API TECH North America INC
When and how did your business get started?
API TECH was founded in 2004 outside Paris, but it wasn’t until 2013 that API TECH decided to design and build smart machines. In 2015, API TECH installed their first smart machine, called Smart Pizza. Today, more than 1,500 Smart Pizzas are installed worldwide.
What do you love most about the foodservice E&S industry?
I like how the industry is structured. It makes it very convenient for manufacturers to go to market.
“All trends are pointing towards automation. Being able to offer a solution to the industry that allows operators to reduce their overhead, while increasing their sales is the best answer a manufacturer can provide to these trends.”
What do you find most challenging about the foodservice E&S industry?
At the same time, it is often confusing for a customer that has little or no experience in the industry to deal with many different companies in order to purchase a piece of equipment.
How have industry trends impacted the evolution of your business?
All trends are pointing towards automation. Being able to offer a solution to the industry that allows operators to reduce their overhead, while increasing their sales is the best answer a manufacturer can provide to these trends. Hence, API TECH has grown to become the largest manufacturer of food robotics/smart machines in the world, offering the largest range of smart machines. Our teams focus on development and innovation while always keeping our customer’s success in mind.
How would you like to see the foodservice E&S industry, or your specific product category, evolve?
We would like to see a faster adoption of robotics in the industry. A lot of companies assume robotics are complicated and therefore prefer to stay away from the technology but in reality, it is fairly straightforward.
What’s the strangest or most challenging request you’ve received from a customer?
Even though the technology is not hard to understand, customers believe that the development of it happens in a few weeks. In reality, it can take up to two years to develop a new product and it requires a lot of resources. Some of the more challenging requests we receive are from people that want us to develop a machine specifically for them. For example, in one case a prospect wanted us to develop a smores machine for his backyard.
Describe something about your business that you’re proud of.
We are not the cheapest and we are not the most expensive, but we always strive to offer the best possible solution that works best for our customers. We make sure to keep our prices as low as possible while offering the highest quality products, resulting in more profitable businesses for our operators and therefore shorter payback periods. Their success results in more sales and more machines, hence why a lot of our sales today are from existing customers. For example, the ovens used in the Smart Pizza are developed by us. This allowed us to design and build something from scratch and fully control the development of the product. It allows us to continue to improve on what we offer today without having to rely on another manufacturer that might have a different agenda.
As a new member, what are you hoping to gain by joining NAFEM?
The smart machine concept has been around in Europe for almost two decades. As a new member and being fairly new to the North American market, we hope to gain a lot of traction with our products and become a critical pillar in educating the market about this new technology.
Is your business involved in any philanthropic efforts that you would like to share?
Yes. We have a program called Apis & Love where we work hard to help with the protection, development and survival of honey bees.
Please share any industry recognition that you have received.
API TECH – Smart Pizza vending machine has been named runner-up of the Reader’s Choice New Product of Year in the Equipment Category by VendingMarketWatch.