A story 50 years in the making (2024)

H+K International is a leading supplier of stainless steel kitchen equipment to the food service industry. We provide total restaurant solutions, incorporating manufacturing, logistics, after sales service and project management with over 1,600 employees world-wide with operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Mainland Europe, Mexico, Middle East, New Zealand & South Africa.

The H+K story started in Canada in 1971 initially as a small company called Modular Architectural Components. In 1975 Bill Griffiths, a contractor of McDonald’s bought the company and renamed it to “H+K Equipment”, standing for “Hospital & Kitchen Equipment”. Three years later, McDonald's wanted to expand into Europe in 1978, at a time when a McDonald's restaurant was something of a rarity in Europe. Importing kitchen equipment from North America wasn't an attractive prospect, so McDonald’s offered Bill an opportunity.

A couple of his people went to London and scouted the surrounding area. Then the IDA (Industrial Development Agency in Ireland) heard about their search and went into overdrive, bringing them across to Dublin and offering support if they set up in Ireland. Thus, a small factory was established in Ballyfermot (Dublin region) employing around 50 people and fabricating complete stainless steel kitchen packages for McDonald's in Europe.

Initially the U.S. market was supplied from Canada and in 1981 a production facility was set up in Dallas, Texas to support the growing demand in North America.

With the European increase in activity, especially in the United Kingdom, H+K set up a plant in Rugby in June 1986 in central UK, which quickly became H+K's main European production facility.

In 1991, McDonald’s once again was moving into a new market in Latin America and H+K decided to set up a plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico the same year. This location had multiple advantages, proximity to the US, low cost, well-situated to support Latin America...and many more.

H+K has always been very proactive in looking at ways to better serve our customers and in 1998 the company purchased Norwood Motor Electric & Supply Company, Inc. outside of Detroit which specialized in resupply smallwares activity. It was later renamed H+K Norwood and is now H+K Resupply which moved from the Detroit area in 2013 and is now based in Aurora outside Chicago with 40 employees.

In 1999, nearly 24 years after supplying the first kitchen in Canada, H+K was asked by McDonald's to look at setting up an operation base in Australia to support their expansion. It has been a great success and today the Australian company in Sydney employs 70 people and has been utilized as our centralized headquarters for our Asia Pacific market.

In 2002 Brian Ranalow, CEO led a management buyout which resulted in an exit from the Griffiths family. This buyout allowed the distribution of ownership to the senior management group which was mainly Dublin-based. David Bobbett succeeded Brian Ranalow as CEO and following further restructuring of the ownership over the next few years, David became the majority shareholder.

The Mexican production facility has proven to be a great success and in 2007, in line with the forecasted expansion plans of our customers, H+K decided to increase the manufacturing capacity and the plant was expanded. San Luis Potosi continues to offer a great level of flexibility for global operations.

HKI Online, the online smallwares, spare parts & equipment ecommerce platform was launched in 2009 and allows customers to browse & order 24/7. Also, H+K's online project management tool followed shortly, originally known as IPM, Integrated Project Management, and it is now widely used for rollouts and allows fast and seamless execution of projects.

Over the years H+K has always looked at ways to innovate, not only in fabrication of the equipment but also in the overall support and business management fields. eTech, a custom-built software package, was developed to manage all aspects of reactive & planned service repairs events in restaurants.

In 2010 at the request and in partnership with McDonald’s due to significant expansion plans in Asia, H+K setup distribution facilities in Beijing, China and shortly thereafter a distribution facility in Osaka, Japan.

In 2014 the European team migrated the Rugby logistic and distribution center to a new 12,000 sqm location in anticipation of business growth in Europe.

In 2016, following significant growth in the Asia Pacific region, H+K purchased a manufacturing facility in Jakarta, Indonesia. Following significant investment & training, this facility now proudly services the Asia Pacific region with quality fabrication and minimal freight times. This same year H+K also purchased LAUK, a leading UK lighting design and supply company who specialise in creating lighting solutions for the UK Restaurant and Retail sectors.

In 2019, Deloitte & McDonald’s selected H+K as the sole KES for all of Japan. H+K is also very proud to have received numerous awards over the years for our global performance in recognition of the hard work, excellence, and dedication of the H+K employees.

Starting from humble beginnings in Canada in 1971 H+K has grown, to:

  • 1,600+ Employees in 24 countries
  • 4 Manufacturing Facilities
  • 11 Distribution Centers
  • 18 Sales and Support Representation Offices

H+K takes pride in providing exceptional customer service to all our customers on a global level. We continue to support and expand our international customers and through our core strengths, including focus, flexibility, and innovation we will exceed our customers’ expectations and deliver to meet their ever changing needs.

A story 50 years in the making (2024)
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