An Atlantic County company that cleans restaurant vents and grease traps is expanding into the Midwest with the purchase of a rival company.
Nelbud Services Group Inc., based in Galloway Township, bought Mc Q Clean based in Columbus, Ohio, for an undisclosed amount this month.
The acquisition, Nelbud’s largest, gives the company a commercial presence in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia, said owner and President Nelson Dilg, of Ventnor. He now has 10 offices, with designs on taking the company nationwide.
“We have an office in Las Vegas. We’re from Maine to the Carolinas and west to Indiana,” he said.
The company is keeping about 24 of Mc Q Clean’s employees, Dilg said.
“We’re spending a lot of time training and implementing our systems — getting them reading from our sheet music,” Dilg said. “We try to hire locally.”
Dilg gives unlikely credit for his company’s success to government regulators, namely Atlantic City’s fire inspectors.
Dilg’s restaurant clients have to abide by fire-code standards that can vary state by state. Atlantic City’s fire inspections are particularly strict, he said, and his company uses those standards as its benchmark from Maine to Ohio.
These rules were enacted in the wake of the deadly 1980 MGM Grand fire in Las Vegas that killed 85 people and injured 600 others. The fire started in a casino restaurant called the Deli.
“Atlantic City has been ahead of the curve for a long time,” said city Fire Chief Dennis Brooks. “When you add a casino with that many rooms, restaurants and stores, they’re basically self-contained cities. That’s where these codes were developed. It’s been very effective. In the 35 years I’ve been here, we haven’t had one major fire or incident of any magnitude in any casino.”
Grease fires are extremely dangerous and can be especially bad if grill vents are not properly maintained. Restaurants are a particular concern because oven ductwork can be extensive, he said.
“That’s where most of the problems happen,” Dilg said. “Our guys actually crawl into this ductwork. They get quite dirty. They do whatever they have to do to make sure it’s clean.”
Nelbud has performed work in some pretty lofty locations — from most of Atlantic City’s casino hotels and the Waldorf Astoria to the White House and the Pentagon.
Its clients include cruise ships, universities such as Yale and chain restaurants such as Bob Evans, P.F. Chang’s and Chipotle.
The tough regulations also make it harder for upstarts to challenge his company’s primacy, he said.
“The more difficult they make it, the fewer people can play. I don’t have any problems with a high barrier to entry,” he said.
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