For a nation that adores its tea and hot beverages, a hard-wearing and reliable commercial water boiler is a necessity for any commercial caterer. But while it might be regarded by many as a routine piece of kit to buy, the reality is that new product innovation is shaking up the market. FEJ caught up with Graham Crisp, sales director at Instanta, for the lowdown on the water boiler business in 2016.
How do you expect market trends in 2016 to differ from what you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
The recession means that a lot of operators have spent the last few years spending a good deal of money on repairing existing equipment rather than purchasing a replacement. But in 2016, with the economy beginning to grow, we expect them to start buying new again. However, we also expect the buying criteria to change. If the recession did any good at all it was perhaps to highlight the high costs involved in repairing and maintaining poor quality equipment.
What does that mean in terms of the water boiler market?
In the case of commercial water boilers this means factors such as warranty length, in-built filtration and other features for which operators might pay a little more but which will ultimately extend the life of a unit as well as maintaining its operating efficiency.
If the recession did any good at all it was perhaps to highlight the high costs involved in repairing and maintaining poor quality equipment”
What are your key corporate plans for 2016, particularly with regards to your product roadmap?
We have a number of new products launching this year. These will reflect the current trends across a wide range of end-user environments, including coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and casual dining sites. In conjunction with our dealer network, we are constantly evaluating their needs as well as those of the end-user market, and will continue to base our future product designs around their requirements, as well as ideas that we think will be of benefit to the market in general.
Is there anything unique about your current machine offering that operators should be aware of?
When we develop new products we always try to react to the market place requirements. For example, we looked at the modern kitchen environment and noticed that it was constantly being reduced in size, mainly to allow more space for customers. This led us to develop three new units in 2015: the 1000-C, the 1000-M and the SL13. The 1000-C and 1000-M compact models deal with situations where the available height might restrict the use of a standard boiler.
What are the factors shaping buying behaviour at the moment?
The purchasing decision is dictated primarily by the type of establishment, so we are currently seeing great interest in products from our range that are suitable for grab-and-go operators, coffee shops, street food and ‘pop-up’ restaurants.