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camp chef smashes the griddle competition with game changing gridiron
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Camp Chef Smashes The Griddle Competition With Game-Changing Gridiron

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin Hear that sizzle? That’s the sound of a scorching hot flat-top griddle market, set to reach a whopping $2.7 billion by 2033, according to recent findings from Future Market Insights, Inc. A growing food service market, combined with home cooking trends—and new innovative products available to meet the growing demand—means that flat-top griddles will remain popular for the foreseeable future. Camp Chef, already a household name in the flat-top griddle market, is set to bolster their leadership position in this segment with the release of the Gridiron, a sleek and sturdy 36” outdoor griddle that comes packed with a host of innovative features that will forever change the griddle game. The 36″ Camp Chef Gridiron griddle offers 700 square inches of total cooking surface, griddle leveling system, electric flamethrower ignition, four 12,000 BTU burners, dual walled reinforced lid and an easy grease management system. Camp Chef Mason Larson, Industrial Designer at Camp Chef said there were a couple of key touch points he wanted to address as they ramped up R&D for the Gridiron. Current Camp Chef griddles in addition to consumer feedback provided the right momentum and inspiration they needed to get the griddle party started. “We first took a look at the Camp Chef FTG 600, a great griddle in its own right,” said Larsen. “It was always considered a good, quality griddle at a decent price. That was a starting point; we knew we had a good foundation but we didn’t necessarily know where we wanted to go.” In order to help create additional inspiration for what ultimately became the Gridiron, Camp Chef created surveys and gathered consumer insights about what people want in a griddle. Size, build quality, BTU output and customer service were top of mind. As for features and functions, Camp Chef found that people value a reliable ignition, level griddle top and a quality lid. “The lid is the first touchpoint consumers interact with and if it doesn’t feel good, they are out the door,” said Larson. “So the design of the lid is something we wanted to nail.” As for pain points, cleaning and grease management were top concerns. “This one was super important to me because when you’re cooking on a griddle there is definitely a lot of cleaning involved,” said Larsen. “Yes, it’s super nice because of the amazing real estate it offers and you can cook a lot of food really fast. But the biggest pain point is that you then have to clean it all up. So we really wanted to nail the cleaning aspect of this griddle and make it as easy as possible.” Heat distribution and preventing the griddle from warping also posed both a challenge for the Camp Chef team but also another opportunity to address common concerns. “We’ve all seen pictures of warped griddles,” said Larsen. “We asked ourselves how we can optimize heart distribution and also reduce potential warping to minimize some of these consumer experience pain points.” As for the design, Camp Chef wanted the Gridiron to look and feel like a natural extension of other popular Camp Chef products like the Woodwind Pro and Apex. “We looked at some of our other products to see how we could blend different design elements so that each of our patio products look similar and can be easily identified as a Camp Chef product,” said Larsen. “That’s where this new flat top came into play; we wanted to blend some some stuff so where it looks like Camp Chef products from the past but also gives us a solid launchpad of what’s possible from a design perspective for future products.” While playing around with different CAD sketches and concepts, Larsen and team mocked up three or four different griddles that didn’t have the trough in the front and had the grease hole in the corner like many other griddles. But now with the separate trough and grease management in the front, it eliminates food getting lost when flipping vegetables and other tricky food items. “The beauty of this new trough on the Gridiron is that allows you the forgiveness of your cooking style and ease of cleaning,” said Larsen. Speaking of cleaning, the Gridiron’s grease bucket sits in the front, behind a door which not only hides an unsightly grease bucket but also maximizes the space inside with a much larger bucket which takes much longer to fill than the traditional size typically seen on most other griddles. “If you are cooking something extra greasy or adding water to a particular recipe, no worries with this grease catch running over,” said Larsen. In addition to a new grease management system, the Gridiron utilizes a new “electric flamethrower ignition” which means no more battery powered clicking and waiting to see if the grill lights, “a huge pain point solved for us,” according to Larsen. In addition, each Gridiron grill comes with an Alan wrench to adjust the back end of griddle to have grease run to front. Camp Chef also figured out a way to incorporate accessories into the design. “That’s a huge part of this market and demographic—it’s relatively accessory heavy item and it’s something we really wanted to capitalize on,” said Larsen. “And ultimately, I think the Gridiron is the perfect size. I feel like we’ve hit that sweet spot where we’re not too small but we’re not super sized either while capturing the key values that we wanted to.” Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Tim Clark Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions

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