Service and maintenance is absolutely critical in the world of catering equipment, and the Catering Insight Service & Maintenance Provider of the Year category, sponsored by the First Choice Group, will reward those that are blazing a trail when it comes to repairing, maintaining and servicing kitchens. This award is open to both specialist service companies and distributors that operate dedicated service businesses.
The shortlist is:
Acme Facilities Group
Acme has had a year full of achievements, transitioned to its new service management IT system – Aeromark. With advanced scheduling capabilities and engineer live tracking, it has enabled Acme to improve utilisation of engineers and vehicles, now completing 20% more jobs per day and a 30% reduction in fuel costs. Notably its team conducted multiple emergency overnight works for Leeds Teaching Hospitals to repair critical equipment before the morning shift. The company has also had its most successful summer ever, completing over 85 installation projects in 2 months.
Peterborough-based Caterfix, now owned by brothers Ajaz and Idris Akhtar, has not only completely reorganised its second-hand equipment warehouse over the last 12 months, but it is a specialist in reconditioning. Employing expert technicians in its on-site workshop, the distributor is also encouraging the next generation of talent through, taking on apprentice engineers. Its 24/7 maintenance offer is closely marshalled to offer quick and thorough servicing, ensuring its customers are always kept up to date as to when its engineers will arrive.
Specialist maintenance firm Crystaltech has been working on the development of a new warewashing chemical process which deals with both grease/starch and tannins in one treatment, in the past 12 months. With investment in equipment and personnel and an increase in new clients, the business has developed over the last year with a growth of 45% in turnover, and takes approximately 4,000 service visits per month with a nationwide team of just over 60 engineers who are all fully qualified and hold all relevant accreditations.
Hatherley Commercial Services
Hatherley Commercial Services has invested in new vans for its engineers and the firm’s cutting edge service software keeps the office and customers up to date instantly. Working to overcome the constant difficulty of recruiting engineers, MD Kirstin Hatherley is also chair of a group of employers looking to create an apprenticeship standard for a commercial catering equipment technician. The distributor works hard to keep school and care home kitchens up and running throughout the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire region, with a 24-hour call out service.
This year Sylvester Keal has acquired a dedicated and experienced service manager and continues to grow its rental market for commercial catering and laundry equipment – which has increased by 45% in the last year. The distributor’s team of engineers are highly skilled and undergo regular training, with the firm boosting its training budget. Sylvester Keal has also introduced a full management software system that handles day-to-day job planning electronically and also accurate stock control, enabling it to double its van stocks for both catering and laundry parts.