The 13 latest gadgets to kit out your restaurant

By Restaurant magazine

- Last updated on GMT

The 13 latest gadgets to kit out your restaurant

Related tags: Technology, techhub, Restaurant

From established technology including pagers and waterbaths to new innovations like machines that convert glass to safe and easily disposable sand, Restaurant brings you the latest must-have gadgets.

Barsys cocktail machine


We’re a long way off bartenders being replaced by robots, but here is the world’s first fully automated cocktail machine. Barsys comes pre-programmed with 2,000 cocktail recipes and has room for five spirits and three mixers. Unlike some cocktail machines that simply measure spirits to be mixed by a bartender, Barsys dispenses fully finished drinks. Spirits are held in thermally insulated containers that maintain temperature for 15 to 18 hours. A mobile app can be used to control the machine, which takes between 15 and 30 seconds to make a single drink. Though launched at The Restaurant Show, it is being pitched at home cocktail connoisseurs as well as professionals.

The Nitropress


You’re probably thinking that this looks an awful lot like a standard, nitrous oxide-powered cream whipper, and you’d be right. The NitroPress is identical but has a thinner dispensing nozzle and requires specially formulated pure nitrogen canisters. Manufacturer Hatfields London says that built-in draught coffee systems are a good fit for coffee specialists, but not so good for restaurants. The NitroPress is designed to dispense nitrogen infused cold brew coffee and coffeebased cocktails (coffee products infused with nitrogen have a silky mouthfeel that’s similar to Guinness). The 500ml dispensers can serve two coffees or up to four cocktails in one hit.

CustomerCall IQ (main image)

Pagers may be more associated with ’80s drug dealers than contemporary technology, but they’re still extremely useful to oversubscribed restaurants. Customers are simply handed a device that alerts them when their table is ready, freeing them up to have a drink in the bar or even a pub down the road. CST has been bringing US-designed pagers into the UK for sometime – its client list includes Dishoom, which knows a thing or two about efficiently handling a queue – and offers a wide range of products. CustomerCall IQ is able to call customers back with sound, flashing LED lights and vibration. “Gadgets have the ability to completely streamline a service, making it easier for the operator to take care of the important part – the hospitality and experience,” says CST’s Eloise Sheppard.

Mareno Star-90


Induction technology has dramatically dropped in price over the past few years but for most restaurants it pays to invest in something that’s designed for professional use. The more costly a unit, the more hard wearing, energy efficient and accurate. Available through Grande Cuisine, the new Mareno Star-90 range is said to deliver consistent results with a choice of six different power settings for special and delicate cooking modes. Five models are available, in two different sizes, featuring either defined circular cooking zones, full-coverage cook tops, or a wok top.

Indigo NXT


Billed as a next generation ice machine, the Indigo NXT uses a 2.8-inch display to “take the guesswork out of owning an ice machine”. By being able to programme it to close down during peak energy times, distributor Welbilt says operators will also benefit from lower running costs, and this can be achieved by simply setting an alarm on a mobile phone. Indigo NXT models are said to be among the most efficient cube ice machines on the market today, providing improved energy efficiency of up to 27% and lower water consumption of up to 21%. Using R-410A or R290 refrigerants, the machines have also been designed to meet EU refrigerant standards, effective from January 2020.

BGTS1 glass bottle to sand reduction unit (pictured right)


The winner of The Restaurant Show’s coveted Best New Idea award, the BGTS1 turns bulky waste glass into safe-to-handle sand in seconds. As well as freeing up valuable storage space, the technology also dramatically reduces glass collection bills as the volume of the waste is reduced by around 90%. Powered by a standard three-pin plug socket, the unit has a compact footprint and produces far less noise than bottles bring flung into a recycling bin, so is a good fit for venues thatneed

Hobart 'connected' undercounter machines

Warewashers are getting cleverer and cleverer. Hobart’s new line of top-end undercounter machines are connected to an app which makes it easy to monitor levels of detergent and water in real time, determine overall operating costs, download an instant hygiene report, request a quote and order necessary consumables and receive error reports for any machine breakdowns. What’s more, a new “VAPOSTOP” function puts an end to clouds of steam generated when the machine door opens. The technology uses a ventilation system to extract the hot 60°C waste steam from the inside of the machine, thereby preventing it from escaping. A total of 90% less steam is allowed to escape into the room, making the machines well-suited for use front-of-house.

