Some restaurant owners have been duped into believing that the way to buy equipment cheaply is on the Internet. However, E&A Restaurant Supply, a New Jersey based equipment and supply dealer, subscribes to a very different theory.
“There’s no question that in the height of the recession of ‘08-09, survival for many restaurants was the priority,” noted Joel Green, E&A’s Vice President. “Today, we spend the first part of every day fielding questions from foodservice operators who tried to save a few bucks by buying on the net.”
The E&A approach has always been to explain and source solutions for their customers. “Today’s owners and operators have been looking at the cost of operations,” added Green. “How much gas and electric will it use? How much to service all of that comes into play. The name of the game today is total cost of ownership.”
The Plainfield based company celebrated their 85th year in NJ and also has recognized what led to its selection as the New Jersey Restaurant Association’s selection as dealer of the year on a number of occasions over the past three decades. “If a stove blows up on a Friday, they know that E&A has it in stock, run down there, get help with the right one to buy and walk out the door with it.”
The E&A team knows that restaurants cannot find the expertise they need on the Internet. “Customers tell me its $400 cheaper on-line,” Green pointed out. “People constantly order the wrong stuff on-line. They get it in the wrong voltage or gas. They get a piece that’s too big. It won’t fit in the right space. It doesn’t comply with the code compliance in their towns. That’s where they make mistakes – and we’re talking costly mistakes – on a day-to-day basis.”
The unique ability to accomplish that comes from the state of the industry E&A’s facility. “We have a 100,000 square foot warehouse in Plainfield within minutes of our customers,” Green added. For the Green family, guided by industry icons Al and wife Bobbi and now son Joel and daughter Lori, being able to centralize everything with warehousing in one location has streamlined the award winning operation.
“We’ve had people working here for over 30 years. You can’t find that type of experience out there on the street. We started with people working in the warehouse, from drivers on the truck and now they’re up in sales,” Green stated. “So they know how to put the new equipment together. They know what they’re talking about between brand A, brand Z, brand D, and what works best for each restaurant.
Service-wise, support-wise, we’ve been around for over 85 years. But even more important than that is E&A’s relationship with manufacturers and people in the service departments. “Sometimes, when a customer calls for service, we just call up a certain person directly in the manufacturer’s service department. They’ve known us for ages, and we can walk through a problem, and either walk them through it over the phone, or get a hold of somebody and usually get them there either the same day or the next day,” Green maintained. “Even if it’s out of warranty, we have such relationships with the manufacturers or the service agents that we can have them go in there, work out an issue, get the customer back up and running and everybody’s happy at the end of the day.”
E&A is also keenly aware of the challenges that a new minimum wage is having on the P&L of its customers. “We also know that with the right selection of equipment technology that fewer people are needed to meet the needs of large volume cooking. They’re looking at these ovens. They’re finding out that, hey guess what, if I get a blast chiller shock freezer in here, I can do all my cooking on Monday and Tuesday, be relaxed and maybe re-therm meals for dinner rushes on the weekend,” Green explained. E&A also helps restaurants factory-test their recipes, so they can fine-tune equipment on their pre-programmed needs.
E&A also recognizes that many of it customers have adopted green and sustainable agendas. “They’ve completely changed the way fried foods are put out on the market now. The right filtration system can extend the life of their oil to about five to seven days instead of one day on five gallons of oil. And the food tastes a thousand times better, because we’re actually cooking it in a real fat content fryer,” Green confided. “We don’t break down the fat content in the oil. It lasts longer, and it’s going to produce the food a lot better.” Not only does this make kitchens more efficient, it actually has an impact on the flavor profile restaurants may be trying to prepare consistently. “It’s the little things like that that make a big difference in the total cost of ownership.”
This ability to be an industry leader in the sourcing of the right equipment solutions has also positioned E&A as a “go-to” resource for complete restaurant design and build. E&A has been the designing dealer of choice for a number of the Metro area’s most distinguished independent restaurants and emerging chains including the nine unit, Nanoosh Mediterranean concept that has expanded from Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center to Boston. With today’s code requirements, E&A can help restaurants save money by laying out all the specs for restaurants to meet the codes and minimize costly architectural expenses.
A reputable leader in the field, E&A has not wavered from its original formula. They know they can always come to us. When they need it, they need it now. When people come in and say to us, We’re looking for a stove, “I say I’m here to educate you on the pieces of equipment that are available to you,” Green concluded. “Our job is to supply a solution to your needs, and it blows people away when you tell them that. Nothing helps the customer unless we solve their issue, earn their trust and provide the best customer service experience in the industry.