The owner of a long-serving catering equipment distributor forced to call in liquidators earlier this month has expressed fears that other companies could go the same way if market conditions don’t change.
Acorn Catering Equipment, a Warwickshire catering equipment distributor whose roots go back to 1979, will hold a creditors’ meeting at the end of next week after insolvency practitioner Bishop Fleming was appointed to handle its plight.
Acorn has a proud history in the UK catering equipment market, but Mike Vernalls, director of the business, conceded the pressure of offering value added services in a market where the competition from online and volume-based rivals has intensified proved fatal.
Writing on CateringInsight.com, Mr Vernalls thanks those who had posted comments offering their good wishes and said: “…with the fixed overheads of showroom, staff, engineers etc and ever-lowering margins it’s becoming ever more difficult to make money in this business.
“The equipment suppliers, box shifters and companies prepared to work for nothing have a lot to answer for. If something isn’t sorted soon more good companies like ours will in the same position.”
Acorn Catering Equipment was originally founded by husband and wife team Derrick and Lea Martin, who retired from the industry in 1998. They handed the business to Mr Vernalls, their son-in-law, and their youngest daughter, Lindsey.
Acorn’s purpose-built offices combined a warehouse, bespoke workshop and a fully-stocked showroom which was open to the trade and public.
Its range of catering products included clothing, knives, utensils, cookware, cutlery, glassware, and large commercial kitchen equipment such as ovens, grills, refrigeration, food preparation and beverage machines.
Acorn has designed kitchens and installed equipment for hotels and restaurants, pubs and bars, schools and colleges, hospitals and care homes, health and leisure clubs and government bodies.
It also had a service department with an experienced team of engineers covering the West Midlands area for catering equipment repairs, servicing and maintenance.
The creditors’ meeting on 23 June will take place at Bishop Fleming’s offices at College Yard in Worcester. It is due to begin at 10.30am.