Berner International LLC, New Castle, PA, the leading U.S. manufacturer and innovator of air curtains, honored foodservice manufacturer’s representative Swanson-Girard Associates (SGA), Pineville, N.C, with its Presidential Gold Award for Outstanding Sales Achievement—2021-2022. Brian Paolucci, sales manager, Berner International, presented the award to SGA principals, Paul Swanson and Sean Girard at the North American Food Service Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) Show 2023 on Feb. 1 in Orlando, FL.

Other honored award winners were:

·Presidential Silver: Preferred Marketing Group, Chatsworth, CA;

·Presidential Bronze: LMS Associates, Arlington, TX, Michael Fielder, principal; 

It was SGA’s third top Berner honor in a row after winning the 67-year-old manufacturer’s bi-annual foodservice rep of the year award in 2017 and 2019. SGA’s continual air curtain diversification into a variety of markets particularly in K-12 institutions, higher education campuses, corrections facilities and chain restaurant categories, helped propel the 21-year-old company to the top sales award, again. SGA also reports that new construction air curtain sales outweighed retrofit projects by a 60:40 ratio the last two years.  

Clients were regularly exposed to air curtain technology and trends during dozens of educational events held in SGA’s $200,000, 4,000-square-foot test kitchen built in 2014. Its test kitchen service doorway displays a fully operational Architectural High Performance 10 (AHC10) and a Commercial Low Profile 8 (CLC8) air curtain, side-by-side, for sales demonstrations to foodservice consultants, specifying dealers and chain operations personnel. “All customers have different needs, so it was important for us to showcase two different demo models,” said Swanson. 

The food safety and environmental benefits of air curtains have become increasingly more important the last three years during the pandemic. It is beneficial to have flying insect and thermal comfort doorway protection in an industry experiencing a high turnover of experienced employees and fewer job applicants, according to Swanson.  Employee well-being, along with customer satisfaction, have become equally important to a restaurant’s success.

Sales also continue to increase for recently-developed air curtain innovations, such as the Drive-Thru Unit (DTU) for drive-thru service windows and the UL outdoor-certified Pass-Thru Unit (PTU) for concession stands and indoor/outdoor bars and food areas that allow bartenders to pass drinks and food through access openings, such as windows, while keeping flying insects and vehicle emissions out.