The clean solution

    Street food

    A variety of flavors under one big roof

    The news and social media for the catering trade enthusiastically reported and discussed the growing popularity of ‘Street Food’. Street food is massive in America and now, Europe is also getting a taste of the action despite or because of COVID-19? Let’s take a closer look at UK.

    Market hall 'street food' sites feature offshoots of popular restaurants

    Street food vendors are typically independent operators, new and smaller brands that disrupt the market with original recipe ideas and ingredients. But established chefs and restaurateurs also helped kick start this trend, with their 'pop-up' restaurants, taking part and supporting the new street food concepts. 

    Providing all-weather protection are the large market hall 'street food' sites which feature top street food traders and/or offshoots of popular restaurants, set usually within a vacant space such as a redundant department store, catering space or cinema. The street food operators suffered the same from the Covid lockdown like everyone else. But there is hope for a brighter future.

    Street food is still served in the UK but keeping distance is the new normal

    Book in advance

    London's Seven Dials Market Covent Garden announced its re-opening post Covid with the following information... “We have extended our H&S practices to greater degrees than ever (temperature checks, track and trace, lower capacity, distanced seating, hand sanitation stations and all ordering via a click and collect platform), but we’re still us, the place is still a magnificent and dramatic rarity — and the food being created, cooked and served by the brilliant SDM vendors is tasting better than ever.

    Customers wanting to eat here need to book in advance to avoid any disappointments. They only allow a few walk-ins per day so customers will need to have advance booking to guarantee that they can have a seat.


    Walk-ins only

    In the North of England, Macclesfield's Picturedrome, Market House Alty (Altrincham) and Mackie Mayor Manchester were quick to adapt to the new trading conditions brought on by Covid and the operator is still accepting walk-in trade. It says, “All our locations have been adhering to social distancing guidelines assisted by our App only ordering and payment system, which also captures information for track and trace. You will need to download the Alt.Eats app to your phone and create an account before you can order and pay.”

    The app requires people to create an account and allow them to order and pay for food at the table, cutting out a lot of unnecessary movements. The app also allows the operator to introduce a takeaway service creating an additional dimension.

    Dishwashing, glasswashing and potwashing – all hygienically handled at the back

    As always, for every new catering innovation, there is a dishwashing problem and a solution. Street food sites with multiple kitchens, bars and enormous areas of seating create a need for dishwashing, glass washing, and pot washing, as well as food waste handling. Centralising dishwashing minimises additional equipment costs and saves space for the food vendors.

    Picturedrome Macclesfield is an outstanding example of how a combination of good design and the right choice of dishwashing machines help achieve maximum hygiene. All crockery and cutlery, glasses and plates, pots and pans not only leave the dishwashers spotless but also coronavirus-free.

    safe glass washing process
    The perfect glass washing machine - M-iClean U

    "But I just want to wash up" - is what someone with less experience of glass management in the hotel and catering business might think. What they also want to do, or rather must do: take drinking glasses into consideration as part of the value chain.

    The concept involves seven kitchens, two bars and 10 clients. Each kitchen and bar is owned and run by an independent operator, but it shares the dining area and services such as the dishwashing.

    Meiko Partner Distributor CHR Equipment designed, project managed, and installed the catering and bar facilities. CHR designed a three-zone dishwashing area and the design team was careful to include sufficient working and storage space for each section, allowing them to operate without interfering or crossing over with the others.

    On a busy Saturday, Picturedrome can cater for over 2,500 covers. A team of four to eight runners uses the full capacity of the dishwashing system by clearing the tables and bar areas, collecting used pots, pans and display dishes.

    Working with Meiko, CHR specified three dishwash solutions for each wash zone

    • A Meiko UPster rack transport dishwasher would handle the dirtiest washware, pots, pans and crockery. On the left part of this machine is a heavy-duty pre-spray and pre-scrapping area, which reduces the soil-load on the dishwasher and helps ensure optimal washing.
    • Coffee and tea service create its own warewashing problems because of cup stains, and this required a separate hood machine built to handle just this crockery.
    • CHR specified two Meiko undercounter machines with GiO reverse osmosis for washing the glassware.

    A key part of the dishwashing are the sorting areas, which are essential in ensuring a smooth workflow. Each kitchen has its own individual crockery and the bars have their own glassware, which need separate sorting for return.

    reverse osmosis system
    Reverse Osmosis for sparkling clean dishes and glassware

    For clients who want their glasses and dishes to sparkle, improving the water quality is essential – and that calls for demineralisation or osmosis.

    How do operators ensure they get their own crockery or pans back?

    Wash baskets and racks are available to suit any size or shape of crockery, cutlery, pots, and pans. Some are customised to suit different glassware, cups, and crockery such as serving dishes. Because there are several users of the dishwasher, restaurant staff need to find their own wash baskets and racks after they have been through the dishwasher. To address this concern, wash baskets and racks are colour coded to help the staff identify what they need for their outlet from the centralised wash-up area. The right dish rack protects the contents and ensures easy identification and handling by the staff.

    For more information on MEIKO baskets and racks, click here.

    Great venue

    "Sunday brunch. Our first visit and really enjoyed it. We had to use the app to order our food, but was very straight forward. All social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions were followed."

    JanetC2029, Stockport, UK - Customer at Picturedrome