Quick-service restaurants still face the challenges imposed by COVID-19, such as finding staff available to hire and reducing costs. Chefs Rosana Rivera and Ricardo Castro of Virtual Chef Hall are no strangers to these complications, but they’ve found an innovative way to solve them both at once: multi-use equipment.
Because they run a ghost kitchen concept, Rivera and Castro can operate out of a warehouse rather than a more typical—and expensive—restaurant location, and without having to serve customers in their establishment, they don’t need as big a footprint as other brands. Their cooking system, which features ventless Vector Multi-Cook Ovens from Alto-Shaam, also lets them do more in less space.
With their multi-cook ovens, the chefs have streamlined their service. “I make 3,000 pieces of pastry a day,” Castro says. “There’s no oven warm-up—it just takes 20 minutes to cook, and the food is ready to go.”
Rivera adds, “The Vector oven maintains fresh food with constant production. We can make different product different ways—roast, grill, braise, sauté—in one unit. We can adjust the Vector to our menu and cook in bulk faster, with more accuracy, and with no transfer of flavor or aroma.”
Throughout the three years the chefs have used Vector, the system has solved many of their challenges. First, Vector Multi-Cook Ovens require no hoods, which Castro says can save restaurants up to $10,000. Additionally, the Vector system not only added value to the chefs’ business by allowing them to pivot their menu to a new model that they can execute better, but it also maximized their storage and prep space by reducing the area needed for cooking equipment, so they need fewer people to consistently put out large volumes of high-quality product.
Both chefs said they can now train an employee to bake croissants with a perfect cook every time with just the touch of a button. Meanwhile, Castro notes that the Vector system reduced his cook time for the pastries from 18 minutes down to almost 12, while Rivera says Vector allows for diverse creativity and helps create more product with less people.
“I can use less people,” Castro says, “and I can hire people with less experience. For the first time I can advertise “No experience necessary” thanks to Vector.”
“If you have a window to replace equipment this [the Vector Multi-Cook oven] is a great investment,” Rivera says. “Businesses might not make bigger investments with high food costs, high labor costs, but newer technology can expand output with a smaller investment.”
To learn more about how Vector Multi-Cook Ovens can help your ghost kitchen or restaurant, visit the Alto-Shaam website.
By Doug Scibeck