Catering Insight Awards 2021: Distributor of the Year – North of the UK shortlist


The Catering Insight Distributor of the Year – North of the UK distinction, sponsored by Alto Shaam, will be presented to a catering equipment dealer based anywhere from the Midlands northwards in England, and across Scotland and Northern Ireland, who has managed to shine in 2021. This is due to going above and beyond the call of duty in terms of design, service and installation throughout the pandemic, or because of other commendable ways they have developed their business.

The competitors this year are:


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Blackpool-based distributor Caterware used the last lockdown to reassess its 18,000ft2 Caterware House premises and to redesign the spaces more effectively during the period where footfall to its onsite showroom reduced. This involved creating a Business Centre and a much larger demonstration kitchen facility to host operator or supplier events. The firm also kept its project pipeline buoyant, with high quality schemes including a central production unit for Blackpool Council’s Highfield Centre, the stunning Mere Golf Resort & Spa in Knutsford, and Woodlands Primary School in Formby, Liverpool.

CHR Equipment

Preston’s CHR Equipment is taking smart kitchen design and installation to the next level. The new kitchen the distributor installed for Michelin-starred chef Michael Wignall at The Angel at Hetton is said to be the UK’s first fully-connected kitchen, reducing energy peak demand from 300kWh to 120kWh. The facility also features CHR’s own state of the art efficient Ecochef cooking suite, and this year the dealer appointed a dedicated commercial director to spread the word far and wide about the ground-breaking technology.

Lloyd Catering Equipment

Lloyd Catering Equipment has had a roaring 2021 with enquiries pouring into the Rotherham-headquartered distributor. The firm has taken on several extra staff members in its design and project management departments to help it to manage its workload of schemes, reflecting a combination of youth and experience to ensure the kitchens it designs and outfits are top notch. It has also expanded its offerings in popular markets such as pop-up operations and container kitchens, working alongside specialist companies such as Makon and Bribox.

NWCE Foodservice Equipment

Bolton-based NWCE Foodservice Equipment incredibly managed to deliver the achievement of doubling the size of the business during a pandemic. In turn this helped its own operator customers to maintain high quality services, including loaning equipment such as walk-in freezers to tide operators through during repairs. The distributor provided a dedicated service team to end user sites prior to their reopening after the lockdown periods, supplying five-star aftercare. Plus NWCE has invested in its own people by creating new employment opportunities, with three apprentices now at the firm.

Stephens Catering Equipment

Ballymena-headquartered Stephens Catering Equipment is developing a new 10-year operating strategy. The distributor has drawn heavily on the insights it gained throughout the pandemic period within this, to future-proof the business. With the group spanning branches in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, the coronavirus crisis experience has brought Stephens’ team closer and gave it the opportunity to examine how it engages with customers and colleagues, be that virtually or in-person. The company focused its efforts on its health, retail and fast food sectors, which all remained busy.

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.

Tags : awardCatering InsightCatering Insight Awardsdistributor of the year northevent
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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