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Bulgaria: Production of high quality professional kitchens

General information
Project location: Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
Consortium: Renselaar Holding BV, Gastronorm Non Food Ltd, HRC International Holding BV
Project Budget: Euro 750,000
External financing: 100% grant funding by PSOM
Project period: January 2007 - December 2008

The market for professional (commercial) kitchens encompasses hospitality industry, in-company kitchens and catering, and institutional (public services sector) kitchens. Growth in the first two sub sectors depends largely on the economic climate while institutional kitchen sales depend on regulations and trends in care services. In the Netherlands, the whole institutional market presently has the most favourable growth prospects for professional kitchens.

In Bulgaria, hospitality sector is on the rise, resulting in the emergence of many kitchen equipment suppliers, mostly importers, which have created a price competitive market with little eye for quality. With Bulgaria’s upcoming EU accession, however, HACCP standards and quality of the equipment increasingly play an important role when making a buying a professional kitchen.

Renselaar Holding BV is an SME active on the market for commercial kitchens for more than fifteen years. It offers a complete service, from design to the finishing of the kitchen furniture elements, building of kitchens on location and after-sales. Its focus is on quality of performance and rapidity of service. For further growth Renselaar realises that it needs to compete in a very price competitive market. Therefore the company has been exploring the possibilities of producing the stainless steel kitchen elements itself, instead of only finishing the elements bought elsewhere.

Thus, Renselaar has sought co-operation with a company in the Eastern Europe. It placed its first orders in Bulgaria in 2002. Presently Renselaar has its own trading company in Bulgaria that purchases kitchen elements for Renselaar and transports them to the Netherlands where they are finished in Renselaar’s workplace. But despite providing assistance and facilitating with the purchase of equipment in order to improve the quality of the products, Bulgarian manufacturers are not able to meet the required quality standards. Therefore Renselaar has decided to set up a production company in Bulgaria, which is the subject of this project.

Together with daughter company Gastronorm and in co-operation with a local manager, Renselaar intends to establish a new factory in Blagoevgrad for the production of stainless steel kitchen equipment. With a sound technical assistance programme and regular supervision of the production process, Renselaar is convinced that the experienced Bulgarian workforce can produce high quality kitchen equipment for a very competitive price and within short delivery times (2-3 weeks).

This project therefore envisages to achieve the following results:

  1. establishment of a new joint venture in Bulgaria for the production of quality professional kitchens;
  2. building of a new production facility, comprising of modern production equipment (CAD, punch nibble machine, welding unit, cutting and bending equipment), all equipped to the EU standards;
  3. training the personnel in new production techniques, using of CAD design drawings, HACCP, ARBO and quality management;
  4. production of 10 kitchens a year and further business development.

The kitchen parts to be manufactured in Bulgaria, are primarily destined for the Dutch market. But, as the rapidly developing tourism in the Black Sea area and other Southern European regions provide a growing market for commercial kitchens which meet HACCP standards, Renselaar intends to grasp the opportunity and strengthen its Bulgarian sales as well. To this end Renselaar has entered into the co-operation with HRC International and Bulgarian InterCollege in Dobrich, which are the project partners of the parallel project.

The project partners expect to create 15 new jobs during the project and another 12 upon reaching full production 2009 (after the project). For further development of the production in Bulgaria, Renselaar will in the spin-off phase invest in the extension of the production and additional equipment, primarily in laser cutting devices.

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