The Catering Insight Awards Digital Initiative of the Year category, sponsored by Hoshizaki, honours a distributor, either traditional or online, who has really embraced the digital medium – whether it is for sales, service, technology, showcasing their capabilities or an innovative social media campaign. This can encompass everything from BIM, virtual reality technology, website design and function or utilising the Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn etc tools at their disposal.
Therefore the nominated companies are:
CS Catering Equipment
Originating as a web-based dealer, CS Catering Equipment has remained true to its technologically advanced roots with its constantly updated website. As well as providing over 20,000 products through the portal, the firm ensures its customers are well informed with regular blog posts detailing everything from equipment purchasing guides for various appliance types, to the latest trends end users need to be aware of, as well as recipe tips. The site even gives users the power to voice their opinion through third party review system eKomi.
Garners Food Service Equipment
This year, Garners Food Service Equipment unveiled its new website, which also saw the reveal of new services aimed at improving the distributor’s 3D design output. While 3D design has been in Garners’ repertoire for some time, it is now taking eligible clients on 3D tours of their virtual venues and supplying 360° renders not only for client marketing purposes, but also in its own bid presentations to improve client involvement. Examples of Garner’s 360° renders are available on its new website.
Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment
Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment has recently upped its technological game, investing in new telephony, allowing it to move to digital phone- and video calls. Plus it has brought in tablets, laptops and smartphones for the sales and project teams so that they can more often work remotely. It has also rolled out the Call2Field service management software for the 36-strong engineer team, migrating from a spreadsheet-based system, to this fully digital and online portal. All engineers’ vans were installed with location trackers and are now digitally stocked.
The industry behemoth that is Nisbets already dominates online sales of catering equipment, but it is now taking its web-based capabilities further, with the launch of a virtual reality showroom. Part of its new ‘In Place’ microsite, the facility allows operators to discover front and back of house hotspots inside a view of an operational kitchen that will flag key points of interest and offer insight relevant to individual outlets. The whole microsite is intended to provide a dedicated online sector-focused advice centre.
Restaurant Design Associates
This year, RDA has launched a new bespoke website designed to offer the ultimate user-friendly experience with improved navigation and functionality while allowing customers to see the full range of services it offers. Its Client Portal was also upgraded via the website so now suppliers as well as clients can access designs, visuals, costs etc. wherever they are in the world. Furthermore, in line with ISO14001 standards, it is creating a paperless office, investing in wireless technologies to share documents between display devices to save on printing.