gas charcoal grills MAKER OF WEBER GRILL FIGHTS TO STAY ON TOP
AUG.1985 this is a digital version of an article from The Times Print Archive, before it starts online in 1996.To keep these articles as they appear initially, the Times will not change, edit, or update them.There are occasional copywriting errors or other problems during the digitization process.Please send a report of such issues to archid_feedback @ nytimes.com.Weber Grill, made by Weber, has the shape of Porter BaileyStephen products is a big woman in a charcoal grill.Every summer, in millions of outdoor barbecues, the thick outline of the grill is a standard feature.The shape of the grill is the result of a simple design-Two dome steel pans with enamel on three aluminum legs.For years, Weber has managed to convince consumers that the design, which provides cleaning of the bottom vents, is the best of all kinds of charcoal grills on the market.But today, the company is trying to keep its formerIn a market that is stable at about 10 million units per year, it is in the leading position.Stay ahead, Weber-Stephen, sick in Paladin.The company found itself forced to expand its product line, simplify its operations and increase its advertising efforts.Advertising flat sales have made the charcoal barbecue industry "very, very competitive", according to Robert Czerwonky, vice president of marketing at Ind Evensville heater and Grill Manufacturer Preway Industries.Due to the fact that many of the major players in the barbecue industry, such as Weber, the ads carefully protect the secretsStephen and W.C.Bradley company in Columbus, Georgia.The sales data is as well protected as the secret recipe of the barbecue sauce.Therefore, Weber's successStephen's efforts are only speculation.But most industry experts agree with Susan Tiffany, deputy editor-in-chief of the trade publication household goods magazine, that the company is still a charcoal grill in terms of sales and units""While in a sense, barbecues have been around since humans discovered the fire, the original practice did not become a profitable business until after Henry Ford appeared.At the end of 1930s, when WoodSir, the double-sided car is done with solid wood.Ford decided to convert waste into revenue by making it into charcoal blocks.He forced his dealers to sell coal balls by accepting one of their railcars and each railcar they received.Dealers sold them as heated fuel until eventually someone came up with the idea of using them in outdoor cooking, and the barbecue was born.Weber's kettle grill appeared in early 1950s, when George Stephen, 62year-Former President of WeberStephen made a round pan with a ventilated lid to protect him and his family from the pungent smoke of their old brick grill.The grill is very popular among his neighbors.Stephen, who was part of the owner of the Webb brothers metals factory outside Chicago at the time, decided to make more money and sell them.In 1958, the metal factory abandoned all other products and changed its name to Weber-Stephen productsToday, the company produces more than 1 million Weber kettles.The wholesale price of the kettle grill alone is around $50, and the annual sales volume is about $50 million.According to Michael J.Weber KempsterDespite fierce competition, Steve Webb, senior vice president of sales and marketing-Stephen's sales rose 50%.Compared with Weber's growthStephen saw in the 1970s that the company's sales grew at a rate of 40% per year, enjoying a prominent position in the country, but the current growth rate is not large."This is not an exciting growth in 1970s," he said ."Kempster admitted.But, he said, "it's healthy."Please click on the box to verify that you are not a robot.The email address is invalid.Please re-enter.You must select the newsletter you want to subscribe.View all New York Times newsletters.In order to maintain sales, the company has taken some notable steps.The company recently announced that the wholesale price of its portable grill will drop from 17% to 30%.The company lost its profit margin.Kempster says it has to make up for it by reducing costs and increasing production.Three years ago, the company merged three factories into one, increasing efficiency and doubling production capacity in the process.Advertising has increased Weber's competition.Part of Stephen's competitors from the United States and abroad have begun to produce fewer products.The expensive grill is very similar in shape to the Weber kettle, which the company accused them of violating the trademark.In response to this threat, WeberStephen has adopted an advertising strategy that emphasizes its unique features, a patentTouch the ventilation system, allowing the user to empty the ashes from the grill using a mechanism that works like a flour sieve.The "cooking tools" company's advertisement also tried to position the kettle grill as not just an outdoor accessory, but a multi-functional "cooking tool"Stephen of Grant/Jacoby, an advertising agency in Chicago.The vibrant gas barbecue industry is also challenging Weber.Stephen.According to estimates from the barbecue industry association, the gas barbecue industry is growing at a rate of 10% to 12% per year due to consumer concerns about convenience.It will sell 7 million gas grills this year.Weber-Stephen launched his own gas grill.Gas grills are expected to account for only 6% of Weber's this yearStephen's sales, but the company hopes the figure will climb to 15% in 1986.In addition, the company has expanded terrace accessories such as outdoor fireplaces, lanterns, bed bug killers and bird feeders, and promoted the backyard as a "Weber room" through advertising.The outline of the Weber kettle grill is very unique, "We are trying to design as many products as possible with this shape," Mr.Kempster said.Even the company's bird feeder is equipped with dome squirrel guards to give them a familiar shape of the ball Root.Despite the low loss of some customersThere are signs that Weber-Stephen has successfully identified himself as the manufacturer of the best charcoal grill.Dick Napp is the owner of the kitchen company, a hardware store in Oakland, California.Four years ago, when he decided to move from WeberFor the grill of another brand, Stephen's experiment was a dumb bullet.'' Mr.Napp now only stores Weber grills, and he says their main advantage is "brand identity "."Advertising" what do you think when you think of a charcoal barbecue?'' he asked."You think of Weber."An article on Wednesday, the working day of August.With respect to the barbecue grill, Ford Motor incorrectly described the origin of charcoal as a consumer product.Half a century ago, Wood was more common as a component of the car, so charcoal waste could be obtained in a number of ways, not just from the wagon decoration.While Ford did ask its car dealers to sell its coal balls, it did not ask them to accept the carrying capacity of each car.A version of the article appeared on the national edition D00001 page in August 19, 1985, with the title: The manufacturer of the Weber grill struggles to stay ahead.