Outdoor kitchen line takes flight
Chris Gigley -- Casual Living, February 7, 2013
Outdoor living manufacturers can always count on dealers giving them plenty of feedback about their products. Whether manufacturers listen is another matter.
Three years ago, Twin Eagles heeded its outdoor kitchen dealers, and the response was the Delta Heat line of grill and outdoor kitchen products. The company will put its full marketing muscle behind Delta Heat in 2013.
"The market has told us there was a need and opportunity for this line and we're not going to treat it as a secondary offering," said Twin Eagles marketing head Brian Eskew. "It'll be a top-line offering that stands on its own. It'll get all the time and attention it deserves."
Eskew said about 85% of the company's premium Twin Eagles business is built-in outdoor equipment. Consumers pay anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 for the equipment and the build of the island.
Although that market had tightened for Twin Eagles dealers, Eskew said the company kept growing nonetheless. Part of its consistent double-digit annual growth came from taking market share from other premium outdoor kitchen equipment producers.
"We also benefited from retailers diversifying their businesses and adding premium outdoor kitchens and grills," said Doug Pryor, Twin Eagles director of sales and marketing, who has worked in the category for more than 20 years. "When things got tough in 2008, many looked for logical extensions of their business they could grow on. For casual living retailers, outdoor kitchens were a nice piece of add-on business for them."
Twin Eagles manufactured products are sold in more than 700 locations nationwide, and Eskew said he expects that number to grow as the company gets behind the Delta Heat line, with comparable grills and accessories costing consumers about half the price of the Twin Eagles product.
"Within the value-priced category, there are a lot of brands competing for that space," Eskew said. "We're introducing Delta Heat as the bestin- class product for that category. Delta Heat line is a step up from other value priced grill brands."
The key feature of the Delta Heat grills is the Twin Eagles cooking system, developed by Dante Cantal, the company's owner and founder. Cantal is a gas engineer who designed commercial and residential cooking equipment for more than 35 years.
"Dante is truly one of the early innovators in the premium grill category," Eskew said. "He had really placed the bulk of his emphasis on OEM design and manufacturing, working with almost every grill brand you can imagine. If he wasn't designing a new grill from top to bottom, he was working on a burner or some other component."
For his own line, Cantal figured out how to blend radiant and direct heat to make his grills perform with relative precision.
"If you look at the way a Twin Eagles grill is engineered, it has a system with ceramic radiants in a stainless steel tray," Eskew said. "That tray is engineered to allow direct heat and radiant heat to work together to give you an efficient cooking system that reaches extremely high temperatures and responds to adjustments in temperature almost immediately."
The Delta Heat line of grill and outdoor kitchen equipment is the direct response from Twin Eagles to its dealers’ request for a more moderately priced alternative to its core high-end Twin Eagles branded product.
|The Delta Heat line has grown to become a complete line of outdoor
kitchen equipment, with the addition of items such as refrigerators.|
|Red LED lights in Delta Heat grill
control knobs serve as an example of
how Twin Eagles founder and owner
Dante Cantal blends high performance
with user friendly touches in
all his grill products.|
|Delta Heat grills feature the Twin Eagles
cooking system, which blends direct and
radiant heat that allows the grill to get hot
quickly and gives users more temperature
The roll-out of the Delta Heat line hasn't been quite as precise. When it initially launched in 2010, the line was manufactured in China so the company could hit the price points the market demanded.
"But we weren't getting the level of quality in every product that consumers and dealers expected from us," said Eskew.
In late 2011, Cantal brought production stateside to Twin Eagles' company-owned manufacturing facility in Cerritos, Calif. He immediately took advantage of the new arrangement to redesign the line. "We improved the aesthetics and the performance of the line, and we added some nice features like red LED lights over the control knobs," Eskew said.
Twin Eagles also revamped the formerly flat control panel, creating a contoured bull-nose and landing ledge just above the control knobs. He stretched the handles to run the full length of the lid, redesigned the radius of the lid and added polished highlights on the seamless welds. All of these changes give the product a sleeker, more upscale look.
Finally, Twin Eagles broadened the Delta Heat selection to include more outdoor kitchen accessories, such as outdoor refrigeration, more storage accessories and a drop in sink.
"Now, Delta Heat is the most full-featured value-priced outdoor kitchen line made in the U.S.," Eskew said. "And we're learning every day how important it is for dealers to say the line is made in the USA."
For Twin Eagles, the commitment to Delta Heat is merely a move to fulfill the promise they made to dealers when it launched the line three years ago.
"It all goes back to our dealers bringing this up as an opportunity," Eskew said. "They believed the market wanted it, and we want to deliver for them."
Eskew said Delta Heat will not only sell on its own, it will also boost sales of Twin Eagles product. He said as many as 75% of the dealer base carries both lines so they can offer their customers "better" and "best" alternatives.
"Many times, having a value priced line on the floor helps customers see what they're getting in a premium offering," Eskew said.
Regardless, Twin Eagles is optimistic about Delta Heat in 2013. The company knows it has its dealers to thank for that. It will keep listening carefully to them for the next great idea.
|Delta Heat got a makeover in 2011, when the company redesigned the the lid
and added polished highlights to give the line more of an upscale look.|
|The entire Delta Heat line is made in the U.S., which Twin Eagles marketing
head Brian Eskew said has been meaningful to both dealers and customers.|
|With a serious marketing push in 2013, Twin Eagles expects its Delta Heat line
to sell well among existing dealers and open doors to new outlets now that the
market for outdoor kitchens has expanded to the upper middle class demographic.|