The Distributor of the Year – Nationwide category, which is sponsored by Rational celebrates the distributors that have completed complex and prestigious work to the highest standard, up and down the country.
We are delighted to announce that the 2020 shortlist includes the following distributors:
Airedale Catering Equipment
Airedale Catering Equipment is once again the top-earning kitchen design house group in the UK, but this year, by acquiring refrigeration and air conditioning servicing specialist Flowrite Refrigeration, it also became the largest specialist maintenance platform in the UK hospitality sector, with a combined total of over 200 service technicians. During lockdown, the group quickly formulated a plan to work from an ‘out of hours’ operation playbook on the servicing side, though it maintained reasonable business levels in its projects divisions. Airedale has also pivoted to providing smaller scale but fast-paced rollouts, such as a client with 200 sites which required a new concept to be delivered across its estate within 8 weeks.
Shine Catering Systems
Newport-based Shine Catering Systems once again proved its national reach this year, delivering five London schemes during the lockdown period in difficult circumstances. Highly adaptable, Shine’s management team this year adopted an approach involving a weekly review of the trading situation, enabling the business to quickly react to the constantly changing circumstances. The distributor also developed a total turnkey offering to major clients, and upskilled its staff to accommodate this restructuring of resources. As part of its strategy, Shine additionally strengthened its relationships with its client base and developed new key accounts, as well as focusing on product servitisation to offer further services to its customers.
Pershore-based Sprint Group continued to provide exceptional service throughout the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown period. This included ensuring that all installations projects were kept on track and completed on time whilst at the same time providing exceptional service and maintenance support – particularly as operators stated to reopen their kitchens at the end of June. The business is continually investing in technology, equipment and training to improve operational efficiency. Most recently this has included a new phone system, a service management app for the engineers and an ongoing training programme. Sprint has also strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of a new managing director.
Stephens Catering Equipment
Stephens Catering Equipment has continued its nationwide march this year, completing major projects to a value of £3m in all parts of the UK mainland, including at the Royal College of Music in London. In fact, the Northern Ireland-headquartered company has gone international, with large scale schemes for Facebook nationally and throughout Europe. The distributor has ploughed investments into the company, including for an improved information and marketing website and installing a servicing hand-held computer system. Furthermore, it created a total fit out division to include all trades such as building works and M&E, as well as developing and manufacturing UV cabinets which are claimed to kill 99.9% of bacteria, including Covid.
Vision Commercial Kitchens
Vision truly offers a nationwide service, this year working on projects including Fortnum & Mason at St Pancras, London; and Colicci cafes, kiosks and restaurants across London and Lu Ban Restaurant in Liverpool. The Heywood-based distributor has continued to receive repeat work from existing clients, while once again investing into BIM/ Revit technology through the training and development of its staff, enabling the firm to significantly develop its design capability. Vision is one of the few companies in the industry capable of working to BIM level 2. In these challenging times, the company has introduced new ways in which to fund projects and equipment purchases which include a variety of options including flexible funding, leasing and finance options.
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.