Ali Group sees chains seeking more value from suppliers

Lainox cooking suite

The man responsible for driving catering equipment giant Ali Group’s relationship with chain accounts across the EMEA region believes operators’ expectations of suppliers are changing as the challenges of running a profitable kitchen increase,

Robert Gehl, who took up the post of commercial director at the Milan-based group nine months ago after 25 years in the foodservice equipment industry, said chains are seeking to tap its expertise to improve their top and bottom lines.

“Customers want more from a supplier than equipment,” he said. “Ali companies manufacture great products, but customers tell us they value our support with things like menu development, application and product training, and support with sustainability initiatives.”

Robert Gehl

Customers are asking for equipment that meets the need for smaller kitchens and ease of operation, says Robert Gehl.

With operators continuing to grapple with increases to input costs, Gehl said that the Ali Group’s 76 brands had a major role to play by continuing to be “part of the solution”.

“Operators are asking us to respond to the need for smaller kitchens, respond to a young and unskilled labour force and to develop technologies that simplify kitchen operations,” he said, adding that many mass market foodservice operators want equipment to be uncomplicated.

“If I had to summarise, it would be, ‘Push a button that allows newly hired kitchen staff to prepare food consistently…make it simple, no waste, and no complexity.’ With that challenge, many of our brands are launching new-to-industry products. The one that really comes to mind is Lainox, with its cloud-based, one touch cooking Naboo combi-steamer.”

The full interview with Robert Gehl features in the August issue of Foodservice Equipment Journal. You can read the digital edition for here.

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