the ice cube BEGINNING & a kitchen REVOLUTION: HOSHIZAKI

By February 24, 2013December 5th, 2013No Comments

hoshizaki1The humble ice cube made of nothing but water has such a big purpose in the kitchens of restaurants. While smaller establishments with quick turnover may be able to get by with bags of ice sent by the supplier, major restaurants have a greater need for the ice machine. The machine not only makes the ice, it keeps it frozen until needed, unlike the past where ice was kept in tubs that will eventually become a pool of water. The convenience cannot be beat, cutting down the time one needs to order for ice, or worse, forgetting to order. Most importantly, it keeps cold food at the temperature to ensure freshness and improves cost efficiency when a restaurant can store food without losing texture and flavour over a longer period. There is also an aesthetic purpose as all cubes are uniformly shaped. At the same time, if the restaurant has a good water filtration system, there is assurance that ice will not taste funny, which may quite often be the case with outside suppliers.

Hoshizaki Europe office in Amsterdam.

Hoshizaki Europe office in Amsterdam.

Hoshizaki America factory.

Hoshizaki America factory.

Hoshizaki Electric Co. Ltd was one of the earliest innovators of the ice machine in Asia. Its name conjures up memories of many creative and handy tools that are used in the kitchen today. 65 years and still making headway in the industry, it deserves to live up to the ‘iconic’ title. Hoshizaki was started on the philosophy that “a company cannot grow without its own products.” One would not expect anything less from its industrious founder, Shigeitoshi Sakamoto, who was a budding engineer in the field of elevators before branching out to collaborate with a sewing machine manufacturer, finally coming into his own with a 4-man staff (including him) business known as Hoshizaki. And the first original product that came out of the small office was the ‘Banto’ or ‘sliding ruler’ that functioned as an instant calculator. The company spent a great many years as a sub-contractor to one of Japan’s largest sewing machine manufacturer and Sakamoto bid his time, allowing the revenue generated from sewing machines to stablise the company – for he knew that creating new products was within him, yet the time was not yet.

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Mr. Sakamoto, Chairman of Hoshizaki.

Mr. Sakamoto, Chairman of Hoshizaki.

A trip to the USA was the tipping point whereby Sakamoto chanced upon the water cooler concept and he envisioned that it would be introduced in Japan. He purchased one of the machines and turned it into a soft drink vending machine. Acting on a suggestion, he worked to create a machine that could dispense soft drinks upon inserting a 10YEN coin. It was a hit at the Nagoya festival as people flocked to try out the innovation. It structured an era for the company but with any business, challenges are unavoidable. Japan saw its stock market crash in 1963 due to a major event in America and 80% of Hoshizaki’s partners fell into financial crisis. Sending his son, Seishi, who is the current chairman of the company, to USA with the purpose of learning the prospect of new ideas, Seishi returned with an insight that ice machine can be a successful venture. Hoshizaki’s first ice machine that was built without infringing on USA’s patents, was introduced in 1964 but to a lukewarm response. Distributors were not sold on the idea but convinced that it will work out; the company opened its own distribution centre to sell and service the machines.

Ice machines came full circle in 1970 during the Osaka Expo where the service industr y began to saw the convenience it provided and requested for various types, from compacts, large to even varied types of ice cubes. Banking on its innovative streak, engineers of Hoshizaki came up with the snowcone machine which made ice, shaved it and poured syrup, the hamburger vending machine which was the first ever machine that incorporated refrigeration and microwave oven to produce cooked food. And the man with foresight saw the greater picture and forayed into the field of comprehensive kitchen manufacturing. Shigeitoshi Sakamoto also had another vision – America. Not because of the profits of foreign currency or to pioneer a revolution but simply because his dream was to make a presence there. Overcoming challenges of language, culture, lifestyle, mindset, hygiene and product use practices, it now has a factor y in Atlanta and distributing centres in major towns like New York City, Texas and Massachusetts, to name a few.

Hoshizaki's upright refrigerators.

Hoshizaki’s upright refrigerators.

As we speak, the Hoshizaki stamp is seen worldwide around Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and United Kingdom), mostly having the prowess to carry out independent sales activities. The Asian continent was one of possibilities and a factory was built in Suzhou, China to manufacture other kitchen equipments for China’s domestic market and export purposes. Long-time proprietors trust while new players are discovering Hoshizaki’s living legacy in its electronic dishwashers, coffee and tea dispensers, draft beer dispensers, walk in and glass door fridges, electric fr yers as well as sushi cases.


Hoshizaki”s counter refrigerators.

While some pundits may say that “having a finger in each pie” does not amount to anything well done, Sakamoto’s tenacity in originality has brought the company to taste the sweetness of success, over many times. Hoshizaki Electric Co. Ltd. has proven that diversification is indeed profitable, when all standards

Hoshizaki's undercounted ice machine.

Hoshizaki’s undercounted ice machine.

of quality are met and with effective management. Equipment side established, the company is also focusing on being an environmental crusader, creating a conducive workplace environment to cultivate positive attitudes and satisfied employees and working to reduce carbon footprint and waste products through insistent implementation of recycling measures.

If 65 years of history and a presently active organisation does not warrant a stamp of trust and approval from the industry around the world, what will?

Hoshizaki’s line of products are more than just ice machines and refrigerators.

Their standard product range available in many countries consists of the following:[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]

• Ice machines – Ice makers and storage bins
• Refrigerators & Freezers – upright & undercounters
• Display sushi cases
• Water electrolyzer
• Dispensers – for hot and cold drinks, ice and even beer
• Filtration systems
• Stainless Steel Roll In Refrigerators (In US & Japan only)
• Dishwashers (In US & Japan only)[/box]

Exclusively in Japan, the company is well known for a few other ranges of products with excellent service and support.[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]

• Electric Fryers
• Steam Convection Oven
• Commercial Induction Cookers
• Hot & Cold food trolleys
• Dishwashers
• Microwaves[/box]


hoshizaki-spore-2HOSHIZAKI SINGAPORE
Opened since 1999 in December, Hoshizaki Singapore was set up to oversee the local market and also surrounding countries in Asia. Headed by Mr Kazuhiko Yamashita, the team of 10 provides Singapore and also customers of the region their expertise and the availability of Hoshizaki’s range of products. Keeping true to their business policies, Singapore office supports an extensive dealer network in more than 10 countries to support their customers and also supports chain customers with outlets all around the region effectively with trained service personnel.

Inquiries and orders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and also South Asia countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are supported with Hoshizaki Singapore carrying stocks and parts in house to support unprecedented requirements or urgent parts replacements.

The assurance of its product quality and its strong support and service network is Hoshizaki Singapore’s commitment to its customers.

[box style=”rounded” border=”full”] HOSHIZAKI SINGAPORE PTE LTD
18 BOON LAY WAY, #07-142, Tradehub 21, Singapore 609966.
Tel: (65) 6225 2612