Kochman Consultants, Ltd. (KCL)
Member since: 1999
Industry: Systems/Technology Integrators & Provider
When and how did your business get started?
Kochman Consultants, Ltd., now known as KCL, was founded in 1985 by Ron and Kevin Kochman. The Kochman family has a long history in the foodservice industry, dating back to the late 1960s. Ron was a firm believer in using technology to work smarter, which he passed on to his son, Kevin. At the start of the ‘80s, when AutoCAD® came on the scene, Kevin used his computer programming background to design CAD blocks for Ron’s commercial kitchen design work. They realized they could sell these symbol libraries to others, and KCL was born.
What do you love most about the foodservice E&S industry?
We love the community of people. We have many industry friends and we enjoy providing tools to help them work more efficiently, saving them time, helping prevent mistakes, and keeping projects running. We’re excited to get out in the world again and are eager for The NAFEM Show in 2021.
What do you find most challenging about the foodservice E&S industry?
Beyond the many challenges posed by COVID-19, one of our challenges is keeping our subscribers and manufacturers updated as we add new tools and improve our product. We want every one of our subscribers and manufacturers to get the most out of KCL’s design software. Thank goodness for Zoom!
How have industry trends impacted the evolution of your business?
We’ve been at the forefront of foodservice design software from our earliest days, and we’ve made it through some difficult times. Even with the 2020 industry setback, we’ve expanded our staff, as well as debuted and improved upon our innovative design tools, like KCL NapkinSketch. We’re always looking ahead and are confident that despite a lot of unexpected bumps in 2020, the industry will recover.
How would you like to see the foodservice E&S industry, or your specific product category, evolve?
We would like to move all people off pen and paper. With KCL NapkinSketch, we hope to do for salespeople what we did for designers and move them forward with tech interfaces.
What’s the strangest or most challenging request you’ve received from a customer?
A couple of years ago, a customer asked us if he could just take some equipment symbols and put them side by side to create a simple kitchen layout outside of his CAD program. We discussed the idea to learn more about his design challenges and realized that we had the capabilities to develop a useful new tool. That idea is now known as KCL NapkinSketch!
Describe something about your business that you’re proud of. This could be an innovative product/part/technique, a unique facet of your company culture, special achievements, etc.
Our company values – customer support, integrity, and innovation – are our main sources of pride. For 35 years, we’ve continuously improved, adapted, and pushed our industry forward while offering our services at an affordable price to a wide range of companies.
Is your business involved in any philanthropic efforts that you would like to share?
KCL supports many of our industry partners as they raise funds for scholarships and various causes. We also make annual contributions to the Chicago Food Depository and have been thrilled to double the impact of our donation thanks to NAFEM! We’ve also hosted volunteer packing events at Feed My Starving Children. On a personal level, our leadership team, Kevin and Eve Kochman, are longtime blood donors.
Please share any industry recognition that you have received.
We were recognized by FCSI Americas as the #1 source for BIM content.
Will your business be celebrating any milestones in the coming year?
We will continue to celebrate our 35th anniversary. In addition, in 2021, we’re going to celebrate being able to gather in person with our industry friends! We’re also going to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our first overseas partnership. Based in Italy, Luca Salomoni represents KCL in the EMEA and APD regions. Despite the setbacks of 2020, thanks to Luca’s strong background in foodservice design software and many industry relationships, we’ve made great headway abroad.
What would you describe as the most rewarding aspect of your NAFEM membership through the years?
The NAFEM Show allows us a unique opportunity to be face-to-face with current subscribers and manufacturers and add a whole new audience of future KCL customers. In addition to building and strengthening relationships, NAFEM helps us keep up with critical industry trends.
How many NAFEM Shows have you attended? Which one was your favorite and why?
Our involvement as attendees predates the founding of our company because Ron attended for many years when he worked as a foodservice consultant. Our favorite was NAFEM 2019 when we got to debut KCL NapkinSketch! We were able to swap simple KCL technology tools into a design process that was often confusing and out-of-reach for many salespeople. The feedback on KCL NapkinSketch was, and continues to be, very positive.