Kitchen equipment now has so many features and chefs are so busy, that it makes sense for the supplier to do the training, says Stuart Flint
Training has always been a huge consideration in hospitality. Craft skills and service rightly get plenty of attention, but the way in which equipment is employed should not be ignored. The simple fact is, if operators are buying expensive pieces of equipment, they need to maximise their return on investment.
We're well aware that those working in a busy kitchen simply don't have the time to study instruction manuals in detail, so it's much more beneficial and practical for a product expert to visit a site and explain the practicalities of using the latest equipment.
Take combi-ovens as an example. Manufacturers are striving to add innovative new features to their products, which means there are so many more things you can do with an oven than you might have done previously. Without training, those operating the equipment can often fail to maximise the labour and time-saving aspects the latest products offer. Let's not forget, if you're using your equipment properly,
you're enhancing the end product at the same time.
In the catering industry, there's no such thing as a ‘one size fits all' approach to training, purely because the capabilities of are likely to vary hugely, from one restaurant, hotel or school kitchen to the next. Some chefs will inevitably only want to know the basic functionality of a piece of equipment, whereas others will want to know the ins and outs of every function and how to make the most of them.
By the same token, it is vitally important that the suppliers of professional kitchen equipment are suitably knowledgeable themselves so their customers know they are buying a piece of equipment to meet their needs and not simply because it is a ‘leading' model.
Without a doubt, there is now far more onus on manufacturers to offer training on their product range than there was a decade or so ago. Not only does this ensure that those operating the equipment can make the most of every feature, but it also almost acts as an insurance policy for the dealer, who can hand the kit over safe in the knowledge it will be used and maintained properly.
Stuart Flint is regional training and demonstration manager - foodservice at Electrolux Professional