After successful trials in three branches in 2005 and a major investment in another 12 branches in 2006, Bestway has announced plans to roll out its catering proposition to a further 15 branches by June this year.
Commenting on the decision, Younus Sheikh, managing director of Bestway Cash Carry, said: “We have been very encouraged by the positive response from caterers to our new offering. Sales growth has exceeded our expectations and we firmly believe that we can secure a significant market share of this buoyant market.”
He said that central to Bestway’s catering initiative was the value proposition. The company was offering continually low prices, promotions and deals across the full catering product range, and this was underpinned by a range of more than 30 “low price always” lines comprising everyday products at highly competitive prices.
The new focus on catering has resulted in the introduction of a number of new ranges, and there has been a marked increase in choice. Among the new launches was the Cellar Estates own label wine brand, and the ambient, fresh and frozen ranges have been substantially increased and have been supplemented by the inclusion of the group’s exclusive Batleys catering lines.
A significant investment has been made in new display equipment for each branch including new refrigeration to keep the fresh and frozen ranges in optimum condition.
One of the depots where the new catering offer was launched last year was at Hackney. The depot was rebuilt and new features included a new range of fruit and vegetables, an extended range of frozen products and an enlarged cold room. In addition, a new butchery department is being trialled, which offers fresh cut meat to order.
Sheikh said: “Our sales growth in fresh and frozen food, wine and non food has exceeded industry benchmarks and confirmed our belief that we can win market share in these categories.
“We are confident that we will continue to experience growth over the long term.”
Ahead of each new catering launch, the company will continue to instigate a full customer recruitment campaign, marketing the new catering offer to prospective and existing catering customers.
The largest proportion of the financial investment in the roll out is in people, with extra catering staff added at each of the branches involved. In addition, a total of 18 new business development executives have been recruited for the catering sales drives and continued development of the catering business.
Sheikh concluded: “We have been grooming the business for this major investment for some time.
“The acquisition of Batleys gave us the knowledge platform and the added expertise for this expansion.
“We now have more customer focus, better products, a lot of emphasis on service and we are working hard to get our message out. We are highly committed to the catering sector and expect to see strong sales growth in this area for the foreseeable future.”