IRWINDALE, Calif. — When you consider that Americans consume 50 billion burgers a year or that 71 percent of all beef consumed in restaurants is in the form of a burger, it’s no wonder there’s a whole day dedicated to celebrating the cheeseburger.
Those numbers were shared during a recent “Build a Better Burger” seminar hosted at Southern California Edison’s Foodservice Technology Center which was held just in time for National Cheeseburger Day on Sept. 18.
The staggering statistics stood out to Javid Bholat, Jack in the Box franchise district manager, who attended the seminar to learn about the newest trends in burgers and energy-efficient commercial foodservice equipment.
“My biggest takeaway is finding out the different types of equipment and how they actually work,” he said. “We also got a lot of information about how hamburgers are one of the number one items that people consume.”
Bholat and his colleague Mario Perez are among three district managers who help oversee operations at 24 Jack in the Box franchise locations in the greater Los Angeles area, Orange County and Inland Empire.
It was their first time attending an event at SCE’s Foodservice Technology Center.
“I think it’s great that you guys do this,” said Perez. “That’s really nice for a lot of people who want to cut down on expenses, so these seminars are really good.”
The free seminar featured live equipment demonstrations by various manufacturers. Presenters also went over the different types of buns and toppings that are trending in the industry, such as brioche bread or meat-on-meat toppings.
Mark Finck, lead engineer at Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Foodservice Technology Center and the main speaker at the seminar, said building a better burger takes more than just choosing the right bun, cheese, meat and toppings. There’s also matching the right equipment — such as the versatility of combination (combi) ovens or the efficiency of steam or electric griddles — to the end product that restaurants want to create.
Bholat was particularly impressed with the steam technology and other energy-efficient equipment that were showcased.
“Energy savings is where we’re trying to get because our industry, as far as from a profitable standpoint, is very, very minute compared to all the other industries, as far as all the costs are involved like food, labor costs and so on,” he said. “So trying to get some of the savings from energy -- that would be a huge part of it.”
Bholat said his team is working closely with Andre Saldivar, a mechanical engineer and project manager at SCE’s Foodservice Technology Center, to introduce some of the new technology to their restaurants.
“That’s the most rewarding, helping a [business] customer that never knew about this and really saving them on their potential energy bill,” said Saldivar.
Business customers can take advantage of the different rebates offered by SCE when purchasing energy-efficient equipment. For more information on the Foodservice Technology Center: www.sce.com/energycenters. For more information on appliance rebates: sce.com/restaurants.