Combi-steam ovens are still a fairly new concept in the UK. Rhys Evans, V-Zug sales director for the UK and Ireland, believes customers need to see them in action to understand the benefits
Q: How’s business compared with last year?
A: There is growing confidence in the market and it seems that people are much more willing to invest in their homes than they were a few years ago. It’s also good to see that consumers making home improvements are taking time to research who can offer them the best quality and functionality. While we’re still growing as a brand, many customers are noting our specialist credentials, reputation for being an award-winning manufacturer and our links with top international chefs.
We are continuing to grow our network of specialist dealers steadily, selectively choosing high-quality showrooms that really understand our customers.
Q: What are the main challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?
A: Cooking with steam is still a fairly new concept in the UK, so it’s important to get people to appreciate the benefits it offers. Combi-steam ovens can be used to cook everyday dishes but consumers can also take advantage of easy-to-use programs that will help them to cook in a more healthy way. There’s also the precision and reliability and the fantastic flavour and gourmet results that these ovens can offer too.
They say that seeing is believing so we think it’s important for customers to be able to view the appliances in action so that they understand the ease of use and advantages they offer for themselves. Cookery schools can be a great tool for getting customers to appreciate combi-steam ovens and so we’re working with chefs, such as Adam Gray, to set these up.
Q: If you were opening a retail showroom in this market, what would be your strategy?
A: A showroom has to have a good reputation and what better way to nurture that than by ensuring you provide high-quality products that are easy to use and last.
Q: How do you think the relationship between retailers and suppliers is changing?
A: Like anything in life, when you deal one-on-one with a company, you tend to get a better service. When you are one of many, it can be difficult to get your voice heard or have your needs met. I think many suppliers are now seeing the benefits of working with reputable, high-quality but more specialist manufacturers, because they can be assured of a good level of service, ongoing customer satisfaction and a reliable supply chain.