Rational plans UK dealer launch tour

Rational is preparing to unveil its first major product launch in almost three years to catering equipment distributors and foodservice consultants in the UK.

A new version of its SelfCookingCenter combi steamer will be unmasked in London on Monday, kicking off a three-week launch programme that takes in cities such as Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin.

It is believed the new model will be called ‘SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses’, with the company filing trademarks for the same name earlier this year.

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The combi oven sector has witnessed a raft of launches from major brands since the turn of the year, but now it is the market leader’s turn to outline how it is taking its cooking technology forward.

In a statement announcing the launch schedule, Rational promised that the brand new SelfCookingCenter would be “even more intelligent” than previous models.

“The new Rational not only cooks automatically, but senses, recognises and thinks about the ideal cooking climate of the food items loaded, learns the chefs’ preferred cooking habits and puts them into action, whilst constantly communicating to the chef exactly what is going on at each step in the cooking process,” it said.

The launch is the first that Rational has carried out since the SelfCookingCenter whitefficiency was introduced in 2011.

It claims that product has a market share of around 60% in the UK and accounts for more than one in every two combi ovens sold worldwide.

Details of the product launch come a week after Rational said that global orders during the first quarter rose 5%, although negative currency effects meant that sales of almost €101m (£83m) were down 3% on the €104m (£8m) it banked at the same stage last year.

“Because order intake grew by 5% in the first quarter, we are entering the second quarter with a relatively high level of orders on hand,” said CEO Dr. Peter Stadelmann.

Sales in its native German market were up 4% in Q1, while the rest of Europe grew 9%. Revenues from its Frima business were up 18% year-on-year. Stadelmann said it was still forecasting “modest sales and earnings growth” for fiscal year 2014.

Rational UK said that the new version of its SelfCookingCenter could be seen at he following venues:

12th May: Hospitality House, East Finchley, London
13th May: Rational, Luton
15th May: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
16th May: First Choice, Cannock
19th May: Old Trafford, Manchester
20th May: Elland Road, Leeds
21st May: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
4th June: Bewleys, Dublin

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