Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Hints for Tray Assembly Lines

400_Cooks_GC100

Cook’s Correctional Tray Assembly Line

Pre-portioning meals on insulated trays for delivery to pods or units is efficient and economical.  Yet it’s amazing how many tray assembly operations end up inefficient because of the order of foods on the line.  Hot foods should go on trays last, not first.  Start with room temperature foods like bread and rolls, and next add cold foods.  Last, add the hot portions.

Ideally, cold food should be kept below 40 degrees F and hot food above 165 degrees F.  Minimize the distance a worker has to move food from well to tray.  Be sure to keep the conveyor line moving fast enough to keep workers busy with no time for mischief.

Here are some easy to follow guidelines for your conveyor line set-up:

  • Allow 30” per worker for adequate shoulder space.
  • Using 16” wide hot and cold steam tables keeps workers close to the conveyor
  • Pitch the conveyor line ¼” per 1’0” from the head of the line to the end.
  • Cover hot food after portioning as quickly as possible to keep heat in or store trays in a heated cabinet.
  • Since cold trays chill hot food fast, keep trays in a warm tray washing or other area.
  • Always strap together for transport to retain temperature.

When planning your line, use this guide to steam table pan portion capacities:

  • 2 ½” D Full Size Pan:  9 Quarts = (72) 4 oz. portions
  • 2 ½” D Half Size Pan: 4 Quarts = (32) 4 oz. portions
  • 4” D Full Size Pan:  15 Quarts = (120) 4 oz. portions
  • 4” D Half Size Pan: 7 Quarts = (56) 4 oz. portions
  • 6” D Full Size Pan:  22 Quarts = (176) 4 oz. portions
  • 6” D Half Size Pan: 10 Quarts = (80) 4 oz. portions

If you’re looking for additional capacity guides you can go to the resource section at the back of the Correctional Buyers Guide (click here to view the catalog online).  You can also contact your Cook’s Correctional Sales Representative for any help you may need with

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

What to look for in a flight type dishmachine

Flight Type Dishmachine

Flight Type Dishmachine

By far, the most common dishmachines that we quote and sell into correctional facilities are Flight Type machines.  These machines typically are going into larger facilities, but they also make sense in corrections because of the continuous use and they work well for washing insulated trays. Our last two posts have been dishmachines focusing on what questions we ask to assess our customers needs and then more about the specifics of the machine before installation.  This post addresses our Flight Type Checklist; to help us understand the details specific to purchasing and installing a flight type machine:

1.  Job Type:  New Construction or Replacement

2.  Direction of Operation:  Right to Left or Left to Right

3.  Overall length of Dishwasher:

  • Load:  5′, 7′ or Other (consult with Factory)
  • Center:  4′ or 8′
  • Unload:  5′, 7′, 9′, 11′, or Other (consult with Factory)
  • Height:  Standard or 6″ higher than Standard
  • Conveyor:   BB with Duraflex Fingers, Special for Insulated Trays or Other (consult with Factory)
  • Doors:  Hinged; verify clearance in front of machine (standard), Other – consult with Factory (fully height or split door) and verify ceiling height
  • Drain:  Load End or Unload End
  • Voltage:  208/60/3, 240/60/3, or 480/60/3

4.  Flowing Steam Pressure:  8 – 20 lbs psi, 21 – 50 lbs psi, below 8 lbs psi (consult with factory)

5. Tank Heat:  Electric, Steam Coils, Steam Injectors

6. Booster Heater

  • No Booster
  • Electric
    • 24kw requires 140 degree incoming water
    • 39kw requires 110 degree incoming water
  • Steam
    • 180
    • 150

7.  Blower Dryer:

  • Electric
  • Steam
    • 8 – 20 lbs psi
    • 21 – 50 lbs psi

Consult the factory on the following:

  • Circuit Breakers
  • Prison Package
  • Non-foodservice Application

 

The purchase of a Flight Type dishmachine, whether it is a replacement of an existing machine or a new installation, is one of the more complex kitchen equipment decisions.   Your layout plays a critical role as does the amount of space you have available for loading and unloading, scraping, and then tray drying.  We can assist you in as you review all that’s involved in this type of decision or with any other correctional kitchen equipment decision.  We hope that you find this Flight Type Dishmachine checklist helpful.  If you’re looking to do any work in your kitchen this year or simply making budget plans for next year, be sure to give us a call.  We can assist with quotes and cut sheets as well as recommendations for various manufacturers and equipment options.  While we don’t show any flight type machines on Cook’s Correctional, we have lots of experience working with Hobart, Insinger and more.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

