For more than 150 years, Vulcan has been cooking up commercial appliances for customers across the globe. And in recent years, the Baltimore County manufacturer has even gotten screen time with Top Chef finalist Bryan Voltaggio and Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares.
Vulcan – a division of the Illinois-based ITW Food Equipment Group – began in 1865 as a stove company with factories in New Jersey, Kentucky, and Illinois. Through a series of acquisitions and business partnerships, the company transformed into one of the world’s largest equipment manufacturers in the food industry.
Vulcan has 140 employees in the Baltimore region, with representatives throughout the country that sell appliances to dealers, brick and mortar showrooms, and online-based shops. From there, the industrial equipment is sold to the end user—in this case, restaurants.
All of Vulcan’s products are meant for high-volume, high-capacity food and dining service establishments. What makes Vulcan unique is the range of products they offer—a restaurant can get everything it needs for a kitchen under one brand, a perk that isn’t offered by many other equipment manufacturers. And while many restaurants try to stick with one provider when outfitting a new kitchen, Vulcan also works with food service establishments that want to replace their existing appliances.
Top Chef finalist Bryan Voltaggio is one of many restaurateurs that turn to the Baltimore manufacturing company for quality products. Voltaggio’s Family Meal restaurant uses Vulcan equipment throughout its kitchen, and the local Frederick chef praised Vulcan’s cooking equipment back in a 2013 YouTube video.
“Vulcan certainly prides themselves on innovative features. They spend a lot of time really seeing it from a chef’s perspective, how to build a really great stove,” Voltaggio said in the YouTube clip. “I’m really glad that I chose to go with Vulcan.”
Vulcan’s equipment has also been featured on episodes of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay. Everything from its deep fat fryer, to a six-ring burner and convection oven have been included in Ramsay’s renovated commercial kitchens.
The company is located inside the Beltway near the residential sections of Dundalk and is starting to see strong labor market competition, with Harley Davidson and the recent additions of FedEx, Amazon, and Under Armour at Tradepoint Atlantic.
“It’s good to have other names in the area – having more business provides more exposure for other businesses,” said Chris Bauermann, general manager. “When the steel mill left, a lot of things went by the wayside; now there is reinvestment in the neighborhoods, dining, and retail.”
Bauermann says the state’s recent investment in local landmarks, like the historic sites associated with the War of 1812’s Battle of North Point, has also drawn a lot of positive attention in the area.
In the past few decades, the marketplace for kitchen equipment has become extremely competitive. According to Bauermann, there have been a significant amount of new companies entering the marketplace, with contenders overseas serving up a stiff competition. But after being in business for more than a century, Vulcan has one major advantage over the newcomers—recognition.
“Vulcan has very strong brand awareness. We’re reliable, durable, and best in class,” said Bauermann. “There’s a need for our services. We’re available to answer questions… you don’t have that with the competitors. We’re proud of the equipment we make and the progress we’ve made.”
Bauermann also credits taking pride in their work, focusing on workplace safety, and a collaborative spirit for the company’s longevity.
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