In late April 2021, Meghan Daro, VP Consultant Services at Middleby hosted a tour of the Middleby Innovation Kitchens (MIK) with nearly 20 reps. Among them was Kevin Eaton from Eaton Marketing, a manufacturers’ rep from Clearwater, Fla. “It’s definitely a state-of-the-art facility,” says Eaton. He calls the MIK a game-changer, from the education you can get on the equipment and better understanding their applications, and then the hands-on experience you can get with the equipment. “That’s something you can’t do over a Zoom meeting.”
Eaton sees the MIK as an amazing place to bring customers. In fact, the week before the event he brought a client to the MIK to bake cookies. They were able to test cooking on four different ovens from two different brands— in one facility — knocking out the testing and making a decision in a single day.
“It’s an incredible ‘wow’ factor,” says Eaton.
Katherine Young from Elevation Foodservice Reps out of Denver, Colo. agrees. “To be able to come to see the kitchens, spend a day here cooking, interacting with their chefs, customer chefs, dealers – it’s priceless. We’ve been zoomed-out for so long that being able to see it, touch it, be part of it in this facility is just amazing.”
Young can’t wait to bring customers to the MIK, specifically mentioning wanting to bring a top chain to discover solutions for process and implementation challenges. “At the MIK you can work with everything from prep, to cooking, to preservation of product. I can’t say it enough – this is a destination.”
In another area, Ariel Barbouth, Chief Empanada Officer and Founder of Nuchas was testing some recipes on equipment. Barbouth launched Nuchas in 2009, bringing gourmet and other hand-held food to the mainstream.
Barbouth was visiting the MIK to test a kettle and an oven in order to produce better consistency, yields, and reduce cooking time. He worked with Chef Jason to test three different fillings and found that the equipment could reduce the cooking time from four hours to just one. For an operator who has several locations, has a manufacturing facility for a wholesale and a direct-to-consumer business, those time savings translate into a stronger, more profitable business.
“You really have all the solutions here,” says Barbouth. “We have been able to improve our skills and are getting to know more of the Middleby brands for a long-term relationship.”
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