A newly-created buying group backed by executives with experience of foodservice dealer consortiums in the US is setting foot in the UK market.
ENSE — the European Network of Supplies & Equipment — is currently in the process of establishing an office in Manchester and putting together formal contracts for inaugural members ahead of its official launch later this year.
Bob Adams, managing director of ENSE, said the group had already received firm commitments from “several” kitchen houses and was hoping to attract between 30 and 50 members by the end of the year.
He says the company has identified a need to establish a consortium that drives dealers to support selected manufacturers by providing them with targeted marketing programmes and fiscal incentives.
Unlike traditional buying groups, Adams says ENSE will not require dealers to purchase centrally.
He told Catering Insight: “The dealer maintains the direct relationship with the manufacturer — we don’t want to get involved in that purchasing part of it, we are not a purchasing group, we are much more of a consortium where the dealer benefits from rebate, discounts, deals and things like that.”
ENSE is now in the process of trying to sign up manufacturers and the intention is that the group will have room for two manufacturers per major product category in order to ensure exclusivity and drive dealer loyalty.
“We will deliver profitability to dealers and market share to the manufacturers, which is important to both,” said Adams.
ENSE’s impending arrival will naturally be seen as direct competition to Cedabond, the incumbent buying group for foodservice distributors in the UK.
Adams confirmed that he has already met with Cedabond’s board, but insisted the goals and structure of ENSE — it is a profit organisation rather than a co-op — are different.
“Our model is much different than the way Cedabond goes about it. The Cedabond model works, and I don’t want to criticise it — it has been around for 40 years. We are not going after the Cedabond dealers. I have already talked about it with Cedabond and said, ‘if one of your dealers are unhappy they know where to find me. But if they are happy, stay right where you are at’.”
Adams also stressed that manufacturers allied to Cedabond could also be part of ENSE and did not have to choose between one of the other. “A manufacturer can be in both groups, that is not a problem,” he said.