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News & Culinary Stories May 29

Best Buy partners with Cooking.com to launch Kitchen Shop

*Update – This partnership or at least this website is not active. I assume this partnership fell through once Target purchased Cooking.com. You can read those details at Target to Buy Cooking.com and Chefs Catalog
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In a story I read on Best Syndication News, Best Buy announced that they have launched a new shopping site on their website that features Cooking.com’s culinary, cookware and kitchenware products.

Liz Haesler, vice president of Best Buy’s Home Business Group said “… the company is always searching for ways to improve their customer’s shopping experience.” Haesler added that “…adding Cooking.com as a third party seller gives Best Buy customers a larger variety of houseware products, food, and even recipes.”

Best Buy Culinary & Kitchen Shop

The Cooking.com microsite, called Best Buy Kitchen Shop, is available at kitchen.bestbuy.com. Best Buy will process the payments, while Cooking.com will be responsible for the fulfilling orders, shipping, returns, and customers service issues.

I think this partnership is a win-win for both Best Buy and Cooking.com. It broadens the culinary brands of Best Buy, increases the exposure of Cooking.com and expands the customers base of both companies.

This effort for Best Buy – at the simplest – expands their product reach without the added hassles of buying and storing additional kitchenware products; I have often wondered why more bricks-and-mortar stores don’t partner with online companies to lessen the affects of the behavior known as “showrooming”. This term defines the customers going into a store, checking out the product, then going online to purchase the item at a lower price.

Why not partner in a fashion similar to this Best Buy/Cooking.com arrangement to at least get a piece of the revenue? In the current environment, they potentially lose the entire sale, but joining forces with someone like Amazon might bring home a portion of the money. Position the sale as, “See it here, buy it on Amazon” and give a code for the customer to use online which would direct Amazon to account for the partner of origin. If the customers are going to do it anyway, why not benefit financially? Just a thought.

Best of luck to Best Buy and Cooking.com.

Regal Ware Exits Retail Cookware, Bakeware Business

In a story first reported on Home World Business, Regal Ware has announced it is leaving the retail segment of its cookware business and will no longer be distributing American Kitchen cookware or bakeware. In response to an inquiry based on retailer reports of the decision, company president Jeff Reigle confirmed the move.

“The retail business was not profitable and was diverting resources from the other part of our business,” Reigle told HomeWorld Business®. Regal Ware’s primary business involves direct-to-consumer sales of its cookware.

This is the second time Regal Ware has exited retail cookware sales. In 1999, Regal Ware sold its retail cookware business to the Mirro Co. to focus on its direct sales efforts. In 2007, Regal Ware re-entered the retail side of the cookware business with tri-ply 18/10 stainless steel cookware with an aluminum core, designed in conjunction with Chef Marcel Biro. Later that year, the company rolled out tri-ply stainless steel cookware with Chef Marcus Samuelsson serving as a spokesperson.

In 2009, the U.S. cookware manufacturer launched American Kitchen branded stainless steel bakeware, and in 2010, on the strength of its domestic manufacturing capabilities, the company rebranded its stainless steel tri-ply cookware to American Kitchen as well.

I am sad to see this happen as I had always hoped that RegalWare could catch on and become known to the widest possible audience. They make excellent culinary products, cook and bakeware but most Americans don’t know their name and they should. This is a company who has for over 100 years been designed and made in America. Its product quality is equal to or better than that of many more famous culinary brands.

My own personal observation was that their heart was never really into the retail effort. I don’t know anything for certain, but what I can say is that I know how companies work at home shows and what I saw from the Regal Ware people was a less than enthusiastic approach to retail buyers. For me this lack of enthusiasm to “play the game” probably stemmed from the fact that they have survived all these years through direct sales channels and perhaps thought, “we don’t need this, we do just fine the way we have always done things.” It is hard to argue with them given their long successful history in a tough business.

Since I have never been one to buy culinary products through the direct sales method like Amway, Shaklee and others, I felt the public at large would not see this excellent cookware. Maybe people between the coasts and in smaller towns and cities buy culinary products from direct sales channels more than I think, who knows. So maybe in this modern world, given Regal Ware is available online at places like Amazon.com, they simply don’t need bricks-and-motar shops to sell their products to be successful.

Regardless, I wish Regal Ware the best of luck, they deserve it.

Culinary News of a Different Kind – R2D2 Coffee Maker

And on the lighter side of culinary news, comes a story from CNET.com about some inventive people who have modified a “normal” household coffee maker to fit into their love of all things – Star Wars.

r2d2 coffee maker

(photo credit: iminthebathroom)

In this case, it is an Instructables user ‘iminthebathroom’, who has made a coffee machine in the shape of everyone’s favorite Star Wars droid – R2D2.

The product is, internally, an industrial BUNN dripolator over which this person has performed amazing feats of welding and painting to create a pretty life-like model of the famed series story teller. And yes, when the coffee is ready, it even lights up and beeps just like R2D2 might.


While we all might be pretty impressed with this effort and think, “Why didn’t Bunn or some other company do something like this?”, remember that in the retail world naming and licensing rights are expensive and in reality the number of people who would actually buy something like this is pretty small. It is simply not worth the cost and effort to bring it to market. Enter the creative DIY Star War’s fan.

If you are of the mind to attempt this transformation, head on over to the Instructables page to view step-by-step instructions on how to make your own interesting purveyor of morning “Joe”.

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