David Van Rooy And The History Of Vanrooy Machinery

Vanrooy was established in 1978 for one simple reason: to supply quality bakery equipment for those in the food industry to improve their product quality and efficiency. 

The business stemmed from John Van Rooy’s own experiences in the baking industry and the lack of innovative choices available to him and so many others. 

Fast forward 43 years and this fourth generation family-run company now offers a wide range of innovative, automated and specialist equipment to the best in the business. Specifically, the Vanrooy product range caters for Bakery, Patisserie, Chocolate, Gelato, Ice Cream, Pizza, Food Processing, Hospitality, Industrial and Food Manufacturing equipment. 

In this special blog edition, we chat with our very own CEO, David Van Rooy, about all things history, running a family business and what’s planned for a very bright future. 

Tell us a bit about the history of Vanrooy Machinery:

My Grandfather, Paul Van Rooy, was a baker in the Netherlands. He migrated to Australia with his young family during the post-war influx of the 1950’s and settled in the bayside Melbourne suburb of Hampton. Paul started up a small bakery on Hampton Street and my Father, John, worked for him, learning the trade from the ripe age of 16. 

Later down the track, my Father decided to set up his own wholesale bakery, which he named Red Mill Cakes. Over time the business grew to such lengths that he needed to invest in new ovens, but there was nothing available that suited his business and mass-production needs. With his European heritage, he was certain there was better out there, so he travelled to one of the biggest European bakery exhibitions in the early 1970’s, where he found the exact new technology he wanted. He imported the first two rack ovens into Australia. 

My Father installed the first oven in his own bakery and very quickly sold the second one. It was here that he saw a business opportunity. At first, he sold equipment out of the bakery and then in 1978 Vanrooy Machinery was officially created.

When did you start working for Vanrooy Machinery?

I started working for my Father in 1985 as an Apprentice Service Technician, and continued on in that role for the next 10 years. However, as is typical of small family businesses, I did a bit of everything else, including sales. 

In 2002, my Father passed away, leaving me to run the company with our little team of 5 people. As managing director, I continued the direction of the company by focussing only on quality European equipment with our unique level of after-sales service and introducing new technology to the local market. In 2016 we had grown the company again and we purchased the current new building including our state of the art Test Kitchen. Today we have a brilliant team of 30 people and are the largest supplier of equipment to the industry. 

Do you remember the first piece of equipment you sold? What was it?

Wow – that was 36 years ago! From memory it was a Jet 80 Spiral Mixer manufactured by the company Scledensi in Italy. Ironically, when this family decided to retire from business, they introduced us to the Escher Mixers company who were from the same town!

What’s it like owning and operating a family business?  

Owning and operating a family business adds an extra dimension to a business, especially when it’s fourth generation like us. Your planning tends to look a lot further into the future and a lot of the decisions you make are based on the long term benefits of the business, not just for short term gains. We want that family business feel to always pass on to our customers, whether they’re purchasing their very first piece of equipment and trialling it in The Vanrooy Test Kitchen, or they’re an industry partner opening their latest venture.

What do you believe makes Vanrooy the best in the business? 

Passion. Passion for the industry – it’s in our bloodline. We have built a company for generations so the decisions we make and the way we conduct business is based on long term planning. We are not here to make a quick buck and get out of the industry, so we have to look after our clients and we do that in the way only a family business can. 

What is your favourite thing about what you do? 

My favourite thing about the industry I’m in and the work that I do is the people I meet and the places I get to visit. I meet and spend time with so many talented people, eating fabulous food all over the world. 

If you could do anything differently, would you? 

Nelson Mandela was quoted for saying: “I never lose – I either win or I learn”. I wouldn’t change a thing. No regrets. 

Where do you see Vanrooy in ten years?

In ten years’ time, I see Vanrooy Machinery still leading the way within the Baking Industry and with the next generation in control. Handing the baton on to the next generation will be my proudest moment and my greatest legacy. 

Anything else you’d like to add?

A company’s greatest strength is its people and I am leading the most wonderful team of people – they make me look good!

If you are in the market for a new piece of equipment or machinery, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We offer around-the-clock support and our team of professionals are always happy to assist whatever needs you have. 


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