Based in Hertford, regional brewer McMullens operates a range of pub formats. Its 49 tenanted pubs and 86 managed outlets include community locals, most of which serve food, as well as the Baroosh bar chain and other town-centre venues.
Produce is sourced locally wherever possible, with menus focusing on fresh food and classic pub dishes. Larger community locals such as the Plough at Crews Hill, Enfield, and the Bull at Broxbourne offer steaks to order, home-made pies, burgers, fish dishes - such as sole fillet stuffed with smoked haddock and spinach with mature cheddar cheese - and sharing dishes such as nachos topped with melted cheese.
To help deliver this menu, Paul Robbins, catering operations manager at McMullens, was looking for a reliable salamander grill that had energy-saving properties and was easy to clean. The Hatco Quick-Therm Rise and Fall Salamander was bought to his attention by Chris Hogbourne of catering equipment distributor Gratte Brothers.
"I really liked the functions it offered," says Paul, "especially the rise and fall facility. Another plus is the instant heat available as soon as a plate is turned on. Its proven energy saving also contributed to making the choice - and it is very resilient. All round it is a very good bit of kit."
The grill reduces food preparation time by reaching the desired temperature in just eight seconds. It produces the classic 'au gratin' effect, adding a finishing touch to a range of dishes including hotpots, pies, pastries and toasted sandwiches.
The Quick-Therm Salamander offers energy savings of up to 79 per cent compared with traditional salamanders. Prepared dishes can also be retained at the required temperature with a choice of eight levels of temperature ranging from 40°C to 70°C.
Simple to operate, it includes a plate-detection switch, which automatically activates the heating elements once a plate comes into contact with the grilling plate bar. Removing the plate turns off the elements, saving energy.
The heating elements can also be operated independently, providing the benefits of flexibility. With pubs often facing unexpected peaks in demand for food, different combinations of elements can be selected to cook the quantities of food needed.