Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Snapshot of PKL's 2015: Part 2

In such a busy company, it's impossible to tell you everything we've been up to this year, so instead we've given one highlight to represent each month of 2015, to give you a quick snapshot of our year! Here's Part 2!

July - LACA Exhibition

We headed off to the annual LACA exhibition in July, and as well as having a stand inside, we took one of our Food Cubes with us which delegates were able to have a look around. Visitors to our stand were given a special treasure map to help them hunt down the Food Cube, which was located outside the exhibition, and also have the chance to enter a lucky dip to win a prize!

August - Wilderness Festival

We supplied four coldrooms and over 250 items of catering equipment for Wilderness Festival 2015, spread over nine different locations on site, offering a wide range of food and dining options.

Highlights included long table banquets, which involved luxury, large-scale communal dining, and featured a different guest chef each day. Guest chefs included Raymand Blanc, Angela Hartnett, and Niklas Ekstedt, and they catered for around 700 people each day.

September - Getting Schools Ready for the New Term

We had a busy time in August and September making sure that schools were ready to provide a meal service in time for the new term. This included lots of KitchenPods, which were installed at primary schools to make sure they were ready to provide hot school meals in September, and an impressive temporary kitchen installation at a school in London, where we had to crane lots of kitchen units over buildings to their location at the back of the school.

October - Back to the Future Day!

We celebrated back to the future day by digging through some of our photo archives to see if we could recreate them in the modern day.  While it was a lot of fun to do, we were also surprised at just how many members of staff were still around to recreate their original poses, particularly as many of the photos we used dated back to the late 80s and early 90s. You can see some more of our time travelling staff just here!

November - U-Select is Coming!

November was a hugely exciting time for us at PKL, as we prepared for the launch of a new division, U-Select. This involved the designing and launching of a new brand for the division, a new website, and preparations for the launch event, which was held at a venue called the Ice Tank in London. You can see some pictures of the launch day above, and also some of the U-Select team enjoying lunch at Burgers@N8, the first ever U-Select customer!

December - Festival Supplier Awards Nomination

In December we were hugely honoured to be shortlisted for the Best Festival Support Service category in the Festival Supplier Awards 2016. This was for the work that we undertook at the Wilderness Festival in 2015 and we'll let you know in January how we've got on!

We hope that you have enjoyed reading about our 2015 highlights, and if you've not seen Part 1 of this series yet, you can read it here. All that remains is to wish you a safe and happy Christmas, and we'll see you again in the new year!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Snapshot of PKL’s 2015: Part 1

In such a busy company, it's impossible to tell you everything we've been up to this year, so instead we've picked just one photo to represent each month of 2015, to give you a quick snapshot of our year! Here's Part 1 - January to June. Part 2 to follow soon...

PKL ExtensionPod

January - ExtensionPods Launch

In January, we introduced our range of “ExtensionPods” – modular buildings which can be joined onto existing buildings as an alternative to a traditional extension. They can be used to create an open plan space, or be kept as separate rooms with their own doors. The range includes the KitchenPod, PrepPod, DishwashPod, StoragePod and LaundryPod, each offering bespoke options to suit your requirements.

PKL Food Cube Diner Stratford

February – Food Cube Diner at Stratford-upon-Avon School

February saw the installation of our first ever Food Cube Diner – a Food Cube with integrated dining room – at Stratford-upon-Avon School. The Food Cube Diner was built to ease pressure on the main canteen when the school moved from a double to a single lunch hour and introduced a “stay on site” policy. The diner is used exclusively by Year 11, but it also has an external serving hatch available for use by other year groups. The dining room is also used by clubs and as an exam hall when not in use.

PKL events website

March – New Event Kitchens Website

In March we launched our brand new event kitchens website, dontforgetthekitchen.com. This website is designed specifically for our event clients and offers an instant online estimate system as well as access to details of all our kitchens and equipment for hire, case studies, and health and safety information. It also gives access to crockery, cutlery and glassware from our partners at Well Dressed Tables.

