The Digital Initiative of the Year category, sponsored by Hoshizaki, recognises those distributors which have really embraced the digital medium and are pushing technology forward.
We are delighted to announce that the 2020 shortlist includes the following distributors:
Maintenance and repair specialist Apeiron Catering fully implementing its service software this year, in order to enable its customers to better manage their assets. Furthermore, the Hampshire-based firm has aligned its software management system to how it operates to increase efficiency. These technological updates were part of a series of moves, including aligning its teams’ van stocks to carry the most frequently used parts, increasing staff and upskilling its engineers through manufacturers courses to provide a better first time fix rate for its customer base. Apeiron is also managing an increased amount of calls since foodservice sites started to reopen, which has led to new contract awards and more pending.
Relative newcomer Four Oaks this year invested in its digital presence to showcase its kitchen design capabilities in a more contemporary way, realising how key the use of online platforms is when it comes to promoting the services it offers. The firm also wanted to adapt its website to simplify browsing for its customers. Now, the site performance has been improved, delivering a state-of-the-art look which reflects its modern projects. Browsers can also see the latest news stories and previous projects the Weston-Super-Mare-based Four Oaks team has worked on, including cocktail bars, cafes, restaurants and hotel kitchen redesigns: delivering completely refurbished kitchen layouts and equipment specification for its clients.
Lloyd Catering Equipment
Not content with being one of the first movers in the industry on virtual reality, Lloyd Catering Equipment has invested significantly in a high-end purpose-built workstation over the last 12 months to speed up the process. The use of these tools allows the Rotherham-based distributor’s design team to prepare 3D photo-realistic images in order to present the concepts in full-motion VR. The company has also made amendments to its CAD library in order that the production of a VR presentation is much quicker, more efficient and cost effective. As a result, Lloyd can now offer its clients a very cost-effective means by which they can walk around the proposed design as if physically within the space.
To cope with the high demand for Sylvester Keal’s own-brand hygiene and cleaning supplies, (which were redeveloped and rebranded after further testing in 2019), the distributor implemented a new software system which gives existing customers free reign when ordering and allows them to see/manage stock levels, quotations, sales invoices, credits and statements. At the start of lockdown, in March 2020, Sylvester Keal saw a vast increase in web sales for hand sanitiser and PPE – in order to deal with the demand it built a new website in just 9 weeks which was designed to simplify browsing and showcase stock in a more accessible way, making it easier for customers to order their essential products.
TAG Catering Equipment
TAG utilised the digital sphere to help its customers, releasing a free-to-download interactive start-up checklist, designed to guide operators through the re-opening of their kitchens. The interactive checklist is downloadable as a PDF and is able to be completed on a phone, tablet, or laptop. It is divided into the most common kitchen appliances and equipment, including gas interlocks, combi ovens, fryers, and refrigeration. TAG designed the checklist so that operators could be as self-sufficient as possible when re-starting their kitchens. It highlighted any potential issues that sites could then get rectified by a suitably qualified equipment service and maintenance provider, for example if a gas interlock wasn’t working correctly or a dishwasher was not reaching sufficient temperature.
Eligible senior industry professionals will be invited to vote for their winner in an online vote over the next two weeks.
The winners of each category will be announced throughout Kitchen & Equipment Awards Week, which commences Monday 30 November.