Design & Consultant Resource Manager, Jim Lund, and Customer Care Manager, Tom Wenzel, of RATIONAL USA recently visited our offices for a Content Review Workshop (CRW). The two-day CRW gives manufacturers an opportunity to meet with our Content, Customer Support and Product Management departments. They discuss AQ features, best practices, new capabilities and latest releases with the goal of optimizing their products’ presence in the AQ Catalog. German-based RATIONAL began in 1973 and developed the first combi-steamer in 1976 – combining steam and convection cooking into a single commercial oven. Today, more than 750,000 RATIONAL appliances are in professional kitchens all over the world.
Jim Lund originally started out studying computer science. To earn money for school, he took a job in a restaurant and was hooked. Jim left computer science behind and went to culinary school. He spent years as a chef before taking a position with a senior living center that was building a kitchen – with RATIONAL appliances. Jim quickly realized the hired consultant wasn’t designing with the best interest of the culinary team and took control of the design. After his interactions with RATIONAL USA, the company offered him a position, and nine years later he consults on kitchen design and educates customers on RATIONAL appliances.
Tom Wenzel has been in various administration and customer support roles in a variety of industries. He started with RATIONAL USA – his first company in the foodservice and equipment industry – six years ago. He later moved to the customer care process and became a team lead. Throughout a typical week, Tom relies on AQ to build quotes for dealers, answer customers’ questions and research products.
The research function available through AQ has become increasingly important to Jim and Tom. “RATIONAL has more than 40 percent of the US market,” says Jim. “That’s a tremendous positive, but we don’t want to be complacent. We’re using AQ to study the competition and make comparisons of product features.”
Jim and Tom are seeing definite trends in the market. “Often people think of RATIONAL in terms of huge, institutional back-of-house appliances,” says Jim. “But there are more and more restaurants and eating facilities with smaller footprints and space constraints coming onboard. We have compact units to meet their needs.”
Turnover and labor shortages in the restaurant industry are also driving innovations. “Our smart appliances can prepare different dishes at the push of a button, regardless of the operator,” says Jim.
Thank you, Jim and Tom, for coming to our offices. If you’re a manufacturer that publishes in the AQ Catalog and would like more information on our Content Review Workshops, please contact your Content Account Manager for dates and details.