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RF Hunter Celebrates 65 Years of Innovative Excellence

RF Hunter, manufacturer of oil filtering equipment for commercial kitchens is celebrating 65 years in business with a recognition dinner for customers, friends, employees, and business partners. The private affair will take place at the Cochecho Country Club in Dover on November 18th.  The keynote speaker for the event is Mr. Zenagui Brahim, Director of NHMEP (Manufacturing Exchange Partnership). Congratulatory comments will also be delivered by Mayor Scott Myers, and Dover Economic Development Director, Daniel Barufaldi commending RF Hunter’s contribution to the city.  

“RF Hunter is a tremendous New Hampshire success story,” said New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald. “Not only have they contributed to the economic vitality of our country for 65 years, they have also created innovative products that have improved the environment and provided a blueprint for other New Hampshire companies dedicated to sustainability.”  

rf-hunter-headerIn 1945 after attending a local culinary institute, Robert Hunter started a classic fish & chip shop south of Boston. In order to get the traditional New England flavor, he knew he had to find a way to make sure the hot cooking oil he used was clean and did not pose a safety hazard to his employees.   

The safety issue kept him awake at night. Being an engineer at heart, Hunter started experimenting with industrial designs in his garage. After testing several prototypes, Hunter designed the perfect oil filtration machine allowing kitchen staff too safely and cleanly filter, remove, or reuse cooking oil. He immediately saw the commercial impact of his design and launched a company to sell his new product commercially.  

rf-hunterBy 1952, Hunter patented his invention. Sales were one restaurant at a time, from the back of his car, where he would demonstrate the equipment and tell his story. Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King, and others jumped on board. In 1988, RF Hunter relocated to New Hampshire and has been here ever since. Their client base grew internationally serving marquee clients like Disney, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. 

“Running a small family owned business presents a myriad of challenges and rewards. We are  fortunate enough to have terrific staff who is dedicated to providing the very best products possible, said Richard Santoro, President and CEO of RF Hunter. “The future holds great promise and I am confident that the company will continue to grow with the initiatives we have put in place. Great products and great people are an unbeatable combination.”  

After spending several months investigating the Lean manufacturing enterprise, RF Hunter adopted Lean manufacturing practices in 2008. And they did so in a traditional family fashion. Richard Santoro’s son Gary, was at the time a United States Air Force Reserve Major stationed at Warner-Robins AFB, a logistics depot for C-5 Galaxy aircraft. Lean manufacturing practices were being implemented and Gary was deeply involved in the implementation process.  

Upon Gary’s return to New Hampshire, Mr. Santoro discussed his conclusions from studying Lean and they along with son Paul Santoro decided that Lean was a key strategic initiative for the future. The result was reducing their inventory cost by over $ 60,000 per annum. Additional savings included a significantly reduced lead time for processing orders and better utilization of shop floor space. Everything now is neat, clean, tidy, and efficient.  Subsequently, Paul Santoro, Director of Operations, has been certified in most of the NHMEP (New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership) Lean programs offered.  

“RF Hunter is a great example of the kind of cost savings that can be achieved by our Lean Program,” said New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership Director of Operations Zenagui Brahim. “RF Hunter’s team used lean principles to analyze the production process with the goal of cutting cost and increasing productivity. In the case of RF Hunter, by constantly reengineering products, creating custom designs, and becoming Lean, they have proven to be sustainable as an organization.” 

Today RF Hunter celebrates over 65 years in business as a family owned and operated company. They provide safe, reliable, and durable supplies and equipment to restaurants, cruise lines, resorts, hotels, universities, and health care institutions world-wide. They look forward to prosperous growth in the future.

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