Amazon Business is stepping up its plans to supply restaurants and caterers with equipment for their kitchens after signing its first major catering equipment deal in the UK.
The ecommerce giant has struck a partnership with Blanco Professional that will see the manufacturer’s products available to customers using its B2B marketplace service.
Both companies confirmed the tie-up last night, with Blanco Professional chiefs flying into London from Germany to mark the occasion.
FEJ understands that Blanco Professional has already made arrangements to increase its stock levels ahead of the partnership going live in the UK, with products available to customers through Amazon Business from November.
Stefan Deeken, global key account manager for catering at Blanco Professional, said that working with Amazon would “open up new distribution channels” for the brand in the UK. Additional staff will be recruited to its St Albans office over the next few months to help manage the added sales and service requirements.
Amazon Business will initially offer a range of ‘lighter’ equipment from the Blanco Professional portfolio, including trolleys, gastronorm systems and cooling stations. It will then extend that to more of the range from March 2018. A third stage in the partnership will involve its largest and heaviest equipment, but Mr Deeken said that would only happen “when Amazon is ready”.
Amazon Business has developed a multimillion pound catering equipment business in the US and while it is only just starting out in the UK, Mr Deeken is convinced that Blanco has partnered with the ecommerce firm at just the right time.
“The first point is that it is the future of business and if you are not in the future of business, you are going to be out at some point. And the second point is that we think the UK is much more [comfortable] with the internet world of buying and selling than the rest of Europe, so that is why we are starting here.”
Mr Deeken said operators could expect excellent levels of service when sourcing its equipment through Amazon Business. “The benefit for the end-user is totally clear – it is faster, easier and simpler for them to buy those things,” he said.
Executives from Amazon Business said last night they intend to take inspiration from their US operation, where the sale of foodservice equipment through its B2B marketplace has been a success.
The tie-up with Amazon is part of a broader service strategy that Blanco Professional is implementing in the UK. It has appointed Keith Elkington Transport as its preferred logistics and warehousing partner, while First Choice Group will manage all of its spare parts and service needs.
“At the moment we don’t really have a service department in the UK, so this is the first time that we have a professional service partner to help our clients in a fast and easy way,” he commented.
Mr Deeken said Blanco Professional hoped to extend the partnership with Amazon Business to more international markets.