In what sounds like a Hollywood script, in 1948 three brothers coming out of the military service vowed to never again peel another potato. Those brothers created the first potato-peeling machine and with it a company was born. Univex has long been amongst the nation’s favorite manufacturer and distributor for mixers, slicers and prep equipment.
“The first order the brothers received was placed by a military base requesting 500 of their potato peeling machines,” Daniel Tsiakos, the company’s Vice President of Marketing explained. “They only had three so they pulled friends and family together to deliver that first order. We could say the rest is history.” Now with “6 or 7 sister factories in Italy and across Europe”, Univex is set to bring their exciting portfolio of expanded pizza solutions to the Atlantic City Pizza and Pasta event.
While falling in a competitive marketplace, Univex’s bakery and pizza line certainly does succeed in setting itself apart from the competition. “Five or six years ago when the company changed management, that’s when we started modernizing things a bit. We tapped into the pizza and bakery market by developing a line of products for mixing,” Tsiakos added. Very quickly, Univex realized it was only natural to continue to develop innovative products for working with the dough itself. From there they went on creating more and more pizza-specific equipment, which are unique to Univex.
“In 2008, while high-end restaurants were struggling due to the economic slump, the enthusiasm for pizza, burgers and fast-casual dining exploded. People still wanted to eat out and that was what was affordable.” As such, increasing demand for quality pizza-making equipment meant that Univex started supplying a wide diversity of businesses, from the ‘mom and pop’ sized restaurant and neighborhood cafe, all the way to large supermarkets and industrial companies. Whether their clients are into bakery or pizza making, Univex can provide them with a variety of equipment helping them achieve the very best results down the whole production line. “Mixing, dividing, shaping, spinning. It’s all there, we do it all.”
While offering standard bakery and pizza equipment, Univex also prides themselves in their range of specialty items. Their DR 11/14-countertop divider, for instance, is really unique. It’s a huge labor and time saver, which, in a world where minimum wage is set at $15 per hour, it also works out to be a huge money saving tool. With most specialty items coming direct from Italy, products such as the DR 11/14-countertop divider and the pizza spinner are amongst the only of their kind currently on the market.
With growing interest in artisan foods, hand-tossed pizza is growing in popularity. While most establishments would love to offer the latter, it is nonetheless a costly and difficult thing to do. “By the time you’ve trained someone to toss the dough, they’re ready to move on,” points out Tsiakos before adding: “That’s why we designed a piece of equipment which would consistently yield results equivalent to hand-tossed pizza; production is no longer held hostage by labor turnover.”
The most exciting product in the line however might just be the launch of the Univex pizza oven: “Our stone hearth series pizza oven is entirely hand built from the ground up. Every brick is laid in segments so that it can be shipped whole or in parts and assembled on site.” Where most ovens on the market have heating chambers made of concrete, the Univex stone hearth series brick oven is built out of “high-aluminum content manmade refractory brick which are especially designed to retain and reflect heat evenly.” While concrete is cheaper to use, it also “heats up and cools down real quick, which creates huge temperature swings.” Indeed, not the ideal when making pizzas. With its eight insulation layers and a bottom stone six inches thick, the Univex ovens “retain their heat much better and for longer throughout the course of the day, which allows for a more consistent bake.” Tsaikos then concludes: “It’s a really simple oven but it’s really well built and can last pretty much a lifetime.”
In addition to the high quality pizza oven and prep specialty equipment, Univex has also developed a range of ergonomically friendly products for those establishments with larger production capacity needs. “Sometimes, a single batch can yield more than 400 pounds of dough.” Simple tasks such as lifting the dough out of the mixing bowl can thus suddenly become very physically demanding and time-consuming jobs. You’ve got people, which are mixing and processing multiple batches every single day. That’s when you have to start considering who’s handling it all and how to make the job easier for them.” Pro Bowl, for example, is one such item which helps lift the bowl from the mixing stand and drop the dough onto the working surface. It saves time and money and avoids excessive physical strain.
As regular vendors at Las Vegas’ International Pizza Expo, Univex is now set to appear at Atlantic City’s Pizza and Pasta event. “Pizza is a great segment for us so we’re excited to see what’s happening a bit more locally in the pizza world.” With such a comprehensive portfolio of expanded pizza solutions in hand, Univex is set to become one of the industry’s leading manufacturer and suppliers. “You just can’t get by anymore, selling average pizza,” concluded Tsiakos.
To learn more about Univex, please visit their website.