ACP: XpressChef 3i

As restaurants seek to reduce service time to cater to more customers in shorter windows, they need equipment that can deliver quality food more quickly. ACP has long been known for its microwaves and microwave-assisted steamers, but they also offer the XPressChef 3i, the company’s latest entry in the fast-growing high-speed oven category.

Designed, fabricated, and assembled in the USA, the XPressChef 3i is intended for back of the house or ventless front-of-the-house applications, capable of sitting on a countertop or being placed near the register for faster service. The oven can toast, grill, bake, and steam far faster than conventional cooking methods – a breakfast sandwich takes about 45 seconds while chicken wings or a frozen 12-inch pizza can be ready to eat in two-and-a-half minutes. “The combination of those different cooking technologies and the operator’s ability to adjust those technologies is what gets you a quality product fast,” says Greg Stak, vice president of sales for ACP.

Despite the XPressChef 3i’s cutting-edge cooking technology, using the oven requires minimal training. The touchscreen interface works in 25 different languages and is designed to mirror a smartphone. Employees can quickly pull up a picture of a finished product – either an image from ACP’s database or the operator’s own photos – select that dish, and place the food in the oven cavity. From there, the XPressChef 3i follows the preset cooking process for that specific menu item and alerts staff once the meal is ready. “You don’t have to be a classically trained chef to operate this piece of equipment,” Stak says.

What Salespeople Need to Know
Because it draws 4,000 to 5,000 watts of power, and uses convection, impingement, and microwave assist technology, the cavity of the XPressChef 3i can get hot quickly. But as Stak notes, it can cool down just as fast, meaning staff does not have to sit around and wait long for it to be safe to the touch in order to clean. Additionally, the oven features a drop-down door that makes it easier for kitchen staff to reach in without scraping their arms against a hot zone and risking burns; this also allows for easier oven cleaning and maintenance.

The cavity itself is large enough to easily accommodate a 12-inch pizza, and ACP is working on future models that will handle larger foods. Already, the company offers the larger XpressChef 4i, and although that is also offered with a ventless option, it is targeted more for bigger or back-of-the-house operations.

Since the XPressChef 3i can be featured in front-of-house operations, the equipment is offered in stainless, black, or red color to blend in better with an operator’s customer-facing service areas, such as the register counter. That has made it an ideal addition for QSRs, c-stores, or other operators with small footprints; however, the manufacturer has also been seeing increasing interest from hospitality businesses that want to offer all-day breakfast or faster room service, and full-service operators that sell appetizers and smaller-sized lunch portions. “I think it’s accepted now that it’s a technology that is user-friendly,” Stak says. “It can be used in lots of different applications. It’s not just limited to QSRs.”

If a problem does arise with the oven, repairs are backed by ACP’s 24/7/365 service network, ComServ.