WTF: How to Max Out Underused Equipment


When was the last time you looked around your kitchen and focused only on the equipment. How frequently is it used? At what times of day? Are you using all of your equipment as efficiently as possible to share the load during peak service?

Or, maybe you’re considering changing your apps and sides but don’t know what to offer because your deep fryer is already working overtime.

Using your equipment to its full capacity can help ensure that you’re operating efficiently. And, since it can be difficult — and costly — to change equipment, you should consider how you can make use of what you’ve got by changing up your menu or ingredients.

At McCain Foodservice, we regularly work with our customers to identify potential opportunities where product can help them maximize the utilization of their equipment.

Take the panini press as an example. That shiny sandwich press may have seemed like a good idea — pressed sandwiches remain extremely popular — but we’ve seen instances where it may only be used 10–15 percent of the day. For operators that’s revenue opportunity lost.

That scenario served as inspiration for our team to look at product innovation in a whole new WTF (Without The Fryer) Way.

With equipment like panini presses, TurboChefs and impingement ovens offering operators quick and easy ways to prepare foods and perhaps supplement existing food and beverage menu options, our product innovation team embarked on product ideation and development that would provide solutions to customers who have invested in these types of equipment. We kept two key things top of mind throughout the process: food safety and ease of use for operators.


Consider food safety. From a regulatory perspective, it’s critical that food is cooked properly, and some equipment may not be consistent in terms of heat delivery. The solution? Shifting to frozen products that are ready to eat. These products are already fully cooked at the manufacturer’s plant and just need to be warmed up, resulting in products that an operator can feel confident about serving regardless of the type of equipment used.

Then there’s speed of service. It’s simple: reduce your cooking times, and your kitchen can provide the same delicious offerings you have now, but faster, allowing you to serve more customers during busy peak times. It can also mean expanding your food offerings as you can prepare a larger variety of food for your customers — even if you don’t have the space for a large commercial oven. Reduce your cook times and offer a menu with increased variety, and you could potentially increase the revenue generated by your kitchen.

McCain offers several versatile products that can be baked or pan fried (as well as deep fried) depending on what works for you and your equipment. Many products are available in a variety of hold times and cook times, like our Potato Bites or Twisted Potatoes, which will allow you to match speed of service while providing excellent value.