Part 2 of 4 of my interview with Pascal, who sends us the wonderful raclette melters for household and commercial us:
3. Your machines are made in Switzerland, a country with high wage labor costs. Why do you keep your production in Switzerland and what distinguishes your machines from the knock offs that are (often copied from you) produced in China?
We do not produce anywhere in Switzerland, but precisely where raclette was invented, i.e. in central Valais. So our production site makes sense purely for historical reasons. I emphasize this aspect a little strongly, I know, but we really want to keep the production site in line with a culinary culture. Our attitude can perhaps be compared to that of an Italian pasta producer who does not want his pasta to be produced in the Far East either. For economic reasons, it also makes sense to produce where there is the greatest demand and the strongest interest in the product.
Furthermore, from a commercial and production point of view, it does not make sense to relocate production, as these are niche products that are produced in rather small quantities. We prefer to keep production under our own control. This gives us direct access to all aspects of quality. We can implement customer requests and product improvements immediately. This is a great advantage compared to Far East productions, which usually have no close connection to the product. We are also concerned with aspects such as after-sales service, customer service in general and reactivity.
But unfortunately, there are always copyists. There's no cure for that. However, we focus on quality and originality, also in the hope (and confirmed experience) that customers want to buy an authentic product and not a copy of it.
4. How do you assure to stay true to the tradition and culture while staying competitive in a changing world?
Interestingly, we experience no contradiction between tradition and globalization. We have noticed this in our area for a long time and it still amazes me. Both aspects seem to be complementary, as if they were the two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, in times of globalization, people are looking for anchors to hold on to. You are looking for something original, proven, regional and familiar, precisely because so much is changing so quickly in these times. Classic raclette seems to be something of an anchor. On the other hand, people are willing to accept new things, to adapt. From a culinary point of view, it is often the case that consumers follow the international trend by, for example, asking for convenience food and fast food, because it is practical for time reasons, for example. There's nothing wrong with that. But as soon as time permits, e.g. on weekends, during holidays or for parties, consumers consciously cultivate traditional food and its preparation as a counterbalance, so to speak. Precisely because TTM focuses so strongly on classic raclette and emphasizes the regional origin, we remain competitive with our product range in the sense of this other side of the coin of modernity. Today's means of communication, i.e. the Internet, help to make authentic, ritual food more internationally known. Classic raclette is increasingly becoming an option for gastronomy, not only in the Alps.