Hoshizaki America, Inc.
Member since: 1982
Industry: Refrigeration & ice machines
When and how did your business get started?
President Sakamoto came to the United States in the early 1980’s and quickly decided that he wanted to create a new, uniquely designed ice machine. Within a few years, he had disrupted the US market with the Hoshizaki crescent cuber ice machine.
“As much as it is ever changing and evolving, restaurants will always need refrigeration and ice machines…and we will be here for them.”
What do you love most about the foodservice E&S industry?
The foodservice industry is an important part of our economy and way of life. Eating out, socializing, and experiencing different cultures through food is one of the ways that we come together as people. As a manufacturer of foodservice equipment, Hoshizaki is part of that big picture. As much as it is ever changing and evolving, restaurants will always need refrigeration and ice machines…and we will be here for them.
What do you find most challenging about the foodservice E&S industry?
We have a responsibility to the planet as much as to the restaurant industry. Our engineering team is constantly innovating with the newest technologies in order to make our equipment more efficient. Commercial kitchens are subject to changing regulations and it is our job to make sure we design the right equipment for their needs.
How have industry trends impacted the evolution of your business?
Changing menus sometimes require a change in equipment. We have seen some restaurant chains switch from our crescent cube to our smaller, chewable cubelet ice based on consumer preferences. There is also a new trend in open kitchen concepts, which may necessitate different refrigeration and prep stations. We follow equipment needs from our customers and build that into our new product development plan.
How would you like to see the foodservice E&S industry, or your specific product category, evolve?
Ice is getting more and more attention in the bar segment – and that means more people are taking notice of what is in their glass. It is about proper chilling, dilution, and presentation. Large format ice is becoming more popular and we are on the forefront of manufacturing the first ice machines to produce them in North America. Very exciting times!
What would you describe as the most rewarding aspect of your NAFEM membership through the years?
Hands down, NAFEM is the best organization for foodservice equipment manufacturers to come together to learn, for advocacy, and to talk to other manufacturers. We work better as an industry when we work together. NAFEM has gone to bat for the manufacturers when lobbying for or against certain legislation. We couldn’t do that by ourselves.