What is a restaurant if the kitchen is not a place that conjures up unforgettable tastes? But more importantly, what is a kitchen if it is not fully equipped to function optimally? Any wise and sensible restaurateur would know the need to engage a partner that would help them best in terms of setting up a kitchen that meets industry regulations and equipping it with up-to-date technology.
Tracking back in time of year 1956, NKR Continental was established in Singapore by Mdm Tan Siew Keng, under the name of NAM KAIK REFRIGERATION. From its start of helping traders to address the problem of keeping their items fresh with customised 8’ x 8’ self-contained reefer boxes functioning as a portable cold room, NKR’s business soared – reeling in profits as well as good words from offshore traders who found these containers extremely useful.
56 YEARS ON
Fast forward to today; NKR is still going strong in providing refrigerating solutions. Despite the opportunities to branch out to other kitchen solutions, NKR decided to do what has gotten them thus far, no doubt, with a little shift in direction. According to NKR’s director, Katherine Kek, the company has carved a niche in this area and is now moving to reducing fabrication but looking towards modular concepts. Fabricating involves more time and materials to make a refrigerator of choice and inadvertently increases the overall costs, which is contrary to what the industry is mainly trying to do nowadays – cutting cost. Some may worry that a modular unit will not fit but Katherine assures that it is a small issue that can be easily worked around.
Adding to helping customers maximise their budget, NKR is also fully involved in the entire transaction, even to the post-purchase stage. Not content with being just a trading company, it wants to be a total service provider or specialist contractor to its clients. This means guiding them from the consultation and design stage, demonstration and training and committing to efficiently answer to necessary after-sales jobs such as maintenance duties or product repairs. To meet this criteria, NKR has a team of factory trained technical staff that are competent & versatile. It has a pool of service partners who are competently trained and located at strategic spots to meet customers varied demands of ‘allowed downtime’, thus after-sales service is a core area for NKR to never neglect.
COLLABORATION, THE WAY FORWARD
Believing in the exper tise of others, NKR distributes relevant products from partner companies that are carefully chosen based on features, functions, market feedback and where the company stands – do they have a strong foundation and best technology, quality and prices for NKR’s target audience? Importing other products further emphasises NKR’s vision of being a hub for commercial kitchen setups, and it is not worried about parallel imports.
As Katherine said, “Other companies can sell the same product but we take one step ahead by providing full after sales service because we believe in the brand that we carry and assure customers that they will not be left in the lurch.” Additionally, NKR brings in niche brands and although they may be more costly, customers know the benefit they will reap in the long run.
A PARADIGM SHIFT
With the F&B and hospitality industry bigger than ever, yet, new buildings do not necessarily mean the embracing of modern technology. A lot of this resistance is down to fear, said Katherine, on the mentality of chefs thinking that modern machines serve to replace them. However, it is not so! These competent machines are there to assist the chef, to free them up from the stress of having to see to everything manually, and in that frenzy, many have lost their true passion which is to create new dishes and experiences, opines Katherine.
To encourage acceptance, NKR is investing in introductions via roads shows or demonstrations to the relevant market segment. Audience were amazed to see that with the latest technology of Rational White Efficiency Self Cooking Centre, variety of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Alacarte Menu were able to be prepared and served within minimum time frame & manpower. And with Blast Chilling/ Shock Freezing technology, the freshness of raw/cooked food can be maintained for days or months depending on the application cycle. NKR is confident that their persistence will be able to win over industry players and that would be one of the company’s continuous efforts in 2013.
THE 2013 VISION
With years of experience, NKR has weathered various economic and industry climates and Katherine projects the year ahead to be challenging especially with the global uncertainties, but she feels that the hospitality industry is one that will continue growing as the USA and European countries still see Asia as a growing market for investment. Young entrepreneurs with vision to continue a family business are also interested in adopting new methods and NKR seeks to work with them to bring change. As NKR has proven itself a worthy partner, oversea brands are looking to continue the collaboration and intend to have NKR working with them again as they open new tracks in other places. With both factories in Kuala Lumpur and Batu Pahat (for southern states and Singapore) operating at full steam, it definitely proves that NKR still has both feet firmly planted in this industry and shows no sign of slowing down amidst the challenging outlook of the future.
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NKR CONTINENTAL (M) SDN. BHD.
No.16, Jalan Sejahtera 25/124, Seksyen 25 Taman Perindustrian Axis, 40400 Shah Alam Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 5124 6833 Fax: +603 5122 5825