From May 5th to 8th the NRA (National Restaurant Association, not the National Rifle Association) held its massive annual convention in Chicago, Ill. Anyone who’s anybody in the food service industry has a booth there, including Taylor and Henny Penny. It’s also a great place for companies to showcase their new products and try to generate some interest for what they’re selling. DSL sent down its best and brightest (ie: L.K. Chieh, Kit Abuan, Adrian Eaton, Mike Wilson, Grant Banks, and the venerable Steve Rice) to take a look at what was going on and see if there was anything that piqued their curiosity.
Through four days of walking and standing, the guys certainly didn’t go wanting for food. Indeed, most of the sales reps have been quoted as having only paid for 2 meals during the entire four days they were there. At almost every turn there was a variety of new drinks, hot dogs, yogurt shots (yogurt/smoothie mix, served in a glass) and any other number of things you could think of to sample. Not all of the demonstrations were for food however. There were a number of new machines and devices that could easily help restaurant owners and franchises turn a profit, while others were aimed at reducing labor and costs. Here are a few that caught our attention:
Rosseto Dry Food Commercial Dispensers: Unlike traditional dry food dispensers, these ones distribute in pre-ordained portions, allowing control of flow and ease of dispensement. In addition, because of the way the food is put in, the oldest product is always used first. Rosseto equipment would be perfect for frozen yogurt shops or grocery stores, where they would never have to worry about annoying and costly spills or product quality.
Rosseto Dry Food Dispensers
Power Soak Washing System: Power Soak specializes in cleaning technology that reduces labor and time and improves cleanliness. Power soak washing systems feature continuous motion washing, meaning that while kitchenware is in the cleaning basin, it is constantly being scrubbed and bombarded with currents in order to expedite the cleaning process. The result is a great clean that is still gentle on your pots and pans.
Power Soak Washing System
Produce Soak (from Power Soak): Produce Soak is much like the Power Soak Washing System, but this time round the system is for produce. Produce comes into stores covered in an extremely large amount of bacteria, which is much of the reason that they rot as fast as they do. The no-rinse antimicrobial washing means that bacteria are reduced to minimal levels. On top of this, with the Produce Soak system, water gets into all of the hard to reach places, cleaning more dirt than is possible by hand. As a result, not only will your produce have a longer shelf life, but it will be more presentable and appealing.
Irinox Blast Chillers: One of the biggest challenges in the foodservice industry is cooking food and keeping it for long periods of time without degrading the quality and freshness of the food. A blast chiller alleviates two of the biggest contributions to food degradation during cool storage: bacteria growth and large ice crystals. Between 50oF and 104oF, bacteria reproduce very quickly. An Irinox blast chiller, set for Rapid Chilling, cools the food quickly so as to reduce time in this temperature range as much as possible. The aforementioned process is for food that needs to be stored for a matter of hours. However on its other setting, Shock Freezing, the Irinox blast chiller ensures that food is capable of being stored for months. Large ice crystals, which harm food quality, form during regular freezing processes. An Irinox blast chiller puts the food through the freezing stages so fast that large crystals have no time to form, eliminating bad tasting food and ensuring longer keeping times.
Irinox Blast Chiller
Napa Wine Station: Many high end institutions that serve wine have the same problem: how do you maintain the quality of your wine after you`ve opened it? With a Napa Wine Station, that expensive bottle of wine can be preserved for up to 60 days after opening. The wine station drives out the oxygen and nitrogen from the bottles using argon gas, eliminating degradation of the wine due to air. The system can also re-carbonate sparkling wine and champagne so they aren’t flat next time you use them.
Napa Wine Station
Lava Heat: In Canada, we know the meaning of winter; freezing temperatures, ice and snow make it impossible to use decks and patios. Lava Heat has effectively put an end to this problem. Their innovative heating devices, with an attractive swirling flame up the middle, can produce up to 61,000 BTU’s of energy (for perspective, you’re looking at about 40,000 – 45,000BTU’s for your average outdoor heat lamp). Radiating heat 360o, you can heat an entire patio with just one of these devices. On top of the incredible output, there are several other advantages to these heat lamps. Firstly they are cool to the touch, so even if a customer puts their hand on it, they will not be burned. Second, the glass surrounding the flame is shatter resistant for worry-free use. Lastly, it has a 10 year warranty for peace of mind. All of this comes together into a neat package with big potential.
Lava Heat heaters
Oasis Water Enhanced Portable Cooler: From the makers of Lava Heat, these portable cooling devices can make any space easy to enjoy in the summer. At first glance, it looks like a normal standing fan, but on rollers. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that there is a round device attached to the front of the fan. This attachment is the heart of the cooling system, allowing the device to reduce ambient heat by up to 30%. It draws water from the 5 gallons of container in the base of the fan in order to provide cooling for up to 8hrs. The 26 in. fan can spin up to 1,200 RPM and blast the cooled air up to 22ft away.
Oasis Water Enhanced Portable Cooler
Each year there are even more products and innovations being introduced at the NRA show. We were lucky to get as many of our employees down as we did, and as a result have managed to collect a vast array of ideas for DSL. If you’re particularly interested in any of the products highlighted above, give us a heads up! We always like to hear from you.