Innovation is at the forefront of many of the catering equipment manufacturers that Jestic Foodservice Equipment exclusively distributes in the UK. And with the company able to offer a range of culinary services and support, it is perfectly placed to support operators with all their kitchen needs, as sales director, Steve Morris, confirms.
What sort of feeling do you have for the market at the moment? Is there an appetite to spend on innovative equipment rather than just the lowest costed option?
In general, I would say that the market is fairly stable, certainly compared to how the wider economy is being portrayed by the national media. As for the type of equipment being purchased, I think innovation is definitely high on the agenda for many, but this has to be backed up with reliability and serviceability. We do also see a strong demand for more traditional cooking methods such as wood-burning ovens, charcoal ovens and rotisseries.
Jestic operates an impressive test kitchen in Paddock Wood. How are customers benefiting from this facility?
We use it to support our customers by showcasing the latest equipment innovations and development from across our portfolio, while also being used for comprehensive training, demonstrations, menu development and product testing. In 2018, the kitchen was used over 180 times, equating to two to three times per week. It’s still relatively early, but we are already on track to increase this figure in 2019, achieving our goal of being the busiest year to date.
You periodically offer free equipment workshops to operators and these have focused on topics such as frying and solid fuel ovens. Any plans to expand on what you’ve delivered so far?
Since launching the Jestic Educational Workshop series in 2017, we’ve been delighted with the feedback from operators and the increasing attendance figures at every event.
Currently, we offer both a frying and oil management workshop in association with Henny Penny and our new ‘Passion for Grilling’ event in association with Josper charcoal ovens. Going forward, we plan to roll out the educational workshops to cover other key topics, with pizza being the next subject we are likely to cover.
You recently beat more than 125 global Henny Penny distributors to the brand’s ‘Highest Total Sales — Worldwide’ award. That’s some accolade — what does it mean to the business?
This award stands as testament to the commitment and hard work of each and every person in our team, particularly as Jestic was also praised for the level of service we’ve offered to our customers in addition to the sales figures. To be recognised above other Henny Penny distributors around the world is great for our company and our brand and something that we hope we are able to build on and exceed in 2019.
The test kitchen was used over 180 times last year, equating to two to three times per week. It’s still relatively early, but we are already on track to increase this figure in 2019”
Can you share any information on any key developments you might have planned for this year?
We work closely with the R&D departments of our partner brands and, as such, are often heavily involved in new technological and manufacturing developments. There is likely to be a number of exciting developments coming to market in 2019, including new launches from Henny Penny, Alfa, Winston and Rosinox.
Your culinary team is an important aspect of your operation. Given the demands on operators, where do you think they are adding most value to customers at this present time?
The highly experienced Jestic culinary team is a key asset to our business and the support that we offer new and existing customers. The team offers a great deal of value to the operator, from recommending equipment for a kitchen, through to bespoke menu development or onsite training, but if you had to pick one which added the most value to customers it has to be the on-site training to ensure each site receives the maximum benefit from installing new equipment.
You’ve invested heavily in your service proposition over the last few years. Do you see that side of the business gaining scale?
Yes, the growth of our service proposition is key to our business plan. It’s no longer possible for a company to simply sell catering equipment. After-care service and support is crucial, both from the customers’ perspective and from that of the equipment manufacturers we represent in the UK.
As such, we have invested heavily in our offering, creating Jestic Technical Services, a division of Jestic, in the process. Combining 40 years of experience in the industry with a team of highly-skilled service engineers, nationwide support 24 hours a day, 364 days a year, and stocking all the most common spare parts, Jestic Technical Services offers a comprehensive package and service to all our customers.
Jestic is sponsoring the Operator of the Year for Equipment Innovation category at the 2019 FEJ Awards. For more details visit www.jestic.co.uk or follow @Jestic_Ltd