Catering Insight Awards 2021: Digital Initiative of the Year shortlist


The Catering Insight Digital Initiative of the Year award, 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 encompasses everything from remote consultations, BIM, virtual reality technology, website design and function or utilising social media tools at their disposal.

The shortlist for this year is:


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BF Engineering Services

Hampshire-based dealer BF Engineering Services (BFES) took the opportunity during lockdown to make major IT investments. It brought in new field service management software, utilised Microsoft Sharepoint and built a company intranet, plus loaded more information such as appliance manuals onto the cloud for its engineers to access remotely on tablet devices. Furthermore, BFES overhauled its website, not only transforming the design to look cleaner, crisper and brighter, but also making it easier to navigate. The dealer also upped its social media presence while rivals scaled back.

Chiller Box

London-headquartered Chiller Box used its digital expertise to give a helping hand to operator start-ups in 2021. The distributor created an online ‘how to’ guide for end users, including information on searching for locations, venues, planning, approvals and access, which can serve as a checklist for those in the early stages of creating a start-up or those looking to develop an existing business. Chiller Box is also sharing short information videos for those who prefer to digest guidance in this format, with each video focusing on one area from the guide.

Northern Catering Equipment

Yorkshire-based distributor Northern Catering Equipment (NCE) is now winning 70% more contracts since implementing mobile workforce management technology from BigChange. This provides a single platform CRM, job scheduling, mobile app, vehicle tracking and online portal. With the introduction of the cloud-based five-in-one system, the dealer has gone paperless with the fully automated planning, monitoring and reporting solution. The use of BigChange has also helped reduce costs, boosted productivity and improved customer service with the online booking portal.

Rational Technical Services

Kitchen maintenance firm Rational Technical Services recently developed Kitchen Nebula, a unique piece of technology that it has created in-house to link multiple manufacturers’ portals together in one place and create bespoke customer exception reports. The system automatically creates monthly exception reports for sites, using algorithms that score on multiple factors such as available production space, ideal cooking slots for key products, fault/breakdowns, cooking errors, cleaning and hygiene data. Using open API, the system is able to connect to any equipment brand with connectivity.

The winner will be announced at the gala ceremony on Thursday 18 November at London’s 8 Northumberland Avenue. Buy tickets to the event HERE.

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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