lists using the Argos catalogue as a template.

If you followed my advice, you will have ordered the necessary cleaning accessories and booked to have your oven checked over before the holidays begin. If you haven’t, then get on to it today. Put it on that list! For those who live by the chaos theory, although the offices are closed on the key dates, we will still have engineers on call on the days in between because we know that sometimes bad things happen at the worst possible time. But just in case you are in any doubt, see below for clarification of our Christmas working hours.

AC Services Christmas Opening Times 2018

Here are AC Services Christmas opening times for 2018:

  • Thursday 20th December – normal opening hours – 8.15 a.m. to 5.15 p.m
  • Friday 21st December – normal opening hours – 8.15 a.m. to 5.15 p.m
  • Saturday 22nd December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
  • Sunday 23rd December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
  • Monday 24th December – Christmas Eve – office open – 8.15am to 3 p.m
  • Tuesday 25th December – Christmas Day, CLOSED
  • Wednesday 26th December – Boxing Day, CLOSED
  • Thursday 27th December – office open 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (engineers available)
  • Friday 28th December – office open 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (engineers available)
  • Saturday 29th December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
  • Sunday 30th December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
  • Monday 31st December – office open – 8.30am to 3 p.m
  • Tuesday 1st January – CLOSED

It’s back to normal working hours on Wednesday 2nd January.

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. If you have a non-urgent issue, leave a message for when the office is next open.

LAST CHANCE

Importantly, don’t forget to order stock parts and cleaning products. The VERY LAST DATE for guaranteed Christmas delivery for an order to be placed is Wednesday 19th December at 5 p.m. We recommend that you CHECK your stock now, to make sure that you have everything you need.

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Published Date: 11th December 2018
Category: Blog, Cleaning Products, News, Ovens, Rational, Service plan
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13 
Nov

Christmas Catastrophe or Planned Perfection

AC Services keeping chefs using Rational ovens happyThe countdown is on. We’ve had Halloween and Armistice Day, not to mention a mid-term election in America plus a spate of excellent TV dramas, so now thoughts turn to the Christmas season.

When does the party season start for you? And when does it finish? New Year’s Day? What’s on all the menus? Turkey? Goose? Beef? Vegan platters? These are all pressing decisions! And let’s not forget the most important one – is your Rational oven Christmas-ready?

For those in catering, the oven is the most important gift over the festive season. If it breaks down, no amount of batteries or prayers will put it right. And few will be willing to sacrifice their own Christmas spirit to rush over to fix it.

There you have it, best case scenario – Christmas dinner ruined. Worst case scenario – frustrated and angry diners, potential court cases and an establishment with a very bad reputation. For restaurants and eateries who are planning to serve sumptuous banquets on and before the day, this could be catastrophic.

There is a solution: get your oven serviced now. Don’t wait for December, call AC Services (Southern) and avoid any last minute rush. We can guarantee that up until Christmas Eve, our engineers will be working flat out to cope with the inevitable panicked last minute rush!

Moreover, why not consider setting up a regular contract so that you can have peace of mind that your oven is looked after all year round? We have a number of options that suit both budget and business.

Value for money

What will you get for your money? Typically engineers will sort any of those annoying little faults that can compromise performance, if left unchecked. We keep our vans fully stocked so we can deliver a fix on the first visit in more than 95% of call-outs whilst we are with you.

Servicing comprises:

  • function testing and commissioning of elements
  • checking the operational mode of water, gas and electrical connections
  • testing electrical components, gas specific parts and steam generation.

You don’t even have to fret about forgetting the date of your scheduled Rational oven service. Every customer who gets their oven serviced will be issued with a reminder the month before it is due next year. So there’s no reason for you to conveniently forget!

Order Now

Finally, make sure that you have plenty of oven cleaning materials in stock. Rational Self-Cooking-Centers have automatic cleaning programmes built into their software. When used with the right cleaning materials you get cosmetic and hygienic cleanliness.

Be prepared and make sure your Rational oven is in working order for Christmas service. Call us now and we can calmly talk you through the options available on 01454 322 222. Then you’ll have peace of mind that the Christmas season will go ahead as planned.

