Where do you buy your catering equipment from?
Chances are it is a local dealer that has always served your kitchen needs, or one of the well-known catalogue or internet players that carry huge quantities of stock. In the case of big ticket, heavy duty items, it might be that you buy direct from the supplier.
But if you could, would you buy from a business you’ve probably shopped with or used multiple times before as a consumer?
I’m talking about Amazon, and specifically its ‘Amazon Business’ concept. Last week it signed Blanco Professional as its first major foodservice equipment supplier in the UK, and it undoubtedly won’t be the last.
With commercial kitchen equipment thought to be generating a hefty chunk of the billion dollars that Amazon Business now turns over in the US, you can just imagine the expectation on the shoulders of those in charge of developing its catering operation this side of the Atlantic.
Suppliers are going to find themselves pitched into a political channel battle. Working with a monolith like Amazon is bound to stir up tension with partners already irked by the impact that internet sales have had on margins over the past five years.
Operators won’t care about that, but it will be intriguing to see how quickly suppliers follow Blanco’s lead, especially those whose equipment is already available through Amazon Business in the US.
Not all catering equipment is suitable to be sold through online channels, but there is a huge chunk of it that is.
When you consider the brand reach, logistics expertise and financial guarantees of working with a global name like Amazon, you can see why Blanco Professional considered it a no-brainer.
Amazon Business is a long way away from making a meaningful dent in the UK catering equipment market, but you’d be foolish to dismiss its chances of succeeding.