Steve Whittaker, Holmes Catering Equipment Solutions’ MD, sees a positive future for the fabricator, following a couple of turbulent years which saw management changes including Space UK rescuing the firm from administration.

“Holmes has now stabilised and business is going well,” he told Catering Insight. Whittaker joined the company last August, and worked in conjunction with outgoing MD, Lee Martin, as part of a handover period until December.

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Reporting that the workforce is now up to strength, Whittaker detailed that new hires include head of projects, Steve Whittle, and sales executive, Darren Knights, who is focusing on developing relationships with the dealer market.

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Sales this year have topped £4m, and in the next 3 years Whittaker is aiming to take this to more than £8m.

Orders for major end users including Tesco and Rolls-Royce Aerospace have helped to boost turnover, with the supermarket chain requiring counters for its cafes in the Czech Republic and Hungary, and the power systems manufacturer requesting a servery for its headquarters canteen.

Holmes has ramped its processes up and sub-contracted some, such as marble finishing, to enable it to create bespoke equipment in the 4 week period most distributors demand.

“It’s a ‘now’ business and we have got to be responsive. We have worked really hard to find efficiencies by employing measures such as bulk buying, but also improving quality,” explained Whittaker. “We have been helped by steel prices dropping too.”

The firm also offers a range of heated cerans called aPlate, which only heat specific zones. The business intends to expand its cooking kit range further in 2017 by adding its own line of induction equipment.

Furthermore it has recently improved the Space Station modular servery which it manufactures exclusively for its sister company Space Catering Equipment, and in the rental sector for PKL.

“We want to make Holmes an even more spectacular brand than it was,” said Whittaker. “We want to be in front of the pack, not just joining it.”