INDUSTRY INTERVIEW: Cheap kit is for the chop now the energy message is hitting home

Justin Cadbury, chairman

Synergy Grill now has 40 products in its range to ensure there is a suitable solution for every chef and restaurant need. Chairman and CEO, Justin Cadbury, explains why its innovative, patented technology can deliver the texture and taste that operators desire without being hamstrung by the rising cost of energy prices.

Synergy is best-known for its gas chargrills. With gas prices hitting the headlines, how can you reassure operators that investing in such technology won’t be financially prohibitive?

Synergy can supply grills in both gas and electricity, yet gas still remains the cheapest power source, largely as it does not have the supply upgrade costs of electricity. We frequently come across national operators moving to electric-only kitchens, but then re-installing gas because of the flexibility it gives for increased kitchen output. Gas is also the “cleanest of all hydrocarbons” and safest to transport around the world.

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The differential between electricity and gas remains substantial. The fact that gas prices continue to rise at a phenomenal rate underlines why Synergy should be the only gas chargrill you should consider to help your business reduce energy costs.

With significant increases from circa 4p kWh to around 7-11p kWh depending on different energy contracts, operators must act quickly to counter these crippling increases. Offering 59% energy savings, compared to a standard chargrill, a Synergy grill is the only one that can pay back the initial cost in less than a year.

Do you think the current focus on energy cost hikes will lead to greater focus on energy efficient equipment — is fear perhaps a bigger trigger for change than incentives such as the super-deduction tax allowance?

The huge jump in energy prices has sent a clear message to financial directors that now is the time to take this major business cost seriously. For many, it has often been about buying the cheapest grill they can, as it was rather seen as the Cinderella of the kitchen — although in reality it is the number one prime revenue-earning piece of kit.

Food quality, staff retention and now energy efficiency really are the three key fundamentals. The winners will be those who use equipment that is the most energy efficient and delivers higher productivity at the same time.

You have launched your very first electric grill for operators. What’s the market positioning for that versus the gas model?

Many of our top chefs say they ‘cook with their eyes’. It is only when ‘seeing’ the Synergy eGrill that it is ‘believed’ how it performs the same as our gas, and replaces the most premium charcoal ovens and robatas. Gas will always have the advantage of superior precision cooking, however the demand for this new electric vapourising grill has been market-changing, with chefs getting the Maillard Reaction for perfect branding using this new Synergy technology.

The Synergy eGrill achieves everything the unique Synergy gas grill does, with energy savings of 25%. Given the current cost of electricity, that can add up to more than the 59% saving on gas which we deliver.

You supply grills to a number of multi-site operators. What’s the single biggest factor that you think makes your technology suitable for an operator with multiple outlets?

All other categories of equipment in the kitchen, like ovens, fridges and fryers, have innovated to reduce human error and deliver consistency except chargrills…until Synergy. Flexibility is also vital for the professional chef. He doesn’t want to move from one workstation to another, so delivering a variety of grill cooking options, such as vegan, without moving is vital to them. This is even greater in multiple outlets where local modus operandi to suit that particular customer base requires such flexibility.

After such a busy period of R&D, what’s next for Synergy?

We decided 15 years ago to specialise in just one product and that is why we produce the best chargrill in the world. However, chefs are hesitant to change, just like pilots with propellers were rather nervous of the jet engine! But in all seriousness, this is the future when you have to combine better food, chef comfort, sustainability, staff comfort, cleaner extraction systems and unprecedented financial energy savings.

Restaurants who do not pay attention to those critical factors will increasingly struggle in today’s world. Our R&D focuses on delivering more of this to kitchens across all sectors.

Calculating profit and payback from a kitchen investment

Synergy Grill has created an ‘economic payback calculator’ on its website so that prospective customers can explore the costs involved with introducing its grills to their kitchens compared with alternative solutions.

The calculator simply measures the differential between the power output in kWh hours of its grills to others as set out on their respective data plates.

“When one then applies the metrics of how long the grill is in use and what price is paid for the gas consumed, it provides a simple but very revealing calculation as to how much can be saved,” explains chairman and CEO Justin Cadbury.

“This shows that the payback period of our grill is more likely to be measured in months as opposed to years. Given the calculator takes two minutes, it was a no-brainer for us to produce it and has accelerated Synergy’s recognition worldwide.”

Cadbury says that foodservice operators buy Synergy for both elevated performance and its immediate profit generation.

“The ‘no-brainer’ financial rationale for swapping a conventional chargrill for a Synergy immediately — not just when the current grill or griddle needs replacing or when opening a new site — is laid out clear and simple with the cost-saving calculator on the Synergy homepage.”

Key contact details


Twitter: @synergygrill

Tel: 01480 811000


Tags : Synergy Grill
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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