Foodservice consultancy SeftonHornWinch (SHW) insists the launch of a procurement and project management division does not signal its intent to compete for the same business as traditional kitchen houses.

Following the launch of the new arm, the Kent-based outfit is offering end-users project management consulting and assistance with procurement and installation.

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But in keeping with the ethos of its traditional design and consulting model, the new services are all fee-based.

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MD Gareth Sefton said SHW had no intention of managing transactions with equipment suppliers or bankrolling projects, and added that its involvement in procurement and project management would likely only apply to certain customers and circumstances.

“For a couple of years now we have been splitting out the tenders, so that the larger parts of the scheme, like the coldroom refrigeration, cook suite and ventilation, might be a direct order anyway and then a contractor picks up all the loose bits and does fabrication,” he said.

“This is just one step on from that. But at the end of the day we are a fee-based consultancy and that doesn’t change.

“What we are doing is packaging up project management and procurement as a fee-based service. People might suggest that is contracting, but it is clearly not when there is a scope of services and a fee and we are not funding the project.”

Sefton said the enlargement of SHW’s portfolio in this way is no different to a traditional catering equipment distributor bolting consultancy or design services onto their business, which many have done for years.

“It is as much contracting as a contractor does consulting,” he said. “And in that sense I mean that all the contractors do their own little bit of design work.

“I don’t necessarily see that as competition to us because if a client goes down that route it is, by and large, unlikely that they would engage a consultant anyway, so it is not as if I have lost that work.

“And I think the principle remains the same in the other direction. The contractor market shouldn’t think that they’ve lost out to that job because it highly likely that job wouldn’t have gone in that way anyway.

“I am not out to upset the market; we are still tendering to the market, and the kitchen houses that we work with are still continuing to work with us.”

The full interview with Gareth Sefton is published on our sister publication Foodservice Equipment Journal’s website and can be read here.