When David Sheffrey ventured out on his own professionally about three years ago, he first headed home.
“I started small, working out of my house for five months,” Sheffrey said. “For a short time, I was making sales calls as a company with no name.”
But it didn’t take long for Sheffrey to transform Commercial Kitchen Solutions, LLC into one of Southcentral Alaska’s leaders in restaurant equipment and smallware sales.
Now located in a sizable South Anchorage warehouse and office, Commercial Kitchen Solutions (CKS) strives to provide its customers quality expertise, service and competitive pricing.
“I want to remain a completely Alaskan-owned business with a competitive edge,” Sheffrey said. “We’ll always have a hometown feel where clients are treated as friends and family.”
The best use of the space
Sheffrey began working in restaurant equipment sales nearly 20 years ago and has specialized in restaurant design for more than 11 years. Design work doesn’t necessarily center on the interior make-up of the shop like the color of the countertops or the size of the napkin dispensers.
“It’s more about the layout and creating ways the customer gets the best use of the space,” Sheffrey said. “Whether we’re looking at a fast-food casual place or fine dining, our job is to find out what the customer is looking to do.”
Take a commercial kitchen. Sheffrey and CKS are dedicated to making the most efficient use of restaurant employees’ time. A well-designed kitchen allows for food to get out quickly, while maintaining a clean, safe environment.
“You want to be smart about where food is prepped in comparison to where the trash is being disposed,” Sheffrey said. “Also, a bartender shouldn’t have to walk more than a foot to make 90 percent of the drinks.”
Sheffrey’s design work isn’t only for popular local eateries and watering holes. CKS helps build dining facilities in exploratory camps for companies working on North Slope oil fields.
“These jobs are some of my favorite challenges,” Sheffrey said. “Each facility is different and can be for 80 to 600 people. You have to think about food storage and waste storage based on how long the workers will be on site.
“Either way, these projects test us in the best possible way.”
CKS might have never come to be if not for Sheffrey’s father and his ability to play cards.
Many years ago, Sheffrey worked at a local Anchorage school as a gym teacher and bus driver. His father’s poker buddy at the time needed some sales help at a different company.
“Dad pitched my name,” Sheffrey said. “The next thing I know, I’m in an office surrounded by catalogs and told to start learning them backwards and forward.
“All those years of outside sales led to me getting into design and kitchen layout. I’ve enjoyed the experience immensely.”
CKS started with Sheffrey and one other sales person. Today, the company employs seven people.
“I’d like to think we’re the dream team of restaurant equipment sales with more than 100 years of combined experience,” Sheffrey said. “We’re the only place in town where you can come in, choose a design, get a print out of the plans and walk out.
“But we’re not satisfied. We’re still going to keep growing and always represent our clients well."
Learn more about Commercial Kitchen Solutions, LLC at commercialkitchensolutionsak.com.
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