A multimillion pound investment in state-of-the-art warehousing and product development facilities is set to herald a new period of strategic growth for Middleby UK and its distributor partners, the catering equipment manufacturing giant has intimated.
The company has this month started welcoming guests to a new showroom and demonstration kitchen at its headquarters in Wigan. It relocated to the 50,000 square foot site earlier this year, more than doubling the warehousing space available to it. And at 11 metres, the new building is over twice the height of its former HQ, making its overall capacity six times larger in total.
Adrian Wood, managing director of Middleby UK, told Catering Insight that the increased capacity underscores the breadth of its global business today.
“Middleby Corp has three divisions: Food Service, Food Processing and Residential. The relocation allowed Spooner Vickers, a food processing company, to fully relocate with MUK, as well as Peak Drinks Dispensers, formally based in Chesterfield and part of Wunderbar.
“Our Viking and U-Line residential brands are based at our new facility at Wigan and incorporated into the new showroom is a purpose-built residential area, while Turbo Chef has also now moved its base to MUK. We now sell more Middleby brands due to the massive warehouse expansion — brands such as Beech, Nieco, WunderBar Pizza Saucer…the list goes on. Desmon refrigeration is highly prominent in the showroom, too.”
Wood says the scale of the new facility has afforded Middleby the luxury of being able to develop a showroom and demo kitchen that he believes are among the largest and most brand-rich in the industry, and certainly in the UK. All Middleby brands that are CE approved are represented in the showroom, along with equipment from UK sister companies IMC, Britannia and Lincat.
More significantly, says Wood, the facilities are available to distributors to use, providing them with enhanced support whether they are involved in complex turnkey projects or individual sales.
“We keep stressing that this is a facility to be used and shared with our distributor partners. They can, should they wish, have total privacy if they feel the need to do a presentation themselves. We have three meeting rooms, including the boardroom, all with AV facilities, allowing other companies to hold meetings and small conferences. All the visitors we have had to date have been visibly overwhelmed by what they have seen.”
Middleby will also encourage all its divisions to use the facilities. Two of its European sister companies have already booked days, reveals Wood.
The UK business is now seeking to expand its workforce by hiring national and key account managers, as well as a consultant-focused sales executive. And with its parent company continuing to make acquisitions, it can watch proceedings safe in the knowledge that any new additions to the portfolio can be comfortably accommodated in the UK.
There is certainly no looking back, says Wood. “Year-on-year we look for growth in all sectors and MUK has achieved this since 2009. Our old building, modest that it was, did us proud but we had outgrown the place. There were days when we had three different clients in one day; our new kitchen means we could easily have four different demonstrations being done at the same time. Also, we believe it is important the end-user buys the correct equipment and gets value for money. We can accommodate anyone to come and use and evaluate equipment before they buy.”