The March issue of Catering Insight marks a changing of the guard. My predecessor, Andrew Seymour, is still very much part of the set-up here, but he will be focusing on our newly-launched sister title, Foodservice Equipment Journal.
That magazine caters (if you’ll pardon the pun) to the buyers and purchasers of catering equipment from end-user chain accounts, while we here at Catering Insight will maintain our remit to provide business intelligence that connects the supplier, distributor and dealer channel.
Andrew is amazingly knowledgeable and a tough act to follow but I am taking the challenge of editing this well-respected title head on: I will be striving hard to continue to break important stories, investigate projects and their challenges, plus taking an in-depth look at distributors’ operations.
As a newcomer to the sector I have to say I have been made to feel nothing but welcome. Many distributors, manufacturers and associations were more than happy to explain the ins and outs of equipment, distribution channels, contracts and orders, as well as issues such as regulations, safety and BIM, to give me an overview about how this industry functions.
I have been getting out and about to speak to people to get the inside track on what matters to you, indeed my first two days in the job were spent at the Hospitality Show in the NEC, Birmingham.
I can see already that this is a very open and responsive industry. While competition between various distributors and between manufacturers drives innovation, it seems to me that there is a camaraderie between pretty much all parties. Most want to see this industry preserve its high standards, without resorting to tactics such as drastically undercutting competitors and slicing margins to dangerous levels.
It is a comparatively small world: everyone seems to know everyone else and I have already encountered several popular characters involved in this niche sector. Many are enthused about positive signs for the industry, whether that is the increase in demand for dining out and therefore new restaurants and available contracts, or the Universal Infant Free School Meals programme, which could be rolled out to junior schools at some point in the near future too.
I hope to meet many more of you over the coming weeks, months and years, and please feel free to drop me a line to update me on any developments – or even just to say hello. All contact is much appreciated!
I will be endeavouring to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible, about this interesting, fast moving and vital segment.