ONE gutsy Australian company has taken technology that is literally thousands of years old and used it to teach the world to grill Aussie-style.
From Turkey to China, Hot Rock Dining International’s unique dining system provides healthy hot meals to hungry diners around the world.
Hot Rock has been recognised as a finalist in the emerging exporter category of Austrade’s Exporter of the Year Awards.
The system the company sells starts by heating a giant stone in an oven. A hunk of raw meat, seafood or vegetables is then put on the stone, and the diner cooks his or her own meal at the table.
No oil is used, just a small amount of healthy sea salt, and the flavour and juices are sealed in.
Hot Rock is an add-on business which is based on an innovative product, enabling the proprietor of a restaurant to create a whole new exciting range of meals served within six minutes from order, with dishes only limited by the imagination.
Hot Rock’s George Hilder said: “This is not entirely a new product as it has employed as a method of cookery that has been used down through the ages by different cultures.”
Mr Hilder is currently on a mission to China: “At the moment I’m here with a gentleman from Hungary and we are pushing into Germany and the Czech Republic.”
Mr Hilder said the system was an Australian invention manufactured in Australia, although the
source of the rocks was a closely guarded secret.
Mr Hilder said being recognised by the Australian Export Awards provided an extra push to
establish an international reputation with their product. He added:’ ‘We give our client base a point of difference with their competitors. When we set up a restaurant, we give them an exclusivity area which we don’t change.” He said the exclusivity area varied, depending on how big the city or town was: “For example, in Sydney we would have one per suburb.
“In regional country towns, we would put one in a town. In a regional centre like Dubbo or Wagga, we would put in one at one end of the town and another at the other end.”
Mr Hilder said the firm started late in the 1990s:
“We started doing it in a small way and slowly expanded. I took it to Canada in 2000 and to the US in 2003 to a trade show there and launched the US push.
Mr Hilder said growing the company had been “easy”. He added: “It was a walk in the park and it gets easier every year. The reason being, it’s a different style of product.
“When you create something you get an immense personal satisfaction in putting your product around the world. Life is a great challenge and to be able to do something worthwhile has been a gift.”
Mr Hilder said the company was going into more countries all the time: “We have just cracked Egypt and the Canary Islands and we cracked India last year. And we have started to generate a lot of sales through the internet.”