Bettcher Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of foodservice and food processing equipment, opened a new Bettcher Innovation Center (BIC), housed in a central location on the global company’s headquarters campus in Birmingham, Ohio.

Designed to accelerate innovation throughout all aspects of Bettcher’s business, the BIC is a multi-use facility that enables conceptual testing, demonstrations and strategic collaboration among employees, customers and business partners.

The BIC facility consists of a test kitchen, a demo lab and a collaboration area. The test kitchen is a commercial-grade space equipped with state-of-the-art appliances and equipment for prepping, cooking and testing of food products.

The demo lab enables “in-action” exploratory activities involving current and soon-to-be launched equipment and tools designed by Bettcher. Equipped to handle wet application testing, the lab supports international product testing and training and is ideally suited for global training events and product promotions, incorporating amenities such as workbenches, glass writing boards and white wall backdrops for clear video and photography shoots.

The collaboration space contains state-of-the-art office furniture that promotes small group brainstorming and improves overall meeting productivity. In addition to providing Internet and technology integration for research-gathering and ideation sessions, the collaboration space houses a large product display wall showcasing real-life examples of Bettcher’s current product offerings for internal and external visitors.

Paying homage to Bettcher’s heritage of industry leadership, the hallway leading to the entrance of the BIC features vintage brochures and advertisements from the company’s portfolio dating back seven decades. The décor of the hallway and inside the BIC reflects the inventive spirit and ingenuity of the past owners and employees.

“The BIC is designed to serve the practical needs of today’s employee owner and the businesses we currently serve, while also lending a mind’s eye to future ideas and opportunities,” says Paul Pirozzola, vice president of marketing. “These ideas will grow our business in new ways, some by design and in some cases, organically. We will anticipate these opportunities and bring them to life in the BIC.”

“At the same time, the new center allows us to honor the innovative spirit of our founders and their past inventions, and draw on them for inspiration. Our products have been category creators in the markets we have served. We expect to draw on this legacy of success and pioneering to inspire us to be unique and to create value for our future customers,” adds Pirozzola.

In addition, the BIC will serve as a venue for meetings and events aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of evolving customer or macro trends in the industry. These activities include the “Bettcher Idea Factory” team that hosts monthly ideation sessions internally, along with end-user focus groups and “voice of the customer” new product development discovery sessions.

The Innovation Center will also be used for select beta testing on finished products to confirm their performance characteristics and marketing claims, as well as for new product launch training for Bettcher’s worldwide distributor personnel.

“In addition to opening the Innovation Center, we have completed a new employee Work Café along with renovating several office spaces within the original Bettcher headquarters building,” says Don Esch, chief executive officer. “These improvements mean that our entire headquarters property – encompassing the original 1971 structure and the later 2008 building – is equally state-of-the-art in terms of facilities, communications, connectivity and other amenities.”