Catering equipment manufacturers and suppliers are continuing to update the industry on their crisis management procedures as various countries’ movement restrictions and lockdowns continue to disrupt daily life, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rational is one of the latest to release a statement, with the combi oven manufacturer declaring: “During these adverse times, the wellbeing of Rational UK’s stakeholders is top priority and the company have taken steps to minimise any risk of exposing stakeholders to the virus, whilst at the same time assuring continuity of delivering maximum customer benefit.”
The manufacturer has suspended Rational Academies, plus the SelfCookingCenter and VarioCookingCenter live events, plus its office personnel are now working from home, but are still contactable via the usual office phone number.
Rational says it is still offering next day delivery and installation on its full equipment range as far as it is practicable, and that it has UK-based stock, while production continues at its German headquarters.
It further stated: “The national network of accredited Rational service partners are working as normal during this current situation. They have conducted their own individual Covid-19 risk assessments and have taken necessary precautions to protect their staff and customers. Customers can contact a local Rational service partner directly to arrange service work.
“Through this challenging time the health and safety of Rational’s customers, dealer partners and service partners as well as that of their own employees remains of paramount importance. They believe that they have taken appropriate steps to ensure full support to the entire catering industry is maintained with the high standards that customers have come to expect.”
At fellow German manufacturer, MKN, its senior management sought to reassure dealers, with president and CEO Georg Weber and Martin Ubl, vice president of international sales and marketing, writing: “During the last years MKN has put itself into a strong and stable position through careful budgeting and huge investments in innovations and our production facilities. This primarily serves you because it means you can count on us as a reliable and strong partner.
“We therefore emphasise once again that we are here for you during these difficult times.
“Our field sales teams, sales administration team and all the other company departments are prepared, motivated and ready to provide support when needed. Our ability to produce and supply goods has not been restricted and we are making all necessary arrangements so that everything stays that way.”
They concluded: “None of us knows how things will develop in the coming weeks. It is virtually out of our hands now and we can only hope that things will change for the better as soon as possible. Until then, we would like you to know that you have a strong partner at your side and we are sure that we can overcome the current challenges together.”
UK manufacturers too have released statements to clarify their situations. For instance, Precision Refrigeration alerted its network with an open letter to say: “At Precision, we are committed to being both responsible and focused to navigate these testing times, with the safety and wellbeing of our staff, suppliers and customers in mind.
“We have implemented heightened hygiene measures within the business to help protect our staff, and otherwise, so far, it’s pretty much business as usual. We are, and will continue to adhere to the government’s advice surrounding the virus, and closely monitor our supply chain to immediately identify if there are any potential delays to our customers.”
The refrigerator specialist summarised: “Currently, we do not believe Precision is in a situation that puts the supply of our raw materials at risk for manufacturing.
“In the interests of everyone’s safety, we are no longer allowing visitors to our factory until further notice. In addition, our sales team have been instructed to not visit our customers in person, but to use the vast array of technology at our disposal to communicate until further notice.”
While Chelmsford-based kitchen storage manufacturer Shelfspan also sought to detail that it is still open and operating as usual.
The company stated on a LinkedIn post: “We are implementing strict processes around hygiene and allowing staff to work from home where possible.
“Shelfspan is well prepared and have processes in place to reduce any impact that this likely to have on our and your supply chain. Our goods are still in production, and are leaving our factories in mainland Europe and China with minimal delays. We also carry a large volume of stock in our warehouse and have contingency plans in place to ensure continuity of logistics.
“We will contact any customer ahead of schedule if there are any expected delays to orders placed.”
Elsewhere, British espresso machine manufacturer Fracino says it is well prepared to continue supporting the UK’s hospitality sector.
Its manufacturing facilities will continue to operate at full capacity along with its warehouse, which has recently undergone further expansion as part of a multi-million pound investment programme.
Peter Atmore, Fracino’s head of global sales, said: “With Europe now officially declared the new epicentre of the global coronavirus pandemic, Fracino is perfectly placed – and well prepared – to despatch our extensive range of quality British made espresso equipment across the UK, however hard it gets out there.
“Our commitment to maintain high service levels to customers across the UK’s hospitality sector is second to none and we are geared up to sustain our production and delivery throughout this unprecedented period.”
At Stoke on Trent-based supplier Prodis, it also informed its network that its stock holding and lead times are largely unaffected at present. However, it has instituted a comprehensive contingency plan for its deliveries.
It can no longer be able to offer position and unpack services on its deliveries, so they will be to kerbside only.
The notification stated: “Currently our proof of delivery is collected by an electronic signature on a touch screen device. We are aware that some customers will not be comfortable handling these devices so this will change.
“Upon delivery the driver will take a photograph of the cabinet at the customers’ location. The customer will be asked to sign a paper proof of delivery document, they can do this with their own pen if necessary reducing the amount of physical contact with the delivery team. If the customer does not want to sign, they can give their name to the driver and have their photograph taken.”
The supplier’s warranty and spare parts support services are unaffected, but the company is closely monitoring its engineers and service partners and is stressing the importance of following all government advice regarding hygiene whilst visiting a customer’s premises and at all other times.