In these concerning times due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UK catering equipment supply chain is pulling together to help each other with various heart-warming measures.
While a few distributors are still busy servicing the health care sector or taking the opportunity to work on kitchens while they are closed, according to cooking equipment suppliers Valentine and Cuisinequip, many others have reported that they are updating their websites, catching up on admin, decorating the office or just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.
Working from home, Valentine and Cuisinequip teams have been busy finding the best way to support their customers online. By using the latest in communication technology the companies are now able to offer enhanced product training for their distributors, either individually or in a group chat forum.
National accounts manager Jonathan Bartlett said: “Many sales people have told me that they want to use this quiet period to improve their equipment knowledge. I gave a PowerPoint presentation online for the first time last Friday to Scott Hayward, the newly appointed business development manager at GastroNorth. The online format gives a virtual meeting the same feel as being in a room together but with the added benefits of sharing files and documents on screen in real time.”
Hayward responded: “The online training was very informative, Jon has a great product knowledge and the session was interactive enough to hold my attention throughout. I learned a great deal about Valentine fryers and oil filtration systems and we were able to schedule future training sessions before we finished.”
Elsewhere, Ruislip-based distributor WilcoxBurchmore is trying to offer a fun distraction. On its latest regular email update the company announced it is organising a photo challenge. To take part, the dealer is asking the industry to take a photo of a kitchen utensil from an unusual angle and send it into them. They’ll then add it to the company’s Facebook page so people can try and guess what the utensils are.
Further north, Lakes Catering Maintenance tweeted the message: “To our customer base. Our thoughts are with you in these difficult times. We are sending much love and positive vibes to all of you and your families – remember we are all in this together and we are here to support you – even if it’s just to chat or for any advice on de-commissioning idle equipment.”
At British manufacturer Synergy Grill, commercial and marketing director Richard Ebbs reported on LinkedIn that all remaining team members each volunteered to accept a 10% pay cut last week, with the statutory directors taking no wages over the crisis period.
He wrote: “These things have allowed us to fund for each furloughed team member to receive a top up, over the amazing 80% amount offered by the government, meaning everyone will receive 90% of their wage for April onwards until the crisis ends.”
While on the same social media channel, Chris Richardson business development manager at AutoQuotes UK posted: “Our CEO gathered the whole company on a Teams call and delivered a message of ‘Be compassionate. Be caring. Remember that the next person you speak to could be in a really difficult position’.”
And over at Smeg UK, the company tweeted that: “As part of our #WellnessAtWork campaign, we have been providing physiotherapy massages during working hours to help our employees to relax.”