The sensory lab facilities enable effective preparation and distribution of client samples. Lab facilities include a reception area for panelists, a product preparation area (with convection and conventional ovens, griddle, deep fat fryer, steam tables, heat lamps, and a wide variety of food preparation equipment), booths with pass-through compartments, a room for focus groups, and walk-in coolers/freezers for storing samples. With seven booths for panelists, the sensory lab has a capacity of approximately 28 panelists per hour.
The sensory lab has seven side-by-side computerized booths which use a lighted signal system to inform kitchen staff of the progress of each panelist and to request staff help if needed. Each booth has a vertical pass-through "bread box" type compartment to the preparation room. This type of compartment prevents the passage of odors or visual cues from the preparation room which minimizes panelist bias. Positive pressure is maintained in the booth area as well to prevent odors from entering from the preparation room. Red lights in the booth area are available if masking of visual differences between samples is desired. This technique reduces chances of biased preference of samples based solely on appearance.
A descriptive panel room is also available, and may be used for focus groups or descriptive consumer panels.