Operators don’t always know where to go when they want to dispose surplus catering equipment safely and responsibility, but Ramco is positioning itself as their first port of call with a bespoke profit-sharing solution, explains business development director Paul Fieldhouse.
Ramco has been operating for more than 25 years, but you only launched into the foodservice sector a couple of years back. What prompted the expansion?
Quite simply, a desire to grow the business and broaden our client base. Having been primarily focused on providing a disposal service to the MoD for 20 years, we decided the same model could be applied elsewhere. Surplus catering equipment had always been a regular product line, so a more focused approach in the foodservice sector made sense. Plus it’s nice and shiny – mostly!
What’s been the main priority for you over the last two years – has it been about making the industry aware of the kind of services you offer?
Both an awareness of our services and the fact that there is an alternative to scrapping surplus equipment. The MoD has been ahead of the game in this respect for years – after all, its tax payers’ money. With our revenue-sharing model we are incentivised to achieve the best price we can, so continually finding customers who will pay top price is what we deliver.
You provide a compliant and flexible way of disposing of unwanted or surplus catering equipment – how did operators dispose of this kind of equipment before Ramco entered the market?
Mostly surplus equipment would either be scrapped or sent to a local auction house. Usually the client had to spend more cash on decommissioning and extracting the equipment with little or no budget available. In most cases there is no cost to our client as we simply retain a share of the sale proceeds to cover our costs.
There’s clearly an onus on foodservice operators to dispose or recycle surplus equipment in a sustainable way these days. How much of a driver is that for you?
It’s huge. Most operators are really engaging with their CSR obligations and our ‘cash it don’t scrap it’ message is a real winner. By using Ramco, not only do operators do the right thing by recycling their old equipment, they also get an often unexpected cash windfall. Even equipment that is out of date or not working can have a value as spare parts.
The industry has seen quite a few restaurant closures over the past 18 months, particularly among larger chains that have reduced the size of their estates. Has this created business for you as presumably there are whole kitchens that brands need dismantling?
Indeed, change is always good business for us. It’s reminiscent of the change made to school meals dining, when we sold equipment on behalf of several councils around the UK. We’ve recently been helping a number of the chains with their disposal needs, often working alongside other fit-out or third party distributors and contractors to remove equipment within a project timeline.
Most operators are really engaging with their CSR obligations and our ‘cash it don’t scrap it’ message is a real winner”
Part of your expertise involves finding buyers for surplus catering equipment – what kind of operators or businesses typically want second-hand equipment?
We’ve built a fantastic customer database with buyers ranging from bars and restaurants along the east coast (after all we are base in Skegness!) to dealers in Eastern Europe. Start-ups and SMEs are always keen to save money by buying second-hand. There is also a reasonable parts market, particularly for equipment that’s no longer available.
What kind of surplus catering equipment has the most resell value? And is there any kind of equipment that simply isn’t suitable to be resold on the second-hand market?
Other than bespoke extraction canopies, preparation tables and cold rooms that have been built in situ, there’s not much that isn’t suitable for resale. Obviously the newer and little used heavy duty catering equipment has more value but don’t discount the old stuff. We will always offer advice on what is or isn’t saleable.
Ramco is sponsoring the Operator of the Year for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability category at the 2019 FEJ Awards. For more information visit www.ramco.co.uk or follow @RamcoUK