Catering Insight is celebrating its 100th issue with a run-down of 100 UK catering equipment industry greats, comprising people, projects, equipment and business developments.
Today we take an in-depth look at the second section of business developments: C&C Group expansion, Falcon’s 200th anniversary, Foster SOS next day delivery, Bunzl Lockhart’s Aggora acquisition and PFR’s establishment.
C&C Group expansion
When John Kitchin founded distributor C&C Catering Equipment in 1981, he may not have imagined it transforming into the national, multi-disciplinary group it is today. The C&C Catering Engineers servicing division was established in 1998 and became a subsidiary of the C&C Group in 2016 following a restructuring of the family-owned business.
Plus in 2015, the group took on the assets of CoFabCo, a Liverpool-based company which was formed to rescue Fabs4 earlier that year. This was the genesis of C&C Catering Fabrications, formed when the group wanted to expand into the fabrication sector.
All three divisions have contributed to a powerhouse of a kitchen design, installation and servicing group that is now generating nearly £22m annually.
Falcon 200th anniversary
Celebrating the milestone last year with a boat trip down the Thames, Falcon can trace its origins to the Falkirk Iron Company in 1819. Nowadays its products are seen in every corner of the catering industry – even underwater in submarines.
Today Falcon is part of the Ali Group and employs 200 staff at its Stirling factory. The manufacturer has ensured that it keeps up with market requirements, with its latest launches including HD Dominator, a safety fryer, a new induction range and a Dominator flexi pan.
Foster SOS free next day delivery
Last year, Foster and Gamko launched a game-changing SOS free next day delivery option on the sister companies’ most popular refrigeration products. This meant that dealers and end users receive a service that by industry standards would have previously cost upwards of £125.
To complement this, the sister companies have also reduced the cost of their installation services, meaning Foster and Gamko will take responsibility for the full delivery and installation package at an attractive price. The SOS free next day delivery service therefore empowers their network of refrigeration dealers to offer a level of service previously unavailable for free, saving on stress for both the dealer and their customer.
Following on from the success of the SOS service, since February the refrigeration specialists pushed back the deadline for ordering products for next day delivery to 3pm.
Bunzl Lockhart’s Aggora acquisition
In 2018, Reading-headquartered Bunzl group company Lockhart Catering Equipment bought out fellow distributor, Redditch-based Aggora Group. With a broad customer base and revenue of approximately £27m in the year ended March 2017 (the last before the buyout), the acquisition complemented and strengthened Lockhart’s existing catering equipment business in the UK.
The move gave Aggora access to a much wider customer base, and the opportunity to provide a broader range of services to both Lockhart and Aggora customers due to the services offered across the joint portfolio.
The following year, Lockhart Design merged with Aggora Projects, forming a new division: Aggora Lockhart Projects (ALP), doubling Aggora’s design and build division. Lockhart Design previously operated semi-independently to Lockhart Catering Equipment.
Pro Foodservice Reps establishment
In 2015 when Pro Foodservice Reps (PFR) opened its doors, it’s fair to say not many in the UK catering equipment industry were familiar with the US-style ‘rep group’ business model. Fast forward to 2020 and PFR is a well-established and respected company.
PFR operates in a space that offers manufacturers a labour cost directly linked to sales whilst maximising the value and service to their distributors. A sales team that can discuss multiple non-competing brands is an attractive proposition to those creating some of the country’s finest kitchens. Given that distributors are time-poor and often up against short deadlines, PFR is an asset to many across the country.
There was a time when a major manufacturer only had direct sales people, PFR changed the landscape for what it means to be a manufacturer’s rep; it’s now commonplace to see sales reps selling multiple brands.