European and American catering equipment supplier, Euro Catering, is predicting 2017 will be the Year of the Rooster in more ways then one, as rotisserie chicken becomes the core proposition at an increasing number of on-trend eateries and as rotisserie chicken delivery services spring up nationwide.
Britain is already very much in love with chicken, this now comprising half of the meat that Brits eat each week. Forty per cent of the roast dinners served up in Britain are now based around chicken. There are also now 339 ‘Nandos’ fried chicken outlets in the UK.
Rotisserie-based menus are already proving popular in London and the south east, with the trend set to spread all over the country and into the street food sector as well, according to Euro Catering – an expert in the supply of rotisserie chicken equipment to leading supermarket chains, as well as the restaurant trade.
“We shall be seeing rotisserie chicken becoming one of the big trends on dining menus, as well as increasingly becoming a dine-at-home choice through home delivery,” says Euro Catering director, Tim Charlton. “Budgets are being squeezed again in the current economic climate and diners will want to ‘treat’ themselves to affordable options that feel wholesome and tick the comfort food box. Rotisserie chicken does all of this.”
Whilst rotisserie chicken has long been a feature of supermarket hot counters, changes to the VAT regulations in 2012 added 20 per cent to the price of a rotisserie chicken, making it a less regular purchase by many families. That has already led to it being viewed as a ‘treat’ for many restaurants and street food grab and goers. However, the culinary innovation has centred around the items that accompany the main event on the plate, with this being satisfyingly simple, or fabulously fancy, according to the local market’s disposable income.
Sides and accompaniments to rotisserie chicken can be anything from plain or hand-cut chips, potato wedges and sweet potato mash, to celeriac and apple slaw, ratatouille, pulled butternut squash and zucchini fries. Whilst the sides, the secret recipe chicken rubs and the unique house gravies that surround rotisserie chicken are part of the appeal, there is another huge pull factor that rotisserie-owning eateries enjoy.
“Rotisserie chicken is British food’s answer to the wood-fired Italian pizza,” says Charlton. “Rotisserie equipment is now very much front of house, not tucked away out of view. It adds drama, visual stimulation and, of course, a mouth-watering aroma that even passers-by cannot resist. Take for instance our ‘Wall of Flame’ Inotech Legend rotisserie units. These have a mesmerising living flame factor that makes watching food cook an almost medieval experience. Poultry cooks on revolving spits that spin in front of your eyes and move you into the realms of the hunter-gatherer awaiting your feast. This all adds a connectivity to the food, which can be enhanced by an eatery following a sustainable policy such as only serving Red Tractor-accredited chicken. In every sense, it’s a crowd pleaser.”
The same fascination is generated in outdoor catering scenarios. The aesthetic appeal and wafting aromas, attract punters like a magnet. Having lured the buyer, serving up a rotisserie delight is quick and simple to do, whether you pop a succulent chicken breast in a bap, or create a pulled chicken dish. It’s an all-year-round sale, which you can dress up with cold potato salad or slaw in summer and make hearty with spicy wedges in winter.
Both indoor and outdoor caterers can also earn a profit not to be sneered at. “The outlay on rotisserie equipment is rapidly repaid,” says Tim Charlton, “if the caterer buys the right equipment – equipment that maximises the ‘thrill’ of rotisserie chicken. Portion control is relatively simple, labour costs spent on preparation are low and food waste is negligible. This makes rotisserie chicken dishes an easy way to boost profitability.”
Euro Catering is seeing rapidly increasing demand for its Inotech Legend ‘Wall of Flame’ rotisseries, which are the ultimate front of house, experiential ‘rooster booster’ when it comes to generating sales of chicken dishes, or whole birds.
This rotisserie is designed for show, with an enamelled, painted exterior coming in a choice of colours – red, black, green or blue – and a choice of brass or stainless steel trims that enables the rotisserie to become part of the eatery’s interior design theme. The visuals are then made sexier by the halogen lighting within the unit.
This range offers the chef, event caterer or food delivery business a choice of full-sized units fitted with four, six or eight spits, each of which can hold four 1.2kg chickens and be moved from the front to the rear after cooking, to keep the birds warm. Heat is retained in the unit via an efficient and attractive glass door.
A mini version of the Inotech rotisserie unit is also available. With two claw spits, each holding three 1.2kg chickens, this is a neat starter unit for those testing the market with rotisserie chicken.
Those wishing to not just serve rotisserie chicken, but go a little upmarket and add quail or chitterling to the menu, can choose to have quail spits in their unit. Similarly, units with a vertical spit on which to hang a leg of lamb are available and there are various other spit and hook options for those creating a menu around different types of meat and poultry. A mobile base unit appeals to some and units can be fitted with castors, if desired.
For outdoor caterers there is an Inotech ‘Wall of Flame’ LPG-fuelled unit that can take the many advantages of rotisserie chicken out on the road and to weddings and other events.
Tim Charlton says: “This is destined to be the year of the rooster, as we see the taste for eating rotisserie chicken served out-of-home spread from London to the rest of the UK. We also expect to see more entrepreneurial home delivery businesses concentrate on rotisserie chicken in the way that businesses such as Clockjack have done. Rotisserie chicken is no longer just for supermarkets, but a major dining out trend.”