 

 

 

 

The Cook’s Correctional Dishmachine Installation Checklist

Hobart AM15VL Ventless "Door-Type" Dishwasher

Hobart Door-type Dishwasher AM15VL

In follow-up to our last post, I want to introduce to you our Dishmachine Installation Checklist.  This checklist is designed to help our sales representatives ask the questions needed to ensure our customers have a smooth, trouble-free Dishmachine Installation.  At Cook’s Correctional, we are continually working to improve the expertise of all our staff, and sales and customer service in particular since they are directly in communication with you, our customer.  While much simpler than the Dishmachine Checklist from our last post, the Installation Checklist is no less important.  This checklist is designed to understand the scope of work involved in the installation, to ask questions that will help uncover potential problems in the installation before they occur and to identify the resources that you’ll want to have on hand as the installation takes place.  If you are considering a purchase of a new dishmachine or in need of replacing your old machine, we suggest that you review the Dishmachine Checklist from our previous post and the checklist below.  Thinking through the process before you buy will help you to get the best product to meet your needs and to have a worry-free installation when the time comes:

Resources to have contact information for in case of questions/problems:

  • Factory:
  • Factory Representative:
  • Local Rep Group:
  • Cook’s Correctional Contact:

Scope of Work:

  • Will we remove the old equipment?
  • Are we delivering to the site or to the installers warehouse?
  • Does the machine need to be uncrated by the installers or will maintenance do it?
  • Does it need to be moved to its final destination?
  • Does it need to be set in place?
  • Does it need to be bolted down?
  • Verify the location of the utilities; water, gas, electric, steam?
  • Who will make the final connections?
  • Disposal?
  • Does the end-user have any additional information about the site/job?

Other Questions to Ask:

  • Is this a new placement or a 1 for 1 replacement?
  • Are the utilities within 3 feet of the machine?  if not they will need to be relocated for the installation.
  • What are the delivery requirements for this project?
  • Will the kitchen still be serving during this transition?  what accommodations need to be made? (for instance – disposable trays for a day)
  • Will there be a menu change for a day?
  • What clearance (security) requirements are needed for on site installation and delivery crews?
  • Is there adequate room to move the equipment? as well as remove old equipment?
  • What time can the work be done?
  • Will on staff maintenance be involved in the project?
  • What is the expected timeline?
  • Any other client expectations that need to be identified up front?

Our goal at Cook’s Correctional with your dishmachine installation, as well as any installation of Kitchen Equipment, is to be an expert for you and to guide you through the process.  We want to remove the unexpected and to make the process as painless as possible.  Replacing equipment can be very difficult for corrections because you’re serving three times a day, seven days a week without a break.    If you’re looking to do any work in your kitchen, be sure to give your sales rep a call and let us show you how we can help.

We’re happy to share this Dishmachine Installation checklist with you and hope you find it helpful.  Our next post will be specific to Flight Type dishmachines, commonly found in correctional facilities, with specific questions that you should ask prior to considering the purchase and installation of a flight type dishmachine.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

The Cook’s Correctional Dishmachine Checklist

Champion 86-PW E-Series Dishwasher with Prewash

Champion 86-PW E-Series Dishwasher

Training is a big part of our culture at Cook’s.  We recently launched our Training the Trainer program where senior sales staff is tasked with training the rest of the team the kitchen equipment used in the correctional kitchen.  Unlike traditional product training though, these sessions are about real world experiences in corrections – not how a product operates or what makes one machine different from another.

Our most recent training session, led by Ron Davenport; Midwest Territory Manager, focused on what questions to ask when your customer needs a dishmachine.  We finished with a great discussion on installations that didn’t go as planned, why it happened and how to avoid them.   Because we have the experience of installing lots of dishmachines each year – we get pretty good at knowing where the pitfalls exist and what questions to ask in order to avoid a difficult installation.

In training, Ron shared the Cook’s Correctional Dishmachine Checklist – this is a list of questions that help us to help you.  While most of our customers start a discussion with the goal of replacing what they have, it can benefit you to talk with your sales rep to be sure that what you have is the best fit for your needs.  Next time you’re considering a dishmachine purchase, take a few minutes and answer these questions.  It will help you to help your sales rep make sure that you get a machine that will be the best fit for your facility.

