Each May, over 2000 exhibitors gather at the NRA Show inside the massive McCormick Place in Chicago to present their latest equipment, smallwares, and services to the restaurant industry. Each year, the ZESCO sales and support staff are always some of the hundreds of thousands of show attendees. It’s a great place to gather new ideas, learn about new innovations, and find new products we know our customers cannot live without! This week, we recap our visit with one of our trusted equipment vendors, True Refrigeration, as well as a stop at the Kitchen Innovations Pavillion.
True Refrigeration Keeps Innovating
The True Refrigeration booth is always an exciting visit. As a leader in commercial refrigeration, the industry expects them to keep innovating. While there were not many flashy new products to debut at the 2016 show, our visit with True revealed great new enhancements to some of their most popular product categories and a major milestone in the shift to the new R290 (HC) refrigerants.
Display Cases and Glass Door Merchandisers Redesigned
True is proud of the enhancements and upgrades made to their lines of bakery and display cases set to debut in late Summer. Responding to customer feedback, these 3rd Generation cases were redesigned for easier loading and unloading, along with upgrades in aesthetics and durability.
The TDM line of display cases will now feature front glass access panels that are hinged on the top of the unit, allowing easier loading and unloading of product. This replaces a door that opened from the top and sometimes created an awkward barrier to product access in crowded or limited space areas. Also, to fight condensation issues on the front glass panel of refrigerated cases, exhaust air from the compressor is now routed out the front of the unit towards the glass pane. Tests have shown this significantly reduces condensation that could form on the outside of the glass and cloud the view of the delicious product inside the case.
True’s existing GDM line gets upgrades in function and aesthetics as well. With new designs for the top sign frame, door frames, and bottom grill, these units have a much cleaner look to them. The door handles evolves from an angular pull handle to a rounded handle that is much more intuitive to use. Another customer requested feature is an all-white unit, and True will deliver this with a white exterior model that includes all white sign frames, grills, doors, and sides.
As soon as these new model versions are available, we’ll make sure that ZESCO.com is updated with everything you need to know. In the meantime, talk with your ZESCO salesperson for updates and availability timelines.
R290 Refrigerant Update
True reached a major milestone in their conversion to switch from the out-dated 404A to the much more efficient R290 hydrocarbon based refrigerants. The journey that True embarked on in 2010 with their pilot GDM-19T-HC is nearing completion, as the company is nearing depletion of its supply of 404A. Soon, almost all True models will ship with the new model designator “-HC” and meet or exceed DOE mandated energy-efficiency standards set to kick in starting 2017. Model availability still varies, so talk with your ZESCO salesperson to find out which refrigerant version is currently shipping for the models you are purchasing.
No trip to NRA is complete without a stop at the Kitchen Innovations Pavillion, where the ‘best in show’ of new and innovative products are showcased. Selected by a committee of food facilities consultants and executives, twenty-five commercially available products earned this award for 2016. We stopped by and immediately saw ways these products could save our ZESCO customers time and money while increasing kitchen efficiency. Here are a few of our favorites!
|The Beverage Air Versa-Cool portable walk-in cooler offers a quick and easy way to increase cooler space at a catering or other event. When collapsed, the cooler and refrigeration sit on a 4′ x 4′ wheeled platform and can easily be lifted by two people for transport in a pick-up truck or van. In only 5 minutes the platform and R-39 insulated cover can be expanded to provide 105 sq. ft of space for sealed food or beverages.
The refrigeration unit runs on 120V and draws less than 10 amps – allowing for use in almost any electrical environment. The walk-in cooler reaches and holds at temperatures 36-40°F in about 5 minutes. This unit would work great for a caterer to hold excess beer or beverages. While it can be used outdoors, direct sunlight will affect its ability to work efficiently.
|The Multiplex Nitro Beverage Dispense system will help coffee shops and specialty restaurants stay on trend with the infused beverage craze. In fact, just this week Starbucks announced the expansion of a similar cold brew machine into 500 of their stores.
The Multiplex N2-Fusion system takes your existing beverage – whether coffee, tea or cocktails – and infuses it with nitrogen to add a frothy head and waterfall effect similar to a dark, stout beer. The beverage is stored in the refrigerated base and the product is infused with your food-grade source of nitrogen at the point of dispensing. Dual heads allow non-nitrogenated drinks to be served from the same source.
|The Star Rolling Tortilla Warmer is an innovation that high-volume Mexican and other restaurants have been waiting for! It’s a simple idea that cuts prep time down dramatically. This countertop unit uses a heated drum and radiant elements to warm tortillas and other flatbreads to their optimum serving temperatures of 160°.
The true advantage of the RTW14E is its speed – it can warm up to (24) 6-inch tortillas a minute. Plus, because it’s ventless, it can also be a perfect addition to your food truck where space and time are always at a deficit!
The Latest Innovations are Always at ZESCO.com
The NRA show is all about new innovations, and many of the new products we saw at the 2016 NRA show will soon be available from your ZESCO salesperson, online or inside our downtown Indianapolis showroom. Give us a call at 800-901-5051 and we’ll be happy to track down any product we do not stock, including those from the Kitchen Innovations Pavilion, for Special Order.
Plus, keep an eye out in the coming weeks, as we roll out even more NRA Show coverage. Look for our favorite new smallwares styles and trends, as well as a visit to the Bellavita Italian Pavilion, where we learned how to professionally taste olive oil!