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Distributors and engineers cut down to emergency service

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The coronavirus pandemic is forcing UK catering equipment dealers and servicing companies to shut all but essential operations.

As the coronavirus pandemic and resulting international lockdown endures, the catering equipment industry is continuing to shut down to minimum capacity, with the hospitality industry essentially halted.

Industry dealer giant Nisbets has posted on its website that the portal is open and fully trading, with stock and pricing information and ordering facilities available. However, its retail stores are closed.

The statement further reads: “Our deliveries are being altered and this is changing daily as our partners at Parcelforce and Price transport are also feeling the impact of Covid-19. Currently we are running 48 hour deliveries with the cut off for last orders at 4pm. To track status of parcel orders, please log onto our website to access any tracking via your order history in the ‘my account’ section, or via the Parcelforce app.

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“Although we are experiencing stock issues with a small number of items, mostly directly related to products seeing a spike in demand in response to the virus, we are well stocked across the majority of our range, with products available to help you through these changing times.”

At Birmingham-based WV Howe, it detailed it continues to be open, albeit with many of its team working remotely from home.

Its update further revealed: “Whilst our dedicated supply chain remain operational WV Howe will continue to dispatch stock items as usual, however this is highly dependent on our courier service being available so the situation may be subject to change without prior notice.”

While online dealer, CS Catering Equipment, tweeted: “CS Catering Equipment will operate with a reduced team for the moment. Please expect that delivery times may be longer than those stated on the product listings.”

Light equipment specialist Stephensons put out on its social media channels: “In order to support cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; services providing food and drink to the homeless, it is imperative that we as a business continue to remain operational in these unprecedented times. It is vitally important that these key organisations have the ability to continue with their exceptional work across the UK.

“Orders can be placed over the telephone or via the website. We are following the government’s guidelines and have closed the cash & carry with immediate effect. ‘Collection only’ is available and can be arranged by contacting the office.”

Over at Acme, it confirmed via a special announcement on its website: “Our 24/7/365 reactive support services remain our priority throughout this period and we are closely monitoring resources to ensure uninterrupted service.

“We are proud to serve many NHS Hospitals, food retailers and other critical organisations who are counting on our support at this important time.

“We will be maintaining a reduced back-office team to support our customers during this critical period. We will continue to fulfil all normal customer requirements with key members of staff available to assist in all areas.”

Meanwhile, repair specialist Total QSR issued a statement saying: “Our systems are all cloud based and therefore will be able to continue offering the reliable service that we have always endeavoured to provide on a daily basis.

“Measures have been taken to ensure that all staff; office and field based, are aware of the precautions that they should be taking with regard to their own and others health and can confirm that the most up to date advice is always followed.

“Office staff are currently working from home and its operations as normal for them. Engineers are providing emergency cover where needed. They are also assisting many client companies as they temporarily close kitchens in recommending that gas systems and electrical catering equipment circuits are safely isolated and decommissioned for the duration of closure. Safety is a big priority for how Total QSR run the business. When the clients re-open they will recommission the equipment ready for safe operation.”

While operations director Luke Herridge said: “As many sites close their doors and turn to delivery service only, it is vital that we are there to support our customers and the industry to keep their kitchens running should anything go wrong with their kitchen equipment.”

Fellow servicing company NWCE took to social media to confirm it has now enacted stage two of its crisis management plan. This means that its frontline engineers are now only attending critical response and installation tasks for the NHS and critical infrastructure sites, its crisis response teams are now working remotely as a network with minimal office attendance required, plus its spares and procurement department is working remotely too.

Microwave servicing specialist Marren has also closed its offices and will be running on skeleton staff until further notice. Its webshop for spare parts orders will also be closed until further notice. However, the firm also underlined it will continue to supply critical services to the NHS and frontline workers to ensure they remain fully operational.

Tags : Acmebusinesscoronaviruscs catering equipmentdealersDistributorsmarrennisbetsnwceservicingStephensonsTotal QSRw v howe
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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