Service matters – to your bottom line!

I wonder how often any of us buys anything on price alone.  If you are buying a new car that you need to rely on for your daily social and business use, do you go for the cheapest you can find? (“Yes, Sir, it’s got four wheels, an engine and a gearbox – it will suit you down to the ground”).  Or perhaps you need to consider its reliability and performance. After all there’s nothing more frustrating than a car that just won’t start, or one that just conks out, far from home in the driving rain.

 So why should catering equipment be any different?  Whilst many professional caterers will seek out the equipment that best suits their needs – the optimum balance of price and quality – there is a perception at least that price assumes an inappropriate importance in the buying decision of many.  Let’s face it: commercial catering equipment represents damn good value for money when you consider what it can deliver.  To illustrate this point, let’s look at an example.

Our Silverlink 600 GS9 900mm wide electric griddle is a bit of a beast and can cook up to 290 quarter-pounders an hour.  Now, it’s unlikely that the griddle would be used at full capacity for extended periods, so let’s assume an output of 100 burgers an hour over a six hour period each day.  Taking a conservative margin of, say, 50p per burger, this griddle can deliver £50 profit per hour, or £300 per day.  Our list price for this griddle is £735 but, with a bit of gentle haggling, you’re likely to pay around £590 from a dealer.  So it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that the griddle can pay for itself in just 2 days!  OK, you have overheads to think of and your net margin might be as low as 6%.  If you sell those quarter-pounders at £2.75 each, the griddle will still deliver you a profit of £100 per day, so it covers its cost in less than a week.

Commercial catering equipment, of course, takes some hammer.  It is designed to take the knocks but, inevitably, it may break down at some point – probably at the least convenient moment.  You need to be sure that you can get it fixed quickly and that any spare parts can also be obtained overnight, if necessary. Taking the earlier example a stage further, suppose you had saved yourself £50 by buying an unknown brand – possibly an import of indeterminate origin purchased over the Internet.  Try phoning the manufacturer in Shanghai or even Istanbul and the chances of getting your spare part within even a couple of weeks might be optimistic.  If you had bought a recognised British brand you are likely to get the part within 24 hours.  So that cheapo griddle is lying dormant for two weeks when the slightly more expensive alternative would be out of action for just a day.  Net result if you are working six days a week?  A loss of profit of £300 x 9 = £2,700 (gross) or £890 (net).

The point I’m trying to make is that British manufacturers are best placed to serve the needs of Britain’s busy caterers.  We can respond quickly to your need for service or spare parts and we can deliver brand new equipment equally as swiftly – perhaps to replace that cheapo that’s just gone bang and tripped all your electrics.  So, I’m not suggesting that you should buy British out of a sense of national pride, but rather that it makes sound business sense so to do – even if it is a few quid dearer than the dubious import.

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