Top 10 UK kitchen houses: net profiters

Nisbets’ wide selection of equipment brands is one reason for its runaway success.

We couldn’t complete our report into the biggest UK catering equipment distributors without mentioning the biggest catering equipment reseller in the country, Nisbets.

While we haven’t included the Bristol-based giant in the definition of a ‘kitchen house’ for the purposes of this list, there’s no doubt that it leads the way in terms of pure catering equipment sales revenue.

Its trading results for the year ended 31 December 2016 showed that turnover was up by over 25%, with £321.1m posted for that year, compared to £255.4m for the 12 months prior. Profits before tax of £34.1m also represent a 7% increase from 2015’s £26m.

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The catering equipment supply giant believes its acquisitions of four businesses; Mitre Linen, Space Catering, Bradshaw Microwave and Rowlett Rutland, have helped to drive its successes.

When investigating other major web-based dealers for this feature, Alliance Online was another top performer. As it also deals with a large amount of catering consumables and doesn’t focus on design and outfit (though it has some provision), again, we couldn’t include it in the main list, but it definitely deserves an honourable mention.

Alliance’s 2016 revenue was a huge £113.8m, representing a 15% growth from 2015’s figure of £99.1m. Likewise, operating profit grew nearly 10% from year to year, from £7.3m to £8m.

Another notable online firm making waves is Ulverston-based Cater-Kwik. Its 2016 financial report shows that it turned over £13.8m, which matched 2015’s total too. On the operating profits side of things however, the figures slightly reduced, from £564,619 to £536,852, marking an almost 5 % fall.

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