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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Food preparation is arguably the most important part of the food service process. Improper food preparation could lead to uneven portions, uneven cooking throughout a dish or, on the more serious side of things, food-born illnesses creeping their way into the dishes that are being served to the customer. Food prep can also be dangerous. If you’re not careful (like I tend not to be), you can end up hurting yourself; chopping off a finger is not good for your health or the food you are preparing. Nemco Food Equipment aims to solve all the problems you may have with food prep while making it fun and convenient.
Nemco’s beginnings date back to 1976, when Earl Neidhart and his sons Ed and Neil established a small machine shop in Hicksville, Ohio, naming it NEMCO as an acronym for Neidhart Engineering and Manufacturing Company. Since then they have expanded into a national food prep equipment supplier, with equipment ranging from a simple food slicer up to more complex machinery like shrimp cutters/deveiners and cleaning wells. The people at Nemco are known for being innovators for new food prep equipment solutions that make labor intensive preparation faster and more cost efficient; creating innovative solutions such as the spiral fry cutter in their early days and helping out greatly in markets like c-stores, offering hot dog rollers, bun warmers, food merchandisers, and even waffle makers.
Nemco looks out for their customers through every step of the purchasing process and even beyond. Before any piece of equipment even leaves the factory, specialists perform a 9-Point Resolute Inspection for Performance, Reliability, Fit & Finish. This includes making sure that all knobs, handles and pins are firmly in place, that the blade integrity is good (meaning no misalignment, no damage, etc.), and even down to the smallest cosmetic detail. If any problem arises, assembly team workers have the right to stop the line until all issues are resolved. Even post-purchase, Nemco continues to be a leader in customer service and post-purchase help. Miller & Associates’ Houston area sales rep Daniel Bonilla talks about the quality of Nemco’s customer service team.
“Although many other companies compete with Nemco’s unique products, many end users continue to choose Nemco for their proven track record on equipment and customer service. Customer service goes well beyond simply delivering on a promise. After the fact, the team at Nemco strives in an ongoing process of continuous improvement to maximize their satisfaction in savings and maximization in customer satisfaction and return on investment.”
Even today, Nemco continues to release new products that innovate and help the everyday end user save money and time, having just unveiled a new line of food processers at the NAFEM show in early February. Whatever your food prep needs may be, Nemco has your back
Here at Miller & Associates we represent many different kitchen equipment manufacturers that offer a wide variety of foodservice products, whether that be equipment for cooking, preparing, displaying, seating or, most recently, vending [see our blog on Sally the Salad Robot]. In 2014 we started representing Grindmaster-Cecilware, adding beverage dispensing to that long list. Grindmaster-Cecilware is one of our finest lines that specializes in beverage machines and beverage dispensing systems: including coffee grinders, coffee and tea brewers, urns and many kinds of frozen and non-frozen beverage dispensers and Bubblers. They also offer a complementary foodservice equipment line with fryers, grills and griddles.
GMCW began as four separate companies: Grindmaster Corporation, Cecilware, Crathco LTD, and American Metal Ware. Grindmaster acquired Crathco in the 80s and American Metal Ware in the 90s, then finally in 2009 Cecilware and Grindmaster merged into GMCW and started selling their quality products all as a part of the same catalogue. Over the years all four companies made great strides in innovating hot and cold beverage machines, namely Cecilware’s introduction of the world’s first fully automatic coffee urn and Crathco’s creation of the Bubbler, both machines which are still largely used in the foodservice industry today.
GMCW is known for innovation, with products like their Simplicity Bubblers which is one of their highest selling pieces of equipment, and continues to innovate every year. Just within the past few years GMCW has introduced the Pony line of espresso machines and the Radiance line of powdered cappuccino dispensers. The Pony espresso machine uses K-Cup like pods to give a fast, super-automated cup of espresso that requires little training of the employee using the machine. The Radiance powdered cappuccino dispensers guarantee a consistent product and is equipped with Wi-Fi, which gives it the ability to report real-time usage data to the end user allowing them to adjust their inventory to the demand of the customer. Miller & Associates sales representative JT Thompson talks about the Radiance line and how it can help end users save money and please their customers.
“A lot of [GMCW’s] equipment aligns really well with C-Store accounts, and the Radiance line can track inventory and tell you exactly how many beverages have been dispensed and at what size. So that should tell the C-Store owner when he checks his receipts at the end of the day, he should know exactly how many large, small, medium drinks were sold and what flavors were utilized. He should have those receipts. So that helps them with their inventory purchasing and stuff like that.”
