Five UK distributors are celebrating this week, after Catering Insight’s sister title, Foodservice Equipment Journal, revealed the shortlist for its 2021 awards.
The FEJ Awards will take place on Thursday 23 September at the Hilton Canary Wharf, London, conveniently timed after the first day of the Commercial Kitchen show at the nearby ExCeL centre.
A quintet of dealers will be competing for the Multi-Site Kitchen Project House of the Year award, which applies to those companies that are working with multi-site users to deliver full kitchen projects encompassing everything from design and specification to installation and commissioning.
The accolade acknowledges that standalone items of equipment need to be knitted together with the perfect design to deliver a winning kitchen.
The shortlist comprises:
Advance Group restructured its projects business during the pandemic to provide a holistic design and delivery mentality that allows customers to have continuity in their design stage right the way through installation to handover. This approach led the company to achieve a record year for kitchen schemes, open buying accounts in two new sectors and secure more than £4m in projects in hotels and hospitality, shifting its reliance on casual dining. Advance’s projects team is now working in a much more consultative manner, gaining positive feedback from customers. Handover processes and training have been fine-tuned to become chef-focused, post-installation reviews now feature operational input from clients and the company has introduced the Net Promoter Score to understand customers in more detail.
IFSE moved swiftly to protect its staff and safeguard the financial health of the business when the pandemic first struck and its diligence has certainly paid off. Throughout the crisis, it endeavoured to stay true to its values of being a customer-focused business that relishes helping clients overcome complex foodservice challenges. Having entered the crisis on the back of a record year for sales, the company has completed significant schemes in sectors such as leisure, education and retail. It has also worked closely with a growing number of B&I customers, helping them understand what the post-Covid catering landscape might look like and how to adapt to it. Having strengthened its design and marketing resources, the company continues to demonstrate a collaborative approach to project management that has led to it gaining new customers.
Tyne and Wear-based RDA is a forward-thinking design and installation house that has completed a number of significant dining projects in the hospitality, university and B&I sector. From first sketches to finishing touches, it has been called upon to deliver turnkey projects for clients looking to create flexible dining spaces in the wake of Covid. The work it has done with multi-site chains such as Costa, meanwhile, have demonstrated its ability to equip and modernise foodservice spaces while keeping to strict brand specifications. Significantly, it also launched a transparently-priced micromarket retail foodservice range, which meets a gap in the market for a modular solution that offers clients choice, convenience and flexibility. The modules are site-ready for those pursuing a self-serve approach in the F&B retail sector.
With operators increasingly diversifying into takeaway and click-and-collect, Sprint Group has expanded its expertise in designing, supplying and installing dark kitchens. The company has completed a number of delivery kitchen projects for customers over the past year, with the design and projects team remaining operational on a flexi furlough basis throughout the pandemic. Sprint Group has been instrumental in supporting the roll-out of Burger King’s open format kitchen model to multiple sites, delivering schemes on time and within budget. All areas of the business have been strengthened this year, with additional engineers, customer service co-ordinators and project managers recruited to enable it to deliver the highest standards of service and ensure that project work is fully backed up by a comprehensive repair and maintenance operation.
Tailor Made has completed hundreds of projects since it was founded, with the Portishead-based outfit establishing a reputation for helping operators get the most from their space and budgetary requirements. Its endeavours in the pub, cafe and leisure sectors this year have seen it carry out a series of innovative schemes that use the latest equipment to optimise available footprint. The work that it has completed for fast-growing restaurant chain Loungers has been widely lauded, with the company supporting the launch of new Lounge and Cosy Club sites as the chain commences a roll-out programme of up to 25 projects a year. Tailor Made has been alongside Loungers as it has made improvements to its menus and operational processes, using its knowledge to drive notable efficiencies.