With the appointment of new staff and the implementation of a UK tailored sales strategy, MKN is further developing the support it offer to the foodservice industry within the UK, with an emphasis on developing its accounts partnerships across the market.
As one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of prime cooking equipment for the commercial catering industry, MKN has always had a large presence within the UK. It is an extremely important market for MKN, growing notably and making a significant contribution to the company’s overall success.
However, there is always room for growth, and within the past 12 months, the German-based manufacturer has taken the necessary steps to strengthen its position and develop the relationships it holds with operators and key players within the industry.
The starting point to develop these growing relationships began with appointment of industry expert, Wayne Bennett, who took on the role of head of sales UK at MKN just over 6 months ago. With a wealth of experience acquired from various foodservice-based roles, Bennett has brought to MKN a specialist view of the market and has been working closely with Marco Albarello, director sales and projects UK and Ireland at MKN, to put a focus on supporting and connecting with the dealer and consultant market within the UK.
Bennett said: “It was fantastic to be appointed as head of sales for MKN in the UK. Since starting my role I have put an immense emphasis on learning the features and USPs of the MKN product range, including the FlexiChef and FlexiCombi, to allow me to develop appropriate sales strategies to target our market in the UK in the right way.
“Between myself and Marco, we have realigned our focus and developed the relationships we hold with the leading distributors and consultant houses who operate throughout the UK foodservice industry to promote the quality of MKN prime cooking equipment and the benefits they bring to their end user customers.”
He added: “UK distributors are our key focus, which is why we have also taken the decision to join ENSE to assist us with strengthening our distributor partnerships, allowing us to connect with them in a more effective way.”
This investment in management has been backed up with a new structure across the sales teams in each region, with regional sales support now available through a dedicated office department to ensure that MKN supports the whole process.
On a regional level, the manufacturer has also invested in developing its staff with the recent appointment of Rob Purdie as northern sales manager, who is now responsible for growing sales and developing MKN accounts in the north of England and Scotland.
Bennett said: “The whole of the MKN team were thrilled with Rob’s appointment and he’s already starting to have a big effect on his region, thanks to the wealth of experience in delivering successful sales strategies that he holds.”
Purdie and the sales team work closely with MKN’s UK Culinary Support Team, made up of four development chefs who are all trained in each of MKN’s prime cooking equipment ranges in order to deliver full equipment demonstrations and training throughout the whole of the UK.
According to Bennett: “Our expansion hasn’t stopped there either, as we have also recently recruited Mark Town as our UK-based operations manager who gives our team support on all service and maintenance matters and is backed up by our new service and support office UK certified trained network of skilled independent service technicians.”
Investment has been a big part of developing MKN within the UK, and as well as investing in its staff, MKN has also made the decision to improve on its lead times due to an intensive optimisation of processes at its German factory.
Bennett said: “Our emphasis is looking at ways in which we can improve our customer service levels to provide as much support for our dealer partners as possible. For this reason, we have introduced a partner database, which has been created to include all CAD, BIM and PDF installation information that distributors may need, making it much easier for them to access everything all in one place.
“MKN is also now pleased to have uploaded the full range of equipment to the CaterQuotes software, making it much easier for distributors looking to quote MKN equipment in their projects.”
He added: “We have a strong partnership with First Choice Catering Spares and are pleased to have an office and development kitchen within its office building in Cannock. We work closely with the team at First Choice to measure our warranty levels and have made significant investments into our spares stock holding in conjunction with First Choice to be able to offer next day delivery on our spare parts.”
In recent years, MKN has also taken a large step forward in improving the service and warranty the business offers. The company now operates on a service telephone call support system backed up by a local service customer software support system to offer high level engineer and customer backup.
Products are also now being developed and introduced to the market with built-in diagnostic systems like the MKN Combi Doctor feature on all MagicPilot combi ovens. There is also a full network operating throughout the UK of independent service technicians who are fully qualified and trained.
As the process of business development at MKN is reflected internationally, it is most specifically reflected at the company head office in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. Also, in the last few years MKN has invested millions in the development of process and production facilities.
Back in 2014, a new production hall was built with a state of the art stainless steel processing centre, and further multi-million projects are also currently in implementation. The aim of all of these investments is both to ensure better service for customers and further strengthen MKN’s national and international competitiveness.
With an effective sales strategy and team now in place, MKN has also invested in dedicated marketing support from foodservice marketing agency, Walnut Creative, which is now delivering a full marketing strategy for MKN in the UK. This will work in cohesion with the sales team’s targeting of UK catering equipment distributors.
As MKN’s position within the UK strengthens, Bennett and the team will continue to look at developing the support its team offers its partners and customer base to continually improve on its offering to deliver a truly premium service backed up by premium products.