Tuesday 24 September saw over 60 distributor representatives ready for a day of education at this year’s Cedabond Product Awareness & Heavy Equipment Forum. The buying consortium had given the format a rest last year, so the industry was clamouring to get back to learning about the latest heavy equipment updates in an efficient format.
Returning to Whittlebury Hall Hotel, the jam-packed day involved 20 round-robin sessions of 20 minutes, learning about each participating supplier, of which there were 22 – with the final four co-habiting in one room for mini sessions of 10 minutes.
The other 18 companies occupied one room each, with the dealers moving round from supplier to supplier. Catering Insight found itself starting the day with Tunbridge Wells-based rexmartins, with MD Martin Porter and commercial director Nick McDonald keen to emphasise the firm’s induction cooking portfolio. According to the latter: “It’s unusual for any supplier to have a complete range of cooking equipment available with induction.”
Its induction fryer has already been specified by a large operator which wants to take advantage of the appliance’s even heat spread and low fried food oil absorption that could see the oil last twice as long as conventional models.
Next up was Metcalfe Catering Equipment, where national sales manager Lee Thorndike detailed why he believes the firm’s meat slicers and Hallde veg preparation machines are a cut above the rest. For example, Hallde equipment carries every global sanitation accreditation, while its RG series is constructed with a 45 degree angle for easy loading and ergonomic operation.
The appliances feature a three point bowl stirrer system to ensure nothing sticks to the side. Likewise, Metcalfe’s own meat slicers are coated with Teflon to prevent food adhesion.
During IMC and Britannia Kitchen Ventilation’s session, northern business development manager Hannah Griffiths and business development manager Oliver Eaglen detailed the manufacturer’s Bartender bar workstation, which can be configured to any shape and size. Both also underlined that IMC can carry out site surveys and quotes for this.
As well as highlighting the firm’s full range of bottle coolers in various depths, heights, door options and finishes, the pair also teased a new product launch due at the end of this year.
In Hoshizaki’s session the team focused on the Gram mid-range Standard Plus refrigerator, which they said has a top end specification but not a top end price. The cabinet has a capacity of 600litres and is constructed of stainless steel inside and out. With a 5 year warranty and a promise that dealers can make up to 20% margin on the appliance, Gram will be further extending the series with a double door next year, and counters further in the future.
RH Hall’s Midlands area sales manager Simon Parry demonstrated the smorgasbord of equipment the supplier can offer, with everything from a Crown Verity barbecue, featuring a 10 year warranty on its grill plate, to its Simply Stainless modular self-assembly fabrications, which have a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. One of the latest additions to its portfolio is the Sharp R7500M microwave, which uses inverter technology for more even cooking and lighter appliance weight. In fact there should be less than 1°C difference across the cooked product.
Hobart UK’s turn was really cutting edge, revealing the just-launched world first Two Level Washer, which takes up the same footprint as a single hood dishwasher but is designed to double capacity. Sales director Tim Bender revealed: “The design has compressed the wash tank, and the wash pump sits at 45 degrees to fit the extra level in.” Up to four cutlery baskets can be loaded into the lower chamber. In trials, Hobart reported that the greater volume of warewashing saved a site 36 minutes per shift.
Jestic used its session to explain that its recent acquisition of Malibu has created a new northern showroom for its products, in Trafford Park, Manchester. The brand’s ice cream machines, along with the Keating Miraclean griddle, are now sold through Jestic in the UK. Another brand addition, Venix, offers an alternative combi steamer to the market, from the top end San Marco model to the compact Burano convection oven with steam. The Jestic team underlined the advantage of its own maintenance team being able to service these new additions.
In Charvet’s 20 minutes, sales director Ian Clow and sales development manager Gary Allen encouraged dealers to ‘think Charvet’ for both modular and bespoke cooking ranges. Emphasising that the firm produces the largest independently-owned cooker range in Europe, the team revealed that a new robotic bending machine in the French manufacturer’s factory is aimed at reducing lead times. An upcoming product addition is a four-zone plancha for the modular Charvet One series.
Next up, Foster’s regional sales manager Ewen Cairns reported huge success for the manufacturer’s SOS delivery service, which was launched earlier this year. In a recent one week period, the refrigerator specialist shifted £50,000 of sales using the next day service. Stock is currently held at its King’s Lynn headquarters, but another stockholding in Hyde, Manchester, is about to come online. New product additions include a compact version of the G2 series which is said to save 33% of energy compared to current models.
For Induced Energy, then-sales director Nic Banner detailed the new ‘bench’ design for its invisible induction cooking station. The innovative appliance has already found favour within installations such as at the Gleneagles hotel, the Kingshouse Hotel in Glencoe and The Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh. Banner further underlined that Induced Energy is Britain’s only induction hob manufacturer and that all parts can be found in stock at its Brackley headquarters.
