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9. Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment

Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment map

TURNOVER: £6.52m (Year to 31.03.21)

Covid left a firm imprint on Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment’s balance sheet as its core leisure and retail customers were ordered to shut up shop just as the company’s new fiscal year started.

The reduction in demand for its services meant turnover decreased 43% to £6.5m for the year to 31 March 2021. The business also incurred an operating loss of around £400,000 versus an operating profit of £100,000 the year before.

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Costs were monitored closely on contracts during the period and overheads were cut in order to navigate the choppy waters, while the Stevenage-based company managed to secure £500,000 worth of support from the Job Retention Scheme to mitigate the impact of social distancing measures and reduced productivity levels.

Gratte said the operating loss margin of 6.5% that it posted for the period (versus a 0.7% operating profit margin the year before) reflected the challenging nature of the industry at that time.

The storm clouds have certainly lifted since and the company boasts a strong order book and pipeline of contracts with reputable partners for the medium term.

Sales director, Paul Gilhooly, is confident that all the behind-the-scenes work the company has undertaken will bear fruit.

“Even before the pandemic we had started to look at our business in terms of who we are, what we offer and how we deliver to all stakeholders. Covid gave us the opportunity to complete that review.

“This process included establishing company values. In the last 12 months, we have been working to those values and have seen many benefits, not only for our clients, but also for our team members and supply chain.”

Gilhooly says the company is pleased with how it has emerged from the Covid period and the number of forward projects it has secured is evidence of the market’s revival.

“Our order book is good and because of the strategic work done as part of our review, our pipeline continues to grow with existing and new key account business,” he says.

Gratte Brothers as a wider company celebrated 75 years in business last year. From September, the catering equipment arm will welcome former Inox Equip director Mark Kendall to the fold as managing director.

For Gilhooly, this mixture of past and future is a powerful combination. “Our heritage is the foundation of our future. Our main objective is to continue the momentum that we have built. The most exciting thing is that we have just appointed our new managing director and we are therefore looking forward to developing our strategy in line with his ambition.”

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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