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The National Restaurant Association's 2012 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Award winners were named by an independent panel of judges comprised of internationally recognized food facilities consultants, multi-unit executives and design experts. Award recipients were showcased in the interactive Kitchen Innovations Pavilion on the exhibit floor of the NRA Show, held May 5-8 in Chicago.
Many of the companies in the KI pavilion touted energy-efficiency and convenience features. Their products were chosen based on innovation and their operational impact for foodservice establishments. Some of the highlights include:
The new Automatic Mix'n Machine is a hands-free, fully programmable mixer that incorporates candies, syrups, cookies and hard-to-mix ingredients into soft serve ice cream or yogurt without damaging the inclusions.
The Optimax KC-1 Batter Breading Machine from Bettcher delivers the ability to offer fresh-breaded foods made from locally sourced products. It's a complete solution that makes it easy and cost-effective to move away from freezer-to-fryer platforms. Bettcher showcases the equipment's sustainability features, since less breading is being wasted and the machines extend fryer oil life compared to hand breading.
Frontline International's Fresh Oil Box System for Standard Packaged Oil saves labor and increases oil yields. It's an automated, hands-free, safer and more cost-effective way to refill the fryer. Boxes are plumbed upside down and drained completely; which is proven to increase yields by up to 10 percent. It also includes optional digital reader technology that lets operators monitor the level of fresh cooking oil available and generates reports on usage. Among the brands using this equipment are McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Arby's, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell and Wendy's.
The Lang On-Demand Burner System features energy-efficient burners with a lever actuated gas valve which will go from idle to full when a pot or pan rests on the grate service.
Franke Foodservice Systems Inc.'s Ice Machine Sanitizing Device attaches to most ice machines and prevents bacteria build-up, reducing expensive maintenance. Its unique electrolytic cell generates ozone in the water line, safely sanitizing the ice-making path and holding bin without chemicals.
Ecolab Inc. earned two spots in the KI pavilion. Its ActiveView HDI (Health Department Intelligence), for multiunit operators, gathers data directly from local health department inspections, standardizes against U.S. Food Code, applies proprietary translation algorithms and delivers online customized reports and alerts.
Ecolab's Stealth Flystation is a wall hanging panel that works during daylight hours to attract and eliminate flies. It is best positioned in strategic locations on exterior walls, to prevent flies gaining entrance into restaurant kitchens.
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