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Published Date: 13th November 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Cleaning, Ovens, Rational, Self Cooking Centre, Service plan
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06 
Mar

Cotswold Food Club, The Old Fleece

The Old Fleece Cotswold Food ClubWhat happens to a Rational oven when you leave it outside over Christmas? Simple, AC Services comes along, picks it up and repairs it! That is what happened to Nick Beardsley, joint owner of the Cotswold Food Club.  Nick runs the Old Fleece, the Old Lodge, Fostons Ash and the Britannia, all pubs located around the Cotswold area.

Due to a major power surge just before Christmas, the main motherboard on the SCC WE 101 electric Rational oven at the Old Fleece was damaged and the chefs were unable to use the appliance.

Being a critical piece of equipment over that period, Nick had no choice but to replace his prized oven with a temporary one which led to the Rational oven being left outside. A quick call to AC Services and the engineers turned up to assess the situation.

We assumed that the cold and the outside environment would have damaged the oven beyond repair but as it turned out, the engineers were quite happy to take it away.

We were delighted when we were told that it could be repaired and we could have it back,” explains Nick. “It was even better news for our chef who had been moaning about the quality of the replacement being inferior to the Rational model.”

The Old Fleece

The family-run venue is located between Stroud and Nailsworth and is a 250 year-old former coaching inn. It has been run by the Beardsley family for 25 years and Nick’s son, who was actually born in the Old Fleece, has recently taken over as manager.

The pub caters for numerous events, from staff parties to corporate lunches with chef, Aurel serving up a variety of food either from a set menu or bespoke. He is particularly noted for his Sunday roasts with the pub full at the weekend with hungry customers eager to try his food.

All pubs and hotel belonging to the Cotswold Food Club are set in historic buildings offering high quality, locally sourced food and drink in a relaxed and friendly environment. The group’s own farm in Woodchester supplies a limited amount of lamb and Gloucester Old Spot pork and venison, supplemented from farms in Gloucestershire, therefore offering only traceable, free-range meat.

Perfect Service

We were so pleased to get our oven back in perfect working order,” concludes Nick. “However, we were more impressed with the service offered by AC Services.

Unlike our previous maintenance contractors, the company turned up with everything on the van that might be required to repair the oven and then took it away when it was clear that it needed attention.

We have an adhoc contract with the company so we just paid for a single call out and we are extremely happy with the outcome.”

If you require information about our services and maintenance packages, call AC Services (Southern) on 01454 322222.

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Published Date: 6th March 2018
Category: Blog, Case Study, News
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16 
Jan

Seize the Day! Enjoy 2018

Rational Oven Service and RepairFirstly we would like to wish all of our customers the greetings of the season. Let’s hope that 2018 is prosperous and profitable for all.

We are now back at work having had a busy but successful Christmas period. Although we had plenty of call-outs, no client had to take the drastic step of cancelling bookings due to an inoperable oven!

However, there were numerous calls to us regarding last minute breakdowns preceding and following Christmas. The majority of these calls were for replacement parts: luckily all of our engineers carry the necessary parts so the majority of ovens were fixed quickly and efficiently.

New Year New Start

The message this week is simple – New Year, new start so get your ovens serviced now. Although we obviously coped with the inevitable last minute rush before the end of last year, it makes better sense to arrange a service package with us. Customers that do find it suits everyone’s calendars and budgets.

A Rational Oven service starts from £185 plus VAT depending on model and age. During the visit we will sort any of those annoying little faults that, left unchecked can compromise performance. Remember that our policy is to keep our vans fully stocked so we can deliver a fix on the first visit in more than 95% of call-outs whilst we are with you.

Servicing comprises:

  • function testing and commissioning of elements, 
  • checking the operational mode of water, gas and electrical connections,
  • testing electrical components, gas specific parts and steam generation.

Every part of the oven is tested and checked for total peace of mind and should any faults be detected, then they will be dealt with as a priority.

And don’t worry about forgetting the date of your scheduled Rational oven service. Every customer who gets their oven serviced will get a reminder the month before it is due next year. We prefer not to give you any excuse to forget!

Coming Up Fast

The next three months will see some significant annual events loved by the catering industry. Valentine’s Day is the major event of February followed swiftly by Mother’s Day then Easter. Before we know it, silly season including the FIFA World Cup will be upon us.

So take advantage of the down season and book a service with us today. Don’t procrastinate!

