Fast-growing catering equipment supplier Sous Vide Tools regards Rational as the poster boy for customer engagement and would love to attain the same reputation for product knowledge that the combi oven maker has earned, its managing director has said.
Sous Vide Tools has just opened its first showroom and development kitchen in London, which it regards as a springboard to growth given the rate at which its business has developed in recent years.
The company has focused its efforts around developing a portfolio of innovative, chef-led light catering equipment and earlier this year set up the UK outpost for Dutch kitchen equipment giant Hendi.
MD Alex Shannon said the company’s aspiration is “to become a small Rational” in the sense that it wants to concentrate on offering a set of very specific products and gain recognition as an expert in those areas.
“When you look at Rational and ask why they are so successful, it’s because they have invested in educating and informing the market about their product. They know their product inside-out and they focus on the customer. That’s exactly what we want to do,” he told FEJ.
Sous Vide Tools has christened its new Marble Arch showroom ‘Toolshed @W2’ and believes it will help the company step up to the next level.
“We have been looking for a facility for 18 months and found it really difficult. This particular facility is owned by the church, so it has allowed us to come and have something far bigger than we ever really could have afforded. We are calling it a showroom but it is more than that – it is a training facility and innovation hub.
CLICK THE ARROWS BELOW TO SEE INSIDE SOUS VIDE TOOLS’ SHOWROOM AND DEMO KITCHEN
“What it isn’t, however, is a retail shop, nor do we intend for it to become that. We don’t physically stock anything here, all the products are on display and the idea is that you come in and basically play and work with them. It’s for distributors and their customers that want to come in and learn, test equipment and create new menu ideas.”
Mr Shannon said the site has already played host to a number of customers since it opened, including Sodexo, Nisbets, Lockhart, TAG Catering Equipment and major chains, with chef director Chris Holland and his team on hand to provide assistance.
Sous Vide Tools already runs a similar facility at its head office in Lancaster, but has felt for some time that it needed a presence in London. “If you look at catering equipment sales today, 65% is from London,” Mr Shannon said.