PKL open plan temporary kitchen

April – Large Scale Temporary Prison Kitchen 

We undertook a large scale modular kitchen project for a prison client in April, who needed a 6-month temporary kitchen solution during a major refurbishment. Comprising 35 kitchen units, and with a footprint of over 500m2, the facility was initially constructed at PKL (construction phase shown above!), with the mechanical and electrical fit-out taking place here as well as the extraction and equipment installation. It was then disassembled into individual units, delivered and re-built at the client’s site ready to go.

PKL cake sale

May – Cake Sale for Nepal Earthquake Appeal 

At the beginning of May we held a cake sale to raise money for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal. Throughout the year, we also held fundraising events for Comic Relief, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Royal British Legion and Children in Need, raising a total of over £365 for charity.

PKL temporary school kitchen

June – Temporary Kitchens at Cavendish Primary School

In June, we installed a temporary kitchen and dining facility at Cavendish Primary School in Manchester. As well as areas for preparation, production, dry and cold storage, and dishwashing, the large facility also features a dining hall, staff room and toilets. It will be on site for 18 months while the school’s old facilities undergo a major refurbishment.

Friday, 4 December 2015

New Launch: U-Select

Wednesday this week saw the launch of our brand new U-Select division! A result of our 27 years of expertise in the sector, U-Select offers a range of six new product options enabling businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to large organisations, to procure catering equipment in an easier, more flexible way to suit them.

With a variety of contract lengths, payment options and procurement types available, each product has been developed to suit different business requirements and to help make great catering equipment accessible to an even wider range of businesses.

PKL U-Select Product Overview

In response to customer demand, the new products also include options suitable for new or smaller businesses with limited upfront capital. With options including leasing, weekly payments, short-term rental contracts and “try before you buy”, U-Select offers a huge amount of flexibility to suit different business requirements.

Example Designs
As well as outlining details of the six different products, the new U-Select website also includes design examples and pricing for five popular kitchen types: coffee shop, sandwich bar, café, pub kitchen and restaurant kitchen. Clients needing a bit of help specifying their kitchen can use these examples as a starting point, and our expert team are also on hand to offer advice if required.

The Launch Event
The launch event itself took place at a venue in London, with members of the press and PKL staff able to watch presentations by PKL Managing Director Lee Vines, and Anya Marco from Allegra Strategies, who spoke about the latest trends in the coffee shop market.

PKL U-Select Launch

Following the launch, PKL staff headed across London for lunch at Burgers@N8 – our first U-Select client! Watch the video case study here and see how U-Select has helped this popular new business get off the ground!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

PKL Goes Back to the Future!

Today, 21st October 2015, is officially "Back to the Future Day" - the date which Marty McFly and Doc Brown famously travelled to in the film. To celebrate this momentous day, we've dug out some photos from the PKL archives showing life at PKL since 1989 when the film was set. Keen to experience some time travel ourselves, we then set to work recreating some of our favourite snaps from over the years (many featuring the original staff members!)!

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Lee Vines

On the left, David (former Financial Director), Lee (current Managing Director) and Lucy (former Event Sales) carefully study an array of drawings and brochures in around 1996/7. On the right, Lee is back in his original pose, joined by Bill (Business Development) and Krista (Event Account Manager) in the same boardroom! Here's a bit of PKL trivia for you: although Lucy left the company many years ago, she's still the voice of the PKL phone system!

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Chris Irving

Operations Director Chris has barely changed since the original photo was taken in about 2003! Neither has the stairwell for that matter...

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Karsten Heard

We appear to have experienced genuine time travel here! Design Manager Karsten is basically unchanged since 2004!

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Andre

The photo on the left shows David, a CAD Technician and patterned-jumper connoisseur at PKL in the mid 1990s. On the right, Andre, the newest member of PKL's Design Team, recreates the classic pose.

