Way back in the fall of 2017, when the upcoming IRFSNY Show was imminent, the exhibiting dealers were all asking their factory reps for new ideas as to what to display in their respective booths in March of 2018. As perplexing as the annual question was, a clear direction was about to take shape, per the suggestion of the contract manager of a leading kitchen equipment and supplies dealership.
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been in the trade for a while, that shows consume multiple resources; this one – being held at the Javits Center – was certainly going to be no exception. How could funding, staffing, collaterals, and sample equipment all be assembled to support the annual exposition?
You probably are also aware that manufacturers’ representatives serve many masters, advocating for end-users, consultants, and dealer clients as well as being charged with representing the various interests of their factory principals. This business model calls for the synergy between multiple disparate products of which a rep is tasked with marketing to their territory.
Our agency, then having been granted exclusive rights to many of the Middleby Corporation’s brands fated us to display multiple ventless and ductless appliance solutions at the show that year. We have since taken on the responsibility for several other sister manufacturers playing in this arena.
A variety of technologies was assembled and displayed and demonstrated at the event, and success ensued! It was so well-received, that the 2019 IRFSNY show saw us reprising that same theme yet again, garnering similar excellent results.
Of the many lessons learned, one stood out from all the others: Ventless & Ductless decouples operators from landlords.
It was clear that searching for vented spaces was no longer going to be the norm for operators. They could safely, effortlessly, and expeditiously be up and running in any available real estate, whether it had existing hoods or not. All of this is in addition to the myriad tax advantages that ventless afford the end-user.
At each of the succeeding shows, many leading restaurateurs stopped by our area to expound upon and reinforce this new reality (as well as to inquire about specific hardware solutions for their unique requirements).
As one distributor sales rep put it:
“Got a garage?”
“Got a restaurant!”
What was once thought of as a marginal product, suitable only for non-traditional venues was now disrupting the norms and becoming the mainstream.
From bars to bowling alleys, kiosks in hospitals, airports and arenas, transportation hubs, office towers, residential high-rises, the corner deli, the chain restaurant and coffee shop, as well as the local school and grocery store, ventless cooking was taking over.
There are several leading technologies for going ventless including catalytic converters and hepa-filtration systems. Each has its place in the individual design aspects of a space. If you are considering going ductless, make sure that you understand which (or which combination) is the most appropriate for speed of service, agency approvals, sanitation, heat and odor considerations, power consumption and other objective, as well as subjective criteria.
Test it out. Make sure the final product is up to your standards. Ask about service and parts.
The future of kitchens is now. When will you be embracing progress?