What constitutes a true British catering equipment manufacturer these days?
Is it a business that builds all its products on these shores and remains British owned and run? Is it a company that adds the majority of value to the products it sells within the UK and employs UK labour? Does it matter if the company manufactures everything within Britain but belongs to a foreign-owned conglomerate? And what about if the assembly takes place here but the components are shipped from overseas?
These are all questions that we have pondered recently after delving into the British catering equipment landscape, to shed light on the commercial kitchen equipment produced here in the UK. Coming up with a succinct definition of what makes a British catering equipment manufacturer isn’t as easy it sounds.
The view of one prominent manufacturer (which, for the record, boasts a large UK-based manufacturing operation but is part of an international group) is that there are a number of factors to consider.
As a senior executive puts it: “A true British manufacturer is one that actually demonstrates they are committed to Britain — both the local and wider economy — by what they do and the actions they take. Being a British manufacturer means working, developing and investing in the UK and not shipping in finished goods or part assembly from lower cost countries like China. It means investing in the UK 100% and believing the business can compete with competitors from outside the UK.”
Does the origin of a commercial kitchen appliance matter to a buyer? For some, it does. For others, not so much. But what does hold true is that British manufacturers remain fiercely proud of their heritage, the service they provide and their ability to innovate.
If we accept that the pressure of competing with lower-cost manufacturing hubs isn’t going to subside, these qualities, and others, still count for an awful lot.