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Dan

The photo on the left was taken in the early 1990s of Christine, a Personal Assistant. Dan, one of our sales guys, stepped in to recreate this photo - all that's missing is a well-tended pot plant!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

PKL's Macmillan Coffee Morning 2015

On Friday we took part in the World's Biggest Coffee Morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. This is a popular event in the PKL calendar, and lots of staff brought in delicious food to sell.

PKL Macmillan Coffee Morning 2015

We like to have a selection of sweet and savoury treats to sell, so this year we had chicken dippers, sausage rolls and crisps as well as a huge range of homemade goodies including lemon drizzle cake, cheese straws, macarons, lemon and lime slices, cherry and choc chip cookies, cupcakes and Oreo chocolate bites.

PKL Macmillan Cake Sale 2015

As always, the canteen was decorated with loads of bunting and balloons, and there were posters up on every door in the building!

We're very pleased to have raised a total of £87.05 for such a great cause!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Kitchens, Forklifts and Cranes: Some recent school installations

We popped down to London last week to check on the progress of two temporary school kitchen installations we were undertaking. 

Our first port of call was St Paul’s School, where our team were busy installing a large temporary kitchen complex. This facility comprises a number of our temporary units linked together, all joined to a tented dining room which the school had also hired for the duration of the project. We were also installing a range of servery equipment in the dining area, from which food will be served to pupils.

PKL temporary kitchen at St Paul's School

We’ve worked with the supplier of the tented dining room many times before, so the teams on site worked together to successfully complete the installation. The facility will be on site for over 12 months while the existing school kitchen undergoes major refurbishment works.

We then headed across town to Eaton House The Manor School, where a crane was being used to lift our temporary kitchen units over the buildings into the area set aside for the facility, as access was very limited. They were then moved into position using forklifts.

PKL temporary kitchen at Eaton House The Manor School

As with St Paul’s School, this kitchen facility will also be used while the school’s existing kitchen is refurbished. We managed to get some great photos taken from the top of the crane too, capturing the fantastic view across London!

Visit the temporary kitchens section of our website for more information on our temporary kitchen options for refurbishments.  

Monday, 13 July 2015

LACA Exhibition 2015

Last week we headed off to exhibit at the LACA Main Event in Birmingham. As well as having a stand in the main exhibition, we also took one of our Food Cubes along. We stationed the Cube outside the venue, and lots of visitors followed our special treasure maps to hunt it down for a look around!

Our lucky dip treasure chest located in the Food Cube proved to be very popular, with prizes including bags of sweets, PKL goodie bags, travel mugs, Parker pens and Kindles. Three lucky people won Kindles this year – congratulations to Phillipa, Tracey and Rachel.

As always, we had a great time meeting new people and catching up with old friends, and had some great conversations about how our KitchenPods, Food Cubes and temporary kitchens can help different schools overcome a variety of catering issues.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Recent School Projects

We've installed several temporary and permanent catering facilities in schools in the last few weeks, with many schools preparing for September already. Here's a selection of photos from some school projects we've recently completed.

PKL temporary kitchen at Cavendish Primary School

Cavendish Primary School in Manchester has had a temporary kitchen and dining facility installed for 18 months while their old facilities undergo a refurbishment. The large kitchen facility has areas for preparation, production, dry and 
cold storage, and dishwashing, as well as a dining hall, toilets and staff room.

PKL Food Cube at Fairfield High School

We've also recently installed a Food Cube at Fairfield High School for Girls in Manchester. The school wanted to offer a catering facility with a more contemporary high street feel to particularly appeal to older pupils. The Cube has helped reduce queue times in the main dining hall and has taken pressure off the catering staff. It has also proven to be popular with users of the nearby sports hall, and the Cube is generating additional profits outside of normal school hours by catering for people using the sports facilities.

PKL Food Cube at Tewkesbury School

The same contract caterer also ordered another identical Food Cube for Tewkesbury School (above). They have been so pleased with the popularity and success of these first two Cubes, that they've just placed an order for a third!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Sneak Preview: Meet the Space Station!

