Catering Insight Awards 2018: distributor of the year – nationwide shortlist

The special Catering Insight Distributor of the Year – Nationwide Award, sponsored by Rational, will recognise a major distributor which has completed mammoth commercial kitchen projects to a high standard, up and down the country, while still offering a personalised, sterling service.

The shortlist is therefore:

Aggora Group
Aggora Group has seen its financial clout significantly boosted after Lockhart Catering Equipment bought out the kitchen design house in January. With a broad customer base and revenue of approximately £27m in the year ended March 2017, the business boasts nationwide coverage with offices in Redditch, Manchester and Edinburgh. Major end user names such as Costa, M&S and Subway have historically flocked to the firm, which also ensures its after-sales is on point, thanks to a team of more than 120 qualified catering equipment engineers.

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Airedale Catering Equipment
Airedale began this year by receiving a blockbuster eight-figure investment influx to support its continued growth strategy, which includes entering new markets and developing new products and services. This follows recorded group turnover of £40.7m in 2017, the highest of all UK kitchen design houses, with figures including group companies South Coast Catering, Airedale Technical Services, Caterform Stainless Steel Fabrications and the Catering Design House. With major new clients onboard, and a growing staff roster, including a new BIM manager, Airedale is leading the field for turnkey projects too.

Brakes Catering Equipment
The Brakes group’s catering equipment division has had a storming 2018, gaining a position on public sector-owned buying organisation’s ESPO framework 98. This enables public sector owned education and health sites to easily purchase from awarded companies, which now includes Brakes. Furthermore, the national distributor wowed end users with its new state of the art innovation centre in Reading, which comprised a market-style presentation area, breakout coffee shop, demonstration kitchen and training kitchen. The Brakes Catering Equipment team, based in Leeds, prides itself on its specialist capabilities.

Shine Catering Systems
In the past 12 months, Shine has significantly grown its market share, whilst increasing its gross margins and developed a preferential status with many of its repeat clients. The distributor has also invested in £250,000 worth of equipment which has now been installed onto its shop floor, including a new operating system for the firm’s laser cutter. Furthermore, Shine’s recent investment in its project management resource has seen a more proactive approach, emphasising a solution focused, zero hassle and robust service for all of its major clients.

Space Group
Space Group has already recently received national recognition for its work, having won a ‘Supplier of the Year’ award from its national account, Whitbread. Plus the Gloucestershire-based distributor has started new relationships with three major multi-site pub clients. Furthermore, its new service offering, Space Group Service & Maintenance, provides reactive service and preventative maintenance on a truly national basis. The distributor feels this gives its customers confidence that it can look after their entire project from the word go, through design, installation and beyond.

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