Understanding the interaction of food, beverage, people and equipment means producing kitchens that are fit to answer questions about how to reduce labor, do more with less, increase sales and revenue and keep menus fresh, all with a focus on the individual operation. The goal of fitKitchen is to provide customized solutions that:
Reduce footprint and right size equipment to reduce capital and labor costs.
Improve speed of service and quality of food to increase customer experience and retention.
Introduce new technology and products that deliver smart and lean kitchens.
Paul Hanniffy, Director of Innovation, Manitowoc Foodservice explains how answering the right operational questions leads to an integrated approach that is a natural “fit” for Manitowoc Foodservice and its customers. “The fitKitchen concept takes our best-in-class commercial foodservice brands along with the centralized leadership of global innovation, culinary and market development teams to work across all segments and platforms. This allows us to utilize the core competencies of our brand experts along with expertise from innovation, culinary, design, engineering, lean and electronic controls design to delivery a truly unique and operationally focused perspective for customers.”
Manitowoc Foodservice experts have been implementing the idea of fitKitchen with customers for some time; however, over the last year, we’ve established a more formal approach to map out the process and test the concept with customers in a variety of segments and markets. “We have always encouraged customers to “think outside the box”, but now we able to show them how to “think about the box differently” by eliminating the constraints normally put on foodservice kitchens by the equipment. This allows them to imagine new opportunities and meet goals they never thought possible,” said Hanniffy.
The process for developing a fitKitchen concept is designed around forming a true partnership with customers through collaboration. Hanniffy cited some examples of goals fitKitchen customers have set forth, “Clearly identifying and understanding the goals of our customers ensures alignment for meeting the objectives. Goals have varied from 50% reduction in footprint while doubling throughput to 20% reduction in labor and capital cost while increasing throughput by 20%.” Once the objectives have been solidified, the process is broken down into four key phases starting with research that lays the foundation for the consecutive phases.
Research – field research, facility assessment, ethnographic studies and interviews
Analysis – look at menus, ingredients and product mix to frame up the insights from the research phase to identifing map patterns, flows and experiences
Synthesis – brainstorming and exploration of concepts, visualization of ideas and solution evaluation
Realization – prototypes are lab and store tested along with the drafting of functional requirements that lead to the new product introduction commercialization process
fitKitchen made its inaugural debut at The NAFEM Show February 2015 in Anaheim, CA. “The response has been overwhelming from customers, suppliers, key partners and the media. We have been inundated with requests from a wide variety of customers who want to start the process of developing a fitKitchen” says Hanniffy, “Because of our new formalized process, we have been able to take a major QSR chain through the first phase since late February. Two months is an impressive turn around for kicking off such a big idea but now we can work quickly toward the end goal.” Part of the uniqueness of the fitKitchen idea is that it resonates with a variety of segments: Fast Casual, Casual Dining and C-stores operating regionally, nationally and globally.
The ability to “think of the box differently" provides Manitowoc Foodservice with the unique opportunity to be able to assist our customers in tackling the issues that operators experience daily by rethinking the entire kitchen. “fitKitchen is not about creating a package of equipment and marketing it as the kitchen of the future…fitKitchen is about helping our customers be successful in ways that are meaningful to them.”
Experience and talk with us about how fitKitchen can answer your operational needs at the National Restaurant Association Show, May 16 -19, 2015 in Chicago at booth #3601.