MEET THE CHEF – Rob Bristow


Q: Fast casual restaurants are different than they were just a few years ago, correct?

Rob Bristow: Correct. I think the biggest change is the technology more than anything. You now have everything from ordering kiosks to smartphone apps with loyalty pro­grams to more advanced, faster, and foolproof cooking equipment. The food trends really haven’t changed – pizza, burgers, tacos, sandwiches and healthier foods are still king.

Q: Is there an increased emphasis on speed in fast-casual restaurants?
RB: There’s always been an emphasis on speed in fast-casual spots, but I think the emphasis on value and quality is becoming more important now. There was a boom in the fast-casual

market a few years ago, with a lot of companies striving for market share. We’re seeing the businesses that offer the best value and quality have separated themselves and shown the most growth.

Q: Is labor a problem in the fast-casual segment?
RB: Labor can be one of the most expensive aspects of owning a restaurant. Many fast casuals have the benefit of not having a host or hostess, or an expensive chef. Turnover can be a problem, just like any restaurant, but with a good training program and good leadership, everything should fall into place.

Q: How is the Marra Forni Smart Oven helping fast-casual operators deal with these problems?
RB: Many operators aim for a cook time of two minutes or less because speed is one of the most important aspects to a successful fast casual restaurant. Labor can be reduced because of the ease and efficiency of operating the Marra Forni Smart Oven. Literally one rotation of the oven and the pizza is done! There’s no need for a high-priced pizza maker. It provides consistency and speed at a high volume. The Smart Oven includes a rotating oven deck and customizable touch screen display, allowing for a fully customizable product. And business owners are happy to see the waste reduction savings achieved from less burning or holes put in pizzas.

Q: How is the Marra Forni Smart Oven different from other ovens on the market?
RB: Versatility. The smart oven includes a rotating oven deck and customizable touch screen display allowing a fully customizable product. We are currently the only rotating oven on the market that allows the user to customize the rotation to the exact time and temperature necessary to make great pizza. But it’s not only for pizza. It’s also great for roasting, braising and searing meats, vegetables, and seafood. You could even do bread baking and cast iron cooking! Also, Marra Forni is an American manufacturer so customer service and technical support are readily available. That is not always the case with an imported oven.

Chefs at Pi. Co. Prepare pizzas for customers in Marra Forni Brick Oven

Pi Co in Toronto serves up delicious pizza from the Marra Forni Smart Oven 

Read the pdf article on the FS&E website. Turn to page 74.

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