The H&K story started in Canada in 1975, when a plumbing contractor, Bill Griffiths, was doing some work for restaurants in Toronto. He came across a company called “H&K”, which stood for “Hospital and Kitchen Equipment”. At the time, the company was struggling. Bill was able to purchase H&K and brought in his son, his accountant, and his lawyer as shareholders. Three years later, he was able to expand into Europe and finally to North America.
Since the opening of our Dallas plant in October of 1981, H&K has evolved into a major worldwide supplier of kitchen equipment for the restaurant industry. H&K’s decision to open a Dallas manufacturing facility was prompted by a request from a client to provide product for their operations in the southwestern part of the United States.
Our initial commitment called for us to open the plant and cut metal by October 14, 1981. Ever mindful of the need to meet our deadlines, we actually did cut metal on the 14th (and so informed our client of that). If the truth be told, however, we received our machinery so late there wasn’t even time to bolt it to the floor before we put it in operation. As to the metal we cut, we had to borrow a piece from another manufacturer. In spite of a somewhat shaky start, we ramped up quickly and in just three months received production approval from the client and UL. In 1982, our first full year of production, we produced and installed over 100 restaurants.
Opening a Dallas plant was truly a team effort. In addition to the encouragement of Noel Kohler, the knowledge of Glenn Bruns, and the help of many others, we had a great deal of support from the entire Griffiths family. In the early days, everyone had to wear many hats. They worked in the shop, performed janitorial duties, answered the phones — and Noel even opened a bank account in his own name just to pay the bills and write payroll checks (which on more than one occasion had to be held until he could run to the bank and make a deposit). In those days, “do whatever needs to be done” seemed to be our motto, and is one we still strive to embody today.
The early years, as hectic as they were, have paid off. H&K has grown and continues its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. We provide product and services for some of the largest restaurant chains in the business and are considered a major international force in the industry. This is solely due to our employees, both past and present, who help ensure our continued success.
Thank you and your families for being a part of 35 years at H&K Dallas and we look forward to many more to come.
Some images from through the years.
An image of the early 80's
An image of the early 90's
A current day image