Here’s yet another uncommon economic indicator of how the recession is affecting the restaurant business: Cecilware, which has been making kitchen equipment in Queens since 1911, will lay off 80 workers next year.
Crain’s is reporting that the company, which is located in Long Island City, will start laying off the workers in April. And while the company and UAW Local 365, which represents the workers, refused to comment for the story, Andrew Rigie, one of the heads of the New York Restaurant Association, speculates that Cecilware is suffering because restaurant owners who are trying to save money on equipment are instead getting it at auctions and for discounted prices on the Bowery.
Last October, Cecilware, which claims to have introduced the first fully automatic coffee urn and commercial powdered cappuccino dispenser, purchased Grindmaster, a Louisville, KY-based maker of coffee grinders. In a press release, Cecilware’s CEO, Richard Moore, said that “Grindmaster’s broad portfolio will provide immediate opportunities to enhance growth through leveraging our existing marketing and manufacturing capability.” The merged company had 375 employees in locations in Queens, Louisville, Illinois, and Thailand.
Thailand, of course, is a close neighbor to China, which is where some industry insiders suspect Cecilware will be sending its manufacturing.