b2b

Cookware company Made In pivots back to B2B as restaurants reopen

The Austin-based brand is expanding its product assortment.
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Made In

· less than 3 min read

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A lot of people invested in cooking supplies beyond air fryers during the pandemic, but now it’s time for restaurants to upgrade.

That’s where Made In comes in. The cookware brand leaned into its DTC business in 2020, but is now pivoting back to working with chefs who need efficient and durable supplies to handle increased demand.

  • Hospitality is a “rapidly growing” segment for Made In, Jake Kalick, president and cofounder, told Retail Brew.
  • 22,400+ restaurants reopened in Q2 and ~20,000 set up shop for the first time, per Yelp.

Too many cooks

Made In products can be found in more than 1,500 restaurants, including 20 Michelin-starred ones, which don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles that appeal to everyday DTC customers. Made In is now gearing up to roll out new products that deliver on the essentials.

Paramount to Made In’s B2B business is maintaining close relationships with chefs to better understand what they need.

  • For example, earlier this month Made In partnered with chef Tom Colicchio on a knife set used to cut, debone, skin, and fillet fish.
  • Colicchio, owner of Crafted Hospitality and a Made In investor, equips his restaurants with Made In products.

“Historically, in food service supply, you’re buying your tools through a third party...that’s a middleman for other kitchen brands,” Kalick said. “I don’t think they’re generally bringing the feedback to the brands they represent and getting new products made.”

Striking a balance

Make no mistake, Made In’s DTC business isn’t going anywhere. The company sold more than half a million pieces of kitchenware since last year, which translated to a more than 4.86x bump in sales.

  • Made In partnered with Tecovas, an Austin-based boots company, on a summer grill set that will drop next month.

The big picture: Made In wants to strike a balance between the needs of its DTC customers and its restaurant partners. While those interests often align, sometimes they don’t.

“The challenge to working with chefs is that you're responsible for their business,” Kalick said. “They have deadlines in which they need to open. If they don't have enough pans for service that night, they're not going to be able to execute the number of meals they need or their chefs are going to be strained. We really are an extension of their business in that respect.”—KM

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