SMALL but Cooks.
The COOK product family is growing

8 Oct 2019

COOK classic has already proven its worth on the market for high-performance front cooking stations. The new I-flex series presents compact, mobile models which allow you to introduce cooking in the view of diners to completely new areas of use.

An interview with the makers of COOK I-flex
There are many minds behind the development and market launch of the I-flex. We talked to three members of the interdisciplinary team to gain an insight into the new model series from the perspectives of development, product management and sales:

  • Dr. Andreas Hillenmeier, Head of Research and Development
  • Patrick Hilpp, Product Manager
  • Frederikus de Leeuw, Head of Sales

What were the reasons behind B.PRO’s decision to extend the COOK product family with a new model series?

Patrick Hilpp: COOK classic is an intelligent, versatile cooking station with an integrated extractor hood that has become firmly established on the market over the years. It is essentially designed to prepare selected dishes quickly and in large quantities. For certain applications, however, the station is simply too large.
COOK I-flex, on the other hand, is ideal for flexible use. And this is true wherever the focus is on service diversity.

Frederikus de Leeuw: Our COOK classic cooking stations already offer customers a high degree of flexibility. They can be placed almost anywhere and the cooking units can be easily replaced to offer different food on different days of the week.

With COOK I-flex, the variation options are even greater. It allows changes to the range of dishes throughout the day or even cooking à la carte. This is now possible in an instant thanks to the integrated induction hob and suitable cooking inserts. With the I-flex to go, we now also offer a solution with maximum mobility that is perfect for catering and out-of-house assignments.

Andreas Hillenmeier: Wherever food preparation calls for high flexibility rather than maximum production, the purchase price also plays a decisive role. With the expansion of our product family, we have paid close attention to this fact without compromising on technical or functional efficiency. Moreover, most people know how to operate induction hobs as they feature in domestic kitchens, meaning even untrained staff can use them.

Which challenges did the I-flex team face during concept and product development?

Andreas Hillenmeier: Our greatest challenge was combining full-surface induction with the tried-and-tested extraction and air cleaning system and the related operating and handling concept. After all, despite its more compact dimensions, we still apply the highest standards of functionality and operability.

Patrick Hilpp: The induction cooking technology was developed by the group companies B.PRO, E.G.O. and Arpa. Putting it into practical use was indeed a very exciting, appealing task for all of us. We carried out countless tests and trials together to explore the possibilities and limits of integrated induction when incorporated into our mobile cooking station. This was uncharted territory even for our specialists and cooking professionals since the COOK I-flex differs significantly from the classic in the way it is used. It was a big step for them to commit to the new concept and completely rethink the applications to fully exploit the strengths and capabilities of the I-flex.

Frederikus de Leeuw: From a sales perspective it is essential to communicate the differences in the application clearly and to offer our customers effective support with specific application and concept consulting. Due to their different specifications, both product lines enable us to offer our customers even more precisely tailored technical solutions. With COOK I-flex we are also addressing completely new segments, such as smaller retirement homes or residential groups for senior citizens. With the to go version, owners can take the cooking station to different buildings and serve residents with freshly prepared food that is tailored to their individual preferences.

Country-specific potential also needs to be included in sales strategies. In overseas markets in particular, we are observing a trend towards smaller kitchens in private homes or homes which completely dispense with kitchens, even in top-end real estate. An I-flex might be interesting for use in such private homes.

So where does the COOK product family adventure go from here?

Patrick Hilpp: After its successful launch, I can now hand the project over to the sales team. We can really get down to business now! Personally I am looking forward to catching my breath and enjoying a good night’s sleep again! But joking aside, I am naturally very eager to get some feedback from our customers and to hear all about their new application ideas.

Frederikus de Leeuw: After its international presentation at HOST, our preparations for the German premiere are now in full swing. We are looking forward to impressing an even wider market with the fantastic products from the COOK family.

Andreas Hillenmeier: I see a lot of potential for more innovative cooking accessories, attractive cooking applications and recipe ideas. You can be sure that COOK I-flex will open up a host of design options for live cooking in the future.