The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many changes upon the foodservice industry. While some of those changes like sanitation stations and plexiglass barriers are new, other changes were already in motion. Take ghost kitchens, for example. When you look back at 2019, this was one of the up-and-coming trends in the restaurant industry, and the coronavirus has only accelerated its frequency.
As you look across all the trends and statistics from 2020, it's clear ghost kitchens are one of the bright spots. Almost daily, famous chefs are getting into the ghost kitchen business because they're low-touch, they rely on delivery and pickup, and they can be more cost-effective due to the less space required.
In most cases, operations are completely back-of-the-house, and this can allow chefs to implement a wide range of innovative equipment in their batteries. One type of unit to consider are blast chillers.
Here are five reasons ghost kitchens can benefit from a blast chiller:
One of the biggest reasons to consider a blast chiller is its ability to help maximize the effectiveness of staff. Blast chilling opens up the possibilities of par- or pre-cooking certain menu items, meaning finishing or rethermalizing is all that's required. This reduces the amount of time required for certain menu items while allowing chefs to focus on more on-demand items that are made to order.
STORAGE AND SHELF LIFE
Because blast chilling can quickly move foods into ideal storage states while protecting the integrity of the ingredients, using a blast chiller or shock freezer can help increase shelf life while reducing the amount of food waste.
The blast chilling process helps preserve three important things in an ingredient. First, it preserves aroma. Second, the important flavors are retained. Lastly, blast chilling helps ingredients retain moisture. All of this adds up to food that smells, better, tastes better, and provides higher yields -- something both customers and operators will appreciate.
THEY PLAY NICE WITH OTHER EQUIPMENT
Blast chillers and shock freezers can work hand-in-hand with other types of equipment in a ghost kitchen. Consider food that is steamed in a combi oven and then quickly inserted into a shock freezer to bring them through the Danger Zone and into ideal storage conditions. With some creativity, blast chillers and blast chillers/ shock freezers can help chefs maximize the potential of the other equipment in the kitchen.
THEY CAN EVEN BE INTEGRATED INTO WALK-INS
Blast chillers don't just exist in reach-in or under-counter options. They can also be fully integrated into larger, walk-in applications. This would allow ghost kitchens to fully implement roll-in blast chilling and shock freezing capabilities.
How do you know if a blast chiller or shock freezer is right for your operation?
We've put together a simple Blast Chiller and Shock Freezer Assessment Sheet to help you determine how much your ghost kitchen could benefit from these capabilities. Download the sheet today, complete five simple questions, and rate your operation on how useful blast chilling can be.