10 things you need to know about Iglu Cold Systems

10. UK arm now in third year

Iglu in the UK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the firm’s Italian arm, Iglu SRL. The UK business was set up three years ago and is led by managing director Ian Bell, who previously worked for Middleby and managed Electrolux’s sales and marketing activities. “The plan was to establish the brand in the UK because we were following some of the most glamorous projects around the globe with some of the most world-renowned consultants, the majority of which were English-speakers and based in London,” says Bell.

9. Custom displays are where it’s at

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The company has recently launched a new range of modular refrigeration, but its custom wine displays and fine food displays are credited with really getting the brand specified by operators. “Bear in mind that while our displays are very impactful and visual, they are also very highly engineered,” insists Bell. “We have managed to develop our engineering prowess so that within one display we can have different types of humidity levels and temperature ranges in order to keep, store and display different wines.”

8. Refrigeration…but not as you know it

Iglu’s focus on high-end modular commercial refrigeration, custom wine walls and fine food displays means it occupies a different position in the market to some of the more established names in the commercial refrigeration business, says Bell. “We are quirky in as much as we are not a direct competitor to some of our contemporaries, the likes of Williams and Foster, for example. Our products, quality-wise and feature-wise, are very similar to those two, but we are not after the same market and we are not trying to do the same thing, which makes us feel quite unique,” he comments.

7. Project director strengthens cause

One of Bell’s first significant moves was to hire Bob Plumb as a senior member of the team at the beginning of last year. He says: “I tracked down Bob Plumb who was a director of GWP, a world-renowned consultancy company and asked him to join as a project director. He has taken over the custom side of the business and started to develop it more, giving me the chance to focus on distribution and some new channels and products that we have been developing.”

6. Exclusivity central to a winning dealer strategy

As well as getting the business up and running through specification, a key component of Iglu’s launch strategy involved building a tightknit community of independent distributors willing to invest in selling and marketing its products. “Because the products are very high spec and the value is quite high, we couldn’t afford to just let anybody have access to them if they didn’t understand how they worked, what they could do, and the features and benefits they offered,” notes Bell. “The idea was to set up quite an exclusive distributor network where we knew them by their first name, they knew us, and they could be trained on the products.”

5. Channel development chief shores up dealer business

The manufacturer’s ability to serve partners’ needs has been boosted by the recent hiring of Simon Clements as commercial director. “Simon’s key responsibilities include the development of the distribution side of the business, working closely with our chosen partners to build relationships and create new opportunities with our highly innovative series of modular uprights, counters and blast chillers to meet every specialist need and situation,” explains Bell.

4. Keeping a lid on numbers

Iglu is determined to control the number of distribution partners it works with in the UK to keep things manageable and personal, but it acknowledges there is always scope to entertain prospective new partners keen to invest in the brand. “There are 30 distributors that we have got signed up or have some kind of a trading agreement with and there are another 15 we are looking at closely,” he says. “I think we are going to keep the number at around 30 or 35. It will mean we can actually get inside the companies, train them and help their design teams understand how to get the best out of the products.”

3. Back and front bonus

Given its expertise in creating refrigerated wine and food displays, Bell insists Iglu can offer partners a unique opportunity to expand into front-of-house applications. “Whereas they can only work in the kitchen with other [manufacturers], we can give partners the opportunity to go into the front-of-house. That is happening and a big objective of mine this year is to help our partners to take advantage of that and get some good business from it.”

2. Going green with first CO2 range

One of the main highlights for Iglu this year has been the development of a complete range of CO² refrigerated products. Bell says it means the company can now offer operators an “informed choice” when it comes to selecting kit that has no harmful implications for the environment. “This is the result of two years of study and development work that has been going on in the background, but it is a massive breakthrough and one of the most important things we could actually bring to the market,” he adds.

1. Client list does the talking

Iglu’s client list is one of its major assets, containing a string of prestigious names that endorse the quality and design of its refrigeration products. It has recently undertaken custom projects with the Corinthia Hotel, Radission Edwardian in Mayfair, Hakkasan Restaurant, the Westbury Hotel and Novikov Resturant. “We don’t sell direct, we get our partners involved, so there is massive benefit to working with us,” says Bell.

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