E-Catering are an online supplier of commercial catering equipment. Including fridges, freezers, pizza ovens, microwaves, bottle coolers and dishwashers to name but a few.
I met with Duncan, the owner. There are several words that may be used to describe a person who loves being challenged: Industrious. Fearless. Bold. I’d probably use all 3 to describe Duncan! His story so far is a successful one built on a series of big challenges.
E-Catering was established in 2011 during which time Duncan was working in the family business selling waste handling equipment. In late 2019 he spotted that the E-Catering operation was for sale and, wanting to get into online, jumped at the chance to purchase.
Challenge #1 – the move
The sale completed in September 2019. Duncan describes the next 18 months as a huge learning curve.
“We have 2 warehouses, one in Kendal and one in Manchester. The whole team were based in Kendal and I was in Middlesbrough so my first task was moving operations over here. Obviously with a relocation of 80 miles, not all of the staff wanted to move so 8 weeks in, we lost a number of our team. But I was very happy that they all had easily found other jobs.”
Challenge #2 – the people
With the loss of experienced staff, Duncan then had to embark on a recruitment drive.
“I was pleased to be able to recruit from our local area during a tough period but it was no mean feat. We now have an 11 strong team in finance, purchasing, sales and customer service all based on the Terry Dicken Business Park. I’ve created a strong, driven management team who have all taken on my vision.
Challenge #3 – the virus
And all of this at the start of a global pandemic.
“The pandemic has massively changed our demographic. The restaurant trade would have accounted for around 47% of our business but at the moment this has dropped to only 6%.
Thankfully the takeaways are thriving and now represent 80% of our business. Being an online retailer, we’re expected to deliver quickly so we carry high stock volumes. This means we are able to offer next day delivery with most of our range.”
There’s big plans ahead for E-Catering. With impressive growth on track, expansion into the healthcare industry is next on the list. So what’s the vision?
“Our vision is to provide outstanding customer service and put the relationship and personal touch at the forefront. We believe this is vital. Our customer service team includes account managers who look after specific customers. That means having one person to speak to who knows the account well and ensures the customer is looked after.”
With everything thrown at him in the first 18 months I asked Duncan – Was it worth it?
“Without a doubt! Despite the hurdles early on I’m now seeing the fruition of my vision. I’m really enjoying the challenge of change. I’m also easily on track to reach my goal of growing the business 10 fold by 2027.”
The Terry Dicken Business Park
As always, to wrap up I asked Duncan what brought him to the Terry Dicken Business Park.
“The office in Middlesbrough was always short term and I’d been in talks with Mark for a while about moving to the park. We really wanted to move here, especially with the pandemic, as we wanted to look after our staff as best as we could by having our own space with its own facilities. It’s a nice area to come to with beautiful surroundings. The access is really easy and the buildings are nice, presentable and clean.”
So, if you’re looking for an industrious online supplier of commercial catering equipment with a Rolls Royce attitude to customer service then look no further.
E-Catering can be found at 5 Roseberry Court, Ellerbeck Way, Terry Dicken Business Park, Stokesley, TS9 5QT