The Distributor of the Year – Business Development category, sponsored by Jestic Foodservice Solutions, celebrates those distributors which have significantly moved their companies forwards over the last 12 months.
We are delighted to announce that the 2020 shortlist includes the following distributors:
Croydon-based IFSE came into 2020 off the back of its best ever turnover result, at £10.6m. And while the 2019/20 trading year was obviously affected by reduced confidence in the economy and the pandemic, the distributor still performed strongly in key sectors including public attractions and venues, religious organisations, private schools and the garden centre sector. Notable recent projects include Café at the Ortus conference venue and New Directions cookery training school in Reading. IFSE also strengthened its marketing department and hired young talent to train up on design and project sales for the future. Plus its service and maintenance company Romann Catering is performing strongly too.
Marren has further expanded its focus on efficiency this year, with initiatives including investing £32,000 to replace lights across all its offices, warehouse and workshops with LED to significantly reduce its energy consumption. A new service system implemented at a cost of £100,000 has meant its Scottish office is now 100% paperless and its Northampton premises not far behind at 90%. As part of this system, Marren now has more efficient stock control to avoid unnecessary stock ordering and reducing the need to ship items. The company also launched its own brand microwave, designed and manufactured to ensure its customers benefit from a lower total cost of ownership.
At the beginning of this year, London distributor Millers Catering Equipment bought out nearby competitor, Equipt to Cook, to form a powerhouse of a group within the south east. The latest acquisition added to that of Imaco Catering Supplies in 2017. This year the firms looked to increase their integration back of house, to grow efficiency for accounting and invoicing. The group has also now leveraged the relationships it has across all three businesses to be able to deliver a more streamlined solution to customers. The latest moves mean that the Millers Group has good resource levels for all aspects of its offerings, including installation, equipment and design.
North West Catering Engineers (NWCE) has definitely developed its business over the last 12 months with more engineers out on the road and more office staff to support jobs coming in. As well as expanding the team in the field and in the office, the company has provided its staff with the skill necessary to cope with the demands of a being a manufacturer’s service warranty partner. Winning prestigious public sector contracts, NWCE has integrated its systems with its customers’ to reduce servicing times. Furthermore, it opened its new onsite Northern Powerhouse demonstration kitchen in Bolton for both members of the industry and the local community to use.
Sylvester Keal expanded its own brand products ranges, to include in-demand, pandemic-friendly hand sanitisers and other hygiene products, custom-manufactured in Ireland. Projects undertaken for local care homes and the recommendation received from them also meant there was an increase in Sylvester Keal’s customer base across the care and NHS sector. Prior to lockdown, the distributor employed a new part-time financial director, and he has since guided Sylvester Keal through managing the finance of the business during these difficult times. Furthermore, complications arose at the start of the year when the firm’s supply chain broke down in China, so it managed to find other manufacturers to continue serving its vulnerable care home clients.
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.