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My MUFES Experience – “Let’s Get The Heat Out Of The Kitchen!”

My experience attending and presenting at the Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium (MUFES) at the Barton Creek Resort in Austin, TX this month was wonderful.  Robin Ashton and his team at Foodservice Equipment Reports put together a two day agenda that included everything from presentations on trends in the foodservice industry to how to specify the efficient kitchen.  I learned a lot from the presentations but had equal learning from conversations with foodservice consultants and operators during breaks and evening events.

There were two key takeaways for me.  The first was that lowering energy usage is at the top of everyone’s mind.   There was a lot of discussion about ENERGY STAR equipment and the money it can save.  Another idea in this area that makes a lot of sense to me was to “get the heat out of the kitchen”.  Refrigerators, freezers, food prep tables and ice machines all disperse heat back into the kitchen in most facilities.  This isn’t a bad process in cold weather climates; however, in warm weather climates where kitchens especially heat up during the summer months, the air conditioning systems run longer and use more energy.  Because of this, the University of Texas has gone through a restructuring to put condensing units outside of its facilities resulting in significant energy cost savings.  This is a model worth more investigation and thought.

My second key takeaway is that we must do a better job communicating through the channel (but especially to end users) how diagnostic and protection devices that are now available on some refrigeration equipment can significantly reduce an operator’s total cost of ownership.  Since adding diagnostic and protection devices to equipment that Emerson provides, we have seen warranty claims cut by more than 33%. Operators have cut back 1 out of every 3 compressors in which they used to pay to have replaced, and the decrease in down time to equipment gives operators more time to serve their customers.

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In this day of constrained resources, where everyone is trying to do more with less, it is often hard to find time to attend industry events or symposiums.  I am glad I attended MUFES. I found it to be very rewarding because of the information shared and the ideas it generated.

Do you have new ideas for the foodservice industry?  Let us know.  I’m interested in your comments and feedback.

Craig Raney
Director of Marketing, Refrigeration
Emerson Climate Technologies

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