Catering Insight Awards 2018: distributor of the year – rest of the UK shortlist


Dealers in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and other outlying UK territories will be recognised in the Catering Insight Awards Distributor of the Year – Rest of the UK honour, sponsored by DC Warewashing & Icemaking Systems, for the exemplary work they are carrying out in those regions, whether it is the supply and installation of equipment or a full-service commercial kitchen design.

The shortlisted candidates are therefore:

ABM Catering for Leisure
Cardiff’s ABM Catering for Leisure has found success in tendering to be included on the ESPO framework agreement to supply, install, maintain and design commercial kitchens in the public sector. It recently worked closely with three Welsh local area authorities to transform nine school or sixth form catering facilities. A standout project was for Welsh public TV broadcaster S4C’s new headquarters in Carmarthenshire, completing within the required timescale and budget. The firm has also taken on an engineering apprentice and invests in additional qualifications for existing employees.

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Crystal Catering Equipment
Tremendous growth has marked the recent history of Aberystwith-based Crystal Catering Equipment. Its customer support ethos has been boosted by constructing additional warehouse storage, a move which has also enabled the firm to work closely with Vegware environmentally friendly, compostable produce and to become a nominated distributor for its full product range. Being green is important to the business, as it is a preferred plastic-free supplier. The dealer ensures it listens to its customers and assists in their requirements, always looking for other ways to do this.

Instock Group
Scottish dealer Instock Group is the Florence Nightingale of the distributor world, helping to nurse a major venue in Edinburgh back to health. After the Victoria Street site was destroyed by a blaze in 2008, the company, along with its specialist sister company Pride Commercial Interiors, is overhauling the building to create a £3m new fish and chip restaurant for Tony Crolla and his Vittoria Group. The distributor is also ensuring it expands its team’s knowledge by attending factory tours at major manufacturers including Rational and Frima.

Sidlocks of Guernsey
The Channel Islands-based dealer has placed customer service front and centre of its offering this year, significantly increasing its stockholding of equipment and parts, and setting up a reception desk within the showroom. The latter particularly stands out as MD Roy Kilpatrick mans the desk as the first point of contact, so customers can benefit from his knowledge and experience. Sidlocks is particularly proud of its gas engineers, as every piece of equipment that goes on Guernsey mains gas needs to be converted to the island’s own gas mixture.

Stephens Catering Equipment
Ballymena-headquartered Stephens Catering Equipment is a major player in both Northern Ireland and Scotland, with six different bases across the region. 2018 has proved to be hugely positive for the firm, posting a record turnover of £15.9m in its latest published accounts. The distributor has worked with names big and small throughout the year, from Facebook’s Dublin and London ventures to creating The Pizza Library’s foodservice area within the Kelly’s entertainment and holiday complex in Portrush, as well as a new kitchen for St Michaels Scout Hall in Enniskillen.

Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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