When and how did your business get started?
Renau Electronic Laboratories was established by Karol Renau in 1981. Originally an aerospace company, Renau shifted focus into the foodservice industry and began designing and manufacturing custom controls systems for equipment manufacturers. Today, Renau is highly regarded as the industry’s premier custom control and kitchen system solutions provider.
What do you love most about the foodservice E&S industry?
Both the people and the free food. Over the past 41 years, Renau has had the pleasure of meeting some of the most interesting people in the industry, some of which are now considered family. We build strong, long-lasting relationships with both customers and competitors. This industry really does attract some of the best personalities.
“We build strong, long-lasting relationships with both customers and competitors. This industry really does attract some of the best personalities.”
What do you find most challenging about the foodservice E&S industry?
Accounting for the unknowns. Meaning the pandemics, supply chain issues, and new regulations that are impossible to foresee.
How have industry trends impacted the evolution of your business?
In terms of equipment trends, I would like to think we contribute to setting trends with our innovation. Our goal is always to be ahead of the game in terms of technology. I believe it’s this mentality which has resulted in all of the success we’ve experienced.
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?
“I want it before NAFEM.” It’s a term I hear at least twice during a NAFEM year. We always try to accommodate customers needs as best as we can but expedited timelines are extremely challenging, especially for new developments. Not to mention extremely stressful. There have been several situations where large equipment had to be overnighted directly to the show and even one scenario where a customer picked up his new control system on the way to the airport.
Describe something about your business that you’re proud of.
There are countless innovations that I certainly take pride in but what I’m most proud of is the opportunity afforded to me as a first generation American. My father came to this country from communist Poland to create a better life for himself and his future family and he did just that. He lived the American dream and built a successful company from scratch. A company which helps make people’s lives easier and create better, safer food.
Is your business involved in any philanthropic efforts that you would like to share?
We always had the goal to export our success to our home country. We opened our IoT branch in Gdansk, Poland in order to provide opportunities for young engineers. Our team has grown from four to 15 individuals in just a few short years. We also work closely with the local university on internship programs.
Will your business be celebrating any milestones in the coming year?
We celebrated our 40th anniversary last year but I would consider bringing our Smart Kitchen Timer to market this year a milestone for us. Up to this point, we sold to the manufacturers. This is our first off-the-shelf product that any restaurant owner or operator can purchase and use in any way they please.
What would you describe as the most rewarding aspect of your NAFEM membership through the years?
The friendships and connections we’ve made.