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Italian Equipment Innovation!

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Angelo Po, the 90 year old Italian company, supplier to kitchens across the globe, entered India in 2005. Rapid growth in the country’s HoReCa sector marked the company’s decision to set-up a base in 2011. , Country Manager (India), Angelo Po, elaborates on the brand’s penetration, , and future plans

Tell us about your initial years in India.

Angelo Po entered the Indian market in 2005 and the first project undertaken by the company was for The Oberoi in Mumbai. During that time, Angelo Po products were available through a dealer network, but six years later, the company opened its own office at DLF Towers, Jasola in New Delhi. When the market economics began to change dynamically from 2005 to the year 2011, it forced the company to include India into its growth plans. It set up its own operations to assist consultants, dealers and clients to choose from its wide range of cooking equipment, refrigerators, combiovens and a host of related equipments.

What are your observations of India’s foodservice industry in recent years?

The Indian foodservice Industry has taken a leap forward in the last decade and will continue to grow for the next 15 to 20 years. There is tremendous unexplored potential in the Indian market, despite all odds. The globalisation of economy across the world has forced our market out of hibernation mode. Exposure of our chefs to the international arena has created a huge demand for professional catering equipments, and thereby,  gradually replacing methods of cooking. The fear among a lot of kitchen staff of  losing their jobs due to modern, high tech kitchen equipment has decreased, and the benefits of adopting modern cooking equipments have been better understood by them. They now understand that the New Age equipments will actually ease their workload.

How is the Indian foodservice market different from other evolved markets as regards using professional kitchen equipment?

We are at the adolescent stage as compared to other evolved markets in terms of using cooking equipments. For instance, everywhere outside India, restaurants will not get a license to operate unless they have a dishwasher installed in their kitchens. But in our market, which is still largely unorganised, manual cleaning is done and preferred. This is where client education is important, and persuading them that ‘value for money’ does not always mean buying cheap products/equipments for kitchen operations. So, we still have a long way to go.

What are Anjelo Po’s largest selling equipments in India?

Modular cooking range and ovens are the most popular equipments in the Indian market; they contribute 50 percent of the revenue; followed by our refrigerators, blast chillers, freezers, refrigerated displays, pizza range, and pastry refrigeration range, which generate 35 percent sales revenue. The remaining 15 percent is contributed by the preparation range, self-service equipments, dishwashers, exhaust systems, salad bars and displays.

The foodservice segment generates 50 percent revenue; institutions contribute 35 percent and the catering segment 16 percent. There is also an emerging list of potential clients such as temples, schools, offices, malls, and cinema halls. Our penetration is growing in phases from north to west, followed by the south, and now even the north east is showing great promise for our brand.

The list of some of our important clients include,The Oberoi, ITC Group, The Lalit, and Carlson Group.

What safety systems and quality standards do you have in place?

We adhere to international safety standards and all our equipments have safety alarms and shut down facility in case of any failure. We comply with all European standards and adhere to various certifications such as CE, CSA, UL, NSF, CSQ-ISO 9001, CSQ-EC-ISO14001, CSQA, AGA, WRAS, SOA, and FCSI. As per our safety guidelines, no equipment is delivered without checking the type of gas or electricity available in the country we are supplying to, and we always keep the destination country or region’s safety regulations in mind.

Our manufacturing base is only in Italy as we want to quality control our production standards, even though we have an office in China, where practically half the world has manufacturing facilities. Customer training is an important aspect; we organise live demos of our equipments, and in case of a project, our corporate chef trains the client’s team.

Our distribution network is divided across all the four regions, with two distributors in each. There are 15 to 20 dealers dedicated to project sales, and a separate set of service dealers provides maintenance and service across the country, even to our clients in Nepal and Bhutan. We hold training camps for them across India, organise visits for them to installation sites, and training at our factories in Italy.

What is your marketing ?

Angelo Po’s equipment range starts from Rs 1,50,000 to 25,00,000 for a single piece of equipment. Like many other players, we organise demos, road shows, events, and print media advertisements. We have gone a step forward and tied up with a few restaurants across India, whereby we lend/loan them our combi-ovens for a specific period, and in turn, take our prospective client for a live demo to those restaurants. This arrangement  enables us to conduct live demos in several cities simultaneously, on any given date.

What challenges has your brand faced in the Indian market?

There are many challenges but with the every passing day and increase in awareness,  it is becoming easy to overcome these challenges. Some of these are: chefs’ unwillingness to adopt a new technology or equipment; unexplained phobia of operational staff; purchase departments in most cases take the equipment buying decisions purely on financial negotiation/considerations rather than on the quality aspect; price war created by a lot of industry players to increase volume sales, which is not helping anyone – not even those who have started it!

What are your future plans?

As a part of our expansion drive we will be launching new models of combi ovens, Monolithe range and blast freezers in the next six months. As regards our sales target, last year we had planned a target of 600,000 Euros turnover and achieved 500,000 Euros, which is quite reasonable. In the coming 5 years we plan to achieve 1500,000 Euros, with current year’s target of 700,000 Euros.

Also, we have recently expanded our sales and service network to other markets such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. So we will focus on further leveraging these new markets.