London Southbank University’s chefs love transformed kitchen:

London Southbank University’s chefs love transformed kitchen:

The Kitchen At London Southbank UniversityIfse completes build for kitchen feeding 5,000 in just five weeks, while new campus café increases business by 20%

Feeding the 5,000 is an everyday task at London Southbank University (LSBU).  That’s the number of students, staff and visitors the catering operation, run by Elior, serves every day.  A multi-ethnic demographic, a wide mix of ages and plenty of high street competition mean the offering has to be diverse as well as appealing – plus it has to cope with a multitude of dietary demands and the University’s commitment to providing healthy, fair trade, seasonal and local food. 

The one time when things can get a little quieter is during the five-week summer break.  So when LSBU decided to completely redesign, rebuild and refurbish its main kitchen, and at the same time create a new coffee shop offering in the main concourse, that’s when they did it.  The contract was awarded to Croydon-based International Food Service Equipment Ltd (Ifse), one of the only companies in the foodservice market to offer a complete in-house design, build and install service.

“It was a tight timescale and we knew everything had to be complete and up and running for the beginning of the new academic year,” says John Moore, associate director at Ifse, who managed the project.  “The old kitchen had to be completely stripped out and the new one installed right from the ground up.  That included new M&E services and building work including the renewal of all flooring, ceilings and hygienic wall cladding.”

Ernst Weisbrod, estates contract manager at LSBU, says, “Ifse completely transformed our old kitchen and created a bright, modern, high spec environment which our chefs love to work in.  They also delivered the project on time and budget, which doesn’t always happen nowadays!”

The kitchen’s new ventilation system uses a dual-skin hood to extract and to supply fresh air, while most of the prime cooking equipment is from Electrolux.  The installation included food preparation, storage shelves, refrigeration/freezers, beverage machines, cooking ranges, fryers, convection ovens, salamander grills, hot-cupboards and combination ovens, plus ancillary equipment such as tray collection trolleys.

One of the feature items is a high tech, pressurised Electrolux bratt pan.  As well as speeding up the cooking process, it increases yield since there’s less shrinkage.  Plus, the design allows two products to be cooked simultaneously, in separate containers, such as chilli con carne and rice.  “It’s used every day for a variety of tasks and dishes, varying from boeuf bourguignon to braised steak or even just for sautéing cabbage,” says Ernst.

In saving energy and maximising yield the bratt pan reflects the University’s commitment to sustainability, as does the kitchen’s green waste compactor from IMC.  “Sustainability is embedded across all the university’s frameworks, processes and activities,” says Ernst.  “In line with this ambition, we choose partners that believe in the same values as LSBU.”

In the washroom are Winterhalter PT Energy warewashers, which save energy by recycling the heat from steam and wastewater, using it to heat up the fresh water supply.  However, they have another important benefit at LSBU: they emit virtually no steam or waste heat at the end of the wash cycle.  “Vent-free operation was important due to lack of extraction in this area,” says Ernst, “these pieces of equipment make life so much easier.”

Campus Express

Not all students want to eat in a conventional restaurant: they may not have time or they may simply want a snack.  Grab and Go and coffee shop outlets are increasingly popular and LSBU decided to convert what had been the old sports centre reception area into a casual eaterie.  “The relocation of the Campus Express was part of a bigger project to make better use of space on campus,” says Ernst.  “The new location is ideal, as it is right at the entrance of the London Road building where our biggest footfall is.”

Ifse designed a bright, airy and attractive self-service area adjacent to an informal, colourful coffee-shop style seating area, allowing customers to choose to either ‘grab and go’ or stay and eat.

The equipment here includes a chilled, freestanding multideck, a servery counter with ambient and heated sections, a freestanding central salad bar, beverage machines, hot-cupboards, refrigeration and a cashier counter.

The new catering outlet is a big success.  “The addition of a café in this area has transformed the main concourse of the building into a buzzing hub that students, staff and visitors love to use,” says Ernst.  “It has also increased sales by over 20% compared to the old café for the same period last year.”

One thing that impressed Ernst most about Ifse’s handling of the project was the way the company worked to understand LSBU’s fundamental requirements, and ensure that all designs and ideas matched them.  “Ifse helped us create a modern dining strategy.  The company delivers excellence in kitchen and servery design.”

For more information on LSBU visit

Ifse is a leading foodservice design and build company.  It specialises in all aspects of catering fit out, from supplying a new refrigerator to a complete restaurant design and build project. For more information see, call 020 8667 1167 or email



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