Valera broke the news in its session that it is becoming a CEDA associate member. Father and son team Pratap and Kurran Gadhvi praised the supplier’s loyal dealers and underlined the firm’s partnership ethos of only working through distributors. The company prides itself on being there to serve and support its partners and going the extra mile, including carrying out site surveys, and to that end has recently introduced a next day delivery service for orders placed before 1pm.
During the MCS Technical Products session, national sales manager Peter Rigby revealed the new CookTek single phase plancha. The brand’s induction technology is said to be 93-95% efficient, with single and double, front to back and side to side hob configurations available. Plus the latest CookTek addition is the SinAqua Souper induction warmer, which is designed to ensure soup is not burned. MCS also produces a mobile vented cooking station which utilises triple filter technology, with one variant containing fire suppression.
Middleby UK focused on the fact that it holds between £2.5-3m of stock at any one time in its Wigan headquarters, ready for next day delivery. There the manufacturer also holds dealer open days where distributor representatives can experience the variety of appliances under its auspices, within the vast demonstration space. Sales manager Euan Ronald also underlined the demand for the Turbochef brand’s accelerated cooking solutions, while detailing that recent brand acquisition Firex has added boiling and bratt pans to the supplier’s portfolio.
Exclusive Ranges’ MD Trevor Burke disclosed that Menu System offerings will soon be on show at the company’s new demonstration showroom, which it is building as part of a relocation within Welwyn Garden City. The new premises will also benefit from a bigger warehousing space. Menu System produces around 330 bespoke cookers per year, and is making a massive investment in technology so that it can increase this number to 430.
Parry’s session was a demonstration of two halves, with Jack Collister, fabrication business manager, first waxing lyrical on how Parry can create bespoke ranges with only a 2-3-week lead time. To illustrate the increasing demand for these services, Collister said: “In 2012 we produced 137 CAD drawings. Last year the number was 36,000.” The second half was led by business development manager, Euan Hunter, who unveiled Parry’s Flexi-Serve modular counters, which are designed to bridge the gap between mobile and fixed counters.
Racking specialist EAIS detailed that its business is built on good dealer relationships, and its storage products are specified heavily with consultants, even on jobs in the Middle East. The firm has some big name clients under its belt, including McDonald’s, where its shelving was rolled out across the operator’s entire estate in 14 months. As this helped to maximise space back of house, less food was wasted which meant one less delivery was required each week, saving McDonald’s £2.5m in 6 months.
Heading onto Maidaid, national account manager Simon Wale showed the new fascia of the Evo 402 glasswasher. The digital panel logs error codes and features colour-coded operation. One recent undercounter unit installation took place at the British Library via Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment, plus the warewasher brand has found success in the leisure sector at holiday park brands such as Butlins and Warners. Sales of Maidaid’s ice machines are also growing, with machines being supplied through dealers to Stonegate pubs, Tottenham Hotspur FC, and Travelodge.
Last of the 20-minute sessions was Craven. Fresh from a Great British Business mini-documentary featured in The Telegraph, the storage and handling specialist emphasised that it competes with Chinese imports as it drives efficiency at its North Yorkshire factory. MD Noel Baker, who bought the business last May, plans to double the company’s size, and stressed its capabilities in short lead times and short orders. Part of the growth strategy will be investing in new technology and investigating export markets.
The final four sessions were quick 10-minute overviews, starting with Inox Fabrications. MD Lee Preston and general manager Louise Brown brought along mini fabrications that some of the firm’s apprentices created as part of their training. The firm has upped its BIM and Revit capabilities, taking on more design staff to create 3D drawings.
Next was Flamefast Fire Systems, which supplies Ansul and other fire suppression systems. MD Nigel Roddie emphasised that his company offers good service, stocking £300,000 of equipment, responding quickly from quotation onwards and conducting free site surveys. He underlined that the firm can manage fire suppression systems projects from design to installation and maintenance.
AcryliCon’s session saw director Adam Clements revealing that the firm’s flooring cures in just 2 hours, meaning it can be done overnight without needing to close a kitchen, and is designed to be hard-wearing. He described it as being self-repairing and having the same cleanability as Teflon. With a marble look offered, the flooring has a 10-year warranty.
Completing the day, pest control unit specialist Pelsis’ UK business development manager Jacqui Hardgrave and commercial director Andrew Joy demonstrated the firm’s new Insect-O-Cutor Infiniti UV LED flykiller and its front of house decorative pest-killing range. The Infiniti is said to be the first of its type and features a 360 degree catcher and 100% useful glue on its board.
Packing all that information into one efficient day was both useful and full on, so delegates got the chance to relax and network in the evening with a three-course dinner and entertainment provided by ‘interesting’ guest speaker, and six-time World Snooker Champion, Steve Davis.