Charvet meets the masses

Charvet Premier Ranges has traditionally been associated with a quality, made to measure approach which has served it well in attracting sophisticated distributors and end users of catering equipment.

However, for those staring wistfully at these heavy duty ranges but who do not have deep pockets, the France-based manufacturer is entering a new arena.

Its new One range is very much a traditional modular offering, with CEO Pierre-Alain Augagneur explaining: “I think we have seen a market trend for reduced prices and there is an expectation for heavy duty products on which customers can have a quicker return on investment.

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“Customer usage is changing now and a lot of restaurants don’t expect to retain the same concept for years and years as they might have done in the past. We therefore felt that it would be a good thing to offer them the opportunity to have access to heavy duty ranges at a more accessible price, which has led us to develop a more budget-led, base entry range.” He added that the company also wanted to create an easier to install product.

Wayne Cuomo, managing director of Charvet UK further detailed: “We have focused on making sure the range is durable, but we have taken off some of the bells and whistles. Whereas previously all the modular ranges had coloured enamel panels, there are now simple stainless panels with ‘Charvet One’ etched in; if you take off the red logo you save quite a few euros in the cost price. This is probably the first range that Charvet that has ever produced which is not ‘tailorable’ in the way that all the others were."

The roll out is a global strategy, with the intention being that the range can adapt to restaurants which change concept. Furthermore, Augagneur estimated the equipment is 60% faster to install than its bespoke ranges.

Charvet UK may now be able to stock some of the One series. “We will probably have the more popular items available but we will gauge what’s needed once the sales team are out talking to people. This kit, for the first time in Charvet history, will be made to put in the warehouse and sold from stock. We have made great inroads in turning modular equipment from what used to be six weeks to about a three-week turnaround.”

With the price point about 20% cheaper than the firm’s current most affordable model, the Pro700 series, Cuomo says the saving is made due to the final assembly stage of production. “With the bespoke ranges, the equipment has to go through to a final, central area where there is four or five production staff, but with the Charvet One you can cut that out because once the product has been made in the bays it is boxed, marked up and held ready for order,” he explained. [[page-break]]

The manufacturer believes the life expectancy of the new range will match up to its 700mm and 800mm offerings. However the lifetime can essentially be extended as the kit can be easily reconfigured if required.

Cuomo emphasised: “We have to stress that it is still heavy duty equipment based on the engineering principles that were developed for the 700 series, which is still a welded chassis even though a more modern and more production-oriented technique is used to make them. The durability is the key thing with Charvet and that is still there with the One series.

“We have not moved down to medium duty level kit – this is still high performance kit that will stand up to the job for many years.”

This step change in offerings means that dealers may be able to stock the One range, according to Cuomo. “Each one will be delivered with separate side panels and adjoining connecting strips so that it doesn’t have to be assembled to a pre-designed drawing in the factory,” he said.

“We think the One series is much more of a distributor product and they can sell it directly, whereas the other kit requires input from Charvet. This is a product that can be sold with the right training and price list, so we should be able to get to a situation where the first we hear about an order is when it comes in, rather than having to do quotations.”

With this development in mind, last year Charvet signed up to ENSE. “One of the attractions was that it gave us access to dealers which sell heavy cooking equipment but aren’t necessarily into the very big projects. We realise that we needed to produce a product which could go into the high street restaurants, where perhaps we hadn’t been before,” said Cuomo.

“A lot of those popular restaurant concepts are only fairly short-term so we were precluded because they didn’t want to spend the money for a 20-year range. We have now got a product which should get us into the ‘brewery-owned restaurant chains’.”

Many low- to medium-end cooking equipment manufacturers have aspirations to move into the high-end market, so with the new series, Charvet is essentially meeting them in the middle. “We are meeting these companies head on but we are obviously still fiercely protective of our market share on the more tailored modular equipment and bespoke ranges. There are very few manufacturers that make a bespoke with the level of power and longevity that Charvet does,” Cuomo concluded.

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