Sponsored by DC Warewashing & Icemaking Systems, the Catering Insight Distributor of the Year, Rest of the UK category was open to distributors based in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and anywhere outside England in the UK.
This contest was the closest in the history of the Catering Insight Awards. Not only did the lead change hands countless times, the final totals saw the top three separated by a single vote. But the voting suppliers finally decided that Stephens Catering Equipment should win.
The Ballymena-headquartered distributor 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.
Stephens’ MD Paul Caves collected the trophy, saying: “It really is fantastic to win, and it’s a tribute to the staff back in Ireland who do a great job for us.
“It feels great to win this after we started as a small family business 41 years ago, and now there are 120 of us and we are still growing.
“We like to think that our suppliers, who we regard as partners, are key to our success.”