West Mountain Ski Resort’s cafeteria and commissary area remained unchanged since the mid 1960s, until a recent renovation provided a significant, and much needed, upgrade.
“I’ve been familiar with this mountain since I was a kid, since I live in the area, and I worked on the resort’s upstairs kitchen about 10 years ago,” says Craig MacEwan, project manager/sales at B&G Foodservice Equipment & Supplies in Albany, N.Y.
The resort recently was purchased by new investors looking to upscale the basic food offerings, which included burgers, hot dogs, chips and other bagged products. When I first came on board the project, I asked what their vision was in redoing the entire kitchen and cook line that services the cafeteria,” says MacEwan. “They turned it over to us and gave us free reign to design something special.”
The project got underway in January of this year, with the install starting in June.
The main goal in the overhaul was to accommodate the 3,000 to 5,000 guests skiing on weekends, which was difficult to do with the outdated equipment.
“We were looking to provide smoother service and handle more volume,” says West Mountain’s chef Andrew Church.
Before the renovation, the cafeteria was closed in and dark.
“We needed to find an efficient way to move people through the line, which would previously get log jammed,” says MacEwan. MacEwan went to a few manufacturers when sourcing equipment. Three were not even close to the mark, but Duke Manufacturing hit it out of the park. I’ve worked with Duke in the past, and they knew exactly what I was looking for,” says MacEwan. “Working with Duke was extremely easy, and they’re one of the few manufacturers in the industry who get it.”
Duke provided five pieces for the main serving line that were primarily preassembled and went together quickly with no complications.
“The design is contemporary,” says MacEwan. “They even took the extra step to provide sneeze guards with LED lighting, along with LED lighting on the entire length of the tray slide for extra pizazz. We also went induction on everything for additional energy savings.”
The revamp has allowed the resort to substantially expand its menu with grab and go foods, pizza, sub sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches made to order and merchandised on a slide display shelf. Soup, chili and stews are kept hot in induction hot food wells.
“This equipment takes the resort to the next level to serve customers and have menu variations that they just didn’t have before,” says MacEwan. “With the help of Duke’s products, we achieved what West Mountain wanted from the cook line to the serving counter. Everyone is pleased with the quality and the way it came out, and it has been one of my favorite projects.”
Church expects profit margins to rise as well as to attract new clientele this season.
“It’s exciting, with the nice lighting and lots of stainless and glass that draws people in,” says Church. “We’re expecting to double our service to the public.”