Guest Facilities

BBQs – the key to everything outdoors

In a recent report a leading accounting firm surveyed the travelling public to determine the issues that were of most interest to them when travelling around Australia. The 5000 respondents were drawn from a wide range of travellers ranging from the so-called grey nomads right through to business travellers.

In addition to all the usual questions, the survey looked closely at attitudes to the recreational facilities on offer at the various resorts, motels, caravan parks and cabins. The respondents listed their preferences in order and, surprisingly, one outdoor amenity ranked almost as high as the most popular indoor facilities. It was expected that high tech entertainment systems, good showers and adequate air conditioning systems would top the list but few expected outdoor barbecues areas to poll almost as well.

Of all the outdoor amenities listed, barbecues were easily the most sought after, which is a reflection of the changing attitudes to food and cooking. Gone are the days when barbecues were just used to grill a few sausages. Today, the barbecue is used in preparation of a vast range of different foods. It’s no longer just about meat. In a multicultural society and with a regular stream of visitors from around the world, barbecues need to be able to cope with many diverse cuisines.

Modern travellers are more educated about food – and often can be quite fussy about what they eat, when they eat and how their food is prepared. On the road, preparing their meals is an important part of their day so cooking performance should be the first consideration when looking at installing a communal barbecue. That’s why the latest barbecues have state-of-the-art control systems designed to meet these new cooking challenges.

D A Christie are the largest manufacturer of park and communal barbecues and its new patented high efficiency electric and gas CCQ models set new benchmarks in energy efficiency, cooking performance and control.

There is no doubt that gas is fast becoming the most practical and most responsible fuel for cooking in public and private parks like resorts, motels, cabins, etc. The challenge with gas however, is to respond to constant and rapid changes in hotplate temperature and food load. With electric power that’s comparatively easy but gas needs to be able to cycle on and off to maintain the correct cooking while conserving gas and reducing emissions. To ensure any barbecue can do this it’s best to look for those that are approved for both indoor and outdoor use and are tested and certified to commercial catering appliance standard – not just the domestic BBQ standard.

The second most important consideration when choosing to install a communal barbecue is life-cycle costs. For many accommodation providers, this is actually the first consideration because of the bad experiences they’ve had in the past. Domestic barbecues do not last very long in a commercial environment. Keeping them clean is a nightmare and they are a very serious OH&S problem. The potential for accidents and consequent legal liability is alarming.

That’s why it is critical to only install communal barbecues that have been designed and manufactured by companies that fully understand the hazards and short-comings of domestic barbecues in a commercial open-space environment.

D A Christie were the pioneers of parksafe barbecues and have spent the last 50 years over-coming all these difficult issues and, in the process, have become the dominant supplier of communal and park barbecues in Australia and around the world … simply because it’s all they do.

What sets a parksafe barbecue apart from a domestic barbecue? A key factor is that they are designed to be extremely energy efficient. Domestic barbecues are not and for commercial operators, high energy costs are a serious issue. Domestic barbecues are often portable. Even built-in models are not designed to withstand the treatment they get from the general public.
Public barbecues need to be hygienic at all times. That’s almost impossible to do with a domestic grill. It’s why public barbecues have high grade stainless steel hotplates that are easier to maintain than standard domestic hotplates. They must also be easy to service. Hotplates should be easy for staff to unbolt and lifted out for maintenance and all key operational components need to be housed in logical, easily replaced, sub-assemblies. Parts and service support should be guaranteed.

A major difference for most commercial operators however, is in durability and reliability. Domestic units cost less but that advantage evaporates when they have to be replaced in a year or two, whereas commercial models are regularly seen still operating well after a decade of service.

Commercial barbecues do have to put up with a lot of abuse and misuse. That’s why for example, the latest electric models include a solid state relay for improved reliability and a fail-safe device to prevent over-heating. In the gas units, there are no mechanical linkages so regular maintenance overhauls are not required. The burner is corrosion-resistant stainless steel and a gas re-igniter ensures the flame does not go out so there’s no service call out and no frustrated patrons. Unlike domestic barbecues, all electronic components are fully sealed to keep out moisture and prevent corrosion.

All these subtle improvements technology featured in the latest barbecues help dramatically reduce the commercial operators ‘life-cycle’ costs. They extend the working life of the barbecue and reduce maintenance and service costs. As the research reveals, a low-cost, hygienic, high tech barbecue is what makes patrons happy – and keeps them coming back.

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