London Marriott Hotel County Hall London
Intercontinental London – The O2
London Marriott Hotel County Hall London is a historical hotel that occupies London’s former City Hall with spectacular views over the River Thames, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. The hotel is quintessentially British and possesses 192 refurbished rooms and 14 spectacularly London-rich suites, 12 private event rooms that can accommodate a maximum of 150 people, a gymnasium and indoor pool, the M Club Lounge and two fine-dining restaurants.
Executive Chef Jamie Welch places enormous importance on hygiene and cleanliness. Throughout his career with Marriott, he has witnessed kitchen porters working excessive hour’s handwashing pots, pans, gastro trays, grills and other necessary kitchen equipment with volatile chemicals. The kitchen team was always under immense pressure to maintain their 5-star luxury reputation and adhere to necessary health and safety standards.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall is a busy hotel. The kitchen team would serve food three times each day to hundreds of guests. Traditional methods of cleaning kitchen equipment were failing them through lack of efficiency, effectiveness and pace. It became quickly apparent to Welch that ineffective and hazardous tools damaged his team morale, health and the environment.
Welch was familiar with the successes that installing Spectank® could bring to a busy operation. He was aware that hard black carbon caused by high-temperature fats, oils, and grease (FOGs) coated the kitchen equipment and proved difficult, if not impossible, to clean. He described, “the grill bars often needed a lot of hard graft using wire brushes to help shift deeply embedded burnt fat and oil. The grills were nearly impossible to clean, so something drastic needed to be done to change the way the team was working. Upon arrival, I immediately sought to implement a Spectank® system in the kitchen. I have seen the results firsthand before and know how it would positively impact the kitchen’s operation”.
How Spectank® became the solution
After a positive, complimentary trial, Welch said, “once the team saw the results first hand, it was a no brainer to go ahead. The extraction filters previously cleaned by hand can now be soaked in large groups of up to 20 filters for one or two hours and be ‘almost new’ when removed from the tank. Not only could the pots just be left to soak, but the lack of clutter and stacks of pans also freed up the KPs time so they could attend to other duties. Our roasting dishes, gastro trays and grill bars were transformed with Spectank®’s soaking system and looked shiny and silver and not black. The heavily used equipment looked as good as new. The free trial included delivery, installation and training to ensure the safe and effective operation of the Spectank®. The team instantly saw the benefits and usability of Spectank®’
Spectank®, making a lasting impression
Welch has recently happily reported that introducing Spectank® to his kitchen armour continues to save the business between two and three hours a day in staff time. Spectank® not only saves the hotel hundreds of pounds every month in staffing costs, but it’s created a happier team who are more focused on delivering exceptional quality food to guests instead of cleaning. There is a marked improvement in hazardous work environments and a significant reduction in chemical usage. The kitchen hardware is cleaner and brighter. The stainless steel equipment is shiny and represents the luxury expected in a five-star hotel. Vital Hospitality’s Spectank® system reuses non-corrosive and biodegradable cleaning powder designed to work with Spectank®. The cleaning solution is replenished once a month, so it is environmentally friendly.
On a final note from Welch, he says, “By investing in a Spectank®, we have significantly reduced our water consumption by an average of over 50,000 litres a month – that’s massive. The difference the Spectank® has made to our business is not just its long-term impact, but the day-to-day impact it continues to make across the hotel. Spectank® helps relieve some pressure, giving the busy team more time to focus on other things”.
Cafe Lola is a trendy bistro, wine and martini bar in Johnson City, Tennessee, which serves internationally inspired cuisine in a warm and friendly environment. The restaurant founders Tara and Hunter have fondly named the restaurant after one of the twin daughters, Lola. The restaurant offers simple pleasures consisting of good food, fine wine and delightful company.
As with many small restaurants, its kitchen pot wash area is relatively small. Piles of dirty plates, pots, pans and cutlery are a familiar sight during a business service. Café Lola has limited hot water supplies, which would result in them running out regularly.
Tara was introduced to Platescrape by an industry friend who faced similar problems in her own kitchens. Platescrape instantly solved their problems when introduced into the necessary kitchen hardware. As a matter of course, Platescrape were offering a 60-day return on every model; Tara decided that it was time to try this ‘wonder tool’. She ordered directly through the website.
