With the diverse challenges that distributors can face in designing and installing kitchens, it takes a special firm to balance all the spinning plates simultaneously – and to a first-class standard. Therefore the Catering Insight Distributor of the Year – Project Management award, sponsored by Welbilt, recognises the company that stands out for delivering very special projects.
So the shortlist this year is:
Court Catering Equipment
Court Catering Equipment’s project management skills were tested this year with over 27 educational projects of varying complexities successfully completed over the summer. At St Paul’s School in Barnes the London distributor had to switch the ventilation contractor and manage a late design change to replace all the servery counters, while for Thomas’s School Battersea, one of its largest ever primary school schemes, it specified energy efficient equipment wherever possible. Project manager communication with all the main and M&E contractors was key to each project’s success.
Garners Food Service Equipment
Garners Food Service Equipment has really ramped up its education sector work, completing 30 school outfit projects over the last 12 months. Garners has assisted existing schools with bringing their aged catering facilities up to date, as well as new-build academies looking for high-grade kitchens that will last. On top of the public sector, the university market has boomed for the company too. The distributor has also completed 10 casual dining restaurant projects since last April, following on from hiring a dedicated account manager.
Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment
Gratte Brothers has come out on top after handing over nine Whitbread projects in the space of 5 weeks, performing a fine balancing act to ensure on time and on budget handover. A major £155,000 project at The Ritz was also finished on time, including having to unexpectedly demolish an unstable wall. The Stevenage-based distributor renovated its own offices, and invested in 3D modelling software to increase project clash detection. Setting up an online service and maintenance package, its engineer systems are now paperless.
IFSE’s project management expertise was boosted this year with the addition of Noel Curley. Even before his appointment, the Croydon-based distributor was impressing with large outfits including Epsom and St Helier Hospital, won due to outstanding design and innovative use of space. Other recent major undertakings include for fashion retailer ASOS’ offices in London, transforming the quick service facilities with a larger kitchen and four bespoke servery areas. Furthermore it helped the NEC exhibition centre in Birmingham to overhaul its catering offerings.
This year Inox Equip has completed an incredible 56 projects and is continuing to grow its London portfolio, particularly in contract catering. Key highlights included a roll out for contract caterer Amadeus in Belfast and a full turnkey project at Compton Verney Art Gallery. The distributor defines a successful project as being completed on time with a quality finish, training and a happy client. It has increased its back of house support team and reorganised its Buckingham head office to provide a more conducive working environment.