NAFEM 2019 – Arctic Air

The subject of this installment in the Miller NAFEM blog series is Arctic Air, an incredible manufacturer that specializes in cold storage equipment.

While Arctic Air did not have anything brand new per se at this year’s NAFEM convention, Director of Sales & Marketing for Arctic Air Jerry LaMere was able to give us an insight on some things that have been released or updated in the past year; citing their new direct draw cabinets and upgraded version two chef bases. These souped-up chef bases have a new internal ceramic heat shield as well as improved drawers and mounting points as well as a few other features that are considered the best in the industry. LaMere also made mention of new five and ten-pound blast chillers set to come out later this year. When asked about any new markets that Arctic Air might have their sights set on in 2019, LaMere talked about their success in e-commerce and how the goal is to see that level of success elsewhere as well.

“I would say that Arctic Air already has a firm grip on e-commerce business: internet,” LaMere said. “Arctic Air has a very popular name and some good equipment, and we sell a lot of it on the internet. I would say our next growth vehicle is going to be with what you would consider the top 50 dealer crowd out there. [They are] probably commanding in the neighborhood of 80 percent of the food service equipment volume in business in North America, and Arctic Air is trying to become the low-cost value provider in refrigerated cabinetry to that particular dealer crowd.”

In our interview, LaMere went on to point out how the best part of Arctic Air is when the product gets out of the packaging and into use. NAFEM provides them with the opportunity to show said equipment to a large crowd of the top industry professionals and more. Arctic Air is value economy and LaMere challenged any dealer at the show to walk the floor and find a better solution than the one Arctic Air is providing in the industry today.

You can watch the companion video to this blog on our YouTube channel at the link below!

Mason Meyers
Mason Meyers, Editor

NAFEM 2019 – Champion

Dishwashing dynamite Champion Industries is the focus of this installment of the Miller & Associates NAFEM blog series. Let’s take a look at what Champion had to offer at this year’s convention.

Champion had a few different new things on display at NAFEM 2019.They had the DH-6000-VHR, a high temperature door machine, with a new HMI controller and an optionable onboard detergent delivery system; a unique feature for a unit like that. They were also showcasing a new blower dryer for their rack conveyor machine. This new blower dryer has a smaller footprint, coming in a 33-inch size as opposed to the older 48-inch model. This new smaller footprint design will help create more clean space on tables for end users. Most exciting, however, is the new Pro series 64 machine that was unveiled at NAFEM this year. This is a brand new two-tank machine, a new concept that Champion is trying out with their Pro series of dishwashers.

Champion has had a good year when it comes to breaking into new markets, we talked with Champion Regional Sales Manager for the Western Region Chris Richelieu about their big deal with Chik-fil-A and how that’s helped them break into a new market.

“We’ve really had a lot of awesome luck with Chik-fil-A,” Richelieu said. “That’s really put us on the quick-serve market segment with Chik-fil-A, one of the largest in the country, so we’re very, very excited about that and that’s ongoing. We see a lot of potential with smaller-tier chains based on having a flagship like Chik-fil-A using the DH-6000. So, we’re pretty excited about that and we’re basically going after the same segments: the healthcare segment, hospitality, lodging, hotel, casinos (we’ve had some good luck in Las Vegas, which is really good for us), healthcare, education, higher ed, and K-12. K-12 we’re pretty excited about, especially in the Texas market; replacing the existing Hobart machines out there.”

For Champion, NAFEM is the most exciting show in the industry, and they have good luck there. They’re able to show their product line off to designers and consultants from the West coast who would normally not get to check out the equipment in person. Everyone is gathered in one place, so they get to hit the most amount of people in a very short window of time. They’re able to show off the build of their machines, from the quality steel and copper that’s used to create the equipment, to the fact that their machines only have one seam instead of the more common two seamed machines, which has a greater chance of breaking and leaking over time, costing the end user major dollars in repair and replacement cost.

Results and quality along with a enticingly manageable cost of ownership is what drives consumers towards Champion dishwashers, and ultimately leads to the purchase of one of these brilliant machines. Champion is interested in not only making sure that customers get a quality product, but that they are well taken care of after the purchase and after the warranty has run out as well.

You can watch the companion video to this blog on our YouTube channel at the link below!

