Like many growing businesses, Atlantic Culinary Environments (AtlanticCE), Danville, Pa., has maintained its competitive edge by anticipating and adapting to changing market conditions and customer needs.
Founded in 1985, AtlanticCE has grown from a local independent foodservice equipment dealer and stainless fabricator to a complete foodservice design-build company that competes for large projects on a national level. Spotting market opportunities and being quick to take advantage of them has spurred the company’s growth and amplified its uniqueness.
Recognizing that its fabrication business could lead to new sales opportunities, the company added CAD capabilities and staff. “We cut our teeth on small restaurants, and with our expanded abilities we got some traction with contract feeders,” says Chadd Roadarmel, Sales and Solutions Provider. “Eventually, we folded interior design into our design department and added full-color rendering capabilities. We hired installers to make sure projects were done to our high standards, and finally brought millwork fabrication in house, so we are manufacturing most of the products we design and install. It has been good for us because there are very few dealers like us around.”
“We hired installers to make sure projects were done to our high standards, and finally brought millwork fabrication in house, so we are manufacturing most of the products we design and install. It has been good for us because there are very few dealers like us around.” —Chadd Roadarmel, Sales and Solutions Provider, AtlanticCE
More than half of AtlanticCE’s business is out of state and encompasses projects for colleges and universities, senior services facilities, B&I accounts and more. Along the way, the company saw that membership of a dealer buying group could offer even more opportunities for growth.
“[Excell Foodservice Equipment Dealer Network] approached us around 1999,” says Craig Roadarmel, AtlanticCE President and Founder. “At the time, we had no access to smallwares, and were not even soliciting customers for that business. However, a couple of our clients, like Country Cupboard in Lewisburg, were interested in buying those items from us. Other buying groups didn’t buy into our vision of growing our business in other areas. Excell was willing to work with us on a roadmap to understand where we could expand our business in additional categories and increase sales.”
The relationship has grown from there, offering AtlanticCE benefits it wouldn’t have otherwise had as an independent dealer. But a few key ones stand out, according to Chadd.
“Obviously, a major benefit is that we get better discounts and rebates than we could directly from manufacturers,” Chadd says. “Excell also helps us resolve any conflicts with manufacturers over pricing or any other issue, saving us time and potential headaches.”
Marketing is another area in which Excell has provided support. Excell equipped the company with the skills and tools to better understand how to engage with their customers. According to Chadd, “Their training programs really help educate us on equipment and accessories, as well as show us how to sell it, which reassures clients that we know our business and theirs.”
At the beginning of this year, Excell launched the Cutting Edge Online Training platform to help dealers tackle one of their biggest challenges – training new team members on all things foodservice. Cutting Edge helps bring new team members up to speed quickly with in-depth industry training that’s easily digestible, engaging and accessible on-the-go. This means hiring is not limited to only those with a foodservice background. Hire the sales talent you need and let Cutting Edge equip them with the skills they need to do their jobs well.
Camaraderie among dealer members is another big benefit AtlanticCE appreciates. Excell’s Peer Groups program gave AtlanticCE the opportunity to hash out potential solutions to shared challenges through once-a-month phone conferences and yearly visits to other dealers.
Additionally, the buying group’s annual conference and midyear dealer meeting offer additional opportunities to network and keep members informed of the state of the industry and share best practices.
“During the pandemic, for example,” Chadd says, “Excell helped us source equipment that is in scarce supply and kept our pricing under control. Our savings went beyond just dollars, we also saved in efficiency and our ability to get equipment much quicker than our competitors.” Excell reduces supply chain costs by creating efficiencies in procurements, sales, marketing, technology, and rebate analysis and tracking.
Excell’s ability to adapt to changing industry needs has helped AtlanticCE grow their business, and further strengthened a decades-long relationship. “Excell is always there when we need them – business, personal, or other. They rally the troops. They keep us motivated they keep us connected, educated, entertained and cohesive. They bring value where and when we need it most. They simply get it.”