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Trend of Kitchen appliance(2)

2016-05-26
Speed cooking with microwave, convection and air-assisted technologies addresses our need for saving time while not forcing us to give up our desire for quality food preparation. We are just at the next level. The consumer has to decide to learn the new(er) technology and how to operate it within their comfort level.
Steam cooking, which follows the commercial restaurant process, addresses the trend of healthy, quick and easy, but still has an operational learning curve. Time will tell how sticky this trend will be, as the price point is in the luxury market.
Having a choice of cooker hoods, whether it is a custom canopy with a liner only, or a decoratively designed European-inspired model creating an architectural statement alone, is the driving force behind this necessary appliance. Kitchen designers and other trade professionals understand the need for better air quality, but still seem to have an upward battle explaining the ramifications of hood installation to the consumer.
Outdoor kitchens are really about the appliances — the grills, the warming drawers, refrigerators, wine/beverage/bar appliances, and specialty cooking pieces that have driven this new market. Once you find the UL and weather warranty approvals for these appliances, the conversation in the luxury market becomes one of, “But of course.” Mainstream consumers can still have a piece of it, just not with as many pieces, perhaps. A good remodeler, or collaboration with a good designer, will help the consumer prioritize their outdoor kitchen desires.
An example of a fad is a 30-in. range that could keep food cool inside before automatically turning itself on and cooking. Cooling drawers (not refrigeration), 30-in. dishwashers and the choice of 190 colors to choose from are other examples. Again, technology or design can inspire a new product, but if not embraced psychologically by the consumer as safe, aesthetically pleasing and intuitive, it will be on the short list of success regardless of the marketing, price point or amount of investment in the technology.
Value is the key word in this economy, and with appliance choices being so high on consumers’ lists of decisions to make, they are the first place of scrutiny. This means that everyone must shop smarter, from the consumer to the helpful remodeler. This also means the bells and whistles, warranties and ramifications of design vs. function need to be better explained to the final decision maker.
Today, it’s not unusual for one appliance to stand out as the splurge item, while the rest are juggled monetarily, often with pricing promotions under consideration regardless of brand. Careful questioning of client lifestyle, habits, future needs and budget can help with prioritizing their appliance needs.
Problems with installation and operation are many and varied. A simple question needs to be answered: Who is responsible for the final mechanical specs? I believe the design community needs to go further than simply providing pictures of specs to the remodeler. A stronger partnership with the remodeler and more jobsite visits are needed to confirm placement and ramifications of construction surprises.
Now, what should be done with dead-on-arrival appliances, especially when you need them for timely inspections? As Jeff Brooks of Brooks Building Group in Rome, Ga., told me, “Having an appliance dealer’s policy in place that allows a quick decision to replace or solve a problem is a saving grace and assurance of future business from me!” I couldn’t agree more!

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