Mason Meyers
Mason Meyers, Editor

NAFEM 2019 – Bally

The focus of this installment of the Miller NAFEM 2019 blog series is the best walk-in manufacturer in the country, Bally Refrigerated Boxes

At this year’s NAFEM, Bally had a plethora of new or upgraded products to showcase and talk to us about. On the outside of their booth facing the aisle, they were showcasing their walk-in doors. Namely, they were showcasing their new black stainless finish that softens the look of the box and appeals to a more retail-oriented market, as well as a wood veneer finish that will appeal to end users that want something a little more customer facing. Also new and showcased at the Bally booth this year was the SmartVap+ controller for the walk-ins, which give the end users a lot more control and easy access to the health of the refrigeration system, and reporting options that the end user or service company might want so they can see how the system is functioning.

ABS bumper rails have also been added to the box, which Bally expertly showcased with the use of decals on the inside of their showroom box. These decals gave patrons at the convention the opportunity to see the technology that powers these products underneath the structure and foam and side panels. Bally was very focused on education the attendees on just how their product works and why they are the best in the industry. Michael Beachkofsky, Bally’s National Sales Manager & Director of Business Development and Marketing, talked to us about the importance of supplemental software and how these tools help them work with the customers to get the best possible product for them.

“We do a lot of design, build, and construction. So we’ve launched some tools through Revit,” Beachkofsky said. “A full Revit tool family for walk-ins that gives the consultants and the designers and architects full design capability [with] a few basic, easy to use tools. We’ve also launched a few AutoCAD tools for the people that are designing in there and, with the help of KCL, we’ve launched custom blocks. So that allows design-build dealers and representatives who are working directly with customers to take their notepads out and actually do a real 3D design, a basic 3D drawing design right in front of the customer in a matter of minutes to get that instant satisfaction and make sure we’re all talking on the same page.”

Beachkofsky also talked about the importance of NAFEM for kitchen equipment manufacturers.

“It’s a relationship business and it’s a relationship industry, so this is critically important to us. It’s face-to-face times with our factory reps. We help set the tone for the next two years of what we’re talking about [and] why we’re talking about it. The same way, we get to see old friends, meet new people; whether it’s customer or dealers or end users…You just don’t have the opportunity to have the product and the breadth and depth that we have here and other meetings that happen throughout the year. So, you get a lot of hands-on, you meet a lot of people, you continue your relationships and that builds an opportunity and a bridge for us to grow for the next several years.”

Bally has dedicated themselves to proven dependability, great support, and post-sale care. They want their customers to know that they won’t bail after the sale is made and they will be there to answer any questions customers may have after the fact. Although I don’t expect many questions to be asked, because nothing beats a Bally!

You can watch the companion video to this blog on our YouTube page at the link below!

Mason Meyers
Mason Meyers, Editor

NAFEM 2019 – Alto-Shaam

Welcome to yet another installment in the Miller & Associates NAFEM blog series. This entry will focus on one of the biggest kitchen equipment manufacturers in the industry: Alto-Shaam.

At this year’s convention, Alto-Shaam was focused on presenting their new self-cleaning rotisserie oven. After spending approximately three to four years perfecting it for release, the self-cleaning rotisserie is ready to be shown to the world. Not only does the unit present opportunities for faster throughput of product, with a four-pound chicken at about a 55-minute cook time, but also opportunities for labor savings as well. At the end of the workday after all the cooking has been completed, employees can throw a couple of cleaning tablets into the oven and start the self-cleaning cycle. The cycle takes about three hours, but fear not, users can leave the machine running and the unit will automatically shut off when the cycle has completed. This process makes for a cleaner machine, opportunity for more product made during the day, and happier employees and managers.

The self-cleaning rotisserie isn’t the only product Alto-Shaam was pushing at NAFEM, though. The Vector series of ovens, which was unveiled at the last NAFEM convention, is still a big showcased unit that Alto-Shaam continues to see a lot of success with. While Alto-Shaam does typically sell in all facets of the food service industry successfully, the Vector has helped them see an increase in sales to the c-store market, with the unit selling like gangbusters to c-store chains like Love’s Travel Stops. This increase in sales is in no small part thanks to the opportunities that a convention like NAFEM provides for kitchen equipment manufacturers like Alto-Shaam. Executive Chef and Regional Culinary Manager for Alto-Shaam Ryan Norman spoke to us briefly about the importance of conventions like NAFEM in the food service industry.

