A new enterprise based on a successful American business model has been launched to fill a gap in the UK commercial catering equipment market.
Pro Foodservice Reps (PFR) — which has been set up by former Gamble Foodservice Solutions duo Andy Piggin and Ross Gibson — aims to bring manufacturers and their operators together through an arrangement commonly used in the US.
PFR intends to act as a ‘sales force’ to give catering equipment distributors and design consultants improved awareness and access to quality brands via trusted catering equipment sales professionals with vast market knowledge, credibility and experience.
The company says end-user chain operators will also benefit from its knowledge by having direct factory representatives call on them to discuss their specific needs and the products in PFR’s portfolio.
Six organisations have already signed with the company, including Exclusive Ranges, Linda Lewis Kitchens, Specialised Stainless Products, Precision Refrigeration, Sous Vide Tools and Gamble FS itself for the Ovention brand.
Andy Piggin, who becomes managing director of PFR, said: “PFR is based on the ‘Rep Group’ business model from the US, which is not currently operating within the UK commercial catering equipment market, but is a recognised and very effective model in other major markets around the world, including North America, Asia and Australia.
“Essentially, as an independent representative for brands, PFR is able to provide time starved distributors, design consultants and chain account buyers with the opportunity to discuss multiple innovative products via a single, trusted contact.”
Piggin added that he and Gibson — who will be sales director — had left Gamble on good terms, so much so that PFR would be working with the company to take Ovention to the market.
“With regard to GFS, the company acknowledges our desire to do something new and groundbreaking and has authorised PFR to represent Ovention ovens on their behalf,” he said. “After working together for many years, we part ways on the best of terms, and PFR wishes every success to Richard Gamble and the GFS team.”
In terms of the other partners, PFR said it will serve as the exclusive sales representatives for Exclusive Ranges’ ‘plug and play’ portfolio, while for Linda Lewis Kitchens it will represent Cuppone pizza ovens, channelling sales via LLK’s already established network of trade resellers.
For Precision Refrigeration, it will work as the company’s field sales representatives in the north of the UK and for SousVideTools.com it will handle the professional sales arm of the company, promoting its range of sous vide, vacuum packing and culinary equipment to distributors. Its partnership with Specialised Stainless Products, meanwhile, allows it to offer a full range of bespoke stainless steel fabrication.
Piggin said the intention is to expand by adding brands to its portfolio that do not compete with existing partners, but complement existing products along with adding more sales professionals on the road. He added that PFR would only partner with brands that only trade via catering equipment distributors
“We see the market evolving following the recession and how manufacturers reach their customers is a major part of the reshaping of the industry,” he commented.