Middleby opens the doors to stunning European innovation kitchen

03 Mar 23

Middleby today officially opened the doors to a brand new state-of-the-art culinary centre in Madrid that will see it ramp up the level of support and product engagement it can offer customers in Europe.

Dealer partners from across the continent, including the UK, flew into the Spanish capital to get their first taste of the facility as part of the grand opening.

The uniquely-designed 500 square metre space showcases almost 30 Middleby brands, divided into seven separate foodservice concepts so that customers can trial and test its equipment depending on their areas of focus.

The Middleby Innovation Kitchen – or ‘MIK’ as it is referred to by the company – houses more than 80 pieces of live equipment from the company’s global portfolio of brands, including Lincat in the UK, TurboChef from the US and Josper in Spain.

The project is the culmination of an 18-month initiative led by Middleby’s European president Chris Jones and his regional team, including Middleby Spain managing director Alvaro de la Torre.

Steve Spittle, chief commercial officer for the Middleby Corporation, travelled from Dallas to be present for the opening and paid tribute to the work of the European team in setting up the facility during a welcome address yesterday evening.

As well as offering live demonstrations, the MIK will serve as a training facility for customers and includes a fully-equipped meeting room and a dining area for guests.

Mr Jones told Catering Insight the launch is a significant milestone in its European strategy: “We knew that we wanted a state-of-the-art facility in a European base. We have the existing facility in Wigan but we wanted something in Europe.

“We believe that Madrid is one of the key cities in the European market and the Spanish have a flair for food. When we build these centres we make sure they are backed up by a lot of culinary expertise – culinary is a big selling tool for us. This is a major project and represents a huge investment from Middleby.”

Mr Jones said dealers in the UK would be free to use the facility, which is only 15 minutes from Madrid airport.

He added that the investment will offer value to the increasing number of operators that wish to test-drive products before purchase.

“Customers want to come in, feel the product – it’s an emotional purchase. It is considered spend now and they naturally want to kick the tyres. But more importantly, it’s not just about being shown the equipment – the key is menu development. They can bring their culinary teams in, and bring in their own product as they would in their restaurants or stores, and use our equipment.”

Julian Shine, managing director of Shine Catering Systems, was among the UK dealer contingent to experience the centre. He said: “This is a game changing facility to have in Europe – it’s absolutely amazing. Madrid is one of the best cities to have chosen, too. This is a place I want to bring my customers to and that I would be proud to bring my customers to.”

The Madrid centre is the third ‘MIK’ that Middleby operates worldwide. As well as the one in the UK, it has a flagship 40,000 square feet site in Dallas with its own 70-cover dining room.

The company has indicated it would like to open further demonstration facilities in Europe, with Germany potentially the next destination.

The launch of the Madrid innovation kitchen is particularly special for Mr de la Torre, who has been involved with Middleby Spain for 30 years. When he first began supplying Middleby equipment to the Spanish market the acquisitive group had just four brands.

At the launch he said: “We are excited to officially open the Middleby Innovation Kitchen in Madrid which will allow our customers to experience our products and innovations first hand.

“These demonstrations, training and culinary event facilities are pioneers in Spain. We hope that they will not only participate in the latest product technologies, but will captivate them with an authentic culinary experience.”