Sponsored article: This autumn, allmanhall celebrates its 15-year anniversary: a decade and a half of supporting clients and inspiring improvement in food procurement.
almanhall was founded in 2006 by father and son team Edward and Oliver Hall, who started working out of a shed in the family's garden. The business is now a thriving professional team of almost 40 based in Wiltshire, but is still proud to be owner-managed and independent (increasingly rare in the food procurement arena, especially in recent years). Despite its growth and successes over the last 15 years, allmanhall's focus on relationships and an exceptional personal touch hasn't wavered.
allmanhall began as specialists in catering procurement for the independent education sector. Its first client was St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, and to this very day the school still enjoys the benefits of allmanhall's procurement expertise – as do over 100 additional clients across England and Wales. Still prominent in the education sector, allmanhall has expanded over the years to work with care home groups, contract caterers and hospitality groups. A client retention rate of 98% is a huge testament to the support and partnership approach allmanhall provides each and every valued client. According to one client's operations manager: "It's hard to know how we ever managed without allmanhall".
On the very day of its 15th birthday, allmanhall learned it had been awarded Best Food Procurement Specialists 2021 from the Southern Enterprise Awards body. allmanhall was also crowned winner of the Customer Service Excellence Award 2021, building on the business' previous accolade for Customer and Staff Care in the Wiltshire Business of the Year Awards 2017. Recently the food procurement experts became a Premier Partner of the National Association for Care Catering (NACC), indicative of their growth in and support offered to the care sector over the past few years.
Much has changed since allmanhall was founded, both for the business and wider world in which it operates, but its philosophy remains consistent; to enable the best food, the best cost savings and the best support. The original offering from those very early days – of providing procurement services to deliver both cost and administrative savings – is still apparent today, and has expanded to include foodservice consultancy, with hands-on catering and nutrition advice and dietetics support for everything from Natasha's Law to sustainability advice, carbon labelling and menu design.
Utilising the latest industry-leading technology, procurement expertise and a focus on relationships, both with clients and suppliers, allmanhall has established itself as a market leader in food procurement. It has grown and developed its core food procurement specialism, to ensure full management of the catering-related supply chain and ongoing risk mitigation and negotiations with suppliers. The pandemic has created huge and challenging situations for all in the food sector and allmanhall has had to adapt, like so many others, offering help and support to its clients along the way.
Edward Hall, co-founder and chairperson, comments: "Our focus is as it was 15 years ago: to really understand our clients' needs and to respond by providing them with expert procurement support. This is all the more relevant, given today's extraordinary food supply challenges." Now more than ever, allmanhall's services are proving essential to clients across sectors. Indeed, a contract catering group director was recently quoted as saying that working with allmanhall is "better than having our own purchasing department… the benefits are not just financial", while another added "we regard the allmanhall team as absolute experts in their field. Nothing is too much trouble… a truly essential service".
As well as working with clients to inspire improvements in catering related procurement, allmanhall heavily invests in its team, nurturing team spirit, a sense of belonging and promoting growth. From apprenticeships to professional qualifications such as CIPS and CIMA, learning and self-improvement is evident in the company's core values. For example, the current finance director worked his way up from joining the team in a post-graduate role of analyst, over 10 years ago.
The company also has a strong altruistic bent and over the years has been a solid supporter of local charity. The team has completed a number of annual Bath Half marathons over the years for charity Jamie's Farm, which promotes farming, family and therapy. More recently, determined to find inventive ways to come together and nurture wellbeing while in lock down and working from home, the team gas completed several Virtual Missions. These have had the added benefit of raising funds for Cancer Research UK, a charity nominated by the team.
Oliver Hall (MCIPS), allmanhall's co-founder and managing director, sums up the experience so far: "It's been a fantastic journey over the last 15 years, starting from just two of us in the garden shed! Over that time there's been lots of changes in both the business and the food sector. It's been a privilege to oversee the growth of our team to around 40 committed and passionate people.
"From a food industry perspective, we've worked through harvest challenges, new legislation, Brexit, ever-evolving food trends, Covid and an increased focus of the impact the food system has on climate change – all the time trying to improve what we do and how we do it.
"Thank you to everyone that has helped us along the way, to our hugely valued clients, to each member of our team, past and present, and to our supply partners. I am extremely honoured and excited to continue building on what we have achieved during the last 15 years."
allmanhall is an award-winning market leader in expert food procurement. For more information, please visit www.allmanhall.co.uk