Last night, CESA’s Light Equipment and Tableware Forum 2017 at the Drayton Manor Hotel, Tamworth, celebrated those dealers and suppliers who are doing most to push this sector of the industry forward.
During the networking dinner three awards were presented, following a day of speed dating-style sessions which saw groups of distributors meet 13 different light equipment suppliers for 25-minute product training sessions. A further six sessions are taking place today.
The first of the evening’s awards was The Distributor Cup. This accolade recognised the distributor which the members of the CESA Light Equipment and Tableware Group felt had done the most to support the promotion and sales of light equipment and tableware equipment during 2016.
This honour was clinched by Alliance Disposables Limited, the first time the dealer has triumphed in the category.
Factors taken into account in the judging process included increased percentage growth; quality of business in smallwares, including tabletop, and utensils; breadth of product range offered; receptiveness to new products; the extent to which products are actively promoted to end users; satisfactory payment of accounts and resolution of queries; undertaking new initiatives, eg, a website; as well as the most improved support of the utensils industry.
Next up was the Sales Professional of the Year, which recognises the sales professional who has contributed most to the sales of utensils and smallwares over the last year.
Global FSE’s key account manager Adrian Domagala won this award for the second year in a row, the first time this feat has been achieved. He contributed over £2m worth of sales in 2015, retaining and growing margin in many areas against tough internet competition.
Industry colleagues praised his efforts, with one commenting: “He has always provided a first class service and ‘ticked every box’, every time I have used his services.” While another added: “He goes out of his way to assist us with product requests, achieving strict deadlines and seeking the best possible prices.”
Other comments included: “He understands both his customers’ needs and how they operate and is always polite, friendly and easy to deal with.”
Domagala received a trophy and a £500 cash prize and a free place on the CFSP Certified Food Service Professional course.
Also on the shortlist of three, whittled down from 22 entrants, were Mike Allan from United UK and Gratte Brothers’ Patrick Simpson.
Rounding out the ceremony, the Donald Bird Award went to brothers Charles and David Grunwerg, owners of supplier, I Grunwerg. The accolade honours the memory of Donald Bird, who initiated the Catering Utensils Association, which is now the CESA Light Equipment and Tableware Group. Donald’s son Mike presented the trophy for the third time.
I.Grunwerg Ltd was established in 1945 by Otto Grunwerg, an ex RAF cadet who started his trading success in his premises on Cambridge Street and Carver Street in Sheffield.
Otto’s son Charles joined the firm in 1966 with younger brother David following suit in 1971. Following Otto’s passing in 1980, the brothers became directors and expanded the business, moving to offices on nearby Rockingham Street.
They now continue to successfully distribute award winning products to retailers and caterers in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, selling ranges including cutlery, teaware, cookware, premium knives, vacuumware and barware.