We’re really excited to give you a sneak preview of our newest product, available to hire from PKL! Meet the Space Station – a brilliant, self-contained modular servery that allows you to set up a café facility almost anywhere.

PKL Space Station

This fantastic “café on wheels” enables you to create a food retail outlet even where there is minimal space, as the clamshell construction means that it neatly folds away after use. The servery unit’s hinge mechanism also enables it to be split into two sections for hassle-free transportation.

The integrated design allows the Space Station to be ready to trade within a matter of minutes, as all the equipment and food storage is built-in and ready to use. Simply wheel it into position, unlock the unit, unfold it, and it’s ready to go!

Features include in-built refrigeration, hot or cold food display options, lockable cupboards and an in-built service line allowing you to connect a range of other equipment such as coffee machines, panini grills, soup kettles and much more.

Available with a range of equipment to choose from, the Space Station can be designed to suit your exact requirements, and the whole unit can also be fully branded with your logo and colours.

PKL Space Station aerial view

From exhibition halls and offices to hospitals and universities, the Space Station is the perfect solution for a wide range of buildings and can be used either where there is no space for a café, or to supplement your existing facilities.

If we’ve whetted your appetite, give us a ring for a chat about how hiring a Space Station could help increase your catering revenue. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Cake Sale for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal

On Saturday 25th April a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing thousands and affecting millions of people. Many have been left with nothing, having lost their homes and having limited access to shelter, food and clean water. It will take years and millions of pounds to help put things right, so PKL staff wanted to help.

Last week we held a cake sale in the canteen, with everyone bringing in all sorts of food to sell. We raised a total of £90, which we have donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Nepal Earthquake Appeal. 

PKL Group Nepal Earthquake cake sale

The DEC incorporates 13 member agencies: Action Aid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision. In times of crisis, the DEC enables these 13 charities to collectively raise money to reach those in need quickly. The money will be spent on things like rescue operations, medical help, emergency shelters, food, clean water and blankets for people affected by the earthquake.

If you'd like to help too, you can visit the DEC website to donate.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Trident Football Club - Season Summary 2014/15

As the football season draws to a close, here's how AFC Trident (sponsored by PKL) got on...

PKL Sponsors AFC Trident | Team Photo

Stroud District Football League Division 5: CHAMPIONS 
Charity Cup Section D Finalists: Result 2-2, lost 4-2 on penalties 
Gloucestershire County Cup Semi-Finalists: Lost 3-1 vs Northway

Played 30, Won 23
Goals For: 143
Goals Against: 34
Clean Sheets: 12
Overall Goal Difference: +109

PKL Sponsors AFC Trident | celebration

Top 4 Goal Scorers
Chris Morris: 40 goals (in 26 games)
Liam Poole: 34 goals (Liam is the only player to play all 30 games)
Karl Robertson: 17 goals 
Matthew Hindley: 16 goals 

PKL Sponsors AFC Trident | action shots

League Facts
Trident's biggest win of the season was 13-2 vs Hardwicke 3rds
Trident beat every team in the league at least once
Trident finished the season undefeated at home
Overall league goal +90
Trident scored 114 goals in the league
9 clean sheets in the league
Trident won the league after beating Frampton Utd 2-0 with 3 games to spare

PKL Sponsors AFC Trident | Karl Robertson's beard
Believe it or not, both of these photos are of Karl Robertson. What a difference a season can make, eh?


23.8.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 7 vs 1 Quedgeley Wanderers 3rds

30.8.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 11 vs 0 Cashes Green

6.9.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 3 vs 1 Rodborough Old Boys

13.9.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Coaley Rovers Res 0 vs 9 Trident

27.9.14 Gloucestershire County Cup Round 1
Lechlade 87’ 2 vs 5 Trident

11.10.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 6 vs 4 Dursley Town 3rds

11.10.14 Charity Cup Section D Round 1
Randwick Res 1 vs 5 Trident

11.10.14 Gloucestershire County Cup Round 2
Trident 4 vs 0 Quedgeley Wanderers 3rds

01.11.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 6 vs 1 Brockworth Albion 3rds

