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Award-Winning Flameless Catering Product Makes Serving Hot Food Safer, Simpler & Faster

An Interview with Sterno’s VP of Marketing, David Amirault

Sterno Products recently launched SpeedHeat, a flameless, water-activated system that produces high-heat steam, with zero ramp-up time. It is considered by many in the catering industry to be the most innovative portable heat system since the introduction of Sterno chafing fuel more than a century ago.

Sterno’s Marketing VP, David Amirault and his team spent time in the field with high volume caterers of all stripes, including social, corporate, chain restaurants, and food management companies, testing prototypes and refining the design to get to the best possible flameless, food warming & serving product.  ‘Our number one takeaway’, said Amirault, ‘was that our customers wanted a buffet-style fameless food serving option that was quick and easy to set up and made the whole process safer, simpler, and faster’.

Catersource recently spoke with Amirault for an interview about this groundbreaking product.

SpeedHeat as the consumer views it.

Catersource: What was catalyst for the development of this product?

Amirault: A product like this has been top-of-mind in the catering industry for years. Up till now, the challenge for caterers has always been how to keep hot food at an ideal serving temperature in an environment or location that isn’t necessarily designed for serving food, or in places that have open-flame restrictions.

Catersource: Who should be using this product?

Amirault: Any foodservice operation engaged in off-premise catering. SpeedHeat allows the operator to provide and serve hot food if the safest, simplest, and fastest way possible.

Catersource: Is Sterno getting out of the ‘canned heat’ business?

Amirault: Absolutely not. Our legacy line of portable warming products is Sterno’s foundation. We will continue to develop and innovate in this arena. With the introduction of SpeedHeat, however, we are able to offer our customers a product that allows them to serve high-margin hot menu items in venues and/or at occasions where up-to-this-point was just not possible or practical. For example, at an historic landmark with an open-frame restriction, or for quick-serve corporate catering lunch with a 20-minute service window.

Catersource: Is SpeedHeat the perfect product for any catered event?

Amirault: SpeedHeat is ideal for events where food will be served within 45 minutes. All of our research shows that this is the case with many events -- corporate drop-off breakfast and lunches are good examples of this. However, there are occasions and venues that require something more—formal weddings, high-end receptions, extended-service grazing buffets. Of course, Sterno has a full line of traditional warming products to service these types of events, as well.

Catersource: How does the the SpeedHeat system work?:

Amirault: With a simple process that involves two water-activated heat packets and an included base & tray that replaces the traditional water chafing pan, SpeedHeat has zero ramp-up time and starts producing high-heat steam right away to keep food at the ideal temperature for the ideal length of time. • 951-682-9600 

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