“It’s really good for us on a couple of different levels. So, you know, this is an opportunity for a lot of our dealer partners to come and actually see the gear [and] kind of kick the tires,” Norman said. “It also gives them an opportunity to bring their customers and show their customers what our product looks like before they might purchase it. You know, we make a lot of large cooking equipment. It’s not typically something that you might see in a dealer showroom. So, they either have to come to our test kitchen, or they can come to a show like this and see our entire product line under one roof. On the other side of it, we have a lot of our consultant partners come and we introduce our new product to them, kind of walk them through what we’re doing maybe a little different. It just gives us an opportunity to strengthen those relationships.”

Relationships are important for a good business, and so is quality. Alto-Shaam’s name and brand is definitely synonymous with quality: they’re an American, family-owned and operated company that builds all of their equipment in the USA, and that equipment is robust, heavy duty, and dependable. Alto-Shaam thrives on this quality.

You can watch the companion video to this blog post on our YouTube channel at the link below!

Mason Meyers
Mason Meyers, Editor

NAFEM 2019 – Advance Tabco

Welcome to the next installation of the Miller NAFEM blog series. This time, we’ll be focusing on the best fabricating manufacturer in the business: Advance Tabco.

Advance Tabco is a wonderful fabrication line that makes anything from wire shelving to bun pans to hand sinks and even floor troughs. Their wide range of products even stretches into other industries outside of foodservice; this includes plumbing, residential, and laboratory.  At this year’s NAFEM convention, they were showcasing their full line of food shields. Specifically, in the food shield line, they were focusing on their new convertible food shield. This exciting product can change any serve station from self-service to full-service in about 10 seconds with no tools.

Welcome to the next installation of the Miller NAFEM blog series. This time, we’ll be focusing on the best fabricating manufacturer in the business: Advance Tabco.

We stopped by Advance Tabco’s NAFEM booth and spoke with Vice President Al Alderman about NAFEM’s importance to the industry and the opportunities it provides factories like Advance Tabco.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for us to get to meet our customers that we talk to throughout the two-year period. In addition, it’s a great thing for us to bring a number of our internal people that don’t get to meet customers on a regular basis to have a direct interaction. For instance, here at this NAFEM I have several of my CAD operators, I have a factory manager, I have a number of other personnel that wouldn’t normally get out on a daily basis to meet with customers and they get to have those interactions.”

Advance Tabco is your one-stop shop for any and all of
your stainless and aluminum fabrication needs and Miller & Associates is
proud to rep such an innovative line.

You can watch the companion video to this blog post on our YouTube page at the link below!

Mason Meyers
Mason Meyers, Editor

NAFEM 2019 – Alegacy

In the foodservice industry three things are key: reliability, durability, and innovation. As it says on their website, these three things are very important to Alegacy and they have strived since their start in 1947 to be the best in all three categories. At this year’s NAFEM convention, Alegacy was showcasing a plethora of over 450 new products having to do with plastics, as well as a new line of chafers that will compare to their current line of U.S. made chafers. The Miller team stopped by Alegacy’s booth and spoke with sales director Les Palmer about the growth of their company and the benefits that come with being a U.S. manufacturer.

“As far as the company goes, last year was probably one of the best years in the history because of growth and because of things that are going on in the market with China and so forth like that,” Palmer said of the company. “Being a U.S. manufacturer we’re able to pick up a lot of new things we didn’t have access to because of pricing. The spreads are getting a lot less now between a U.S. product and an import product. So, basically, as our reps go out into the markets, they’re able to bring up the point that…before it was 7 – 11% now it’s 3%, would [the customer] rather go with categories that are higher in quality and pay that extra 3%. So, it has been a really good increase for that as well as our international business, because we sell in 42 different countries.”

Alegacy is one of the oldest members of NAFEM and they always have a big turnout at the show not only from their domestic reps and customers, but from their overseas reps as well. These outside reps have an opportunity with the NAFEM show to come and see Alegacy’s products and people in person, which they normally wouldn’t be able to do. Their reach gets larger and larger every year thanks to the opportunities that NAFEM provides.

