Blakemore Foodservice strengthens ties with suppliers

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Blakemore Foodservice has called upon its supplier base to work more collaboratively with the business as it seeks to maximise exciting new opportunities across the sector.

The call to action came from Blakemore Foodservice’s leaders Caoire Blakemore and Richard Harman at the division’s inaugural supplier conference, which was attended by 60 suppliers at the Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton.

Delegates heard presentations from the Blakemore Foodservice senior team, the Blakemore Group and HIM commercial director Ed Sibley, with a focus upon ways that Blakemore Foodservice and its supplier base can collaborate to meet the future needs of customers.

Group Board director Blakemore opened the event by outlining how AF Blakemore is investing heavily in parts of the business in order to create a clearer focus and greater efficiency to develop sales.

Blakemore commented: “The Blakemore Group recognises the potential within food service and its continued relevance in developing our retail stores, so we’re really excited to be reinvesting in this part of the business.”

Head of Blakemore Foodservice Harman added: “We’ve spent time with our customers, found out more about their wants and needs and how we can help them to grow and how we can grow towards delivering speciality food with added value.”

Blakemore Foodservice sales director Nick Rose announced ambitious plans to target new markets and double Blakemore Foodservice sales over the next five years.

Rose explained: “Traditionally our trading strengths have been branded pubs, holiday parks and local authorities, but as HIM research has highlighted, the out of home market is worth £89bn and to get a slice of that we need to become a complete one stop shop solution.

“We pride ourselves on our customer service and our ability to still remain personal whilst having access to the 100+ years of knowledge and expertise of the Blakemore Group. We believe this sets us apart from our competitors, however, we need to continue to deliver over and above just stock to gain that edge.”

Continuing on from this, Blakemore Foodservice senior trading manager Bob Hughes highlighted the ways in which suppliers can support the company’s future plans, by bringing innovation and point of difference to the Blakemore Foodservice offer.

Hughes explained that the business will be investing in removing duplication and diversifying the range to be more specialised, which will also involve exciting plans to engage development chefs to work with customers.

AF Blakemore & Son chief information officer Robert Geere provided an update on the up-and-coming Blakemore Foodservice ordering app, set to improve customer ordering, with product scanning and tracking capabilities.

Geere also revealed opportunities on the app for suppliers to showcase brands through multiple advertising and push notifications, as well as the research currently taking place to develop voice-activated ordering and AI technologies.

Geere concluded: “I think you’ll agree that these are inspiring times for Blakemore Foodservice, with investment and opportunities for synergy across the group opening up new markets and exciting developments in digital set to improve the overall customer experience.

“When implementing these new strategic aims, collaboration is going to be key and it’s fantastic to know that our suppliers are on board to support.”