Giving customers what they want

Booker deals with 296,000 decision makers in the catering business according to Ron Hickey, sales director of catering for Booker.

The company has increased its sales to caterers by £100m in the last year and Hickey said Booker has learned to treat them as individually as it can. He said it was about supplying what they want at the price they are prepared to pay for it, in the quantity they are expecting.

He added: “We don’t charge for delivery, or for credit cards. We’d love to, but the customers won’t wear it. They don’t need to, they don’t want to.”

He said availability was also an emotive point because if the operator can’t sell they can’t make money. “If it isn’t there you’re not just letting them down, you’re putting them out of business.”

He said that Booker has concentrated on the transparency of it prices and this is something that is important to them. “The price you see on the website is the price you will pay in the cash and carry today.”

Hickey added that suppliers should think about choices differently and think creatively, rather than simply bigger. “Think about some examples of things that work within wholesalers, portion packs, kegs, bag in box, one litre cartons of UHT whipping cream, things that you can’t buy in the multiples.”

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