Kitchen service provider eyes move up north

Catering equipment service provider McFarlane Telfer is to begin servicing customers in the north of England for the first time since its launch more than 20 years ago.

The catering and refrigeration repair specialist has traditionally resisted the temptation to expand beyond the Midlands, preferring to focus on delivering a high-quality service to clients in London and the surrounding counties instead.

But the Maidenhead-based company is ready to reverse that policy by sending some of its engineers up to Manchester, where it hopes to develop new business.

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The move is primarily driven by one of its major facilities management customers, which requires a national service on a particular contract.

Managing director, Chris Craggs, said that only focusing on the south was “not an option anymore” as it would be excluded from at least six major accounts in London if it can’t deliver the terms of that national contract.

McFarlane Telfer hopes the move can be a stepping stone for winning new blue chip customers in the north, especially as it has formerly rebuffed requests from satisfied clients that wanted sites serviced in geographies it wasn’t present.

“In the past we have said no but it hasn’t compromised our being able to work, but in this instance we have said to ourselves, ‘this is an opportunity so we shouldn’t be saying no’.”

While Craggs accepts that it won’t be easy, he is excited about the prospect of expansion.

“The challenge is that nobody has ever done it successfully and delivered a quality service on a national basis,” he said. “We have quadrupled our service business since 2009 where everybody else has been talking about recession, so there is something about what we do and how we have done it as a team that seems to strike a chord with customers.”

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