Continuing our series looking behind the scenes at suppliers to the hospitality market, we catch up with Matt Johnson, managing director, Bunzl Catering & Hospitality Division
Q How would you describe your business?
A Supplier of disposables and equipment to all sectors of the catering and hospitality industry. We form part of an extensive distribution network and provide the most comprehensive one-stop shop in the marketplace.
We take the hassle out of the whole procurement process by doing it all for our customers. We are able to source products on their behalf, hold them in stock and then distribute.
Q What is the company's objective?
A Customer service is our number-one priority. We want our customers to go away knowing that they've received the best possible service. We want to exceed their expectations and excel at delivering a great-value, first-class service across all businesses.
Innovation is key to everything we do as a business, whether that be sourcing a new range of biodegradable, recycled and renewable products or investing in systems and infrastructure to ensure the business operates at maximum efficiency.
Q What are the current issues facing your food service customers?
A Inevitably, at the moment there are immense pressures on all operators, from price increases across many lines on their profit and loss, particularly on utilities. This has had, in many instances, a detrimental impact on margins. Most of our customers are looking at ways to maintain value to their customers while holding on to margins.
At the same time some operators are also experiencing volume or spend declines in their business. This just adds to the challenges for their bottom line.
Q How do you help them address these issues?
A Our buying teams are exceptional at sourcing high-quality products at the most advantageous prices. We know suppliers all around the world and have the ability to find products that no one else seems to be able to find. We are constantly looking at ways to add value to the supply chain, to improve our customers' margins and find them better ways of doing things.
Q What are the questions your customers ask most regularly?
A They always want to know what's new, so we constantly update our websites with new and innovative product solutions. They also ask how we can help them with an eprocurement solution, and we work side by side with our customers to tailor electronic solutions on their behalf.
How can we help to develop supply-chain efficiencies is another one, and this can be done by reducing costs through consolidation and reduced deliveries, which is helpful for the environment too.
Making their operations environmentally friendly and bringing innovation to their businesses are other areas customers ask for help with.
Q What do you believe will be the next big trend in your market?
A Difficult to say - but whatever it is, it will be led by our customers' desire for innovation and improvement in the way they do things.
We believe environmental issues will continue to be of major concern to our customers. Carbon reduction in the supply chain will become a major factor. Operators will be asked to demonstrate their carbon footprint in an effort to build a more sustainable future.
Also, menu innovation will play a big part in a competitive market and therefore product innovation will be a key trend in future.
Q Where does the company stand on green issues?
A At Bunzl we see our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment as a key area of our corporate social responsibility. From increasing recycling programmes to reducing fuel usage and sourcing green products, we're constantly looking for new ways to improve our performance. Our environmental strategy is multifaceted. We set standards and measure operating improvements in order to reduce our environmental impact. We provide environmentally friendly services and products to our customers to assist them in reducing their global footprint and communicate what we've learnt to both our employees and customers.
Reducing fuel usage is always a concern, especially when distributing in urban areas. We have recently introduced aerodynamic double-deck trailers to our NDC (National Distribution Centre) trunk operation, and we're committed to replacing our entire fleet with aerodynamic vehicles.
The growing demand for electric vehicles is shared not only with consumers, but also within the industry. This month, in association with Sodexo, we introduced an electric 7.5-tonne light goods vehicle to service London - making us the first UK distributor within the catering industry to do so. The vehicle can travel up to 130 miles per day, with a day's charging cost at 10% of the cost of fuel used by a conventional vehicle covering the same distance.
Q Long term, where's the business going?
A We intend to continue to be the best at what we do. We want to be known as a great company to do business with and a great company to work for. Innovation and further reducing our impact on the environment are also key.
- Company name Bunzl Catering & Hospitality Division
- Address Epsom Chase, 1 Hook Road, Epsom, Surrey KT19 8TY
- Tel 01372 736300
- Area of operation Worldwide
- Products 32,000 products available, from glassware, crockery, cutlery and utensils to paper hygiene, chemicals, food packaging and paper tabletop
- Businesses Bunzl Catering Supplies, Bunzl Lockhart Catering Equipment, Bunzl Lockhart Catering Design Services, Continental Chef Supplies, Bunzl Guest Amenities, Buwier and WKÊThomas.
- Market sectors Hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs, travel, leisure, healthcare, education and business and industry
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