Growing up, Khalid Ansari and his sister, Rana Kamal, knew their father’s restaurant was special. The Mediterranean Cruise Café has been a mainstay in Burnsville, Minn., since 1979. Owned and operated by Jamal Ansari, the restaurant brings authentic Middle Eastern food from his native Jerusalem. Over the years, customers requested one dish more than all of the others.
“Hummus is the number one seller by item in a menu with 100+ items, and everybody always talks about how they love our hummus. We just realized that we had a product that was unique in a growing market,” said Khalid Ansari, co-founder of Baba’s Hummus.
After looking at the large variety of hummus sold in stores, Khalid and Rana both noticed there was nothing as smooth and creamy as Mediterranean Cruise Café’s homemade hummus. In 2018, Baba’s Hummus was born.
“We are taking our family’s recipes and branding them high-quality, good, smooth hummus, which is really our niche. We turned our product into a lifestyle of a modern Middle Eastern brand, which doesn’t quite exist right now,” said Khalid.
After just two years, Baba’s Hummus has grown into around 125 retails stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin with plans to slowly expand throughout the Midwest and across the nation.
As Baba’s Hummus production began to grow, Khalid needed equipment that would make their process more efficient. Previously, Khalid used sheet pan racks to hold hotel pans full of garbanzo beans, but they weren’t designed for rigors they were put through. Their old racks easily became dirty, broke down and weren’t standing up to the amount of weight they were holding.
“We needed to get a cart into the freezer with 300 lbs. of beans on it. We would just fill up these carts and put them in there and roll them out, which became an issue because these carts weren’t built for that; the pans didn’t fit onto the [old] carts very nicely,” said Khalid.
Khalid spoke with his local Cambro rep and was told about the Camshelving® Food Pan Trolley, which was designed specifically with Gastronorm food pans in mind. Made from state-of-the-art composite material, the Camshelving Food Pan Trolley has a lifetime warranty against rust and corrosion.
“[Our Cambro rep] helped us configure the trolleys and make sure that they worked for what we were doing. It’s been a really good solution for our business, especially at this point in our manufacturing,” said Khalid.
Because the Camshelving Food Pan Trolley is designed to hold food pans, the unit has a smaller footprint and fits their equipment better than the sheet pan racks they used previously.
“We got to use the entire cart instead of wasting three or four inches on each side of the sheet pan,” said Khalid. “We’ve used metal carts and we’ve used plastic carts…but they aren’t meant to hold hotel pans or larger pans in general. With the Camshelving Food Pan Trolley, it doesn’t get much product on it because the product isn’t sitting on there, it’s just being held in there.”
Wheels are a common pain point associated with metal racks. They often get corroded and difficult to move, especially when used in cold environments like coolers and freezers.
“The wheels work really well in the freezer for us so far and the plastic material has done well in different temperatures,” said Khalid. “So far, it’s been exactly what we’ve been looking for, and there’s nothing on the market like it. I found that super interesting.”
The Camshelving Food Pan Trolley is a fresh take on the traditional food pan trolley. Size options include full size or half size and holds GN 1/1 pans. Contact your local Cambro rep today to get started.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.