Bespoke new set-up brings flexibility to Stockport Grammar’s dining service

Moffat helps school freshen up its catering operation with customised movable counter units

Schools need to be capable of clearing their catering set-up at the drop of a hat, using dining space for other activities, while still being able to dish up good food to the hungry staff and children.

Stockport Grammar School’s dining area is a hive of activity, catering to the breakfast and lunchtime rushes on a daily basis for almost 1,700 staff and pupils. As the school’s central hub, it is also used for extra-curricular events and hosts evening functions as and when required. The school recently decided that the time had come to update their units, with flexibility and functionality the priorities for new purchases.

“The units that we had were coming to the end of their lives,” says Kathy Gosling, Stockport Grammar School’s catering manager. “Some were nearly 30 years old, and others were over 20, so we decided that now was the time to change things around and modernise.”

What was required were counters that looked as good and operated as efficiently as static units, but were also mobile.  Kathy consulted with catering equipment supplier Stephensons, who recommended Moffat’s products for the refit.

“We chose Moffat because we’ve got a long standing supplier/distributor relationship with them,” says Stephensons’ public sector accounts manager, Jamie Murphy. “We’ve worked well together on other projects and knew that the design we were going to put in place for Kathy and the school, was going to consist of the best products available.”

The school’s pupils’ ages range from three to eighteen. Kathy saw it as vital that the new counters would be at accessible heights for the youngest diners as well as the older ones, so that they would be able to see what was on offer, a priority that she outlined to Moffat.

“The brief to Moffat was that, because we have children here from across such a wide spread of ages, having different heights on the counters would make them serviceable for all of them,” she says. “We also needed the units to be hardwearing and moveable, as the room is used for so many different events, such as concerts and plays. Meanwhile for evening functions, it’s essential that we’re able to seamlessly arrange the units in whichever way we see fit.”

The refit was carefully implemented, with the school using the high and low level salad bars as trial units. Their success was followed by investment in a second batch of units, including both heated and refrigerated counters that featured under-counter storage, all of which has impressed Kathy. “We noticed the difference between the old units and the new immediately. They keep their temperature, and hold everything that’s put into them, so well.

“They are also so easy to clean, all you need is a bit of warm water and a cloth to give them a buff. It’s so much better than with the old ones.”

The new set-up has also gone down well with everyone involved in the school, catching the eye of staff and parents alike. Meanwhile, there have been glowing reviews from pupils, says Kathy. “Children notice absolutely everything, there’s nothing really getting past them. They’ve been chatting away about the new units with their colours, and how they like it all, and how they could now always see what they were ordering.”

Moffat manufactured these bespoke mobile counter to the specifications requested from Stephensons and Stockport Grammar School. Units feature Karin Grey granite tops, Steel Swirl laminate panels and Deluxe style heated and illuminated gantries.

The new catering set-up consists of two low level ambient sections that are 700mm long, two 1900mm long salad bars (one low level, one high), one stepped ambient unit measuring 2360mm, one multi-tiered refrigerated counter that is 1935mm long, six Bain Marie hot cupboards (four 2285mm, one 1935mm, one 1200mm long), eight mobile double-heated plate dispensers, three ambient sections of 1000mm width, one soup station measuring 1510mm and two drinks clearing trolleys.

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