Booker has announced that it intends to take on the major players in the delivered foodservice sector with a new operation targeting chains and restaurants.
Chef Direct will serve major foodservice customers from a distribution centre in Didcot, which is currently being fitted out, and will start trading in June.
Mark Aylwin, managing director of Booker Direct, said: “Booker Group plc is pleased to announce the launch of Chef Direct. Chef Direct will become the new force in foodservice.
“For years, two players have dominated foodservice in the UK. Catering chains have been looking for more choice and Chef Direct will meet this need.”
Ritter-Courivaud, the speciality foods supplier to caterers which Booker bought in October 2010, has proved important in developing the company’s fodservice business.
Aylwin said: “Chef Direct will combine Booker Group’s scale, with Booker Direct’s award winning logistics capability and Ritter Courivaud’s catering and speciality foods expertise. The business will be based in the state of the art, 250,000sq ft distribution centre at Didcot. Chef Direct will offer restaurant and catering chains a customised solution, combining great product choice with good prices and excellent service.”
The Didcot premises is the former Nurdin amp; Peacock distribution centre, which Booker acquired when it took over N amp;P in 1996.