  1. How many inmates?
  2. What is the tray type?
  3. Job type?
    • New construction
    • Replacement (need manufacturer, model and serial number)
  4. Direction of the operation (soiled to clean)?
    • Left to right
    • Right to left
  5. Height?
    • Standard (chamber height:  18”H)
    • 6” higher than Standard (chamber clearance 24”H)
    • Verify what is the largest ware to be processed (i.e. mixing bowls, stock pots, sheet pans, etc.)
  6. Voltage
    • 208/60/3
    • 240/60/3
    • 480/60/3
    • Other
  7. Tank Heat
    • High temp / low tem
    • Electric
    • Gas (specify natural or LP)
    • Steam Coils (flowing steam pressure____)
    • Steam injectors (requires clean/potable steam)
  8. Booster Heater
    • Included with the machine
    • Purchase separately
    • Keeping existing booster heater
  9. Incoming water temperature? (water needs to be 180 degrees to sanitize)
    • 15K for 40 degree temperature rise
    • 30K for 70 degree temperature rise (recommended)
  10. Do they want a Blower Dryer
    • Electric
  11. Options / Accessories:
    • Stainless steel vent “hoods”
    • Table limit switch
    • Single point electrical connection (saves money on installation)
  12. Tables
    • New Soiled Table
    • New Clean Table
    • Re-use existing tables
  13. Scrapping:
    • Is there a scrapping station
    • Is the disposer part of the soiled table
  14. Security Package
    • Do they need this?
    • What’s included by the manufacturer
  15. Utility Overview
    • Electrical (or gas/steam)
      • Voltage
      • Amps
    • Incoming water temperature?
    • Drains, what are the various sizes
    • Duct work needed?

As you can see, there are quite a few considerations with a dishmachine that come into play.  Each question is designed to help us to ensure that you get the right machine for the job and that installation goes smoothly.   If you found this helpful check back in with our blog; Cooking in Corrections, to see our Dishmachine Installation ‘Work Sheet’ and then our Flight Type Checklist.   And if you are in the market for any piece of equipment for your correctional kitchen, give us a call and let our expertise work for you.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

Food for thought: Tray Delivery Carts (part 2 of 3)

Cook's 46-7/20"H Non-Heated/Insulated Ironman Tray Hauler

Cook’s Brand Ironman Tray Hauler

Our last post about Tray Delivery Carts talked about some of the different questions we would ask a customer who was looking to replace or buy new Meal Delivery Carts.  We focused on questions about their facility and some things about how they would use them.  The idea is to get the right cart for the application.  In this post, I’m focusing on questions you would ask once you have the type of cart and necessary functionality needs identified.  These are general facility questions and cart questions that you need to know before you buy:

1.  What is the width of the most narrow door? Do yourself a favor and test using a piece of cardboard that is the size of the cart to be sure your cart will fit through the door or in the elevator/sally port. Ask for a spec sheet so you can see the exact dimensions including the handle and possibly a bumper.  We discussed tray delivery carts in a sales meeting the other day – and one story thrown out there was about a customer who had to have the maintenance guy cut the bumper off of all the carts so that they could be used.  That’s right – the ‘protective’ bumper that probably made the cart a little more expensive.

2. What is the turning radius within the facility?  Take that same piece of cardboard and walk it through the path the carts are going to take.  Now think about the caster set up on the cart that you want?  You don’t want to get in a situation where you need a cart that has four swivel casters and you order one that has two swivel in the front and two fixed in the back.  Suddenly you have trustees pushing the back end of the carts so that they can fit them through the turn, destroying the casters, putting pressure on the handles, and so on.  We all now how gentle the trustees are with your equipment.

3.  What type of surface will the cart be moved over?  Is it going to stay in the facility or will you be using it to transport food offsite, will it go over rough pavement, loose gravel or spline joints outside, or is it only to be used indoors?  This is all about getting the right material and size caster to meet your needs and one you aren’t constantly replacing — all purpose casters, TRP rubber casters, polyurethane casters, rubber expansion stem casters, and more.