In selling so many products, GMCW has a lot of competition from many different companies. Manufacturers like Bunn, Stoelting, and Taylor are all strong competitors in the coffee, frozen, and refrigerated beverage equipment market. However, GMCW’s quality and price point put them just a step above the rest. Thompson also talks about the quality of GMCW’s tech services and how that also puts them at the top.
“The technical side of it, the tech service group there at Grindmaster, they do a very good job with after-the-sale service. Grindmaster offers a two-year parts & labor warranty and with a majority of the equipment they have there’s a five-year warranty on the compressor, and that’s far and above what the industry average is.”
GMCW continues to think of new products and new innovations to bring to the market. One of the newest items from GMCW is the PrecisionBrew combination coffee and tea brewer, which allows users to brew both tea and coffee in the same piece of equipment. From coffee brewers to fryers, super-automatic espresso machines to Simplicity Bubblers, GMCW does it and does it well.
Convection ovens have been used in restaurant kitchens, hospital kitchens and many other locations since the early 50s and traditional static ovens were being used even before that. Combis came about in the 60s to help end users with the convenience of having the capability to use steam heat and dry, convection heat in the same piece of equipment. Other types of ovens exist as well (microwaves, conveyors, etc.), but there hasn’t been a major innovation in the industry in about 50 years. Thanks to the Vector Multi-Cook Oven from Alto-Shaam, that is no longer the case.
The Vector oven, unveiled by Alto-Shaam in 2017, works differently than any other oven that’s been on the market before. First, the Vector can have up to four individually sealed cooking chambers which can all be set to different temps, fan speeds, and cook times, which gives users the ability to cook four different food items simultaneously without any waiting or flavor transfer between products. Users can cook salmon, chicken, biscuits, and cookies all at the same time and not have to worry about their cookies tasting “fishy.” Also, each chamber on the Vector can be set within a 100-degree difference of the adjacent chambers. The bottom chamber could cook at 350 and the next chamber up could cook at 450 with no problem. Second, the Vector uses new Structured Air Technology, which allows for a more efficient heat exchange during the cook resulting in a cleaner, more even cook of any product you put into it. To go into a little more detail, a fan at the back of each chamber splits the air between the top and bottom of the chamber, which is then pushed through a plenum (which is what is used in conveyor ovens to create the impinged air that cooks the food). Where the Vector differs from a conveyor oven is in the design of the plenum. While a conveyor oven’s air is pushed through holes that are randomly scattered across the plenum and it cooks the food while the food slowly moves through the oven, which sometimes results in the food having darker spots on its surfaces, the Vector’s air is pushed through a patterned series of dots and dashes so that the food gets evenly cooked throughout and spotting is avoided altogether.
The fan that is blowing this air through the chamber serves a dual purpose in the sense that it is also pulling the air back as well. This keeps the heat inside the oven and guarantees that not only is the oven’s door safe to touch from the outside, but also that the heat does not escape the oven when the door is opened to pull product out/put product in. If the door is open for a little longer than normal, the Vector will automatically add the time needed to compensate for the lost heat. Another perk of the Vector is that the half size model is ventless, meaning it does not need to be placed underneath a vent hood. If you’ve ever had to purchase a hood, then you’ll know why this is a plus.
One of the biggest advantages of the Vector is that it cuts total cook time down exponentially. Miller & Associates’ Culinary Training Chef Tug Toler sheds some light on this.
“We call [the Vector] a speed oven, but it’s not a speed oven in a sense of microwave-assistance like some others. This is really a throughput speed. If you’re cooking just biscuits and it’s all the same temperature…cooking four pans of biscuits will still be 16 and a half minutes whether it’s one pan or four pans. In a convection oven, you put in one pan for 16 and a half minutes or so, but by that fourth pan it’s not 16 and a half minutes anymore, it’s more like 21 and they’re having to open the oven and rotate and touch the product. They’re having to put way more attention to it. With the Vector, you put it all in and wait until it beeps.”
While other factories make ovens that could be considered competitors to the Vector, such as TurboChef’s Double Batch or Ovention’s MiLO, they are not necessarily comparable to the Vector. Toler explains why the Vector is a preferable alternative to other speed-type ovens.
