FLEXIBILITY IN HOSPITALITY DESIGN
Quite rapidly, it seems that our global society has adopted a common trait - we want what we want, when we want it. Yesterday's amenities, which provided added benefits to the guest experience, have quickly evolved into today's expectations. The internet, e-mail, on-demand movies and television programming, satellite radio, and general pace of life have all impacted the way that we live our lives - and the way that we expect those providing services deemed essential to support our new lifestyles. There are few industries which have been impacted by these new expectations as significantly as the hospitality industry. In fact, I believe that the need for flexibility may have become the single most dominant trend in hospitality design, as it allows or limits the ability for operators to address other trends that appear on the horizon. After all, doesn't the facility typically outlive most trends that come and go?
Restaurant Kitchen Equipment-
US vs Europe
KITCHEN EQUIPMENT: OBSERVATIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE POND
Every two years the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) organization hosts its premier event somewhere in the United States - the NAFEM Show - where manufacturers throughout North America display the latest and greatest foodservice equipment they have to offer. On the other side of the pond, in Italy, there is another biennial event - the HOST show - where the latest and greatest European kitchen equipment is showcased, offering industry professionals an opportunity to kick the tires. This past fall, these two tradeshows were held back-to-back in Atlanta and Milan, and I was fortunate to participate in both.
Separated by less than a week, attending these two shows one right after the other highlighted clear similarities and differences between trends in the two regions. I would like to briefly address the commonalities first, as analyzing the differences is far more revealing. Generally speaking, walking around the more than 20 combined exhibit halls, just about everything I saw was familiar. There were a few new, truly innovative products at both shows, but even these were often improvements within a pre-existing category. In other words, there were some different style ranges with very unique features - but they were still ranges. Pressurized braising pans had an increased presence and seemed to be growing in popularity - but they were an improved version of the familiar piece of equipment we have been using for decades. I think you see my point.
HEY KERMIT, BEING GREEN IS GETTING EASIER (Part II)
In the last installment, I began to refute the well known claim made by Kermit the Frog that "it's not easy being green." Actually, it is getting much easier with every passing moment. It is becoming more popular. Your guests are beginning to weigh your environmental philosophies when selecting a hotel or restaurant. And, might I suggest that green initiatives can even be profitable.
DESIGN WITH A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
During the last several years I have had the privilege of working on an increased number of international foodservice design projects. With projects throughout North America, Central America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, regular exposure to different cultures, customs, health requirements, and operational preferences has allowed us to maintain a truly global perspective. A wide variety of geographical conditions that must always be considered also forces us to maintain an open mind and remain flexible with our approach. As a result, we often become the catalyst for cross-pollinating ideas from one region to another. In this installment, I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few of the more interesting design requirements to which we have been exposed. You may find them intriguing - no matter where your operation is located.
THE SIMPLEST KITCHEN ON EARTH
Last summer, my family and I spent a week vacationing in the Rocky Mountain resort town of Breckenridge, Colorado. After a long day's journey, my children, then six and two years of age, were exhausted. They woke early, tolerated two planes that carried them half way across the United States, and then finally endured a ninety minute car ride before we reached our destination. We quickly dropped off our luggage and immediately left in search of somewhere to eat. We needed something simple and quick. The kids were fading fast.