Carpigiani Freeze&Go


Given its compact dimensions, the output of Carpigiani’s Freeze&Go (pictured right) is impressive: the 30cm wide unit can produce 5kg of gelato or sorbet per hour, and up to five portions in just six minutes. Powered by single-phase, the Freeze&Go has a retro design with a cream finish and this – coupled with its quiet and straightforward operation – makes it well-suited to use front of house as well as in the kitchen. The mixing cup can be easily removed for cleaning and chefs can buy additional cups, allowing them to easily create a range of flavours.

Falcon F900 Flexi Pan

Fairly affordable as multifunctional kit goes, Falcon’s F900 series E9941 flexi pan unit can shallow fry, griddle, boil, stew, poach, braise and, with the optional steaming tray and lid accessory, steam. The unit – which has a 14.7 litre GN 1/1 compatible pan – is easy to operate, with the control panel displaying the optimum setting for the main cooking methods. A compact profile – it’s just 40cm wide – and the fact it doesn’t need to be plumbed in makes it an easy addition to most kitchens. Build quality is robust and – in common with the F900 range – it features Falcon’s Dynamic Link System, so it can be almost seamlessly suited to other F900 appliances.

Smart oil management

Frontline International’s Smart Oil Management system eliminates the need for staff to handle oil, allowing operators to fill and empty fryers at the push of a button. It features a space-saving rack where fresh boxed oil is connected to a pump system, which fills the fryers when required. For waste oil handling, Frontline offers a choice of indoor or outdoor tanks. When oil needs changing, staff simply push the button and the waste oil is pumped into the tank. UK distributor FEM says that not only is the system cleaner and safer, it also increases oil yield by 10%to keep the noise down.

Pacojet 2 Plus


Pacojet has launched a next generation machine that features a programmable auto-repeat function, an improved blade and finally a safety feature that ensures the blade is securely locked in place before use. The Pacojet 2 PLUS comes with a two-blade cutter, a four-blade cutter and a whipping disc that is able to aerate cream and egg whites and also create fruit drinks and shakes. The original Pacojet was launched in 1992 by Swiss engineer William Maurer, who discovered a new method for micro-puréeing – or pacotizing – frozen foods without thawing while trying to design a new kind of ice-cream maker.

Clifton Food Range Sauce Bottlewarmerstar-90


Warming up sauces in small pans can adversely affect texture and flavour and is time consuming and potentially wasteful to boot. Clifton Food Range – a pioneer of waterbath technology – has a solution in the form of the Sauce Bottlewarmer. It is available in four sizes that can hold between 8 and 24 230ml sauce bottles. The temperature can be easily changed with the turn dial up to a maximum temperature of 70°C making the machine a particularly good device for holding perishable emulsified sauces like buerre blanc and hollandaise.

Hamilton Beach Commercial Quantum 950

One of the most powerful and durable blenders on the market, the Quantum 950 is a smart blender that – when combined with Hamilton’s Quiet Shield sound enclosure – is also one of the world’s quietest. It features a Wave-Action System, which uses a specially designed container to continually force mixture down to the blades for a consistently smooth blend. With a pulse option that can be set anywhere between 5% and 100% power, the Quantum can cope with whole ice cubes.

The Insider

Eloise Sheppard, managing director, Call Systems Technology

There’s a lot to talk about on the gadget scene right now – we’re seeing robots assisting with mundane kitchen tasks, drones delivering takeaways, and a dramatic increase in chatbot interaction. However, there’s also an art to keeping it simple and making sure operators don’t jump on every new invention ‘just in case’. Sometimes, it’s actually best to stick with what you know.

Pagers, both for guests and staff, are restaurant gadgets that have been helping run a smarter service for some time. Even while businesses are inventing apps for this and that, pagers are standing the test of time, which is also why you’ll still see medical professionals relying on them. So what has this type of technology got that has made it future-proof and why should restaurants not immediately turn to apps, bots or the web? It’s probably not a question that has occurred to many people – but it should.

The answer is reliable coverage. An abundance of UK locations which host fantastic restaurants are still falling prey to patchy mobile signals and in some cases, no reception at all. Wi-Fi is never a guarantee either, especially if several devices are connecting to it. But wait staff can’t afford to
miss an alert from the kitchen due to poor signal and customers shouldn’t be forced to queue while they wait for a table. That’s why the savviest operators won’t change for change’s sake.

Pagers work on a long-range dedicated frequency, meaning calls are received immediately. So despite the other wireless technologies out there, like mobile service and the internet, pagers still remain the most reliable option. With guest experience now more important than ever, how operators treat their customers and how they present their restaurant are regarded with just as much importance as the meal itself, meaning it’s vital to keep service flowing. Being a digital drop-out is never good for business.

Related topics: Trends & Reports, Tech Hub

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