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Published Date: 16th January 2018
Category: Blog, News, Service plan
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28 
Nov

Last Call for Christmas Service

Keeping Rational ovens workingThere is no excuse for not knowing what is happening. The adverts are on the television. The decorations are up in the high street and we’ve just survived Black Friday. Not to mention the start of I’m a Celebrity and the Ashes! Yes, Christmas is just around the corner and here at AC Services (Southern), we are advising all of our customers to pay special attention to their ovens NOW.

From extensive experience, ovens are generally overlooked in the run-up to the big day.  Food takes priority: the turkeys have to be ordered, the menus finalised and the staff rotas arranged.  So the oven gets forgotten.

However, take time out to check essential items, especially cleaning materials. Order your materials before Christmas and avoid time-consuming manual cleaning and worst case scenario, appliance failure when you need it most. Over Christmas, you need your Rational oven to be performing at its peak.

Order Cleaning Products

Make sure that you have plenty of oven cleaning materials 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 cleaning materials (which ACS Southern always hold in stock), you get cosmetic and hygienic cleanliness.

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. For a full list of cleaning products, click here.

Service Oven

Also, there is still time for us to come and service your oven. If you haven’t recently had a scheduled service, give us a call and let us come and check that everything is working as it should. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t have time: it doesn’t take long and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Just imagine the nightmare of the oven packing up over the Christmas period.

There are some simple tasks that can be carried out on a daily basis to ensure optimum performance of Rational ovens. We advise our customers to take note:

  1.  Clean your appliance daily with the relevant Rational oven cleaning products.
  2. Wipe down the door gasket at least daily with non-abrasive cleaning agents.
  3. Check the air filter regularly: your appliance will let you know when the air filter needs cleaning.
  4. Clean the drip tray collector.
  5. Apply vegetable oil or grease to the inside of the cooking cabinet at regular intervals (every two weeks or so) to prevent corrosion.

Be prepared and make sure your Rational oven is in working order for Christmas service. Call us now and we can talk you through the options available on 01454 322 222 to make sure the Christmas season goes ahead effortlessly.

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Published Date: 28th November 2017
Category: Blog, Cleaning Products, Events, News, Rational
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07 
Nov

Fast Food and Mass Catering

Fast Food and mass catering industryFast food and mass catering may appear to be the invention of the 20th century but catering for the masses transcends millennia. Evidence has been excavated at the site of the Pyramids. This revealed a mess hall for the workers, long benches and tables and fish and meat bones. Armies throughout history were fed en masse (possibly not with the healthiest food but fed nonetheless) so catering as a trade has a long heritage.

The modern idea of fast food evolved with the inception of the motor industry where it became easier for people to pop into a store to buy a burger. By the 1950s in the USA, fast food was in full swing. It wasn’t long before heavy advertising and the introduction of children’s meals made it a firm favourite. Today, the global contribution of fast food outlet revenue is in the region of £500 billion.

Fast Food Growing

According to a recent report in the Guardian, the total number of takeaway food shops in England has risen by 4,000 in the past three years. This is an increase of 8%. There are currently 56,638 takeaways in England. They comprises more than 25% of all the country’s food outlets.

Many of the 326 local authorities in the UK have seen significant increases in the number of fast food outlets. Between 2014 and 2017, 20 record rises of more than 20%. Only 40 councils (12%) have seen the number of fast food outlets fall or stay the same.

Since 2012, the fast food and mass catering industry has performed relatively well. Takeaway operators have responded to higher levels of consumer expenditure by introducing higher quality food, often using organic produce and ensuring low-fat, low-sugar and low-salt meal options.

Despite the constant criticism of unhealthy and high calorific food content, fast food is still very popular . Reasons include affordable prices, busy lifestyles and increasing on-the-go consumption. There is also a much wider variety of products available to accommodate different dietary requirements.

Check Appliances

With any mass catering, the emphasis is on efficiency and hygiene. This is true whether it is for a fast food chain or a mess hall, hotel, hospital, airline or school. Too many instances of bad practice resulting in food poisoning or infection have been traced to bad habits in the kitchen or inadequate cooking facilities.

An oven, such as the Rational units, must not only cook the food but also synchronise the cooking of each individual element. It should also be fast and reliable in performance. In addition, the oven must be regularly serviced and checked. This is best as part of an ongoing maintenance regime to ensure top performance.

Contact AC Services on 01454 322222 if you are a fast food and mass catering organisation for appliance best practice .

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Published Date: 7th November 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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