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Restaurant exhibition showcases equipment innovations

From customizable condiments to unstaffed coffee shops, the show features the leading edge for operators

We come. We sauce. We conquer.

Among the many innovations to look forward to at the 2023 National Restaurant Show May 20-23 in Chicago, the Pittsburgh-based Kraft Heinz Co. will unveil its digital Heinz Remix dispenser, which allows customers to personalize their sauce flavors with more than 200 possible combinations.

The company plans to demonstrate the machine at the restaurant show and to pilot it with restaurant operators later this year and into 2024.

The free-standing machine is touchscreen-operated, enabling consumers to select from a range of “bases” – initially Heinz Ketchup, Ranch, 57 Sauce, and BBQ Sauce – then personalize it with one or more “enhancers” – currently Jalapeño, Smoky Chipotle, Buffalo, and Mango – at their preferred intensity level (low, medium, high).

Alan Kleinerman, Kraft Heinz’ vice president of disruption, said in a statement: “With Heinz Remix, it’s more than a sauce dispenser; it’s an insights engine and business model enabler that will help Kraft Heinz understand and respond to consumer trends and flavor preferences in real-time. Who knows – maybe our next new sauce combination will come from a superfan using Heinz Remix.”

Among other equipment offerings, the National Restaurant Association show will exhibit its Kitchen Innovations Award recipients, which were announced earlier in the year.

The Kitchen Innovation honors, judged by a panel of eight third-party experts, go to back-of-house innovations that improve operations through advances in automation, sustainability, efficiency, and space-savings.

Tom Cindric, president of Winsight Exhibitions, said: “These equipment advancements address many of the challenges impacting operations today —including workforce shortages and labor costs—and create a new generation of kitchens that improve operations and safety through increased efficiency, versatility and productivity to help boost the bottom line.”

This year’s 20 recipients, which will be featured on the show floor, range from Aniai’s Alpha Grill, a cooking robot with dual cooking surfaces that cleans itself, to Zink’s Robojo, an untended and monitored kiosk that can be operated by smartphone app built around two WMF-5000S+ Super Automatic Espresso machines, a Scotsman nugget ice machine, two latte art printers, a refrigerator, and a Kawasaki robotic arm. Robojo devices are plug and play, easily replaced. Customers can pay via credit card terminal or a propriety app.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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