By Rick Weinberg, California Business Journal.
When Karim Pirani’s friends from California visited him at his Central London property and laid their eyes on his elaborate 8-foot table on his terrace made from hand-crafted exotic wood imported from Africa — with the highest-grade stainless-steel built-in grill — they were speechless.
“They never saw anything like it,” Pirani says. “They said, ‘We gotta have these in California.’”
The stunningly beautiful modern design and state-of-the-art features of the original Cole Henley barbecue table — solid-state electronic flame management ignition, WiFi programmable LED lighting and keyed safety lockout switch — simply knocked the socks off of his visitors.
That’s when Pirani realized that this table and grill would be a great business opportunity. He renamed the table the Angara (in the ancient Sanskrit language “angara” means the “fire within”). He contacted the creator of the grill, Anthony Groves, and asked if he had a U.S. distributor. He didn’t.
They wound up discussing a deeper business relationship: Pirani suggested he become Groves’ global distributor.
But Groves wanted more. He wanted Pirani to buy the company.
After months of negotiations, they hammered out an agreement. Pirani then transformed the grill into a state-of-the-art unit that attracted the attention of Forbes magazine as well as well-known chef Steven Raichlen and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, who spoke about the Angara Maximus table on his New York City radio show on WFAN radio.
When Andrew Spurgin, another celebrated chef, first saw Pirani’s new grill, he said, “It will change the way barbeques are seen and done – it will change the whole profile of what barbeque means. By that I mean there is a certain comradely around fire – there’s a primeval element to it. And when you can share that with friends and family by literally cooking the food right in front of everyone, it’s an incredible, one-of-a-kind experience. I’ve been in this business for over 40 years and this is one of the most amazing creations I’ve ever seen.”
When Pirani first considered launching the new business, he immediately envisioned the name iBBQ – the “i” standing for interactive, of course. “I decided that if I can get the iBBQ domain, I’d have one less reason not to set up the new business in the U.S.” he says. “Lo and behold, I bought the domain.”
As the former owner of the NYC ad agency, Atlantic Advertising, Pirani decided that if he actually did launch the new company, he would want iBBQ’s online marketing campaign to end with a question: Do you barbecue? “The answer should be 1-800-Yes-iBBQ,” he says. “I told myself, ‘If I get that 800 number, then I’ll get real serious about it.’ Next thing I knew, I owned that 800 number. At that point, I said, ‘Now I have absolutely no reason not to launch this company.’”
Next was upping the ante: transforming the grill into a true high-tech with every technology – and every bell and whistle — that a human being could think of, including a newly-designed burner with solid-state flame rectification technology that delivers continuous flame monitoring.
With auto re-ignition, an electrode in the tip of the spark igniter senses the flame; if the gas valve is on but no flame is detected, using the process of rectification it sends a signal to the spark module to seamlessly relight the burner.
This technology offers safer operations by preventing any buildup of gas above the cooktop. In addition, the burners come with one-touch electronic ignition to quickly light up the grill. Each gas burner, built in Grade T316 stainless steel, can deliver up to 15,000 btu of “searing heat,” Pirani says.
He pauses and then says, “Angara Maximus is simply the pinnacle of modern furniture design, offering stunning looks and unmatched functionality.”
What you immediately notice is the graceful styling of its elegant European design. The table exudes uncompromising quality and opulence from every angle. You instantly recognize the time and artful effort that was expended into the construction of this modern outdoor dining table.
“For purveyors of premium quality furniture, Angara Maximus is de rigueur,” Pirani says. “Moreover, it redefines the act of barbequing and outdoor entertainment.”
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