HomeGrill ManufacturersIs an Uptick in Repairs Coming for the Grill Industry?

Is an Uptick in Repairs Coming for the Grill Industry?

It’s no secret that people being forced to stay home and given stimulus checks was a boon for the outdoor cooking industry. The two ingredients were perfect for outdoor discretionary spending.

In the four years since the start of the Pandemic, that dynamic is shifted. As the largest grill retailer, Home Depot, noted in previous earnings calls, spending has shifted away from big ticket discretionary spending to necessities and experiences.

There are two forces at play from the shift that could cause an increase in grill repairs. It’s a trend that at least one dealer has witness, and a large pellet grill manufacturer is ready for.

Used Grill Market

Data from Traeger’s IPO filings and others have shown that the replacement cycle for a grill averages around five years. We saw during the Pandemic significant pull-ahead on grill purchases, that is consumers buying grills earlier than they would have otherwise. This was evidenced by the large drop-off in grill purchases over the past year and a half.

Grill buyers come from two segments, replacement buyers who already own a grill, or new buyers who are entering the market or adding additional grills to their collection. The pull-ahead in demand likely came from both segments, especially considering the product expansion in the category with pizza ovens, griddles and pellet grills driving additional demand.

As we sit at four years since the start of the pandemic, if the replenishment cycle holds true, there will be significant demand in the coming few years. With an estimated 60% of households already owning a grill, a new grill purchase often is followed by a used grill sale.

Steve Ray notes that he’s seen an uptick in requests for replacement parts on used grills He owns Owl’s Nest BBQ, a specialty barbecue store right off I-75, outside of Chattanooga, TN.

I’m receiving an unusually high number of inquires about grill parts. The stories all have the same common theme – the people bought the grill “from a guy that bought it new a few years ago.” The customers are looking for hardware, auguers, auger motors, control boards, covers and other small parts. One guy ordered a new lid, citing the grill he bought had a big dent in the lid.

Steve Ray, Owner of Owl’s Nest BBQ

It makes sense that the new owner of a used grill would want to replace parts on it that aren’t working or to spruce it up. If there is a return to normal demand levels for new grill purchases, there’s a good chance it accompanies repair demand for new owners of old grills.

Stretched Consumer

With tighter wallets from macroeconomic factors, consumers may not be ready for a large purchase, like a grill, until conditions are more favorable. Longer replacement cycles should accompany more repairs to grills in the existing install base.

Not only are grills more likely to break with age, the decision to repair can often be more economical than replacement. This represents another tailwind for grill repair business.

Dansons Program

If there are an increase in the number of repairs, Dansons will be ready for it. The Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills parent has partnered with Blitzz to bring app-free mobile video support to customers.

Traditionally, if a customer had an issue with their grill, Dansons would troubleshoot over the phone and then send replacement parts to complete the repair. Troubleshooting over the phone can sometimes lead to confusing verbal descriptions and a frustrating experience for the customer.

With Blitzz, a customer is texted a link so an agent can help assess the problem through a phone’s camera, without the need for any video call software. The customer and agent also have the ability to do things like draw on the screen to help with visual communication.

When you’re grilling and your cooking equipment isn’t working the way it should, it can really put a damper on things. We believe our customers deserve a top-of-the-line experience whenever they need our help with a product, and video allows us to deliver that. Blitzz helps us get eyes on problems that customers don’t always know how to describe. With warmer weather on the way and grilling season gearing up, we’re poised to solve issues fast so that our customers can get back to cooking and spending time with their friends and family.

Matt Greene, VP of Customer Care at Dansons

Using Blitzz is beneficial for both Dansons and their customers.

  • Lower operating costs: With improved troubleshooting through video, Dansons can be more accurate with sending replacement parts. Fewer replacement parts reduces means less expense.
  • No waiting around: With live video troubleshooting, customers get help the moment they need it. This is key because it’s a major annoyance to be ready to cook, or already cooking and have something go wrong.
  • Fewer callbacks: Improved accuracy with troubleshooting means that Dansons is able to fix problems in the initial customer contact.
  • Faster repairs: Sitting on the phone trying to troubleshoot a repair is tedious and time consuming. Video reduces that by quicker identification and problem solving through improved communication. This leads to a reduction in the average call time with less back and forth.

Blitzz provides a fast and easy way to identify equipment issues and fix them on the spot. Blitzz is taking Danson’s already stellar customer service to the next level, addressing any issues quickly so customers can keep their grills running smoothly.

Rama Sreenivasan, Founder and CEO of Blitzz

Accessories and Consumables

Planning ahead to make the grill repair experience more seamless is beneficial not only for the repair itself, but also for customer satisfaction. It increases the likelihood that the customer will replace their grill with another product from the same manufacturer.

It also preserves a brand’s install base for selling accessories and consumables. This can be cyclical in nature for a brand because more touchpoints through subsequent sales keeps the brand top of mind for the customer.

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