High speed oven manufacturer Atollspeed has admitted that currency volatility since last summer has dealt a blow to the profitability of its UK sales – but it has vowed to hold prices steady for as long as possible to enhance its chances of long-term success.
Huge currency swings involving the Euro, Dollar and Pound have meant that the cost of supplying the UK market is now 20% more than it was this time last year. However, so far the Austrian firm has avoided tweaking its prices as it remains wary of denting its market ambitions.
“It’s the only market where we have taken the decision to do this,” international sales manager Georg Pitsch told Catering Insight. “But in our opinion the UK is the fastest growing market [in Europe] and it has a really strong snack and grab-and-go culture, which fits our business.”
Although other overseas brands have raised their prices in the UK going into 2017, the issue of pricing is particularly sensitive for Atollspeed as its chief competitor is arguably Merrychef, the Manitowoc brand that is manufactured in the UK. “From the beginning, it is always hard to enter the home market of one of your competitors,” he said of the challenge.
However, the company is adamant that its high performance, ultra fast cooking solutions are just what the UK market needs and it now believes it has the right route-to-market in place to service it.
It is now distributed through Metcalfe Catering Equipment after calling off its earlier agreement with Jestic last year, claiming that the product didn’t really fit into the range of products that Jestic sells.
“Our main clients are petrol stations, bakeries and supermarkets, and that was the reason that we changed last year,” said Pitsch.
Atollspeed runs its European operations from Austria, with the rest of the world managed from China, where the equipment is made. Its ovens are predominately made using European parts, with the exception of the transformers, but assembly is carried out in China.