New look helps to win gold award

Anyone involved in the foodservice sector will tell you it is constantly changing as it adapts to a host of issues such as fast moving consumer trends and new legislation, and Brakes is a prime example.

Some of the changes have been obvious, like the update of its image, while others are ongoing and developing such as its policies on environmental and social responsibility. Both the way the new image was implemented, and the policies on environmental and social responsibility were highlighted by the judges who awarded Brakes The Grocer Gold Award for Wholesalers in this year’s awards ceremony.

Part of the impetus for updating the image was feedback from customers, says marketing director James Armitage. He says the previous logo on the side of its lorries had become dated, and customers were saying that if the lorry was going to be parked outside their premises while it was delivering they wanted something that gave a better impression. The result was the new Brakes logo with the strapline ‘fresh ideas’ and a suite of other related logos for the company’s specialist divisions such as Pauleys and M J Seafood.

The new imagery including pictures of food was trialled on the side of lorries and Armitage says: “The new imagery has gone down extremely well with customers and created a real buzz.” The smarter looking lorries also went down well with drivers who were keen to take out the new vehicles.

Having settled on the new image the next step was to roll it out through the company. The biggest job is re-badging Brakes fleet of 1,700 vehicles with 400 due to be completed by the end of the year and an on-going programme thereafter. Other corporate items such as signage and uniforms have been updated together with the company’s websites. Armitage says that one of the latest innovations from the website has been podcasts containing new menu ideas for chefs, and this has been very successful.

All the design work for the re-branding was done in-house by Brakes design team lead by Neil Burton. Armitage says it was felt that it was important to use in-house people, rather than going to outside consultants, because of their greater understanding of the business.

Another area of the business which the judges highlighted was its commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). The company has a history of supporting sustainable and ethical products, and has added an environmental aspect to its policies. Initiatives include a commitment to reduce energy use, running vehicles on low emission bio-diesel and recycling waste.

With 750,000 boxes handled every day, packaging waste is a massive issue for the company, and a lot of work has gone into reducing the amount of cardboard used in boxes and the plastic in pallet wrap, and ensuring what is used can be recycled.

One of the people most affected by the policy is Valerie Rands, head of group capital and services purchasing. She says: “When I am buying goods not for resale such as equipment, it is not just a matter of price and quality but whether it can help us reduce use of fuel or refrigeration, which uses a massive amount of energy.” Even the offices in the business are involved with bins removed from under desks and all printers automatically using both sides of the paper. Rands says she is confident the company will hit its 30% waste reduction target by year-end.

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=== Vital statistics ===

Brakes trading director Barry Gurteen (right) gave an overview of the business at last month’s Catersummit. It comprises more than 7,000 staff at over 70 locations and supplies over 15,000 chilled, ambient, frozen, fresh, non-food and equipment products to 120,000 catering customers.

To do this it has a fleet of 1,600 vehicles, fulfilling 30,000 deliveries every day, which involves transporting 750,000 boxes a day. The company has five specialist divisions: M J Seafood for fresh fish; Prime Meats; Pauleys for fresh produce; Country Choice supplying catering products for retailers; and Wild Harvest specialising in fine food from around the world.

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