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April 10, 2014

During the design and consultancy of commercial and retail kitchens, Food Strategy researches and specifies products to suit the client's menu, site and budget. We are impartial to brands to remain independent and keep quality and service as our integral focus. 

However we are putting a spotlight on Stoddart Manufacturing because of their impressive Australian business ethic and employment strategies. It aligns perfectly with Fine Food Queensland which starts this week and has a 'home grown' flavour embracing everything Queensland and local.
It has taken a lot of persuasion for Tony Stoddart to permit a behind the scenes look at his family's massive operation. Read on for the full story and see the behind the scenes pics...

You probably know Stoddarts because of their famous brands - Electrolux, Halton, Culinaire, Woodson, Metro, Anets, Cooktek, Powersoak, Andande and more. What you didn't know is Stoddart is located in our very own 'back yard' of Brisbane. Food Strategy will book demonstrations for our clients in the Stoddart production kitchen.

Iconic Australian brands like ANZ, Sensis and Qantas have changed their business models to shift jobs off shore. However Stoddart has managed to grow to mammoth proportions while maintaining a Brisbane base and Australian employment model. The company employs over 400 people nationwide, including 32 apprentices across a variety of trades. In addition to the brand new Karawatha facility in Brisbane (over 5 hectares and largest type in Australia), Stoddart Manufacturing now have warehouse and distribution spaces in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as well as representation in Adelaide. 

Stoddart has remained 100% Australian and family owned. Bill Stoddart has been joined over the last 30 years by the next generation; nephew, Jeff Mundy and sons Tim, Tony and James Stoddart in the operations of the company.
The Stoddart family will personally stand behind any of the products that Food Strategy specifies and recommends. Sounds like a sales pitch doesn't it?  Our client recently had issues with a refrigeration item and asked Food Strategy to liaise on the warranty claim. Tony Stoddart personally addressed the issue with us to ensure our client was 100% satisfied with the repairs and ongoing performance. After all, Stoddart are 'just up the road' so it was easy to get a fast response and someone who cares.

Interview with Tony Stoddart:

Food Strategy: When so many businesses are shifting jobs off shore - what is Stoddart's secret to keeping an Australian work force and maintaining high quality in a local environment?
Tony: There is a veritable flood of foodservice equipment coming into the country from overseas with new entrants appearing on a monthly basis. Very few of these businesses face the costs of running a compliant manufacturing operation in the way that Australian company must. Often the product that is being brought in does not comply with local standards and regulations such as electrical safety or occupational health and safety and the industry regulators seem powerless to stop it. This is an extremely tough environment in which to compete.

Food Strategy: So how do you compete?
Tony: There 7 key points we focus on: think local, be highly skilful, be lean, be flexible, be responsive, build quality products, back those products 100%. If we continue to do the above well, we will not only be able to compete with cheap imports, but we will also be able to export our products to larger and growing markets around the world.

Food Strategy: Why do you bother?
Tony: As business owners it boils down to the fact that Australia is where we choose to live and raise our families.Our stakeholders, be they employees, suppliers and customers, choose to do the same.We need manufacturing and what it brings to the economy to continue to enjoy a bright and prosperous future. The money spent with Australian manufacturing businesses cycles through the economy many more times than money spent with an importer/distributor. The powers that be must realise this and be more supportive of this important sector. Instead they seem to be doing the opposite by placing more hurdles for local manufacturers to climb over while turning a blind eye to non-compliant imports.

Food Strategy: What's one of your favourite business success stories that's a win for the Aussies?
: One of my favourite stories is a QSR order that we were successful in winning a few years ago where we exported 700 contact toasters to China. Talk about selling ice to the Eskimos! We competed against companies manufacturing in low labour cost countries such as Mexico and China. We won because we did our seven points well. We were prepared to be flexible with our design, our product was more robust, our technology was better and our price represented value for money.

FUN FACT: So where does a 'toilet' come into this article?  Stoddart do more than import and manufacturer commercial catering equipment. The factory also manufactures stainless steel urinals and toilets for prisons, architectural metalwork for bridges, animal cages, street furniture, substation housings, water features, drink fountains and almost anything metal and stainless steel.

You can find Stoddart's stand at Fine Food Queensland stand E18. Dishwashers, exhaust canopy extraction solutions, pot washers, countertop food equipment, shelving and carts, refrigeration inserts and displays, high performance frying, stainless shelving and counter tops, automated product dispensing equipment, induction cooking, combi ovens, blast chilling, warewashing, refrigerated drawers and much more. 

Food Strategy has not been paid for this blog article. However we will continue to hold the Stoddart family personally accountable for the performance of their products to ensure our client's business success. Fortunately there aren't many!

See you at Fine Food Queensland. Happy cooking.

Remember to see Food Strategy at the business seminars sessions. Beat the crowds: Before you strike up a deal at the show, chat to a Food Strategy professional for expert advice. We have access to the major decision makers for any commercial kitchen product and brand at the Fine Food Queensland show.

Behind the scenes pics
Read more about Stoddart's new factory and facilities (that are bigger than the Melbourne Cricket Ground) here

Visitors are welcome to the factory by special appointment only. Food Strategy will gladly arrange this for our clients upon request.


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