Kitchen & Bath Design News recently posed the question to dealers and designers in the kitchen and bath industry: “What do you believe are some of the benefits of using working displays in showrooms?” Following are some of the responses received by KBDN:
“If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a working display is worth 10,000 words. People like to feel the quality of things, feel how things function or how the drawers run. They like to feel the finishes, they like to stand in the space and physically use the drawers and doors.
It’s important to have all of the work centers in a display that you would have in a normal kitchen. You have to have your refrigeration area, your cooking, your cleanup, your prep area, and possibly even a serving area so people can see how they relate to each other.
Cooking classes are a wonderful way of using working kitchens. Thy get people into your showroom without them feeling like they’re being marketed to in an aggressive way. A cooking demonstration is a publicity opportunity. People are coming there to learn about a particular product. In the meantime, they’re absorbing everything else around them [and are likely to get intrigued by other services you offer].”
Patricia Dunlop, CKD, ASID, owner
Fine Kitchens & Baths
“Working displays give people a chance to see how things operate. For example, if you have an operating range in the showroom, it’s easier to show its features and functions. A working kitchen would be good if you wanted to turn your hood on and hear the different power levels, or its noise levels. That’s the advantage of working displays.
Even as far as sinks go, having some running water or one working display in the showroom is nice. When we’ve had open houses and parties, we’ve put food in our working refrigerator because it’s conveniently located.
We’ve had cooking classes in the live kitchens and clients react favorably to them.
The most important parts of an operating kitchen are the sink, oven and refrigerator. Having a cooktop is nice, too, especially if you do a cooking class. It’s important to have as much as possible in a working display to show the client.”
Tanya Dugan, designer
The Kitchen Guild
“A major benefit to having a working kitchen is that touching and feeling the products gives you the real thing. It’s a lot easier to see exactly how the product functions and its performance level. We have a display hooked up and use it fairly often so clients can experience the products.
I have been to several training schools where the displays are hooked up and it makes for an impressive demonstration. You can see the performance first hand.
The big thing now with consumers is how quiet dishwashers are. When you can have one hooked up and you can’t even hear it running while you’re standing there, it’s impressive.”
Mike Stockett, sales manager
Wardens Kitchen & Appliance Gallery
South Charleston, WV
“I see the benefit of working displays. Primarily you can show clients how things work, but you can also use it for your benefit. It’s almost like free advertising. You can do a cooking demonstration, for instance. Potential clients then come in and see the displays and working kitchen while receiving a free meal.
It would be a benefit to have a hood or dishwasher to demonstrate the noise factor, but it isn’t a major issue in selling the kitchen design. With the exhaust fans and venting in the hoods, noise is part of the equation. Some hoods are noisier than others. It depends on the application, because you can have an internal or an external blower, and the noise factor is going to be different.
Of course the ultimate working kitchen features a sink, cooktop, refrigerator and a double microwave or wall oven. That’s the ideal working display, in my opinion.”
Nab Abdul-All, CKD, CBD, CAPS,
“The benefits of a working display are numerous. The client is the one benefitting from it, because they can have a hands-on idea of what it’s going to be like in their house. For those who aren’t good at visualizing, it helps them understand what we can do to make things better in their house. It shows the clients all of the different gadgets available today.
Being able to show the noise factor on any of these working appliances is important. We have such high-grade appliances without the noise factor, but if the client is not aware of it, they won’t know to ask for it. I’ve had many clients displeased with the appliance stores, because they sold them products that make a lot of noise and it wasn’t explained to them.
Cooking classes are a great way to showcase a working kitchen, because a large percentage of the clients who are empty nesters are finally having some fun and they’re taking classes together. They’re learning how to use their convection or tri-convection ovens. They’re taking advantage of the money they’ve spent on their appliances – and they’re learning from a chef. I was at a demonstration with my clients who were committed to gas until they went into the showroom. We talked with the chef and he cooked an entrée on the magnetic induction. They changed their minds and went with the magnetic induction because it cooks as quickly as gas.”
Laura Bradley, designer