Food service veteran Phil Brumfitt has outlined his aspirations for the new catering equipment distribution business he recently set up in Bristol.
Brumfitt, who started out in the industry more than 35 years ago and was founder of Windsors Catering Equipment — which is still trading successfully under the direction of his ex-wife and daughter — has spent the past four years working as a director of a business networking organisation.
But he recently decided to return to the catering equipment sector to establish AdvoCater, which is providing equipment, consulting and cleaning services to the commercial catering trade. The business also has its own online shop where companies can purchase a wide range of light and heavy duty kitchen products.
Brumfitt is currently the sole staff member at the company but will call on a network of sub-contractors that he knows from his time in the industry in order to offer customers services such as CAD drawings and kitchen deep cleans
He told Catering Insight that rather than just being a source of new equipment, he wants the business to be known for its consultative capabilities.
“I think my main aim is to pick up the best of what Windsors did and then combine that with what I have learned over my 35 years in the industry, which all begins with listening to and understanding what the customer is actually looking for,” he said.
“Don’t expect the customer to buy what you are prepared to sell — you’ve got to do your homework and make sure you as a company satisfy your customers’ demands because if you don’t you are not going to stay in business for very long.”
AdvoCater promises delivery within two working days on all orders, with the company likely to purchase a lot of its stock from RB, the trade arm of fellow Bristol catering company Nisbets.
Brumfitt says he has already done business with hotels, restaurants, pubs and nursing homes since launching the operation and has recently got into the university sector.
The company is targeting sales of £500,000 in its first year of trading and hopes to have a staff of four or five people by the end of the year, albeit some may be part-time positions.
“My main aim at the moment is just to get AdvoCater regarded as the company that people should be going to for advice and help,” he said. “Then I need to make sure the staff that I do take on have the same customer-focused mentality.”
Brumfitt’s first job in the industry came in 1976 with Molletts Catering Equipment in Bradford before he moved onto London-based William Pages in the early 1980s. He set up Windsors Catering Equipment in Merseyside in 1985 and ran the business for 20 years.