Approaching Unox’s group headquarters near Padua/Padova in Italy, it’s clear that the combi oven manufacturer means business.

Two huge screens showing slickly-made videos of its latest products greet visitors within a chic monochrome-branded building, along with displays of its ovens down the years.

And considering its current market position, turning over €100m worldwide, with 22 global sales branches employing a total of 350 people, it’s sometimes surprising to remember that the company is a relative newcomer to the industry, having been founded in 1990.

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The founder and president himself, Enrico Franzolin, is still very much an active part of the firm and uses his engineering experience to continually drive innovation.

“What inspired me to start in this business is to build a company that can create a product which makes operators successful and creates opportunities for them,” he recalled to Catering Insight. “Mutual success is one of our driving factors.

“Company culture is very important in this regard – this is one of our targets rather than principally to make money.”

He detailed that Unox takes innovation inspiration from a number of different quarters, employing 35 engineers from sectors such as chemical, mechanical and aerospatial, as well as culinary technicians in its research department.

“Mixing these cultures together gives us this direction,” Franzolin commented. “They are always studying new lines – we are investing a lot and launching new products every year.

“To give you an idea of how deep we are studying, we have around 80 patents. We want to protect this knowledge.”