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Serving kiosks are subject to local health department requirements, but as in a traditional kitchen, operators should regularly clean and sanitize all equipment, components and materials. While some kiosks may require a three-compartment sink for washing utensils and/or a prep sink for production, others may utilize a nearby kitchen or commissary for these tasks.
Douglas W. Huber, principal, Foodservice Consultants Studio, Montpelier, Va.
FE&S: What is a key consideration when purchasing a serving kiosk?
DH: One of the biggest challenges with this equipment is hand washing. In a kiosk situation, plumbing may not be available and a self-contained hand washing unit will be needed. This is typically the case for portable models that don’t have a water hookup or facilities located conveniently nearby. Operations serving only prepackaged food, rather than cooking or assembling items on site, may not require a hand washing sink.
FE&S: What are the general requirements for prepping product in serving kiosks?
DH: In some jurisdictions, a small three-compartment sink may be required by health codes for prep work. For example, if a spoon or other utensil is dropped on the floor and needs cleaning, this sink is required for washing and sanitizing.
FE&S: Are there other equipment considerations when setting up a kiosk?
DH: Operators need to decide if there will be cooking on site, as with an omelet or stir fry station. In this case, induction cooking equipment will be needed. Again, each jurisdiction has different requirements, so it’s important to know the local code requirements, which will determine if a ventilation hood is needed.
FE&S: What about power requirements for portable kiosks?
DH: Utilities can be a challenge. Operators need to confirm if electricity will be used and how this will be obtained. Generally, kiosks that use hot food tables require 3,000 watts of power, since each well is 1,000 watts. In this case, a 50-amp plug and receptacle will be needed.
FE&S: What are the storage considerations operators should be aware of with serving kiosks?
DH: All three kiosk levels, including the top, counter and undercounter, should be considered for storage. Airports, in particular, are notorious for having small footprints. These formats can always go vertical, so it’s important to assess the entire space to determine what can be stored where. Accessibility also is an issue, so everything needed for the shift should have designated space in the kiosk. Hot holding locations also should be evaluated.
FE&S: Are there requirements with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that operators should take into account?
DH: ADA requires 34-inch countertops, but it can be difficult to find undercounter refrigeration that is lower than 32 inches for backup refrigeration.
More operations use serving kiosks to turn unused areas into revenue-generating space. These units also provide start-ups with a less costly method of testing new food items and chains or larger operators the ability to more affordably expand locations or test the viability of a different market.