15.11.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Barnwood United Res 1 vs 4 Trident

22.11.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 5 vs 0 Stonehouse Town 3rds

29.11.14 Gloucestershire County Cup Round 3
Trident 3 vs 0 Blockley Sports

06.12.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 2 vs 2 Frampton United 3rds

20.12.14 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Rodborough Old Boys 3 vs 1 Trident

10.01.15 Gloucestershire County Cup Quarter Final
The Village FC 2 vs 6 Trident

24.01.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 8 vs 0 Coaley Rovers Res

31.01.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Stonehouse Town 3rds 0 vs 6 Trident

07.02.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 13 vs 2 Hardwicke 3rds

14.02.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Cashes Green Res 0 vs 1 Trident

21.02.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Quedgeley Wanderers 3rds 1 vs 11 Trident

28.02.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 9 vs 0 Randwick Res

07.03.15 Gloucestershire Semi Final
Northway 3 vs 1 Trident

14.03.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Trident 2 vs 2 Barnwood United Res

15.03.15 Charity Cup Section D Semi Final
Trident 3 vs 0 The Village FC

21.03.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Dursley Town 3rds 2 vs 3 Trident

28.03.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Brockworth Albion 3rds 2 vs 0 Trident

04.04.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Frampton United 3rds 0 vs 2 Trident

11.04.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Randwick Res 0 vs 0 Trident

18.04.15 Stroud District Football League Division 5
Hardwicke 3rds 2 vs 5 Trident

27.04.15 Charity Cup Section D Final
Longlevens 4ths 2 vs 2 Trident (Pen 4-2)

PKL Sponsors AFC Trident | Karl's beard

Thursday, 23 April 2015

St George's Day Dishwashing Dragon

Jumping on the St George’s Day bandwagon,
Here’s our special flight dishwasher dragon!
For an Olympic-sized feast
This warewashing beast 
Is so good you’ll just have to have one!

If you want to hire your very own flight dishwasher dragon (or just a standard flight dishwasher...) click here. Alternatively, view our full range of warewashing equipment for hire.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

PKL Training Day

We’ve had fun trying something new today! We set up one of our temporary kitchens outside the office and invited a couple of chefs from one of our equipment suppliers to come and run a training session for some of our sales guys this morning.

PKL Training Day | eKitchen
Dan, Ed, Bill and Ciaran were given a hands-on lesson on how to use a whole range of commercial catering equipment, including a combi oven and salamander grill, and experienced one of our temporary kitchens from a chef’s point of view.

The chefs showed them all the features of the different equipment and discussed the best ways to get the most out of it and use it for a range of cooking styles. They also demonstrated how the kitchen layout, designed by our expert kitchen design team, had been optimised to make the most of the space and create a practical, efficient workspace.

PKL Training Day | Chefs introducing equipment

PKL Training Day | Combi oven introduction

Since we were also hosting a client meeting in the office this morning, the boys were then tasked with making hot breakfast wraps for all our visitors, and were set to work putting their new equipment knowledge into practice. Following his stint in the kitchen, Ciaran is a definite combi oven convert!

PKL Training Day | Roasting tomatoes

PKL Training Day | Preparing breakfast wraps

This morning's experience should help the guys to have an even better, more practical understanding of our equipment, and to be even more knowledgeable when helping advise clients on the most suitable catering equipment for their projects.

The kitchen was then used by the chefs at lunchtime to cook beef curry with rice and naan, as well as a salmon and asparagus dish, followed  a very tasty jam sponge pudding and custard!

You might have spotted from the photos that the kitchen unit itself was one of our energy efficient eKitchens. These have been designed with a number of energy saving features including high-spec LED lighting, additional insulation in the roof and floor, a double-glazed serving hatch, thermostatically controlled space heater, plus energy efficient taps and electric water heater. Our eKitchens have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of B42 compared to D97 for a standard unit, and can save users over £350 per year in energy consumption, so they're a great option particularly for longer term hires.