Quality is very important to Alegacy as a premier small wares brand and it shows in the high-quality materials that they use to make their products. With Alegacy, customers will always get the best product at the best price and with the best durability. Customers can count on them to give their best and the team at Miller & Associates will be excited to see what they unveil at the next NAFEM show.

You can watch the companion video to this blog post on our YouTube page at the link below!

Mason Meyers
Mason Meyers, Editor

NAFEM 2019 – 3M

Hello, all and welcome to the first in a series of blog posts about the Miller & Associates family’s NAFEM booths from this year. The convention was a fun one this year and we just wanted to give everyone a look inside what was happening with each of our factories’ booths.
First up is 3M, who were celebrating their Reverse Osmosis system. The RO helps 3M’s customers adjust to the challenges presented by water quality in equipment like combi-ovens.  Not only does the RO help cut back on scale and corrosion, but in doing this it helps the equipment last longer, which means a lower cost in the long run for the customer.

NAFEM is a convention that brings the best in the industry together for a weekend of learning and showcasing the newest and greatest products. 3M Sales Executive Mickey Hess took a moment to talk to the Miller team about what a convention like NAFEM means for a factory like 3M.
“Well, NAFEM is a great event for us to get with the customers face to face and help them learn a little bit about us, but more importantly we can also learn about them and trends that may be happening or upcoming in the food service industry,” Hess said about the convention.
3M is a great brand that focuses on helping their customers get the best water quality in their equipment for the best value on filtration in the food service industry. Their motto is “Science Applied to Life” and we here at Miller & Associates believe that 3M stands behind that motto.
Each NAFEM blog post has a corresponding video on Miller & Associates’ YouTube page. You can watch 3M’s NAFEM video at the link below and look forward to the other NAFEM blog posts coming soon!

Mason Meyers
Mason Meyers, Editor

Nemco Announcement

Miller & Associates is proud to announce that we are now representing Nemco Food Equipment.

For the past 26 years, Nemco has been a proven leader and innovator of countertop foodservice equipment.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to represent Nemco. Their culture, their values, and their products match perfectly with Miller & Associates. We look forward to advancing Nemco’s presence in the Texas/Oklahoma market.”

Marketing Insight for the Food Service Industry

chrismiller8124

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Anyone can sell insurance, real estate, cars, etc. But why do they? When you define the “why”, you can start infusing that into all that you do.

We are constantly marketing ourselves, both personally and professionally – even if we are unaware, we are still doing so. This is why we need to be mindful and intentional about marketing to avoid others defining who we are and what we’re about. In acknowledging this, we can make the most of every opportunity we have to define who we are.

In an era where information, choices and alternate options are just a few clicks away, we must consistently be sending messages that compel others to stick with us. Those messages are not limited to words or esthetics – a cool logo is a fantastic start, but it doesn’t sell what you offer. Your passion, people, product, reputation and services are more visible and carry more marketing weight than any symbol or any website. Creating opportunities for your customers to succeed has a direct effect on your success.

So what does marketing success look like in the Food Service Industry?

In general, building marketing stature for a commodity type product can be difficult. This requires a greater emphasis on your services and your product. If your product is substandard and you can’t get it there on time, no marketing program can change that. Customers who buy commodity items from you are more than likely going to buy other products you sell – from somebody. Develop programs that create value for your customer to consider your entire product offering. Show the advantages they’ll have in areas such as logistics, purchasing, service and other methods your market may dictate.

But most products we sell are far beyond commodity products. Success demands a strategic plan to assure we are in the specifications, that we use our product knowledge to accurately quote projects, that our prices are competitive, that our relationships with all involved are second-to-none, that our products are on the jobsite when needed and that we have top-notch service after the sale. We constantly partner with our manufactures to develop programs and promotions that create exposure of their products. Some of the exposure is broad, such as website features or regional trade shows, while many are targeted to specific industries or customers – taking advantage of current market conditions and construction opportunities.

Miller & Associates represents many manufacturers in the Texas and Oklahoma region that produce some of the most respected, innovative and reliable products in the food service industry. It’s satisfying to walk into an establishment that has our products, knowing not only has our manufacture succeeded, but every person that works with that product is now setup for success as well. That’s the “why” behind what we do at Miller & Associates.