Sister act

Launching a new business venture is never an easy prospect for anybody, but life is certainly a lot easier when you can call on the support and experience of a sister company regarded as one of the leaders in its own market place.

And that has proved to be just the case for Cuisinequip, set up last year by the Reading-based management team behind premium fryer brand Valentine Equipment’s UK activities.

After establishing an excellent reputation and service for Swiss-made Valentine equipment in the UK, they are now striving to make sure that Cuisinequip becomes recognised for the same quality and reliability.

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The business initially launched with a range of ultra thin warming hobs and heated buffet display systems, but has now been expanded to include induction equipment.

The hobs are manufactured by HWM in Austria and powered by Swiss-designed sixth generation induction technology, Galaxy Plus, which the company describes as the “latest innovation” available in the market.

Cuisinequip is keen to follow in the footsteps of Valentine by building a portfolio of products that stand out for their superiority, reveals the national sales manager of both businesses, Steve Elliott.

“With induction equipment you get what you pay for,” he says. “Buying the best quality will be give the end-user many benefits in use, but will be the cheapest in the long term. When choosing Cuisinequip Induction, operators have the choice to customise the equipment specifically to their requirements. They can choose from 3.5 (single phase) or 5kW, 7kW or 8 kW (3-phase) versions, with either square, round or multifunction coils.

“Additional features available include touch controls, a hold function, and stands with castors for larger units. Bespoke suites can also be configured to suit the individual needs of the chef and can include ovens, deep pan griddles, salamanders, pasta cookers, Valentine fryers and warming drawers to name but a few choices.”

Drawing on the accomplishments of the Valentine brand is something that Cuisinequip is keen to do right the way through to the issue of how the product line is supported in the market.

Elliott agrees that operators want peace of mind these days and that means choosing reputable and trustworthy suppliers.

“Cuisinequip Induction is built upon sister company Valentine’s values of quality, innovation, value-for-money and durability in providing excellent equipment for foodservice,” he says. “This allows the induction hobs to be backed up by the Valentine service, accompanied by a five-year warranty and availability of UK spares.”

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The company is under no illusions that it is entering a product sector where the level of competition is already strong and growing all the time. Customers are fighting hard to get the best prices, which naturally places pressure on margins, while the gap between low and high-end models appears to be growing ever wider.

“Our biggest challenge is to persuade people to spend their money wisely on buying the best induction system that they can afford, as it will pay dividends in the long run by saving them money,” insists Elliott. “Initial capital outlay can be a problem but one solution is to consider leasing, which can result in the equipment being available more quickly, allow monthly budgeting of costs and an immediate start to benefiting from this sustainable cooking system.”

While Cuisinequip’s observations on the market illustrate the need to continuously educate the end-user market, the company understands the vital role that its sales partners have to play in facilitating that process.

It has been constructing its dealer network over the past 12 months and the intention with the new induction line is to offer it through the existing partner base.

“This strategy works well for the Valentine products and our aim is to offer the same level of excellent service with Cuisinequip Induction,” explains Elliott. “We are finding that operators are requiring the best of what is available on the market and this has manifested in increased sales of the drop-in and built-in fryers from kitchen houses that have manufacturing capabilities.

“We are marketing the drop-in induction to appeal to the same type of distributor who requires the best induction to include in their bespoke fabrication. We are also able to work with dealers who want a bespoke suite designed to their client’s specification.”

Elliott won’t be drawn on what the future holds for Cuisinequip’s product stable, but with display equipment, a ’30 second flat pack’ table fabrication range and now counter-top and built-in induction products already in place, it is surely only a matter of time before further additions are made.

“Our objective with Cuisinequip is to introduce a range of cooking equipment that has the same credentials as the Valentine brand,” says Elliott. “It must offer the chef a sustainable item of equipment that will last a long time, be durable, robust and energy efficient, and generally reduce the cost of ownership over its working life when compared to other brands on the market.”

This approach might call for patience before it pays off, but as Cuisinequip knows from its experience with Valentine, the end result is worth it.

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