Among the highlights of the return of the NRA-National Restaurant Association Show late this month, will be a celebration of a long-time exhibitor’s special anniversary. Hobart was founded in 1897 and this year marks the company’s 125th anniversary of bringing innovative cooking, dishwashing, food preparation, weighing and wrapping equipment to the foodservice and food retail industry.
From the first-ever introduction of motorized mixers, coffee grinders and dishwashers in the late 1800s and early 1900s to the advanced, WiFi-enabled devices of today, Hobart continues its commitment and focus on delivering industry-leading technology solutions to support the needs of commercial and institutional kitchens, groceries, bakeries, and delis worldwide. That innovation also includes a priority of bring green and sustainable solutions to the industry’s it serves. With that in mind, since 2008, Hobart has been an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year.
“Reaching a milestone of 125 years in business is more than just celebrating our history,” says Todd Blair, Director of Marketing. “It’s about using that foundation to look to the future—to continue offering unmatched equipment technology that always keeps our customers and their needs top of mind. Hobart wants to empower them to do what they love most—create great food for great people.”
In recognition of the anniversary and to celebrate its customers and community, Hobart plans several activities throughout the year—all focused on the theme “We Innovate. You Create.” These include a variety of social media activities, as well as a Hobart 125th anniversary celebration giveaway—details of the latter will be announced in May. Information will also be available at www.hobartcorp.com/125-years.
This special anniversary year has not been without its challenges. “Supply chain disruptions continue to remain a challenge for manufacturers, making it difficult or delaying access to various resources, materials, parts, components, etc.,” Blair noted. “As a result, we’re all experiencing longer lead times, increased demand, and increased costs.”
As with many segments of the industry, Hobart has carefully monitored the growth of takeout and delivery.
“Off-premise sales certainly increased throughout the pandemic; however, demand for on-premise dining seems to be coming back strong as things have been opening up, Blair observed. Regardless, we anticipate off-premise concepts will continue to remain popular. Ghost kitchens and mobile kitchen concepts will likely remain popular and experience continued evolution. In these smaller, modular kitchen spaces, smaller footprint, multi-functional equipment offers more flexibility. We’ve also experienced an increase in the need for larger refrigeration equipment at retailers, where cold products need to be stored up front to support curb-side pick-up.”
Changes in the needs of the nation’s dealers and their end user operators led to the introduction of Hobart’s highly anticipated Centerline series in 2019. “With Centerline, Hobart and Traulsen recognized a need in the marketplace where we have not historically offered a solution,” Blair continued. “Hobart and Traulsen are known for their premium, heavy-duty products; however, there is a large number of operators that don’t require the advanced performance capabilities and technologies associated with Hobart and Traulsen’s premium line. For these operators, mid-tier solutions like Centerline are better suited for their business. Although there are many product and brand options in the mid-tier space, few offer an extensive line of equipment, across food preparation, refrigeration, dishwashing, etc. Additionally, with the resources and expertise of Hobart and Traulsen, we set out to deliver a better mid-tier product. Our mission for our customers has always been to deliver the best product in its category. Through rigorous product testing, we feel very confident in the quality and reliability of Centerline products in the mid-tier space. And, we believe customers will appreciate the price.”
The latest addition to the Centerline series: our door-type dish machines, refrigerators, prep tables and blast chiller will make their NRA Show debut this month. The new Centerline by Hobart door type commercial dishwasher is perfect for moderate daily use and features a simple, durable design to meet the demands of smaller operations and budgets. The dish machine can also fit specific kitchen needs with a choice of either a high-temperature (CDH) or a chemical-sanitizing (CDL) model (CDL model includes easy-to-read chemical indicators and chemical pumps). The units can be configured for corner or pass-through operation. Hobart’s Centerline Door Type machines (CDH, CDL) in addition to the undercounter units (CUH, CUL) will be featured at the NRA event.
Centerline™ by Traulsen also is introducing Reach-In Refrigerators/ Freezers, Prep Tables, Compact Undercounter Refrigerators/ Freezers and Reach-In and Undercounter Blast Chillers. The new product line combines quality, simplicity, and reliability to provide the best possible value for budget-conscious operators.
The company plans to honor its most valuable asset—its employees—at a summer celebration event at the Hobart headquarters in Troy, Ohio. In turn, employees will participate in a Give-Back Day to support the Troy community, which has been a significant part of the company’s legacy and is a valued part of its future. Employees plan to volunteer time at local independent grocers and restaurants to show their appreciation and engage the community in the 125th anniversary celebration.
With feedback from NRA dealer and end-user operator visitors, Blair and his team will set their sights on the return of the annual NAFEM Show in early ’23. “At the NAFEM show, in addition to our standard booths, we have plans for a booth that features an institutional (non-commercial) kitchen space on one side and a retail space on the other. Each space will showcase the breadth of our ITW Food Equipment Group offering across brands, in the context of the respective space. In typical fashion, we’ll surely have new products and technologies on display in our booths, many of which I’m not yet able to speak about simply because they are currently in development.”
Technology has been a key to the continued growth of Hobart. “We will be showcasing at NRA Show and NAFEM our vision for connected devices through our new SmartConnect365 suite of apps,” Blair said. “The first of which that has been brought to market is our Hobart app for new WiFi-enabled dishwashers. The apps for cooking and refrigeration products will begin to roll-out soon. These will certainly evolve and become more advanced over time.”
Hobart is backed by a nationwide network of 1,500 factory-trained service technicians, that are always nearby to install, maintain and service equipment for the restaurant, foodservice and retail professional.
Hobart’s complete portfolio of offerings can be viewed in booth 3693 at this month’s annual NRA Show slated for May 21st through May 24th at Chicago’s McCormick Convention Center.
To learn more about the Hobart, visit their website.