Antunes had an existing partnership with the chain, as they were already using countertop cooking equipment, and therefore was in tune with the chain’s menu expansion plans.
Antunes approached chain management about a water filtration product with a lower cost of ownership compared to the existing bank of filtration cartridges the restaurants used.
The Antunes product was thoroughly tested by the chain to validate these claims before it was formally approved for the chain system.
Today, the chain uses Antunes’ VZN water filtration system. The manufacturer’s ultrafiltration system feeds all consumable water to the restaurant’s equipment, which includes fountain beverage dispensers, ice machines, bun steamers, coffee makers and iced tea equipment. Additionally, it pretreats the water that is used in the chain’s specialty coffee equipment, reducing the burden on the existing reverse osmosis system. In sum, the VZN system meets the equipment demands of the expanded beverage program and improves overall beverage quality.
The VZN system provides better and more consistent water pressure to equipment downstream, which eliminates service issues, as well as premature cartridge clogging. It also eliminates short pours on coffee brewers, which occurs when the brewer does not fill with enough water because the filtration cartridge is clogged.
“With our system, there is less downtime on equipment due to premature clogging, especially equipment used for specialty coffee,” said Tony Vassos, Director of Product Management & Marketing for Antunes. “It also puts replacement cartridges onto a reliable schedule, eliminating headaches that can come from service issues. Service providers, as well as restaurant operators, are big supporters of our system for this reason.”
An estimated 6,000 restaurants in the global system use Antunes’ ultrafiltration systems, which was approved as the standard for new stores and remodels in the United States, as well as the chain’s Taiwanese restaurants.
Antunes continues to work with the chain to modify the VZN water filtration system in order to improve performance. For example, the standard carbon cartridge was replaced with an extended capacity cartridge that is rated for 255,000 gallons of chlorine reduction to meet their annual consumable water volume.