2020 is a year of challenge for food service and hotel companies, and for exhibition organisers, too. The international industry trade show for hotels, food service, bakeries and pastry shops, Internorga, could not take place but the Top hotel Star Award was still conferred. The award went to the hygiene experts at Meiko once again this year. With Meiko Ergonomics, it was not a machine receiving an award, but a service. This approach is especially appropriate while the crisis is causing many commercial kitchens to operate at lower staffing levels. Efficient organisation is more important than ever, including in the communal catering departments of hospitals and care homes.
The Top hotel Star Award is used to honour different hotel industry suppliers on an annual basis. There are several categories with different focuses from economy to design to technology. It is tough for the expert panel to choose from the hundreds of submissions but they must narrow down to three nominations per category. The final choice is made by the readers of industry magazine Top hotel. They decide which companies receive the gold, silver and bronze awards.
Meiko's experts in warewashing, cleaning and disinfection technology celebrated bringing home the silver trophy. The award was extra special because the honour was not awarded for a machine but a service that meets a current need: Meiko Ergonomics. Björn Geromiller, Head of Key Account Management for Caterers, Hospitals and Student Unions at MEIKO Germany and lead contact for Ergonomics explains: ‘We are thrilled with this award. This is a difficult time for the entire industry and now, especially, hygiene is critical for how we move forward. To get that right, you need more than just reliable machinery. You also need reliable, economical and ergonomically sound processes in the dishwashing area.’
The role of Meiko Ergonomics centres on efficiently organising dishwashing areas in commercial kitchens. This and hygiene are crucial. The bigger the kitchen, the more tasks, employees and appliances there are to manage. Then there is variation in peak hours. That is tough on staff and machines alike. Seamless processes in the dishwashing area therefore make all the difference – in terms of the return on your investment (ROI), too. On average, commercial kitchens are 15–20% more efficient when they are optimised for space, processes, staff and dish movements, patterns of movement, seat rotations, maximum capacity at busy times, requirements of dishware, water quality, waste management, hygiene standards and more.
A well planned and organised kitchen makes optimum use of space, protects employee health and boosts productivity. All of that will pay off in general. But in a crisis, it could be what makes the business viable – even for existing commercial kitchens. That pay off is familiar in Hamburg, where Michael Gradtke runs the university food service at the Hamburg student union: ‘Productivity and staff satisfaction are higher, routes are shorter and profits are up. It is good for people and good for the company,’ he sums up.