4.  What type of electrical power does the cart require — and do you have it?  Look too see if the cart and your facility are compatible before you order!  You may have or need 120 or 208 phase.  The cart may have a NEMA plug – so you need a NEMA receptacle in your facility.  You also want to be sure that the electrical is available where you need it and that there is enough of it.  How many carts will you need to plug in to preheat them — it’s better to think through how you will be pre-heating 15 carts with only 10 outlets available before you buy.  You also want to check out the production and staging area and the cell block if you will be plugging them in in both locations.

As the expression goes, the devil is in the details.  Carts are such a big investment and they typically have a longer lead time because they are made to order so you want to be sure to spend some time upfront making sure that you choose a cart that will work within your facility.

The next blog post will be about cart options to you should be aware of before you make a buying decision.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

Without a filter change, you’re water filtration system isn’t working.

Dirty water filters.

Filters after various levels of use.

Do you ever think about how much water consumption you have in your operation?  Dishmachines, ice machines, coffee brewers, kettles, steamers…they all require water for operation.  And the quality of your water not only affects the product but it affects the efficiency of the equipment.

All water contains minerals that can make it hard.  Calcium and magnesium are the main culprits.  Lime scale deposits, formed by these two minerals can clog pipes, reducing flow and coat heating elements, requiring more energy to heat water.  When our customers let us know that they have water issues, we will steer them toward a water filtration system.  There’s several brands; Everpure, Watts, Ice-O-Matic, Hoshizaki just to name a few.  Not only will a water filtration system reduce lime scale deposits, it will also filter out chemicals, like chlorine, minerals and small particles found in many water supplies with the potential to cause valve failure and plugged nozzles.  By using a water filter system, particles, as well as chlorine, will be reduced and likely extend the life of your equipment.

But, just because you’ve got a system in place, doesn’t mean you’re finished.  The system can only help you if you stay up with filter maintenance.  The filter cartridges are designed to remove contaminants and particles from the water.  The cartridges will eventually plug as this material is removed.  When filters get plugged up, it means that they are working.  In order for your filtration system to continue to working, the filters need to be replace periodically.

The frequency of changes depends upon your water quality and usage.  For example, if you have a high level of particles in your water they you will have to change your filters more than a location with little or no particles. Here are a few guide lines for filter changes:

Prefilter – the prefilter (coarse) cartridge should be changed when it becomes dirty to within 1/8″ of the core.

Submicron Cartridges – cartridges should be changed at the first occurrence of any of the following:

  • the gallon rating stated on the label
  • every 12 months
  • the pressure gauge needle of the filter system falls in the red zone while your equipment is calling for water.

A simple rule of thumb is to replace your filters whenever you notice a decline in the performance, whether it is a drop in flow rate and/or pressure or an unusual taste in the water.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

 

 

Little know fact about Sharp Microwaves

Sharp R-21LCF Microwave

Sharp R-21LCF Microwave

As you might imagine, we sell a lot of microwaves.  They go in the kitchen, the commissary and the ODR.  We have been aligned with various brands of microwaves over the years, from Amana to Panasonic to Sharp, which is the brand we recommend most now – for one simple reason:

It’s the only warranty left in corrections and the obvious brand to buy!

As you can imagine, microwaves can take some harsh abuse in correctional kitchen or seg unit.  In the past year, we have seen key players in the microwave category; like Amana and Panasonic, remove their warranties for the correctional kitchen environment.  Cook’s looked in the mirror and made a decision.  We have to sell Sharp microwaves to our correctional customers.  Sharp is the last microwave manufacturer that still warranties their microwave for the correctional foodservice application.

If your microwave breaks, call Cook’s and we will fix the problem for you.  At Cook’s Correctional, we keep most of the Sharp microwaves in stock, so if you order we can ship your new microwave out to you in less than 24 hours.  You can find all the different models of Sharp microwaves that we sell online here at our Cook’s Correctional Sharp Microwave page.

Brian Richardson

Director of Merchandising, Cook’s

Keep it Simple and Strong (part 4 in a series)

BR inmage kitchenWhether you’re using a dining room system or insulated tray service, there’s only one efficient shape for the correctional foodservice work area and that’s rectangular.  Alcoves, hallways, and other possible hiding places must be designed out.  The old style of many small rooms is dangerous as well as inefficient.  For institutions with populations exceeding 2,000 inmates, however, multiple work areas in multiple rooms may be necessary.

