The Supplier of the Year for Training & Education award recognises that with today’s catering equipment becoming more flexible and feature-packed than ever before, the right training and user guidance can make a real difference to how it is operated in a live environment.
From maximising benefits and features to operating equipment safely and efficiently, this award honours the supplier deemed to be setting the benchmark for product education.
We are delighted to announce that the 2021 shortlist includes the following companies:
Culimat customers praise the brand for stepping up its online support during the lockdowns and say the virtual training it put in place ensured the product education they received was as comprehensive as if it had been delivered in person. The brand’s social media activities also proved a hit, with one customer hailing the content as more accessible, fun and interactive than anything else it had seen in the market. On top of that, the brand has worked hard to improve its supply chain and create the right distribution structure to ensure product availability. Other investments include the recruitment of two new development chefs in Ireland and a new showroom in Dublin with a local partner.
First Choice Group
Throughout the various national lockdowns, First Choice Group understood the importance of continuous training, adapting its services to a virtual set-up, particularly for candidates learning through the Managed Learning Programme for new gas engineers. Making use of digital sharepoints, including Google Drive and adopting a brand-new e-portfolio system called Ecordia – created by LCL Awards, the awarding body which provides accreditations services – the company was able to deliver seamless training for aspiring engineers. First Choice’s purpose-built training centre is one of the UK’s most-used facilities for technical gas and electrical accreditations, industry-specific courses, such as the CFSP qualification, and bespoke manufacturer training programmes. A dedicated programme of digitisation across the company, including the launch of 360° spin photos and video tutorials, has added further value for customers.
From operators being unsure where to start when it comes to display equipment, to virtual appointments which often raised more questions than answers, Fri-Jado set out to plug what it regarded as a noticeable gap in support by launching ‘The Hub’. The Uxbridge-based facility provides a dedicated location for operators to be guided through its roadmap and improve their understanding of hot and cold holding display equipment. The Hub space includes the chef’s kitchen and a purpose-built retail unit/custom counter and demo area, while customers can access the latest appliances from its portfolio and even packaging from leading suppliers to enable them to test optimum holding conditions for their food-to-go offering. Training and menu development work is tailored to individual clients and supported by an in-house development chef.
Jestic Foodservice Solutions
With the pandemic impacting conventional training, Jestic invested in new technology to ensure that training and education programmes could continue. This included a multi-point live camera system which enabled its culinary team to offer live training via Zoom in all areas of the development kitchen. It also created an interactive presentation highlighting the features of the brands in its portfolio, which was used during a virtual conference with 60 dealers so they could keep up to date with its latest products. Jestic has also expanded its inventory of trial equipment, allowing it to loan appliances to potential and existing customers seeking to test new concepts or introduce new technology to their kitchen. As a result, more operators have complete field testing of the latest equipment in their own premises.
Marco Beverage Systems
Marco Beverage Systems has invested significant time and resources in developing a learning management system online to cover all its catalogue products, coupled with a robust virtual training and resource programme to support customers around the world. The LMS is designed as an interactive, self-guided service and provides a range of different courses around product training, troubleshooting and common issues. This is backed up by new video content, including a ‘tech tips’ series covering topics such as installation and FAQs. On top of that, the company has developed virtual training capabilities, meaning service technicians can now ship a product to a customer location and carry out live streaming training from Marco’s showroom in Dublin using the latest high-definition webcam technology.
Over the past 12 months, Rational has provided customers with greater access to training resources by combining both physical and digital relationships. Following the launch of its much-anticipated iCombi Pro and iVario Pro cooking systems, it created a series of webinars and videos to ensure operators could get fully up to speed on the new technology. That was further supported by the development of a series of live interactive webinars providing operators in a range of different sectors such as education, food-to-go and fresh-to-go with specific and relevant information. Rational has partnered with specialist organisations to develop hospitality industry seminars in sectors such as health, education and Asian cuisine. It also continues to work on a series of ‘expert chef’ webinars offering training in specific types of cuisine.
The 2021 FEJ Awards ceremony and gala dinner takes place on Thursday 23 September, the first evening of the Commercial Kitchen show, at the Hilton Canary Wharf.