Commercial Food Machinery (CFM) will be celebrating its 20th year of operations next year, and it is through this retrospective almost anyone can see how well the company has done at filling the very specific needs of those operating in the commercial kitchen business. They have achieved their success by offering both single restaurants and franchise chains access to the best, state-of-the-art, kitchen and food prep equipment – at a cost that appeals to all.
The company was founded by business partners Ruben Diaz and Peter Giannuzzi in 1994. At first, the pair focused on buying and selling second hand equipment.
“They bought equipment that was in good condition in order to sell it off,” explains Sid Srinivasan the Marketing Coordinator for CFM. “In 1996 they shifted focus to selling new equipment and established themselves by doing complete kitchen fitouts.”
CFM started off small, and has evolved significantly over the years into one of the leading suppliers to the sector. Srinivasan says he’s proud of the company’s success.
“We started off with only three people – the two directors and one other person. Now, about 19 years down the road, we are a company that has 97 people on staff and are among the most trusted names in the industry.”
Building relationships from the ground up
Many things first attracted Srinivasan to the organisation, he says. One of the main things, however, was their “welcoming corporate culture.”
“It is just a great place to work,” he says simply. He adds that this friendliness has translated into long lasting relationships at every level of the company – from their customers to their employees.
“We are really big on team building,” Srinivasan explains. “We have a number of programs in place that look at professional and skills development. We also have health in the workplace programs that encourage employees to get fit.”
For example, Srinivasan also says that CFM supplies baskets of fruit for their employees in order to provide them with healthy snacking options. CFM also hosts regular health checks for employees. By going the extra mile like that, CFM fosters loyalty and hard work among their team. Srinivasan also points out that they have a very good number of employees that have been with the company for 15 years or more.
That type of longevity is important, Srinivasan adds, because the skill and knowledge base of CFM’s staff is critical to the company’s success. “It is something that makes us a little different than the others that operate in this space. It makes us who we are,” he explains.
Another factor that sets CFM’s team apart is their diversity – which means that they can cater to the needs of a diverse clientele.
“We have a very multi-cultural sales team, and have the support of a sales staff that speaks at least two languages,” Srinivasan says. “This means that we are often able to accommodate for cultural differences in everything from our product range to our customer service.”
CFM combines that diversity with a customer service philosophy centred on meeting customer’s needs. Their success with that philosophy is reflected by the fact that more than 80 per cent of their sales go towards repeat customers. “We find a way to help our clients,” Srinivasan says. “That’s why they come back.”
At present, their main customer base is drawn from owners of cafes, bakeries, and restaurants. “We also supply to other industries like hospitals and pretty much anyone that requires a commercial kitchen,” says Srinivasan. “We are able to accommodate their needs- from the initial stages of designing and drafting the kitchen, to equipment and after sales service. We can even fabricate custom made stainless products and manufacture and install cool rooms. CFM is a one stop shop. We provide a complete, 360-degree service.”
Quality customer service
“We take customer service very, very seriously,” Srinivasan says. “And our service doesn’t end when the person comes in and buys something. We are believers that after-sales services are just as important – if not more. That is something of a motto over here, and we invest heavily in our customer relationship management.”
According to Srinivasan, one of CFM’s chief strengths is their service department. “We have a fleet of vehicles with fully certified technicians,” he explains. “If a customer is experiencing an issue we offer assistance as soon as possible. We also have Preventative Maintenance Service Agreements – which includes a free-to-sign-up-for program that has our service technicians go on site twice a year in order to make sure that equipment is in good shape and working to its optimal level.”
The success of CFM’s clients leads to the success of CFM itself. Srinivasan says the company’s dedication and extra service offering speaks to their understanding of that – as does their commitment to fostering strong and lasting relationships with premium suppliers.
“Having good supplier relationships directly influence the amount and quality of customer service that you are able to give,” says Srinivasan. “We have a great mix of partners that we work with that allow us to satisfy market demand.”
In partnership with their suppliers, CFM is continuously looking at the latest in technological development. They want to predict where the market is going, they want their catalogue to best support the industry that they serve, and they want to service that industry as effectively as possible.
“In terms of technology, we have invested in a new management software that handles all of our CRM, accounting, sales, service and other vital business processes – it is sort of the brains of our operation,” Srinivasan says. “Technology is very important to us, especially when it lets us work more efficiently.”
The future of Commercial Food Machinery is based on the systems and relationships that they are building on today, says Srinivasan. “We want to continue to grow our relationships. Our ambition is to be the best out there, with the best customer service.”
To be the best, Srinivasan says that CFM will have to remain innovative, and continue to bring new products and services to the market. At the same time,he says they will continue to track the trends in the commercial kitchen industry to better predict future needs.
“By staying current and relevant we are helping our clients take the next steps in their own businesses,” he says. “And it is through our customer’s success that our success can be truly judged.”
For more information, please visit their website at: Commercial Food Machinery
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