Chef, I hear ya. I completely understand your thinking on Hobart. You're not alone and the Hobart supporters attribute to it's large market share.
That's why I never give recommendations. I'll only offer my own personal experiences.
For 40+ years I've always tried to do my due diligence when making decisions on equipment, product or services. I never ask for a recommendation, I'll always ask what someones experience has been in general, not specific brands. I always ask for any negative experiences.
I try to eliminate responses from someone who has only used one product.
A few years back I wanted to to see what the consulting side of the business was like. I wanted to have some sort of back up plan because as you know, it's common for Chefs/owners in this industry to mentally or physically burn out prematurely compared to other industries.
I left my Wife and Pastry Chef and hit the road. I was not one to sit in a hotel or motel on my down time. So I sought out and visited as many Food Service manufacturing companies I could find.
"This is just my opinion" The Hobart Co. was really the first to power/motorize food manufacturing equipment back in the 1900's. When they became established and grew, Mr.Hobart became the one to oversee instead of build. His start was in the repair business. Since then the company has been passed around like a 60's joint.Dart and Kraft, Premark, all basically the Illinois Tool Works Co. 'excuse the spelling'. When they spun off Kitchen Aid an entered the home consumer market, they became a household name. That's basically the reason I mentioned that a lot of Hobart supporters are there because of name recognition. Some have not experienced anything else.
As far as mixers, Hobart's competition is relatively young. I'm pretty sure they still manufacture Kitchen Aid here in the states, which I'm all for.
I find it interesting that their refurbishing facility was almost as big as their manufacturing facility. Not refurbishing old Kitchen Aids, they subbed that out, but machines less than 3 yrs. old. For me, it kinda says something. The product numbers are always changing but if you open a newer one and an older one, they're identical.
'Just me' I can't wrap my head around the idea that I can purchase 2 mixers made here in the states for the price of one Hobart made in China. I understand the concept of sourcing out manufacturing to greatly reduce cost, but then double the price? Not for me.
When I was consulting, Doyon was one of the manufacturing plants I toured. I have to say, I got a chance to see what it must have been like years gone by in a manufacturing plant. Every person I met had tenure. They were not happy to have a job, they were happy to be making their product.
They would stop and enthusiastically explain how they were installing a part but also told of how the idea for the part came about, how it was developed, tooled and tested right there in the plant. I was truly amazed. Everyone was just so proud of the product.
They were given ownership in their jobs, a concept I've always tried to do. I can't recall the name given to the person that had the responsibility to build and oversee each and every product, I'm not sure if it's still done, but to watch that person enter the finished oven and sign his name on it, inspired me. I said years gone by because I remember as a kid, If a person worked at the GM plant they would never ever think about buying an imported car.
Chef, I've owned my fair share of Hobarts. Good experiences and a few bad. I was actually able to repair most of the old ones.
In fact I've owned enough to gain some insight and that is why I mentioned securing and stabilizing any mixer even if it doesn't appear to be moving. I've sat on the floor with old repair men, looked at the motors totally disassembled while they explained the effects of vibration. It's not just mixers, it's all motors. Look at cars, there are more anti vibration parts then lights on them.
It was not my intention to bash Hobart, I just gave a personal negative experience and I thought I would post a positive one also.
PS I just reread my post. I guess I'm unintentionally bashing Hobart.