Platescrape arrived with clear instructions on installation and assembly, so the set up was very quick. Tara’s kitchen porters were initially sceptical and were less than enthusiastic. They soon realised that the apprehensions were unjust. Platescrape made their jobs more efficient, and dishes were noticeably cleaner. From chefs and waiting staff to the kitchen porters, the entire team quickly realised its significant benefits.
Platescrape was the preferred method of pre-rinsing within just a few days of purchase and soon became an indispensable tool to prepare dishes for the dishwasher. Platescrape’s strong custom-designed interlocked bristles remove stubborn food bits from each side of the plate and easily tackle stubborn grease, egg, cheese and dried sauce. KP’s simply plunge dirty plates into the vessel before stacking them into the dishwasher. The worktops, counters and floors of the pot wash area and staff clothes remain dry, clean and safe.
Tara is impressed with the results and classifies them as striking. She no longer runs out of water because so little is used. Their water statement within the first month was 25 per cent less, and they recouped their investment within three short months. Tara explained, “Platescrape is a fantastic product which delivers outstanding results. The only thing that’s impressed me as much as the Platescrape is the backup I’ve received from the service team”.
Café Lola has an outside catering arm. The portability of Platescrape means that they can rinse plates during an event which saves hours of cleaning time and human resources on return to Café Lola.
Intercontinental London – The O2 is an expansive hotel in South-East London on the banks of the River Thames. It is an impressive hotel with modern luxury accommodation that overlooks Canary Wharf and the O2 Arena, famed for housing numerous music events and the 2012 summer Olympics and Paralympics. It boasts 453 bedrooms, including 59 impressive suites, an enormous ballroom that can accommodate up to 4000 people, a collection of smaller conference and entertainment facilities, Club Intercontinental and five restaurants and bars.
The back-of-house manager of the Intercontinental’s vast operation invited Vital Hospitality to introduce the benefits of Spectank to the team. The executive chef had previously seen the innovative soaking application in operation at a sister hotel and understood the benefits that it could bring to his own busy service.
Try before you buy
As with every enquiry, Vital Hospitality visited Intercontinental London – The O2 to meet the executive chef and back-of-house manager to garner more information about the demanding daily operation. During their meeting, they assessed the criteria for a large Spectank unit in the potwash area. The food and beverage team agreed on a free month trial to afford pertinent team members an understanding of the impact in time and cost-saving.
The Spectank unit was duly delivered and installed. The Vital Hospitality team provided comprehensive instruction so that all relevant staff could operate the machine safely and efficiently. A complete training plan was incorporated into the busy rota system and included 23.00 night-time slots for late shift staff
Back-of-house manager Krzysztof Szczypka explained, “there was initially some reluctance from the team who were so used to the processes we had in place, but within just a few days realised that Spectank left their equipment much cleaner and saved them hours every day”.
Vital Hospitality provided comprehensive support throughout the trial period. The team made several site visits to the hotel to ensure a smooth transition and met any training refreshers, maintenance requirements or assistance needs.
Part of the family
Spectank quickly became a vital cog in the cleaning arsenal at the hotel and an integral part of the daily kitchen operation. Szczypka expressed, “as a very large hotel, coupled with banqueting facilities for over 4000 people, our kitchens are bustling and very busy. Spectank is always full of equipment”.
Upon successfully completing the trial and with the client’s input, Vital Hospitality designed a custom cleaning plan for the hotel to ensure that the team cleaned all kitchen equipment weekly. The plan negated the need for periodic deep cleaning so extraction filters and gas rings would never develop hazardous layers of grease, which is the cause of the black carbon so prevalent in commercial kitchens.
Not only was the food and beverage team impressed from an operational perspective, but the head of finance could already see an improvement in cost and workforce efficiency. Szczypka was delighted with the exceptional results, improved cleanliness and hygiene and cost savings, so he retained the Spectank in his kitchens. An infallible business case was put into place and showed savings of hundreds of pounds and many hours of labour each month.