Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016 - 62

General Parts
www.generalparts.com / HQ: Bloomington, Minn. / Bruce Hodge, president and COO:
"The more sophisticated the equipment, the less likely the guy down the street knows how to work it."

general parts president and coo
bruce hodge shares his knowledge at
events such as the commercial food
equipment association conference.

Certified Service

new acquisitions and branches allow general
parts to support more clients. by tim o'connor

It used to be that a kitchen fryer
consisted of just a thermostat, gas
valve and on/off switch. But as technology has progressed manufacturers
have found new places to stick circuit
boards and microchips, even in foodservice machines.
Today's fryers, for example, can cycle on and off automatically, filter oil
without human input and use less oil.
The irony of such automation is that
even as it makes the machines simpler and more efficient, they become
impossible for the layperson to repair.
"The more sophisticated the equipment becomes the more need you have
for companies like mine," says Bruce
Hodge, president and COO of Gener62

manufacturing-today.com JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016

al Parts, a distributor and servicer of
foodservice equipment and parts.
Large chains such as McDonald's
and Chick-fil-A often won't even let
technicians open up their equipment
unless they've received the proper
certifications. Equipment is expensive, complicated and extremely sensitive. Franchisers thrive because of
consistency in their food and each
piece of technology in their kitchens
must be calibrated in precisely the
same way across every location to
ensure a chicken sandwich in Buffalo, N.Y., taste the same as one in Lafayette, Ind. "If you don't know what
you're doing you can really screw up
their product," Hodge warns.

Midwest

That is why so many national
restaurants and regional institutions
rely on General Parts to fix their
equipment. The Minnesota-based
company supplies parts and field services for the commercial foodservice
industry, including warranty repairs
for more than 300 manufacturers of
equipment used in restaurants, universities, hospitals, schools and stadiums such as Solider Field in Chicago.
The family owned company was
founded in 1939 as a servicer of small
appliances with a minimal focus on
foodservice equipment. By the mid1970s, General Parts was already pivoting its business toward the foodservice industry when a tornado hit
Minneapolis and tossed a bus through
the company's showroom window,
destroying the building. "At that time
we decided to change direction,"
Hodge says.
The transition to the foodservice
industry turned out to be the right decision for the future of the company.
General Parts today counts 344 employees spread among 24 locations
in the United States. Each location
is a physical branch of between 7,000
and 40,000 square feet in size with
its own warehouse and office space.
Branches carry their own stock of
parts geared toward serving its local markets. General Parts provides
repairs and parts distribution to 24
states using its fleet of 155 service vehicles, each vehicle is a $40,000 investment that includes components,
ladders and tools that allow technicians to quickly complete any job.
General Parts works with customers on the local and national level and
has relationships with virtually every
major American chain, from Noodles
& Co. to Outback Steakhouse, Five
Guys and Target. But the company
is not limited to cooking equipment.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016

Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016 - 1
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