The pandemic-driven shuttering or limiting of restaurant operations has thrust the supermarket foodservice segment into an accelerated role, and equipment suppliers have responded with innovations to prepare, hold and deliver quality food.
Jeri Austin, strategic account manager, grocery, at Intermetro Industries Inc., in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., notes that her company has added a heated shelf platform. The Super Erecta hot heated shelves and heated self-enclosure kits are “a super fl flexible and convenient way to keep food hot for carryout, delivery, grab-and-go, and [back-of-house] staging applications.”
Intermetro has also developed Metro2Go Hot Stations to keep food hot, organized and ready to go, according to Austin, who adds, “With the increase in online orders, grab-and-go products and meal orders for grocers to handle, they need products that are not only efficient, but meet food safety requirements.”
The new heated shelf does this by integrating into an existing shelf system or becoming an entirely new unit. “The product line is super-flexible, and you can add a heated holding solution for packaged ready-to-go food virtually anywhere,” Austin points out.
Although the Super Erecta hot shelves and Metro2Go Hot Stations are just being introduced to the grocery world, they’ve already been well received by the quick-service restaurant sector, and, as Austin asserts, “grocery stores are pretty much doing a lot of the same things when it comes to takeout and delivery orders.”
The equipment can also be used in other supermarket areas, like the heated food display section, to entice customers to add hot food items to their carts, and behind the counter in the restaurant/ deli area, to help keep items warm during prep and other operations.
Austin sees the integration of hot and cold holding equipment in center store as part of the future of supermarket foodservice innovations. She believes that equipment with technological advances allowing for less human interaction will be necessary with the shrinking labor force.
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