Tuesday, 11 April 2017

BBQ & Outdoor Feature SLTN - April 2017


Please attributes any quotes to Kris Brearley, Sales Director, R H Hall

In your view, what are the advantages to offering a barbecue in the Scottish on-trade? How does grilling outside set a venue apart from competitors?

Cooking outdoors can become a regular feature during the Spring and Summer months, and perhaps even further with the right equipment! Barbecue menus can provide a great focus for special events such as bank holidays, but can also provide a great source of extra income every weekend. Few can resist the smell of a barbecue on a summer afternoon and caterers can offer a simple barbecue menu without a great deal of expense or planning, providing they have the right equipment in place. Outdoor events also often bring in new customers, particularly on sunny days.

What are some key considerations for operators looking to introduce a barbecue offer? How should publicans approach purchasing equipment and are there any pitfalls to avoid for first time buyers?

For any outdoor cooking set up, the most important piece of equipment to get right is the Barbecue itself! First and foremost, caterers should ensure that they are purchasing truly commercial equipment. Many domestic barbecues look the part, but will not last or be able to recover quickly during a busy service. Look for a Barbecue that uses commercial grade stainless steel (be wary that many domestic models use stainless steel but are of light duty construction) and also check out the grid racks - stainless steel work much better than coated ones that invariably chip and flake off in time. Look for good portability as many barbecues have poorly constructed wheels. Importantly, ensure the product comes with a full commercial warranty. Some have a lifetime guarantee! Remember that you would not buy a domestic cooker for your commercial kitchen so apply the same thought process for your outdoor Barbecue.

Provided some sort of outdoor area is available, any establishment can quickly and easily set up a barbecue for use almost immediately. Charcoal and Gas options are available, with gas options using portable gas cylinders. Operators should also consider some kind of portable hand wash station and also prep/serving areas to avoid constant back & forth to the main kitchen. The Crown Verity range includes both simple charcoal barbecues and versatile, portable gas options. Also available in the CVEHS hand wash station and the range can easily be paired with Simply Stainless Modular Fabrication to create a complete outdoor kitchen!

With the Crown Verity Professional Barbecue range, operators can either create their own BBQ Station by combining a barbecue with prep areas, refrigeration and even branding – or look at ready made options, such as the MBI80 which includes a 36” barbecue with side burner and storage.

‘Gourmet’ burgers have exploded in popularity in recent years and will surely have their place at barbecues across the country this year, but are there any other food items which you would predict as a hot ticket this summer?

Street food is a food trend that is likely to continue growing and is usually presented in a handheld, informal way – fitting nicely with traditional barbecue foods such as burgers and hot dogs. Street food is all about flavour and quality of cooking, so operators should ensure they have the right kit to turn out a variety of dishes. Look for products that can be fitted with removable accessories for an ever changing menu, as well as fast heat up times and individual burner controls.

While they may say different in Australia, barbecues are not a year round proposition for most operators in the Scottish trade. What steps should operators take to ensure they get more than one season from their equipment? How important is maintenance and cleaning to extending the life of barbecue equipment?

Look for equipment that is designed to last more than just a season. The warranty offering, construction and cost will all be a good indication of this. Always ensure that your barbecue is correctly stored when not in use, look for products that can be easily manoeuvred for storage and offer optional all weather covers. As with any commercial equipment, a barbecue should be cleaned down after each service, particularly to avoid any heavy build ups of grease or carbon. With the right daily maintenance in place, cleaning should be a simple task. Look for products that are easy to clean and maintain – removable parts such as grease traps, particularly on barbecues, are invaluable.

The smell may speak for itself, but what other steps can operators take to drive footfall and interest in their barbecue offer?

Events can be kept as simple as firing up the BBQ on a Summers day, but can also be enhanced with live music or family entertainment to increase the draw. The bigger the event, the more planning will be required. Advertising locally with posters and banners is likely to draw attention – and also ensuring regular customers are aware of the event in advance, so they can spread the word! If the weather forecast is looking good and large numbers are expected, operators should ensure staff levels are considered and also ensure the bar is well stocked – when the sun comes out, record sales can be achieved! It almost goes without saying, but make sure the BBQ has been fired up in advance and if recently purchased, ensure that the chef has tested his menu prior to the event.

However, operators should always ensure they are prepared for more traditional weather! By creating covered seating areas with gazebos and marquees, customers will still be able to enjoy outdoor events – just make sure that if any entertainment is available, these seated areas provide an easy view – and also that the BBQ itself is positioned elsewhere to prevent any smoke or excessive food odours.

For more information:
www.rhhall.com, www.crownverity.com or our You Tube channel for videos showing the versatility of the Crown Verity range.

R H Hall are the Exclusive UK Distributor for the Crown Verity range of Professional Barbecue Systems

Emma Smith - emma.smith@rhhall.com -01296 663400

R H Hall, Hallco House, Beacon Court, Pitstone Green Business Park, Pitstone, Beds, LU7 9GY
T: 01296 663400 F: 01296 663401 E: sales@rhhall.com W: www.rhhall.com

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