Good design with unobstructed sight lines can keep labor costs down.  And, good design with no visual obstructions generally equates to fewer security risks and better inmate behavior.  This will result in lower maintenance cost and less equipment replacement.  Hiding places should be eliminated.  Any place where a #10 can could be hidden is a spot for brewing hootch.  Favorite places are behind large rotating ovens, between free-standing equipment and walls, and in other similar spaces.

Even experienced designers can unwittingly cause security problems by creating visual barriers.  While typical institutional kitchen designs include a ceiling-high wall behind cooking banks of ranges, ovens and kettles, a partial or half wall will improve visibility in the correctional kitchen.  Food service management and security offices must have complete visibility of the entire kitchen, dining room, receiving and storage entry areas.  Any necessary tall equipment should be located against exterior walls of the space.

Inmate break areas must be visible to security officers without requiring a walk around corners or past walls.  Office space for the kitchen manager should offer full views of all inmate work areas and provide lockable space for records and civilian personal belongs.

The selection and specification of appropriate equipment is the third key to good correctional kitchen design.  We’ll cover more on that in our next post.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

New to Cook’s Correctional: Useco Tray Drying Racks

TGS48-3-C-AF SS HD Tray Drying Rack from Useco

TGS48-3-C-AF SS HD Tray Drying Rack from Useco

We are continually looking to add new kitchen equipment products that fit the requirements of the correctional kitchen so that we have more options for our customers.   This year, one of the more exciting additions are Useco’s Stainless Steel Tray Drying Racks in a variety of sizes. Useco, a division of American Foodservice, is well-known for their superior meal delivery systems, which include banquet carts, hot and cold carts, holding cabinets, and conveyor systems. American Foodservice, is located in Savannah, TN and is part of the Standex Foodservice Group.  The Savannah facility has over 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space.  I believe that our customers will like that all of their products are manufactured to UL and NSF standards and are labeled with the regulatory seals of approval, because we know how important NSF is to the correctional industry.

These heavy-duty welded stainless tray drying racks are designed to position trays, pans and lids to accelerate drying. Laser cut openings provide paths for air circulation to promote drying. Stainless steel construction will put your mind at ease with no rust and years of durability.

Claudia Santangelo, Product Merchant

Claudia Santangelo

You can see our Useco Delivery Cart and Tray Drying Rack offering by visiting the Useco page in our Shop by Brand section on Cook’s Correctional.

Misonmers creeping into your kitchen?

Hobart 84186-1 Buffalo Chopper

Hobart 84186-1 Buffalo Chopper

Let’s face it, there are more kitchen products available today than you or I can comprehend.  I must admit that I am the first to think “well, that just doesn’t exist”, when I am called and asked about some items, only to find out that it does exist and has for years!  Also, it seems to me that there are certainly a fair amount of odd named items made for food service too.  And the more I talk to customers, I think that everyone has their favorite.  I have been repeating the names of these items for years without much thought – probably just like you.  But let’s take a break from the serious and look at some of the strange named items we deal with, and use, on a regular basis:

  •  Buffalo Chopper — really, it just sounds gruesome
  • Mop Towels — mop the floor, then your counter?
  • Scratch Brush — will definitely scratch everything, guaranteed
  • Waste Receptacle — come on, it’s a garbage can!
  • Bouffant Cap — any one out there still wear a bouffant hairstyle?
  • Half-dice Ice Cuber — Half dice? Full Dice?  Andrew Dice Clay?  what gives
  • Blixer — isn’t that one of Santa’s Reindeer?
  • Beverage Server — mind only holds beverages, it doesn’t serve them
  • Cam-anything — Cambro: the McDonald’s of FS equipment naming
  • Dead Man Box — aka Pirate’s of the Caribbean part 4
  • Dredge — something to scrape the bottom of a lake with?
  • Scraper or Spatula — can you remember which is which shape?
  • Disher — wouldn’t “scooper” have made more sense?
  • Cateraide Carrier — just sounds too much like Gatorade…
  • Dough Cutter — fact:  use on dough only 3% during its lifetime.

Who knew the correctional kitchen was so chock full of odd named items?  Even though I’ve worked with Cook’s Correctional Kitchen Equipment and Supplies for nearly 9 years, I’m still surprised by how easy it was to put together this list!  Want more – just grab the Cook’s 2014 Correctional Buyers Guide and peruse.  Find your favorites and email them to me!

Tim Saner, Sales Manager Cook's

Tim Saner