Spotlight on Unox UK: FEA's newest member

The FEA asked Scott Duncan, managing director of Unox UK, to chat with us about becoming a part of our association.

1. Tell us about how your business got started.
The global Unox business was started in 1990 by our President Mr Enrico Franzolin. At that stage, we entered the market with a product designed to bake frozen bread and frozen croissants without proofing. Thanks to Air.Maxi™, our innovative technology which guarantees uniform air diffusion using multiple fans, Unox immediately established itself as a market leader. Unox have now been in the UK for 16 years and in late 2019 we become a fully owned direct trading subsidiary of Unox SpA.

2. What do you love most about the foodservice equipment industry?
One of the most important philosophies of Unox is to share the “Taste of Success”. We want everyone to be successful; that means our customers, our partners, our suppliers, our dealers and anyone else involved with the Unox family.

I’ve worked in the foodservice equipment industry for a long time and I love the people within it. At Unox, we love the reward of helping an individual or a company with equipment or technologies that deliver a solution for them. We’re all about helping people overcome their challenges - making their life easier or improved.

We are also lucky to have a very diverse customer base, operating across all sectors – largely because we offer such a variety of ovens including convection ovens, CHEFTOP Mind.Maps™ combi ovens, BAKERTOP combi ovens, the Speed.Pro™ speed baking oven and the EVEREO™ food preserver. One day we can be in a Michelin-starred restaurant and the next day in a QSR chain. This makes every day really interesting – we certainly don’t get bored.

3. What is the biggest challenge for your business right now?
As the recovery of the pandemic continues, we are still navigating huge challenges associated with the sharp and unpredictable increases in raw material prices such as steel, plastics and wood. It is very difficult to forecast and guarantee prices.

We make 96% of all components and parts that go into our ovens, so the components supply chain has not been an issue for us. The challenge we have experienced is trying to keep up with orders and building ovens fast enough. We are 60% up on 2019 numbers and 80% up on 2020 numbers. This has led to longer lead times than normal, but everyone is having these issues so we are not alone.

4. What are the drawing factors for joining FEA?
We recognise that the FEA is a real strong industry authority and we wanted to be part of that. As we grow here in the UK, we felt it was important to reach out and engage with the various groups connected to the FEA to give a little back - but also to learn and improve.

5. Anything else you’d like to add?
We have some very exciting new product launches for later this year, including some that will be launched exclusively at the Commercial Kitchen Shows and HOST trade shows. We’re committed to innovation and these products will be real game changers for the sectors that they are designed for. We will also be exhibit at Hotel, Restaurant and Catering (HRC) in March and we have just confirmed that we will be the exclusive Salon Culinaire combi oven partner for the competition cooking theatres. This is very important for us as we give back to the industry, which collectively has been through some very difficult times over the last 18 months.

We will also have some further exciting news in Q1 about the company’s growth plans.

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