A tribute to the spork – and other multifunctional equipment

There’s no doubt about it: the foodservice E&S industry wouldn’t be what it is today without multifunctional equipment. Countless innovations over the past years have made the life of every foodservice worker and operator easier – and more cost-efficient.

Admittedly, the early versions of multipurpose foodservice E&S weren’t always glamorous. Just think about your trusty grade school meal companion: the spork.

Thanks to Civil War-era doctor and eccentric Samuel W. Frances, this trailblazing technology – while not the most convenient utensil – represents the very spirit of the amazing multifunctional innovations available to us today.


Originally the spork was intended to be a combination of all three utensils – spoon, knife and fork. Potential pitfalls aside, it was this ingenuity – the desire for better, more convenient equipment – that gave us some of the most valuable E&S we have today. Read on to see a few of our modern favorites.

Thankfully, the kniforoon did not make the final cut. Courtesy of Google Patents.


Speed, quality, flavor – it’s the trifecta every kitchen is looking to achieve. High speed, high-tech, and programmable combi-ovens have revolutionized cooking for many kitchens. Combi-ovens can produce both dry (convection) and moist (steam) heat and can shift between the types of heat automatically during the cooking process – allowing you to steam vegetables while braising meat, all with one piece of equipment.

In addition to fast cooking, many combi-ovens enable the pre-programming of hundreds of food items and automatically switch the oven off when the food is cooked – reducing guesswork and labor while boosting quality and consistency.

Automatic silverware wrapping machine

Rolling silverware is by no means a favorite employee task. Anyone who has worked in the foodservice industry – especially the restaurant industry – knows how costly and labor-intensive it can be.

Enter: automatic silverware wrapping machines. Many of today’s models not only have the capabilities to automatically wrap hundreds of sets of silverware per hour – they also have a silverware sanitization function which automatically washes and dries each piece of silverware, cutting hours of labor from the workday.

Multifunctional holding equipment

With new technologies and features, hot and cold holding equipment can help operators vastly improve the speed of service – without any degradation to the quality or taste of the food. Pulse heat technology, for example, uses low-intensity heat at a high volume, making it easy to hold food for longer periods without drying it out.

Plus, new programmable holding equipment allows operators to pre-set humidity and temp levels based on food types and holding times. And the latest models offer unprecedented temperature recovery – boosting their performance even during repeated opening and closing.

Combination cooler/freezer walk-ins

Ask any foodservice operator, and budget is likely among their top concerns. The beauty of refrigerator-freezer walk-ins is they can help reduce the amount of cold air you lose, saving your operation money over time.

Because the refrigerator and freezer share a common wall, instead of having a cooler with four walls and a freezer with four walls, combination cooler/freezer walk-ins have a cooler with three walls and a freezer with four walls for a total of seven, helping to cut energy costs.

Some walk-ins even allow you to enter through this common wall, ensuring that less cold air is lost when the door opens, meaning your condensing unit and coils don’t have to work as hard to keep your unit cool.