When this report into the top 10 UK kitchen houses was compiled, Stephens Catering Equipment’s financial results for the 2016-2017 period were due to be revealed. Since publication they have been reported, with a £15.9m turnover. This would have put the firm at number 6 on the list, but we had to use the previous year’s results to 30 April 2016, which places the distributor at number 7.
Nevertheless, taken as a whole, Stephens’ financials show that it is a very steady performer, with turnover hovering at or around £13m for most of the previous 7 years.
Operating profit has widely varied over that time, but the 2015-2016 results showed a massive 143% growth to £340,000 from 2014-2015’s £140,000, so the direction of travel looks to be positive (indeed the latterly-reported 2017 results showed that this trend strongly continued, with an operating profit of £569,000).
Stephens can truly be classed as a UK-wide company, with branches across Northern Ireland, in Belfast and Broughshane, and in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland.
The distributor even has a big presence in Ireland, with offices in both Maynooth and Donegal.
Originally part of the long established Stephens Suppliers Group, catering equipment was established as its own division in 1971.
Thomas and Elizabeth Caves took over ownership of this division in 1977 and renamed the company following its long tradition as Stephens Catering Equipment.
In 2016 the kitchen house added new showrooms and test kitchens to its Belfast and Broughshane offices. Plus it invested £250,000 in new machines in its fabrication plant.
Projects in recent years include a sixth outfit for Google, this time in its Dublin offices, as well as a scheme for Microsoft in Dublin, and an induction kitchen for Ramore Restaurants’ Neptune & Prawn, in Portrush.