Few other refrigeration manufacturers operate on the worldwide scale of True Refrigeration. The scope of its infrastructure and the size of its support network is the assurance it provides to the established and emerging chains it works with, explains sales and key account director Scott Jones.
The refrigeration market has really evolved in the last few years, particularly in terms of design and efficiency. What’s the big driver this year?
For several years now, True’s development focus has been on our ‘natural refrigerant’ initiative, which has seen the vast majority of our expansive range now redeveloped with environment-conscious and energy efficient R290 systems. This has been a significant investment for the company, but as a result, True now produce several of the most energy efficient commercial refrigeration products currently available on the market.
The calibre of operators we supply are serious about sustainability, including energy management programmes to reduce wastage across their estates. Our conversations with customers are now typically led by how we can help them achieve targets to reduce energy consumption and save money, as well as supplying a better, more reliable refrigeration product.
Historically, ‘product range’ was a limiting factor for us in Europe and the UK, especially with the types of partners and clients we wanted to work with. We listened to the feedback and set to work on developing new products specifically for the European market. Since releasing our new 1/1 gastronorm counters and 2/1 GN upright products, we’ve made fantastic progress with consultants and project houses, and are now seeing True specified on major projects.
You have just launched your TCR counter configurator. How significant is that?
With kitchen space becoming more and more compact, one of the main features we wanted to offer with the TCR product was allowing operators to really tailor a refrigeration solution to their exact operational requirement. As a result, the product is highly customisable, with the operators’ choice of door/drawer combinations, different worktop options, 2 or 3 sections, fridge or freezer, even which side of the unit (left or right) the refrigeration system is mounted.
In total, there are over 550 different configurations available, which has potential to get complicated by large manufacturer product codes which the operator has no chance of understanding. So, the great thing about the configurator tool is that it simplifies the whole process, offering an easy to use, step-by-step process that takes seconds, while also demonstrating the flexibility of the Counter product and the options available.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a high-end restaurant or a town centre takeaway, you can’t afford to have their refrigerator go down unexpectedly”
True has long offered a five-year P&L warranty as standard. Is it a winner with operators?
Absolutely! We tell operators that they should view the standard warranty offered by manufacturers as an indicator of their own confidence in the long-term viability of their products. It’s often said that refrigeration is the workhorse of kitchen equipment, expected to run 24/7, 365, without fail, and trusted to preserve the safety and quality of ingredients.
Above and beyond steel boxes, what we’re really supplying to the operator is dependability and reliability. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a high-end restaurant or a town centre takeaway, neither business can afford to have their refrigerator go down unexpectedly. Everyone can — and does — claim that their fridges are ‘the best’, but we’re the only ones backing our complete range with an additional three years’ comprehensive cover on top of what most other suppliers give. Operators love that extra peace of mind, as reliable refrigeration really is essential to any kitchen business.
Last year you carried out a price rebalancing on your entire product range. What effect has that had on the business?
At the start of 2018, we implemented a complete overhaul of our pricing and discounting structure as a part of a wider strategy to take our business to the next level in the UK. We chose to be more selective about who our distribution partners are, and stepped away from trying to compete in the ‘lower end’ of the market, which is so utterly price-focused. A year on, and already we are seeing proof that this was absolutely the right move to make.
The refrigeration market features some pretty established brands and manufacturers, especially in the UK. How does True set itself apart?
The UK is certainly one of the most competitive markets True operates in globally. A trend we don’t want to follow is splitting our product range to offer lower cost, lower quality and equivalent products. True believes that real ‘value’ comes from offering high quality equipment reinforced by an extensive product warranty.
Our offering is aimed at energy- and environment-conscious operators which understand that refrigeration equipment is a core investment of their business, and are serious about food safety and quality. We know that isn’t everyone, but this position does resonate particularly well with multi-site operators.
You supply refrigeration to many multi-site operators. What do those types of customers regard as the most important factor when specifying refrigeration?
There is no other single refrigeration manufacturer operating on the worldwide scale that we do. The scope of our infrastructure and the size of our support network is the assurance we provide to the established and emerging chains we work with. We position ourselves as more than an equipment supplier. We want to be a resource and a partner, sharing our expertise in cold storage and developing solutions which enhance the client’s business.
True Refrigeration is sponsoring the Operator of the Year for Multi-Site Kitchen Projects category at the 2019 FEJ Awards. For more information visit www.truemfg.com or follow @TrueRefrigEMEA