Office Depot expands into catering equipment

Office Depot — famed for its huge portfolio of office and computer supplies — is aiming to become a force in the catering equipment field.

The company recently revamped its Facilities Supplies division in the UK and Ireland, and yesterday it cemented that move by announcing the appointment of a business manager for catering products.

Robin Barnes, who has 10 years’ experience within the catering industry to bring to the role, has joined the company to make sure that customers’ needs are being met.

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His role will involve working closely with the account management teams charged with assisting customers that are looking to purchase specialist catering equipment and supplies.

Barnes said: “Catering is a specific area of focus for the company as we look to become more entrenched in the world of facilities supplies. To do this we must ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers, from the simple to the most complex requirements which is where my role comes in.

“We are also looking to expand Office Depot’s catering product range further which will give us extra scope when it comes to making sure our customers are getting from us exactly what they require. It will allow us to provide an improved service and help to strengthening our relationship with them in the process.”

Office Depot launched its updated Facilities Supplies division back in September, with more than 1,800 new products listed.

Nicki Stewart, head of facilities supplies at Office Depot, said the company is aiming to become more competitive in the catering equipment field in the months ahead.

“Our catering equipment portfolio is something we are looking to develop over the coming year and Robin’s role will play a key part in that growth,” she said.

Office Depot certainly has the financial strength to become a major player in the foodservice supplies space. It made annual sales of $11.5 billion (£7.6 billion) last year, operates 1,700 stores worldwide and employs 39,000 staff.

In the UK, Office Depot operates an online and catalogue-based operation but does not have any retail stores.

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