Winterhalter boss Ralph Winterhalter has described his vision of a future in which the company’s growth is intrinsically linked to operators’ demand for internet-connected kitchen appliances.
Mr Winterhalter is the third generation of the family to run the business and he believes the firm is about to enter a new chapter in its history due to technical breakthroughs in the way that warewashing systems are operated and managed.
“Every business person should have a field they are passionate about. Mine is the digital kitchen. Digitisation and connectivity are changing the world. We asked ourselves how we could harness digitisation to support our customers even further,” he explained.
This focus has led to Winterhalter developing its latest state-of-the-art initiative, called Next Level Solutions, which uses internet connectivity to optimise the efficiency of warewashers.
“Exploiting technological advances is the way to secure our brand for the future and ensure we enjoy sustained growth and expansion,” said Mr Winterhalter.
The warewashing manufacturer, which is based in Meckenbeuren, Germany, will be 70-years-old this year. It was founded in 1947 by Karl Winterhalter, whose first big seller was the Backhexe (baking wizard), a portable electric oven. The development of the first dishwashers took place in the family home, with a garden shed used as the workshop.
Jürgen Winterhalter, son of the company founder and current joint CEO of the Winterhalter Group, remembers the testing process: “My mother used to rub plates with spinach and leave them to dry in the sun. Then we’d wash them in the machine, and they actually ended up clean. It fascinated me.”
The company’s success story had begun and the GS 60 dishwasher was launched in 1959. After gaining success targeting restaurants, Winterhalter began mass production of dishwashers and the eventual development of additional manufacturing plants in Endingen (Germany) and Rüthi (Switzerland).
Winterhalter opened its first foreign branch in 1967 in Holland and gradually further subsidiaries were established in Europe and Asia. In order to supply the Asian market more effectively, a production site was established in Thailand two years ago.
Today the company employs 1,500 employees worldwide and runs 40 subsidiaries. More than 75% of its manufacturing output goes to export markets.