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:
Catering Appliance Superstore
At the end of 2018, Catering Appliance Superstore became an app pioneer in the dealer sphere. The firm launched both a dedicated iOS and Android app to order catering equipment and renewables online. This enables its customers to always be connected to their CAS account and be able to purchase goods within seconds, with no need to repeatedly enter time-consuming payment and delivery information. The app is available on tablet and mobile platforms. The launch comes on the back of the web specialist growing its turnover by over £3m.
CS Catering Equipment
Web-based dealer CS Catering Equipment has used its online presence to the fullest, not only creating separate seasonal sections on its site to make it easy for end users to find what they are looking for, but also regularly updating its blog with useful how-to pieces, and explaining the intricacies of various equipment in a clear and simple to understand way. Furthermore, the website features a quote basket system which enables operators to quickly put together a single quote for all the appliances they require.
Sheffield-based HK Projects prides itself on offering a service ‘like no other’, with its bespoke, unique 3D foodservice design offering. This is a key part of its provision, through to complete installation and after-sales customer care. The distributor also utilises more cutting edge technology in the form of a bespoke asset management service for all commercial kitchen installations, providing existing and new clients with full traceability on all equipment assets. Asset data is transferred to the in-house post project support team and input onto HK’s bespoke CRM and asset management database.
Lloyd Catering Equipment
Lloyd Catering Equipment’s investment in technology has been high. All members of staff have now been provided with an iPad, which has been invaluable, improving efficiency and also having the beneficial environmental effect of reducing the Rotherham-based distributor’s paper consumption by an estimated 95%. This is in addition to the room-scale virtual reality system the company added to its arsenal last year, which lets users immersively walk into a 3D environment using a headset, so that they can accurately experience their kitchen designs.
Leading industry dealer Nisbets really is the digital king. It bases its sales strategy on ‘digital with a human touch’, collecting vast quantities of data every day to establish how best to serve customers, including using predictive analytics. Online is the fastest-growing channel for the Bristol-headquartered firm, increasing annually by upwards of 30% through 31 local language websites around the world. Plus in the last 12 months it has deployed cloud-based software to scale up its dropship operations and meet customer demand for extended product ranges online.