The people at Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust are “pretty passionate about pizza.” Thirty years ago, that passion spurred the founders to start the company, and today that passion can be seen in the high-quality crusts and dough balls they provide for manufacturers, distributors, and foodservice operations. If you’ve ever had a pizza from a grocery store, a convenience store, or an amusement park, chances are the crust was from Alive & Kickin’.
Alive & Kickin’ has built its success on a foundation of excellence. Their customers require ultra-consistent quality “because their reputations depend on the flavor and texture of every pizza they sell.” To achieve that consistently high quality on a large scale across their four manufacturing plants, the company needed to find a supplier that could provide both a breadth of equipment and deep industry expertise. That’s why they partner with Naegele Bakery Systems.
“Naegele represents a lot of great lines, and they’ve been able to recommend equipment that’s a good fit for our needs,” says Alive & Kickin’ CEO Randy Charles. “They will also tell us if something is not a good fit, and we trust their opinion.” To date, the company has purchased a wide variety of machines from Naegele, including ovens, mixers, crust forming equipment, and, most recently, spiral coolers and freezers.
It isn’t just the equipment that sets Naegele apart, it’s the knowledge and service that they provide. “We’ve worked mostly with the same group,” he says. “They have some tenure, which is very nice. And if we run into any difficulties, we know they’ll be on our side.”
Charles gives an example of one such difficulty and its creative solution. Alive & Kickin’ ran into some problems with an oven they had purchased. The OEM was not able to provide support, so Naegele arranged for another oven manufacturer to step in. “A new manufacturer came in and helped us solve a problem from a different manufacturer. That’s exactly what you’d hope for from a supplier you have a long-term relationship with,” Charles says. “The Naegele team will stand by you. They have a lot of knowledge, and if they don’t have the necessary knowledge to solve a problem, they’ll find someone who does.”
Overall, what Charles values most is the quality of the relationship Alive & Kickin’ has with the Naegele team. “They’re upfront and honest, they call enough but not too much, and they always answer any questions as honestly as they can,” he says. “Naegele is one of the best vendors in our field, and that’s why we keep going back to them with our needs.”