Few budgets are tighter than those of K-12 schools. For these operators, once they start working with Central Restaurant Products, many quickly discover why it’s smart to make Central Restaurant Products (CRP) their primary source for foodservice equipment purchases.

The Challenge

Replace aging foodservice equipment on a cash-strapped school budget.

 

The Solutions

  • Discounted options for fully functional, slightly dinged equipment.
  • Dedicated product consultants learn the specific needs of their clients and go the extra mile to personalize the best solutions available from CRP’s manufacturer partners.
  • Service extends beyond borders when customers aren’t local.

When it comes to replacing old foodservice equipment or renovating an entire kitchen, perhaps no budget is as squeaky as that of a public school district.

“I found Central Restaurant Products a few years ago when I was looking for multiple bids online for replacement equipment,” says Lindsay Beaulieu, food service director, Columbia School District, Brooklyn, Mich. “They had the best prices for the equipment I needed, and once I started working with them, they gave me just one person to contact for all my needs and were very quick to respond. No one else I looked at did business that way.”

Beaulieu, who manages food service for two elementary schools, junior high and senior high schools and an adult alternative high school, now orders replacement equipment from Central Restaurant Products on a regular basis.

 

Finding Perfection in Imperfect Equipment

One benefit Beaulieu quickly discovered was CRP’s “scratched and dented” discount program. Fully functional foodservice equipment that may have exterior blemishes is marked down, giving buyers an even lower price on many pieces of equipment that they might find online elsewhere.

“We purchased two 3-door freezers that were marked down to save money,” Beaulieu says. “We don’t really care if there are a few dings in the equipment as long as it works properly and is covered by warranty. After all, no one sees it but those of us working in the kitchen.”

Replacement That Fits the Operation

On occasion, equipment being replaced is so old that comparable models either aren’t made the same way, requiring different utility hookups, or operate differently. Last year, a steam kettle in one of the Columbia School District’s kitchens failed, and Beaulieu called her CRP product consultant to replace it.

While speaking with her on the phone, the product consultant learned that the steam kettle is on the same steam line as a tilting skillet and realized that the old kettle couldn’t easily be swapped out for a new one.

“[The product consultant] went the extra yard and spoke to the manufacturer to find alternatives for me,” Beaulieu says. “So now I have quotes on a couple of different options, and I hope to fit the project into next year’s budget.”

Service Beyond Borders

Even though CRP isn’t a local equipment dealer, Beaulieu says shipping isn’t a problem, adding that a local dealer would simply pass on shipping costs from the manufacturer in most cases anyway. And, she says, while large pieces of equipment might incur what she considers a reasonable $200 to $300 shipping charge, many items are shipped for free. “We got free shipping when we purchased our 3-door freezers,” she says.

Installation also isn’t an issue because the district has maintenance staff with the necessary training or experience to hook up equipment properly.

“The company is super easy to work with. Best of all, since 2016 when we started purchasing from CRP, we’ve saved from 10 to 15 percent on replacement equipment.” —Lindsay Beaulieu, food service director, Columbia School District, Brooklyn, Mich.

Product Knowledge You Can Count On

Marilyn Gullett, director of child nutrition, South Conway County School District, Morrilton, Ark., learned about Central Restaurant Products six years ago from the company’s catalog. “We’re in a small town, so there’s no local equipment dealer,” she says. “The closest one is 60 miles away and terribly expensive.”

After deciding to order some items from the catalog, Gullett was both surprised and delighted to get a follow-up call from a CRP product consultant. “I really liked that he provided such personal service, and that he’s my single contact point at the company.

“He takes care of everything when I place an order, explains any differences in products I’m ordering and those I’m replacing, and I can always call him if I have any questions.” —Marilyn Gullet, director of child nutrition, South Conway County School District, Morrilton, Ark.

Gullett purchased a 2-door cooler from CRP and had it shipped. A year ago, she purchased a double oven. “I gave [my product consultant] the measurements, and he helped me select the right model,” she says. “Our maintenance department installed the equipment when it arrived, which saved me $4,000 compared to a bid I received from an outside contractor.”

When it comes to providing schools with the right equipment and smallwares that meet their budgets, CRP’s personal service is unsurpassed.