Krowne Manufacturer Uses Innovation to Stay Ahead

As part of its mission to celebrate organizations that push the foodservice equipment and supplies industry forward, the FEDA First Thing newsletter is publishing a series of Q&As with member companies. This week features Krowne Metal Corporation, a leading manufacturer of custom underbar equipment, backbar refrigeration, hand sinks, faucets, gas hoses, and gas plumbing. Located in Wayne, New Jersey, Krowne is a 72-year-old, third generation family-owned company that has solidified its reputation as a leader in the FES industry through internal product development, plant expansions, and investments in cutting-edge robotic machinery.

How many locations do you have?
Kyle Forman, Vice President: Two manufacturing facilities and a distribution facility with a total of 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space in the USA.

What are your primary categories and services today?
Underbar equipment, backbar refrigeration, commercial plumbing, gas connectors and hand sinks.

Who is your customer base?
Foodservice dealers/distributors, hotels, casinos, stadiums, restaurants, bars, night clubs, hospitals, and more.

What is your latest and most interesting company innovation?
An augmented reality and virtual reality bar design for bartender training exercises, footstep analysis reports, and design/layout approval. Another recent Krowne innovation is BarFlex3D – our proprietary 3-D bar design app is available to all users for free on our website. BarFlex3D allows the user to choose from over 20,000 configurations to design the bar of their dreams. Barlex3D is also fully integrated with Revit and AutoCAD.

How is your company making the best use of new technology?
Utilizing advancements and increased accessibility to AR and VR to take bar design to the next level. This level of immersion creates an entirely new experience for clients. We recently announced an exclusive partnership with Jon Taffer for all future Taffer’s Tavern locations. We used our VR design capabilities to train Jon’s all-star bar staff while ensuring every bar station achieved a zero-step design. After we finished the process, Jon Taffer was quoted in several publications stating the following: “Krowne has built a legacy of bar equipment excellence, but what is truly differentiating is the way they combine cutting-edge technology, such as 3-D renderings and virtual reality, to create a bar experience for Taffer’s Tavern that benefits guests, bartenders, and restaurant operators.”

What excites you about the future of our industry?
Advancements in technology allowing for more immersion and interaction in bar design. Haptic feedback (or 3-D touch) will allow users to touch and feel equipment in virtual reality for an added level of training and interaction for layout approval. Projection mapping will allow for 3-D projections of equipment at the job site which will completely change the way we approach approval processes. There is a lot more, but we must keep some of it secret because they are currently in development with our team of designers!

How has the way you serve customers changed during the COVID-19 crisis?
Transparency, communication and innovation have become our three main pillars of focus throughout the pandemic. Being honest with customers about lead times, especially in April when the pandemic was at its peak in New Jersey, was very important to us. Communicating with our dealers proactively has remained paramount and prevents our customers from being subject to last-minute changes. Additionally, innovation has become the focal point of our engineering department. The department spent the pandemic hunkered down designing some amazing new pieces of equipment and technology that our dealers will continue to see being released over the next year.

Are you doing any special things to support your community during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Yes, as soon as it became evident in March that face mask shortages were becoming a serious problem we jumped into action. To do so, we leveraged our robust overseas supplier network to create a free facemask program where we committed to donating every single face mask we purchased from overseas to local healthcare facilities in need. Our goal was initially set at 10,000 facemasks (mainly comprised of N95s). We ended up doubling that and by the end of May, we had donated over 20,000 facemasks to local healthcare facilities in need. 

For more information about Krowne Metal Corporation, please contact Sales Coordinator Jenna Lamartino at jenna@krowne.com.