Dealers gain from Rational’s free upgrade offer

All Rational customers are entitled to a free software upgrade to its new ‘5 Senses’ cooking technology, the company announced yesterday.

From this week, all combi ovens despatched from its factory in Germany will contain the 5 Senses control panel, but existing owners of SelfCookingCentre Whitefficiency ovens can also retro-upgrade at zero cost.

Lee Norton, managing director of Rational UK, told Catering Insight that it was a door-opener for distributors.

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“The free upgrade gives our dealers an opportunity to go and see their customers with some really good news without the customer thinking, ‘oh yeah, what’s he going to sell to us now’. It is a great customer relationship building tool for them and shows how we are integrating dealers into our whole sales process.”

Dealers will be given a USB stick to carry out the upgrades on site or customers can download the new system themselves from the manufacturer’s Club Rational portal.

The process will overwrite the existing software, much like a mobile phone does when installing a new version of an app, but retain any data unique to the user, such as saved menu and cooking processes.

5 Senses is based on a group of sophisticated sensors that are able to sense the cooking conditions in the chamber and the consistency of the food. They recognise the size, load and condition of the food and use this information to calculate the level of browing required, based on what the system has learnt about the chef’s preferences.

The control panel communicates the exact status of the food and how the cooking process is adjusting to achieve the desired results, sounding an alarm when the food is ready.

Norton said he expects “at least 50%” of UK customers to upgrade in order to access the benefits of the new system.

And he insisted customers would not face any issues when carrying out the upgrade. “It has been thoroughly tested, not just in Germany but in practice as well. We always have reference customers that we ask to test the product.”

With 5 Senses, its ovens can now bake raw dough products, such as breads and small loaves, and additional international cuisines as the new software is able to influence the performance of the cooking chamber.

Norton said this was good news for distributors. “It opens new doors to them so that they are able to go into new markets: baking, which takes you into delis and the retail sector, and then obviously the ethnic cuisine markets. The oven can easily cope with Tandoori chicken, chicken tikka and other products as well as pizza and so on.”

Rational said 5 Senses would not bring about an increase in the list price of its product range. Current pricing will remain unchanged.

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