Power Players 2021: number 8

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Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment’s Stevenage headquarters.


We have another re-entry from 2019’s Power Players listing in eighth place this time, in the form of Stevenage-based Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment. In the 12 months to 31 March 2020 the distributor generated £11.6m, 12% up from 2019’s £10.3m. Likewise, operating profit rose 22% from £69.4k in 2019 to £84.4k in the last financial year. Operating profit margin remained the same at 0.7%.

According to MD Colin Barden: “We are pleased to see increased revenues for the period, but have not gone unaffected by the pandemic. Significant investment in our offices and warehouse last year ensures we have the facilities capable of meeting our future needs. We have continued investment in our service and maintenance team to ensure we deliver market-leading customer service in the most cost-effective manner, with over 50% of our engineers now multi skilled to cover gas, electric and CAT 1 refrigeration.”

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As to how he has managed over the last year, he detailed: “The last 12 months have simply been the most challenging I have personally faced in my career. However having the dedicated, knowledgeable and supportive team we have, both within the catering division as well as the wider Gratte Brothers Group, has undoubtedly been a huge asset and a great personal support during these unprecedented times and has allowed us to adapt and support our customers whilst keeping our team safe.

“Our experiences have created an even stronger ‘One Team’ culture at Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment and has strengthened co-ordination and communication across the Gratte Brothers Group. This period has embedded an agile mindset in our team, who remain focused on continuous improvement and putting the customer first. Moving forward, we’re adopting a hybrid working environment, adapting our working practices, communications and processes accordingly as we continuously strive to be forward-thinking and the aspirational choice.”

Colin Barden, MD, Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment.

Barden further analysed: “We are fortunate to operate within a diverse range of markets across our offering, both in terms of project installations and our service and maintenance clients. By utilising technology, we’ve been able to stay in contact with our customers and develop new opportunities whilst complying with site-specific requirements. Our passionate team helped ensure we continuously adapted to support our customers and their changing needs throughout the pandemic.”

Supplier shout-outs

Reflecting on Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment’s supplier relationships, MD Colin Barden said: “Our suppliers have faced similar challenges throughout the pandemic, with many also dealing with the impact of Brexit negotiations and subsequent agreements. Effective communication between customers, our suppliers and ourselves has ensured the continued delivery of products and services against agreed goals and we have been truly amazed at how well our suppliers have supported us during this period.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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