Q Describe your business objectives.
A Our key business objective is the relentless pursuit of outstanding service, products and food service solutions for the businesses we serve. We are committed to sourcing the very best products, and everything we deliver comes with the assurance of complete traceability throughout the supply chain and an unquestionable integrity in sourcing or manufacture.
Q What are the current issues facing your food service customers?
A With the current economic environment continuing to bite, our customers are starting to feel the pinch as their consumers make choices about how to spend their reducing disposable income.
Consumers are also becoming increasingly health-conscious and are looking for healthier food on menus, often choosing a healthy main course followed by a more indulgent dessert.
The provenance and sourcing of local and regional products, including ethical and sustainability considerations, is becoming increasingly important to many consumers.
Q How do you help them address these issues?
A Brakes has developed a number of innovative solutions to help our customers during the economic downturn, including recent "Beat the credit crunch" direct-mail campaigns to thousands of customers offering outstanding-value meal deals to help increase footfall and sales.
The Brakes nutrition department has been working for over 20 years to provide customers with healthy and balanced products and menu suggestions, including the first own-brand Healthier Choices range in food service.
We have an outstanding track record of sourcing with total traceability and integrity and provide our customers with all the information they require to answer any questions consumers may have concerning the chain of custody.
Q What are the questions your customers ask most regularly?
A Provenance is a topic high on our customers' list, and more and more of our products have a story to tell enabling our customers to add value to their menus, whether it be organic cheeses produced in the South-west, bread from French artisan bakers, pasta produced in Italy or Cornish albacore tuna.
Additionally, more and more customers are asking about Brakes' environmental credentials. That's why we ensure that we make information available on our environmental achievements and commitments in the form of brochures and on our group website. We have developed our environmental system by way of our ISO14001 accreditation.
Q What do you believe will be the next big trend in your market?
A Consumers are becoming increasingly discerning about the quality, sourcing and value for money of the food they enjoy out of home, so we are constantly developing new and innovative products that offer value for money and outstanding quality to help customers serve this market.
Q Where does the company stand on green issues?
A We are committed to reducing the impact we have on the environment. We've lowered our carbon footprint by using biofuels and exploiting network efficiencies and logistics planning to drive down our demand for fuel.
We have eliminated excessive packaging, and our people constantly challenge in order to reuse, reduce and recycle wherever possible.
We champion responsible sourcing schemes as well as promoting British produce, regional sourcing and seasonality for our customers. All of which is consistent with our ISO14001 policy.
Q Long term, where's the business going?
A We're committed to continuous improvement in everything we do. Our aim is to always offer customers the highest quality, greatest choice and best-in-class service. We are committed to investing in our customer offer, welcoming like-minded businesses into the Brakes family, such as Woodward Foodservice, O'Kane Food Service in Ireland and our latest French acquisition, Rault.
Company name Brakes Group Head Office Enterprise House, Eureka Business Park, Ashford, Kent TN25 4AG
Tel 0845 606 9090
Size/turnover More than 70 locations in the UK, Republic of Ireland and France.
Annual turnover of about £2b Products Food, drink, non-food and commercial kitchen equipment
Business unit brands Brakes, M&J Seafood, Pauleys, Prime Meats, Country Choice, Wild Harvest, Brakes Catering Equipment, Woodward Foodservice, O'Kane Food Service and Brake France
Brands Brakes, Brakes Premiere, Brakes Catering, Healthier Choices, Bake and Bite, Smartcrumb, Priory Falls, Arriba, Café Collection
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