A catering equipment salesman has started up his own business that aims to “bridge the gap” between the services offered by a traditional catering equipment distributor and those of a mail order company.
Martin Lee, who formerly worked with South Coast Catering, has established a company called Cater Data, which is pledging to offer “quality advice at a mail order price”.
Lee says the concept reflects the fact that the internet is here to stay as a method of purchasing standalone items of equipment, but remains fraught with danger from a caterer’s point of view.
“I have seen so many mistakes, such as equipment not fitting in through a restaurant’s doors, ordering a three-phase electric oven when you only have single phase power, buying a low pressure gas cooker when you only have natural gas — the list goes on and on,” he said.
“And that is where Cater Data comes in. We will simply not just sell online, we will check each client to ensure that the equipment will meet their needs before selling the goods. So many other mail order companies simply provide a ‘box on the doorstep’. This is not providing a service but simply an ‘order, which is great in the short term, but not good for a sustainable business model.”
Lee said Cater Data will travel to see clients within a 50-mile radius of its home town of Weymouth to ensure they are matching the equipment to their business needs. For customers outside the local area, it has devised an email checklist to help clients select the most suitable equipment for their requirements.
He added that while Cater Data’s prices won’t always be the cheapest, the low overheads of the company mean that it can offer a more personalised advisory service to customers while being as competitive as possible.
“It is a brand new way of buying catering equipment,” said Lee. “As I have been in the business for a long time I have built a fantastic contact list with all the main suppliers and products are being added to the website on a daily basis.”