Sunday, August 10, 2003

What's the Buzz?

Off to a frying start

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Getting a hit in your first at-bat is one thing, but hitting a home run is something special.

Falcon Fabricators Inc., an Amelia-based sheet-metal fabricator, thinks it hammered a round-tripper in its first try at the "World's Best Commercial Fryer Challenge," recently in Charlotte, N.C.

The competition, sponsored by the Gas Foodservice Equipment Network, a trade group, and Piedmont Natural Gas, is open to all manufacturers of commercial fryers.

Falcon, founded in 1978 by the late Al Svensson, has been building basket fryers since 2000 used by chains such as Popeye's and Church's.

But Bradford Svensson, Al's son and Falcon president, decided to enter the competition to expand the company's foodservice business.

For a decade, the company has been producing a patented re-thermalizer, which heats frozen prepared soups and casseroles for restaurants and steam tables for companies such as Skyline Chili.

In a side-by-side fry-off with two leading competitors, Falcon's Satisfryer scored best in all three performance criteria: energy use; hedonics, or appearance and taste, and flue gas temperatures, a measure of heating efficiency.

"We totally swept the board," said Ken Wilking, director of marketing. "No one knew who we were."

Results of the competition will be published next month in Cooking for Profit, a trade publication. Falcon plans to participate in next month's National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers biennial show in New Orleans to sign up distributors.

Falcon, which also has a plant in Nashville, Tenn., employs about 100 and expects revenues of $14 million this year.

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