Brakes scours market for innovation

Brakes Catering Equipment is continuing to review its product portfolio as it seeks to provide more value to customers following the arrival of a new managing director.

Ralph Grundy — who spent 10 years in the foodservice industry with Churchill China — joined the Leeds-based distributor earlier this year and has made it a key priority to enhance the company’s offering.

Brakes makes a third of its business from project work, but the rest comes from the sales of capital equipment, light equipment and supplies. And Grundy is emphatic about what it needs to do to stand out in the market.

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“For me, it has got to be innovation, service and some point of difference,” he says. “Innovation is really key to that and we have already started a proper innovation process so that we are starting now to fill our hopper, as it were, with either exclusives or new products to market. We may not have the largest range, but it will be extensive and my wish is for it to have a larger proportion of innovative products.”

Earlier this week, Brakes hosted more than 50 catering equipment brands at its annual supplier day at Villa Park.

And Grundy says suppliers were encouraged to showcase product lines that customers wouldn’t have seen before.

“To be honest we could have had a lot more suppliers [attend the day] — we were actually selective and one of the things we said is that we want to see innovation: if you have got new things bring them; don’t bring all the stuff we have seen before,” he said.

Grundy added that one of the main objectives for the company moving forward is to become a bigger, more important part of the wider Brakes group.

“To do that we need to grow — but in a profitable manner,” said. “And we have no wish to copy anybody else in the market place in terms of what they are doing.”

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