A look at what’s cooking with RATIONAL’s newly appointed managing director, Nicholas Baker

A look at what’s cooking with RATIONAL’s newly appointed managing director, Nicholas Baker

Nicholas Baker was recently appointed managing director of RATIONAL Kitchen & Catering Equipment Trading FZCO. Here, he talks about the company’s successes and the latest market trends.

What can you tell us about the company?

RATIONAL has a long and rich history. The company was founded in 1973 by Siegfried Meister, who sadly passed away in July 2017. He was an electrical engineer and was at the helm for more than 40 years. In 1976, along with his team, he invented what is known today as the combi steamer; we are famous for it.

From 1998 onward, Siegfried was the chairman of the supervisory board, and in 2000 he floated RATIONAL AG on the stock exchange.

Since Siegfried’s passing, the company is being managed by four board members, Dr. Peter Stadelmann, Peter Wiedemann, Markus Paschmann and Jörg Walter, who are continuing the firm’s mission: to offer the best cooking tools for commercial kitchens.

In your opinion, what is the secret to success?

Nowadays, I think that success is more about a company’s stability and development than turnover and financial performance. This extends to the people who work in our company — our main asset. We have enjoyed success in the Middle East and beyond due to the fact that we are stable in terms of our organizational structure. We are not only a reliable employer; we also provide an interesting environment where people can hone their skills and reach their full potential.

In our fast-paced world, how is RATIONAL’s kitchen equipment helping chefs?

RATIONAL has a unique solution for à la carte restaurants and catering companies, enabling them to prepare large quantities of food quickly and at the touch of a button. This is possible thanks to the intelligence of each RATIONAL unit, which helps to maintain a consistent result.

Another solution offered to customers is the central management of recipes and programs. With our ConnectedCooking cloud platform, everything can be managed on a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

What is the most critical aspect of operating in the foodservice industry?

In my opinion, it is always about being ready for change and being able to respond to the changing habits and expectations of clients, as well as the industry as a whole; it is never static. Keeping up to date and in sync with these trends is very important.

How has the market evolved over the past couple of years?

A great deal has changed in the last two years. Covid-19 restrictions forced businesses to implement innovative work models and entice clients with new offers. In addition, the development of delivery and the emergence of a new type of dark kitchen, as well as changing consumer habits, has contributed to the formation of new segments.

How does your company stay at the forefront of novelty and innovation?

RATIONAL’s mission has always been to provide our customers with the best tools for cooking, and we see ourselves as an innovative solutions provider thanks to the special approach we have toward research and development. Our team includes physicists, food scientists, development engineers and experienced chefs, who all work together in our research and development department. This is our unique way of doing things.

How is RATIONAL responding to the workplace expectations of Generation Y and Z?

Having RATIONAL equipment is an advantage because it takes care of routine tasks. With an intelligent cooking appliance, you can remove much of the unpleasant kitchen work. Our units turn kitchens into modern spaces, which is what Gen Y and Gen Z seek. Modern kitchens are different to conventional ones. Our intelligent cooking appliances deliver perfect results, allowing you to cook faster, even overnight. That in itself is a win that’s impossible to achieve without digitization.

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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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