Since its arrival in Canada in 2001, Rational Canada has sold more than 12,000 combi-oven units. In 2017 alone, the Mississauga-based company has seen its sales volume increase by more than 30 per cent.
With similarly strong growth predicted for 2018, the company is planning key strategic investments — with a strong focus on customer care — to better support its products and help its Canadian partners deepen relationships with existing clients while finding new ones. Louis-Philippe Audette, president and CEO of Rational Canada Inc. says one key investment will involve adding more sales support in key Canadian cities — including Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. “We’re adding twice the number of sales people and the target is to not only visit new customers, but visit our existing customers, many who have been using our ovens — the same oven — for 10 years,” he says.
Audette says this additional sales support will allow Rational Canada to better meet the demands of its existing users. “Maybe when they bought our ovens [originally], it was to fulfill one specific need,” Audette says. “But a restaurant or a hotel does not just offer one product. They offer multiple products and, over the last 10 years, we’ve released more accessories.” These include a grill and pizza tray, diamond and grill grate, VarioSmoker, CombiFry baskets and a lamb and suckling -pig spit.
Audette says this level of commitment to Canadian customers sets the company apart from others in the field. “Rational is known as the company of chefs for chefs,” he adds. “We don’t let anything else distract us from that. We will be adding more chefs to our teams in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, as well as in the Maritimes and the Prairies.” The long-term support Rational provides — spanning the lifetime of the ovens — has resulted in a high level of customer loyalty. Its CustomerCarePlus service will be enhanced in 2018, with the hiring of a new director of After Care Service and additional Rational Service Partners to tackle service issues more efficiently.
The units, which boast three functions — convection, steam and combination cooking — are priced between $14,500 and $57,300. Rational offers the free day-long Academy Rational, featuring hands-on demonstrations and Rational CookingLive events. “This gives the client an opportunity to see the unit in action and ask questions,” says Jason Giloron, president of Pacific Restaurant Supply in Vancouver. “This is invaluable to potential buyers who have doubts about a big purchase like this.”
Rational recently launched its SelfCookingCenter training app for all SelfCookingCenters — from those products made in September 2011 to the most recent models — offering access to training videos, cooking processes, programing the units, adjusting the settings and cleaning.
In 2018, Rational Canada also plans to focus on ConnectedCooking 2.0, a platform that integrates Club Rational and ConnectedCooking into a single application on Rational’s SelfCookingCentre technology, allowing chefs and kitchen staff to transfer recipes to the appliances. “Having such advanced systems has helped kitchens reduce food and money waste up to 50 per cent,” says Gerhard Kramer, product manager with parent company Rational AG in Germany. “It took us years in North America to make people aware of the benefits of combi-oven technology and now we have that breakthrough.”