Exclusive business

Hitchin-based supplier Exclusive Ranges is on the crest of a wave at the moment.

“In the 15 years since formation Exclusive Ranges has never been busier,” said MD, Trevor Burke. “We are at a pivotal time when our core products are in growth and the business we have with our distributors is growing too.”

It was for this reason that the firm decided to bring in additional resource by forging a partnership with Pro Foodservice Reps (PFR), to represent its ‘Plug & Play’ products.

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“With extensive contacts in the catering equipment distributor network, group account buyers and project consultants, PFR has been able to promote our ‘Plug & Play’ collection, which includes HotmixPRO thermal mixers, Hold-o-Mat holding cabinets from Hugentobler and the award winning Salvis Salamander Grills and Menu System Sina range of compact induction hobs,” Burke detailed. “These items have a host of great features and as such deserve a dedicated focus, which is what PFR has been able to do in just a few months. We are seeing the benefits already.”

The supplier has just finalised an agreement with Wamsler, to supply its products in the UK. The manufacturer was established in Munich in 1875, and was one of the first companies to fabricate commercial catering equipment.

This new partnership introduces a range that sees Exclusive Ranges returning to the familiar territory of modular equipment. It will extend the scope of products the supplier is able to offer to its distributor customers. “As with all of the products that we offer, the equipment will uphold our core values of only offering functional, high quality brands with heritage that meets customers’ needs,” commented Burke.

The firm will still manage the Menu System and Rorgue ranges, and the first project that it will work on with Wamsler is the George Hotel, a luxury PH Hotels venue in Edinburgh. This assignment is being completed in conjunction with distributor ScoMac Catering Equipment. “We have great relations with ScoMac’s MD Iain Munro,” said Burke.

Furthermore, Exclusive Ranges has just handed over one of the largest Menu System ranges yet produced to the team at The Ivy after its 5-month closure for an historic refit, as well as a second Menu System range for the venue’s new private dining facility, The Private Room. [[page-break]]

Elsewhere, Mid-Kent College has just taken ownership of a new Worker range from Menu System, as part of an outfit undertaken by the Airedale Catering Group. Burke explained: “The Worker features all of the induction technology and all of the flexibility of ranges from the Menu System family but in a straightforward, no nonsense package.”

He believes that part of the supplier’s success has to be attributed to the relationships it holds with its customers. “We are very mindful of the importance of remaining in contact to maintain those relations and offer support, even after the job is done. Many of our leads come from personal recommendations and in some cases, we are asked back to supply a cooker that we originally placed 20 years previously. Prime examples of this are The Ritz, for John Williams, and Le Gavroche, for Michel Roux Jr, such is the strength of our after-sales commitment and quality of work.”

The quality of relationships was something the firm was meticulous about when it decided to form an association with PFR. “We will wholeheartedly support them in their requirements to do the job as they have to be able to demonstrate the same level of service as we offer ourselves, and it’s no different when we work with our distributor network,” said Burke. “Whether it’s supplying a chef for product training at a customer’s location, or taking a distributor or a chef to Switzerland to visit the factory where the Menu System ranges are made, it’s all part of the Exclusive Ranges service.”

Looking to the future, the company is receiving more and more enquiries about induction, and not just regarding individual items, but rather total induction solutions. “Chefs now recognise it as a viable method of cooking and acknowledge the cost-saving potential, as well as the ergonomic and environmental advantages too,” Burke believes.

“With increases in the cost of energy, decreases in the cost of technology and a new generation of chefs with changing attitudes, we have seen an evolution in the development of energy efficient kit that has more functionality. It is better designed and more cost-effective to run, making for a better working environment too.

“The recent kitchen installation at The Ritz was 100% induction and now, when it’s a little chilly outside, they have to turn the heating on in the kitchen, where once their air conditioning would struggle to keep the temperature below 40°C. The energy savings they expect to make per month run into the thousands.

As well as induction, after years of selling different modular cooking ranges, Burke is excited about re-entering this market with a brand such as Wamsler. “As a testament to the attributes of our induction products, the Sina induction wok collected Catering Insight’s Catering Equipment of the Year award in the specialist cooking equipment category.”

He concluded: “Exclusive Ranges will continue with its strategy of working with leading European equipment manufacturers, to develop well-designed kit, for the benefit of the professional chef, as it is clearly an approach that is working.”

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