Equipment Defines The Concept
Every restaurateur and foodservice operator has a vision of the sort of concept they want to present to customers. In today’s multi-cultural market, restaurants and foodservices come in more types than ever before – from good-for-you to heart-attack cafes, from Nordic to Latin, from food trucks to full service. What all these disparate dining destinations have in common, however, is that every one of them relies on kitchen equipment to define their mission, menu and market niche.
For a pizza concept, it’s a high-temperature stone-hearth oven that quickly crisps the crust and melts the cheese. For steakhouses, broilers and plancha grills add the char and sizzle that customers crave. Asian restaurants express themselves via wok ranges, buffet eateries rely on induction cooktops and fine-dining destinations prepare top-quality menu items via sous vide equipment. Educating operators about which pieces of equipment are most effective and appropriate for their concepts is one of the most important services manufacturers, dealers, consultants and reps can provide. The problem is that too many E&S distribution channel professionals are expert only in the functions and features of the equipment they sell, specify or represent. The key for suppliers and specifiers is to broaden their outlook to understand thoroughly the objectives and market position of each operator-customer.
Reps and DSRs are most often the point-persons when it comes to educating and learning from operators. For these salespeople, the goal is to become intimately familiar with operators’ facilities, budgets, menu line-up, culinary skills and competition. Because no two restaurants are exactly alike, not even chain units, there is little point in advocating identical equipment packages to different operators. Even subtle differences in customer demographics or foot-traffic volumes can necessitate smaller or faster models of similar equipment pieces. Operators need to concentrate on customer service, food safety, staff training, brand building, financial management and myriad other concerns that leave little time or inclination to develop equipment-selection expertise. Nevertheless, ensuring that restaurants and foodservices the right equipment to present the concepts owners and operators have bet their fortunes on is still the most important function equipment suppliers and specifiers can perform.