Leicester Square, London’s tourist honeypot, is now host to one of the most well known pub groups in the industry, YATES’S. The new style Yates’s has taken the site of what was the Capital Radio Café. Situated right next to the Leicester Square Odeon, it attracts its fair share of celebrities, and has already hosted the finals of a national comedy awards fronted by Jonathon Ross. 

Yates’s, Leicester Square is part of a group of restyled Yates’s from the stable of the Yates’s Traditional Wine Lodges, of which there are 140 across the UK. The new Yates’s have been built in major urbanised areas. Aspirational in design, they predominantly target the 18-35 year olds, offering an urban edge to younger, time-starved customers with fast service and value-for-money prices. Quite a departure from the traditional Yates Wine Lodges, which boast a heritage of over 100 years!.

The man in charge of all this is the appropriately named, Jimmy Cooke. Head of Food Operations, Jimmy was formerly a lecturer in catering and hotel management and has been involved in such food operations as the London Hilton and the Greenalls Group. He joined Yates’s last year with the intention of getting Yates’s food recognised. 

He knew that whatever dish he wanted to include on the new menu, the key factors would be speed of service, consistent quality, and an average spend per head of £4-5. That’s why he turned to Valera to supply him with the powerful Sanyo EM-C1800 or EM-C1850 microwaves, (model dependent on site design and layout). There are five EM-C1850’s in constant use at Leicester Square. “We are a very innovative, forward-thinking organisation and we want to, where we can, move forward with technology to ensure we offer our customers the best service possible. This means that throughout Britain we use Sanyo microwaves in all our kitchens,” says Jimmy. “Although Yates’s is currently wet-led, we are constantly looking to develop our menus, food sales and volume. The Sanyo microwaves from Valera are playing a huge role in this.” Yates’s Leicester Square was the first outlet to go live with the new style Yates’s menu. While the traditional Yates’s Wine Lodge menu includes traditional pub food favourites such as, steak pies, burgers and chicken dishes, the new Metro Yates’s is an eclectic selection of dishes from Spicy Red Thai Prawn Wrap, Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables with Garlic & Herb Cous Cous. The difference is perhaps best summed up by Jimmy’s hypotheses – “where Yates’s Wine Lodges might offer a baguette, Yates’s, Leicester Square, will offer a Panini”.

The most popular dish on the menu currently is ‘Herb and Lemon Chicken’. This is a microwaveable dish, as is the Saffron Rice, Tandoori Masala and the Roasted Mediterranean Cous Cous amongst others. Another microwaveable dish is the Chipolte meatballs served with Tagliatelle. Jimmy Cooke had to source a manufacturer to create a bespoke microwaveable tagliatelle, to have all the culinary attributes of fresh, Italian pasta. The result is delicious and takes just seconds in the EM-C1800 or EM-C1850 to produce a steamy, al dente product. 

Cooke recommends the Sanyo microwaves in a high throughput, quality food operation like Yates’s because, “Once the menu design has been made and we are confident the cuisine perfectly partners our objectives, then using a Sanyo microwave is ideal. It produces the speed we need, without additional costs and the results are consistently excellent and all the work is done for you,” he says.

As far as training is concerned, food timings are preprogrammed. “We have a different button for each dish, set up to our optimum food specifications. Visually, the dish is perfect and the product will never be over or undercooked. When the orders come in thick and fast, I know that one of the kitchen staff can just select the correct dish, slide it into the Sanyo and each dish that leaves the Yates’s kitchen is guaranteed to be good.? Pratap Gadhvi, managing director of Valera, says: “We are very proud of our relationship with Yates’s and have worked closely with them to ensure that they offer the best service they possibly can for their customers, which is exactly what we look to do for all our business partners.” Sanyo microwaves are used in leading foodservice operations across the UK and are distributed by leading catering equipment suppliers, Valera.

The company has an excellent reputation for attention to detail and a quality service, both before and after a sale. This is often a catering equipment purchasing decision based on the fact that Valera would rather make ‘no sale than a bad sale’, which for them means an assurance that each customer gets the right model for their own particular catering requirements. Valera are sole importers of Sanyo Professional catering equipment and currently offer caterers a choice of eight microwaves which range from light duty 1000 watts to heavy duty 1900 watts – each unique in style and technological offering.

When choosing a microwave, Valera has a few words of advice to give : – Always buy a machine to suit your own culinary needs- Consider what after sales service and back up you will receive from your supplier- Consider the brand loyalty of other major users- And think about the build quality ? the cheapest microwave isn’t always the most cost effective option. 

Valera also offers an extensive range of equipment for a complete kitchen. These include the energy efficient Induction Hobs, the speedy, less greasy Quik n’ Crispy fat free fryer, Valera’s own refrigeration range, the Leventi Combi-Steamers and the unique Leventi Combimat Booster®.