PK Grills

PK Grills

PK Grills

PK Grills

pk-kitchen-logo-homepage

From grills to barbecuing accessories, PK partners with SC Design Co. when developing new outdoor products.

From grills to barbecuing accessories, PK partners with SC Design Co. when developing new outdoor products.

PK Grills is an Arkansas-based manufacturer of charcoal grills and accessories. The original aluminum PK (Portable Kitchen) grill was invented in 1952 and is widely regarded by many competitive barbecuers and grilling enthusiasts as the best grill and smoker ever made. It remained in production through the mid-70s — when it was crowded out of the market by an onslaught of cheaply produced gas grills. As a new generation discovered the joy of cooking and smoking food over charcoal, PK was primed for a comeback. After a hiatus of nearly three decades, a small team of PK fans and businesspeople have brought PK Grills back to the market.

PK Grills is an Arkansas-based manufacturer of charcoal grills and accessories. The original aluminum PK (Portable Kitchen) grill was invented in 1952 and is widely regarded by many competitive barbecuers and grilling enthusiasts as the best grill and smoker ever made. It remained in production through the mid-70s — when it was crowded out of the market by an onslaught of cheaply produced gas grills. As a new generation discovered the joy of cooking and smoking food over charcoal, PK was primed for a comeback. After a hiatus of nearly three decades, a small team of PK fans and businesspeople have brought PK Grills back to the market.

The Challenge

Brian Taylor, CEO of PK Grills, realized that PK's rekindled brand faced a few challenges.

A need to create a full product lineup

“With the Original PK Grill, we had a fundamentally good core product,” says Brian. “But generally speaking, it's hard for a retailer to do business with you when you only have one SKU. We needed a broader assortment of products to make it worth their while to do business with us. So we had to take the basic tenets of our amazing original product and start building a whole portfolio of products around it.”

Standing out in a large market

“The barbecue market is huge,” says Brian, “and for us, the key to competing means that we have to strike a delicate balance. We needed to maintain the original grill’s mid-century design aesthetic, but also add modern functionality and usability. And all of this has to fit into the PK story: we’re a 60-year-old company that makes products right, the way people used to make them.”

The challenges of designing a PK Grill

“Our grills are made to last forever,” says Brian, “but their life isn’t easy. You’re lighting it on fire, subjecting it to one thousand degree heat. Then it’s cooling back down and then heating up again — over and over. And you keep it outside, so it has to be able to stand up to the elements and freezing conditions too. That introduces a lot of complexity into the design.”

“Our brand is built on the performance of our products, so the designs, engineering, and manufacturing all have to be perfect. Our team does all of this in-house, but there have been times when we’ve run challenges and needed to tap into other people’s expertise.”

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"SCDC has become more than just a vendor to us, they’re more like an extension of our team.”

———————
BRIAN TAYLOR
CEO, PK Grills

The Solution

PK's CEO partners with SC Design Co. to create a new product lineup and revive the brand founded in the 1950s.

A new line of products

“Our new products [designed by SCDC] have been extremely well received,” says Brian. The PK 360 (the company’s first new grill in more than 60 years) has won a handful of awards and garnered media attention. “If someone looks at one of our newer products, the first reaction is always, ‘That thing is well built,’ or, ‘That thing looks really cool.’”

PK’s new product lineup has translated directly into business success. “Our average sale price has gone up significantly — with the 360’s higher price obviously contributing to that — but also from the addition of some accessories that we didn't used to have. Instead of just buying a grill from us, they buy a grill and a handful of complementary accessories. Just having a lineup of products kinda helps each of the products work harder, being surrounded by other products that can provide context.”

Help when it's needed

“SCDC was a key resource in bringing these products to market,” says Brian. “They were with our team every step of the way — from the vaguest concept designs to the details of making sure that things were manufacture-ready and efficient.”

“Designing and launching new products requires a diverse array of skillsets — from aesthetic and functional design to engineering and manufacturing. Every time you design something new, you run into new kinds of challenges that you’ve never encountered before. SCDC allows us to leverage a team that has all of those capabilities and years of expertise, so we can fill in any gaps we have internally.”

Multiplier effect

“I dedicate a tremendous amount of time to new product development,” says Brian. “And SCDC multiplies my ability to get stuff done. When we run into questions or other challenges, they’re always ready to help us find a solution.

“The reality is that if I didn't have help from SCDC, we would have gotten it from somewhere else. But I doubt anyone else would have exceeded expectations the way they have.”

"The reality is that if I didn't have help from SCDC, we would have gotten it from somewhere else. But I doubt anyone else would have exceeded expectations the way they have."

———————
BRIAN TAYLOR 
CEO, PK Grills

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All content © copyright Southern California Design Company and/or its respective clients. All rights reserved.

All content © copyright Southern California Design Company
and/or its respective clients. All rights reserved.

All content © copyright Southern California Design Company and/or its respective clients. All rights reserved.