Visit our website for more information on our full range of temporary kitchens and catering equipment for hire.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Introducing the "Moon Cube"

We are hugely proud to announce that we have recently won the contract to install the first catering outlet on the Moon, in response to an anticipated increase in space travel in the next decade. Provisionally called the “Moon Cube”, it will be used to provide a range of drinks and light snacks to both astronauts and space tourists, as well as providing a stop-off point to break up longer journeys. While it is still in the very early design stages, it is anticipated that it will be ready to install within the next seven years, and there are also longer term plans in place to create a more comprehensive service station type facility if it is a success.

The Moon Cube is being designed with custom equipment to enable it to prepare and serve specialist space food. Due to the unique environment of space, food must be safe to store for relatively long periods of time, as well as being nutritionally balanced and easy to consume in low gravity environments, so this has an impact on the catering equipment required. Later this year, we will begin working alongside a number of suppliers to create new equipment designs suitable for the project, following scheduled discussions with a number of experts to identify required features and potential challenges.

PKL Moon Cube
Initial concept drawing for the PKL Moon Cube

The Moon Cube will feature a long-range beacon to alert passing space traffic to its presence, and transmit information on food and drink availability. An integrated computer system will also be used to communicate stock level information to the client on Earth, enabling efficient stock planning. In addition to these features, the project will also require us to implement systems for regulating the unit’s temperature, as well as air filtration and waste removal systems similar to those used in existing space vehicles.

Our highly skilled design team will be working to overcome a number of unique, site-specific challenges such as low gravity and pasteurised terrain, while it is anticipated that solar panels and generators will be used to overcome a lack of services on site. Our expert transport team are experienced in delivering to challenging locations, but this will be their greatest challenge yet. Throughout the design process, we will also be liaising with a number of agencies to discuss transport options, and as with all our projects, detailed delivery and lift plans will be created in advance. 

This project is a fantastic opportunity for PKL, and follows 25 years of success in supplying catering infrastructure to prestigious projects around the world. We have started the recruitment process for a number of specialist staff to take a lead on the project, including aerospace engineers and physicists, while our existing staff will be able to provide a wealth of experience and knowledge of catering design and installation. Although the deployment is several years away, this project represents the chance to build on our strong history of catering innovation and is the start of a new era for PKL.

For more information on our Earth-based Food Cubes, visit our website.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Constructing a Large Scale Modular Kitchen

Here’s a sneak preview of a large scale, open plan, temporary kitchen facility which is going out on hire this week. This particular facility comprises 35 units and was constructed here at PKL HQ before being disassembled into individual units, covered ready for transport and loaded onto trucks, ready to be installed on the client’s site. The facility is currently being reassembled at the client’s location, ready for final commissioning and handover.

A facility of this size really illustrates the benefits of off-site construction. The main build of the facility took place here at PKL HQ, including all the mechanical and electrical fit-outs as well as the installation of extraction canopies and catering equipment. Due to the size of the facility, it’s taken several weeks to build, but because all this work has been undertaken at PKL, there has been no disruption to the client. The rebuilding of the facility at the client’s site is now quite straightforward, and should only take a few days craning the units into position, ready for the internal reassembly. 

With a footprint of over 500m2 this is a substantial facility, and will be on hire for 6 months during a major kitchen refurbishment. Three plant rooms are located on the roof, above the Central Island Canopies. These rooms house the extraction fans and the boiler for the tempered air, and also ensure that there are no roof leaks where the extraction penetrates the ceiling.

This type of large scale facility is typically specified for use during major refurbishment works at busy sites such as prisons, hospitals and universities, which have large catering operations which need to be maintained.

PKL Group - Large scale modular kitchen 1

PKL Group - Large scale modular kitchen 2

PKL Group - Large scale modular kitchen 3

PKL Group - Large scale modular kitchen 4

PKL Group - Large scale modular kitchen 5

PKL Group - Large scale modular kitchen 6

PKL Group - Large scale modular kitchen 7