Imperial Catering Equipment is rebranding its business and will revert to a foodservice-focused version of its original company name.
The Loughborough-based supplier confirmed that from the end of this month it will trade as Gamble Foodservice Solutions, bringing all the brands it distributes under a single unified umbrella.
15 years ago the company only sold equipment from US manufacturer Imperial, but today the portfolio covers seven different brands: Imperial, VacMaster, MKN, Montague, FWE, Ovention and Hatco.
The rebranding will be evident at its stand at Hotelympia, where dealers will get the chance to meet the company under its new moniker for the first time.
Sales director, Andy Piggin, said: “Having a company name that only reflected one brand in the portfolio was becoming confusing to customers. With this in mind, we felt that we needed a ‘generic’ name that brought everything under one umbrella and reflected our business model, which is very much solution-led.”
Piggin says it made sense to bring back a connotation of the company’s original name, the Gamble Group — which will be known to many in the industry — as it didn’t want to lose 65 years of heritage and reputation by choosing a name that made it sound like a ‘start-up’.
“Gamble’ has been known in the industry as a respected wholesale supplier since Gerard Gamble set the company up in 1947, while ‘foodservice solutions’ represents the value we offer to our customers, over and above purely wholesaling catering equipment,” said Piggin
The company has also restructured over the past year, so the rebrand comes at a good time for the firm. As part of the exercise, Gamble Foodservice Solutions will also open a new test kitchen and showroom facility for menu development and product training.
Gamble Foodservice Solutions has seen many guises since it was founded as a distributor of earthenware to the hotel and catering trade.
In the 1960s, the company, already established as a supplier to the trade as well as end users, started supplying capital catering equipment to UK contract caterers, including Sutcliffe Catering, Midland Catering and Bateman Catering.
The Gamble Group then became the leading UK distributor of Zanussi Catering Equipment and Falcon Catering Equipment, before launching a new business, Wholesale Catering Equipment, to supply smaller distributors across England with a full range of capital and sundry equipment in 1984.
By 1990, the Gamble Group was the largest, independent distributor of catering equipment in the UK and the main supplier to many multi-national companies. By this point, the UK was increasingly demanding American catering equipment, so the Gamble Group reached an agreement with Imperial in California to distribute their products exclusively throughout the UK.
In 1999, demand for Imperial products was such that the division became a limited company and renamed Imperial Catering Equipment Ltd, at the same time reinforcing its policy of supplying only to distributors.
In 2004, the company moved to a larger facility in Loughborough and was asked to market and distribute the Hatco range throughout the UK. The Montague range of prime cooking equipment and the FWE range of holding and warming equipment were soon added to the portfolio.
Last year saw Imperial reach an agreement to distribute MKN combination ovens to distributors and secure exclusive agency agreements with Ovention and Vacmaster.