When True Refrigeration relaunched its range of foodservice refrigeration in the UK and Ireland last year it made a bold statement that it was taking a different approach to sustainability than other manufacturers operating in the market.
Armed with a warranty programme that offers three-year parts and labour cover, and five-years on compressors, the manufacturer rolled out a series of products specifically tailored to the needs and dimensions of commercial kitchens in Europe.
It was a move that caught the imagination of the dealer channel — especially those that hadn’t necessarily worked with the brand before — and now the company is looking to build on that momentum moving forward.
One of the major highlights of its refrigeration systems, according to True, is that they are larger than the industry standard, which means they pull down and recover temperature quicker, resulting in shorter run times. That, in turn, saves users energy, it says.
Additionally, its prep tables feature a patented air-flow system that keeps food products within safe temperatures, while containing the airflow within the cabinet, which is designed to be more energy-efficient than a conventional ‘curtain of air’ system.
It’s a product strategy that John Lilly, marketing director of True UK, calls “energy efficiency without compromise”.
He explains: “The ability to pull that temperature down quickly means that you don’t get bacteria forming in food products, your food stays fresh for longer and you have a better quality ingredient for your customer. At the end of the day, people might go to restaurants for the ambience, but if the food is not fresh when it gets there, what good is that?”
At the same time as modifying the design of its equipment, the company also revamped its UK website — www.truemfg.com/uk — and introduced a product selector that provides information on everything True offers, from standard refrigeration cabinets to specialist items such as salad units and refrigerated chef bases.
Recent launches into the UK market include the PP-67 and TPP-93 refrigerated pizza prep counters and the heavy duty upright TS Series.
Although True has spent time reviewing its UK business in the past 12 to 18 months, the American manufacturer has been present on these shores for a considerable period of time, since 1982 in fact. Its UK office is based in South Yorkshire and boasts all the operational functions necessary to support UK customers.
“We have three dedicated sales staff that are on the road full-time, we also have management in the UK, customer service, parts distribution, warehousing, technical service, engineering, testing, and stock, so it is pretty much its own entity,” explains Lilly. “We are a US company but besides a couple of elements we have full autonomy in the UK.”
Although True has worked with the dealer community for years, the company’s route-to-market strategy continues to evolve, with Lilly indicating that it has now adopted a more inclusive approach towards the market.
“We basically want to have a level playing field where everybody can access the product and get hold of it,” he explains. “Our core products are based on quality, reliability and serviceability, and that is exactly what we look for in our dealers.”
Lilly is keen to build relationships with more dealers in order to strengthen True’s presence, but stresses that any new partners will need to share the company’s philosophy.
He insists the durability of True’s products is testament to the fact it has been manufacturing products for more than 65 years — evidence, he says, that “slow and steady wins the race.”
Lilly explains: “One thing about us is we don’t put gimmicks in our equipment. There are always fly-by-nighters who come in, peck away for a few years and then disappear. Our ethos is to make a product that works and stands the test of time. We have been doing this for a long time and the thing about it is we want to make sure that we can support our customers.
Since we are a manufacturer we can still support units that are out in the field for 20 years because we make our own parts.”
Lilly certainly feels that the relaunch of the UK business has allowed True to dispel any misconceptions about its offering in the market and allow it to reinforce the message that its credentials are built on quality and value for money.
“At Hotelympia this year it was amazing how many people came onto the stand and said they always knew of True but the big difference now was that the end-users are requesting it or asking questions about it,” says Lilly. “That then it makes it easier for them to talk about it, whereas in years past it was something that a dealer might know about, but if the customer didn’t then they wouldn’t broach the subject with them. There is real pull-through from the end-user now.”
Putting it to the test
Energy saving is an increasing focus for buyers and that is prompting True Refrigeration to invest heavily in developing products that tick the right environmental boxes for commercial customers.
True has a purpose-built refrigeration test centre at its UK headquarters near Rotherham and from there it is able to put new equipment through its paces. “We believe this to be the UK’s most advanced test facilities for commercial refrigeration equipment,” says marketing director John Lilly.
“All True products are 100% run tested and units which go into the UK are tested under the EN 441 parameters (25C – 55% RH),” he adds. “We take it a little further and test our units at much higher temperatures and humidity to ensure they will recover and maintain temperature in an actual kitchen environment. Kitchens are hot and the doors are opened up to and over 100 times an hour. Our units are designed to take this heavy usage.”
Lilly insists the company will continue to innovate in the area of energy efficiency and reveals it is currently exploring ways to distribute the air-flow throughout the cabinet more efficiently in order to maintain temperature. It is also committed to developing products that use hydrocarbon refrigerants and are custom-built for the UK market.
“We are introducing our reversing condensing fan motor (RCFM) into more of our products too,” says Lilly. “This ‘self-cleans’ the condenser on refrigerated units, making it run more efficiently for longer.”