“There are competitors out there, but they’re kind of their own thing,” Toler said. “There’s fewer moving parts in the Vector [compared to it’s competitors]. There’s a fan and a heat exchanger for each chamber…and really that’s it. There’s also one control panel for the whole oven and it is easy to use. If you have a smartphone you can use this.”
Dealers and end users who purchase the Vector also have the bonus of Alto-Shaam’s large network of training chefs and culinary support specialists. Each territory has at least one Alto-Shaam certified chef that is available to help in training and setting up the Vector (as well as Alto-Shaam’s many other products).
No stranger to culinary innovation, Alto-Shaam started from humble beginnings in the early 50s. Founder Jerry Maahs was running a fried chicken business in Wisconsin that did home delivery. After a mishap with a warmer that led to a car fire during a delivery, Maahs decided that there needed to be a safer way to transport the food. This idea led to the creation of Alto-Shaam’s patented Halo Heat technology which hurled them into the food equipment industry. Over 50 years later Alto-Shaam continues to innovate and be a top contender in the food service world. And with rumors of even more ground-breaking equipment on the way, the Vector will be far from the last new-and-improved product Alto-Shaam has to offer. Until said products grace the market, the Vector will continue to be the latest and greatest in cooking innovation.
Imagine never having to worry if the sneeze guard on the salad bar stopped the germs from reaching your ingredients. Imagine never having to wonder how long a salad has been sitting on the shelf in a convenience store. Sally the Salad-Making Robot, Miller & Associates’ newest product line from Chowbotics, takes all those worries away. She’s not just the newest development in food service technology, she’s revolutionizing the way people look at the food service industry.
Soon to start appearing in many airports, office break rooms, convenience stores and more, Sally fixes many of the problems with your average self-serve salad bar station. She dispenses over 100 of the freshest salad ingredients and over 20 of the most popular salad dressings, giving users more options and customization and variety than the alternative. Sally can even do grain-based bowls with ingredients like quinoa and wild rice, so customers looking for something outside of the regular garden-green salad have an option as well. All these options may seem overwhelming, but not to fear, operators can preset recipes so that customers can quickly find the salad they’re looking for and tell Sally to make it with the touch of a button. Sally also has refrigerated chambers for each ingredient and dispenses ingredients by weight, allowing for a more efficient storage system that guarantees fresher ingredients and to cut down on food waste and food cost. Sally doesn’t limit herself to the self-serve market, either. Jeff Griffiths, President and co-owner of Miller & Associates, explains how Sally could also help the restaurant industry by cutting down the interaction between human hands and the food before it reaches the customer.
“[If you] preprogram your menu salads…Sally will make those salads instead of a human. So you can have your server go back into the kitchen to drop an order, and when that server walks by Sally, she or he hits ‘chicken Caesar salad,’ Sally makes the salad, the server delivers it with the food and the kitchen has never touched it.”
Sally also helps businesses cut down on labor costs and helps save on food purchasing. Due to the nature of how Sally works, businesses spend a lot less time and man-hours on keeping up their salad stations. The only labor that goes into Sally is prepping the ingredients and keeping her stocked, which won’t be a problem because Sally can dispense 50 entrée sized salads before needing to be refilled. Food cost will always be the same with Sally since she allows operators to set how much of each ingredient she dispenses at one time.
“Let’s say all of a sudden there’s a huge run on carrots and carrots become three times as expensive as they are now,” Griffiths said giving an example. “You could go in and adjust that to be a third of the amount of carrots. It’s a great tool for managing your food costs with extreme accuracy.”
Sally and the technology that exists within her is all made possible thanks to Chowbotics and their founder/CEO, Deepak Sekar. Sekar, who has a doctorate in electronics and computer engineering, decided to create Chowbotics in September 2014 after realizing that food-service technology could help people save time in their weekday; during a time when things are already busy and rushed, Sekar didn’t want himself or others to have to worry about spending even more time worrying about their food. In the time since Chowbotics’ inception, Sekar and his team have worked on the tech of Sally, making sure she would be ready for market when they decided to put her on sale this year.
Chowbotics isn’t just going to stop at Sally, though. Coming sometime soon Chowbotics also plans to unveil a breakfast making robot that will be able to make custom breakfast bowls with ingredients like quinoa, fruit, yogurt and many more. This is just the beginning of the food-service technology revolution that Chowbotics has kicked into gear. In the meantime, until the unnamed breakfast-bot is revealed, Sally is here to make your salad and make your day.
Preview Sally the Salad Robot with Chef Charlie Ayers.