Meet your 100 Greats: Business Developments, part 5

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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 last lot of business developments: CFSP course launch, Jestic’s ever-growing portfolio, First Choice Group’s headquarters, Middleby Corp acquisitions and the Catering Engineer UK Forum.


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CFSP course launch

2009 was a landmark for catering equipment industry training when FEA, then called CESA, launched the Certified Food Service Professional qualification to give a specific standard for sector workers.

The qualification consists of a one day seminar and examination the following day. So far, nearly 600 people have passed the course in this country.

The programme had its genesis within the North American foodservice industry before being adapted for the UK. Similar programmes have expanded around the world.

In 2016, FEA then launched CFSP Enhance, which keeps all those with CFSP accreditation up to speed with the latest issues, legislation and regulations.

Jestic’s ever-growing portfolio

Jestic Foodservice Equipment has been on a run of adding brands to its portfolio. The superstar line-up now includes Carlisle Foodservice Products, Antunes, Vitamix, Venix and Frontline – all sourced within the last 12 months.

These joined the Paddock Wood-based firm’s existing brands comprising Alfa Pro, Edge Ovens, Elmeco Slush Machines, Glimek, Henny Penny, Irinox, Josper, Keating Griddles, Malibu, Moduline, Rosinox, Rotisol, Somerset, Sveba Dahlen, Winston CVap, Wood Stone and Zio Pepe.

The latest investments are likely resulting from Jestic’s acquisition by Universal Industries in 2019.

First Choice Group new headquarters

When spares specialist First Choice Group conceived of its purpose-built new base at Kingswood Lakeside in Cannock, it wasn’t just to increase stock, staff numbers and double the capacity of its lean lift automated storage machines for parts. The 100,000ft2 facility was also intended to house industry events in its onsite test kitchen, and training and conference rooms.

Since the building opened its doors in 2017, it has hosted dealer days, conferences and manufacturer sales and engineering courses, including CFSP courses, the Service Engineers CPD Forum and part of an ENSE Conference.

As part of the Combico training division, the premises also offers Rational, MKN and ACS gas assessment training.

Middleby Corp acquisitions

It’s tough to keep up with all the companies that US-based Middleby Corp owns. The business has made it its mission to buy up everything in sight in the catering equipment sphere – even venturing into the dealer sector in 2017 with the purchase of US distributor QualServ Solutions.

But in terms of the manufacturing sector, recent major brands entering the Middleby fray include ice cream machine specialist Taylor, and most intriguingly, a universal smart kitchen software platform producer, Powerhouse Dynamics. The latter’s Open Kitchen programme can remotely monitor and control any connected appliance, something which has been thought of as the holy grail of the sector ever since remote connectivity started to seep its way into professional kitchen kit.

Catering Engineer UK Forum

The Vision Commercial Kitchens-inspired Catering Engineer UK Forum was created in 2017 by the dealer’s head of service David Andrews. The online platform was originally intended as a means of finding engineers who could carry out maintenance and repair work for Vision, but has developed into a busy forum where engineers from any company can seek help from other engineers, resulting in faster fault diagnosis, more first time fixes and fewer recalls.

Now the forum has grown so fast that it numbers over 1,300 active users. Problems are collectively solved by members daily, which for the wider industry and clients means quicker repair times, less misdiagnosis and a more efficient service; all through the basic means of sharing knowledge.

Tags : Catering InsightCatering Insight 100 Greats
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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