Kent foodservice wholesaler doubles turnover and expands premises after joining leading buying group

Founder and managing director of Q Catering, Roger Snelling.

A Kent-based foodservice wholesaler has doubled its turnover to £8 million, and expanded its premises, since becoming a member of an international buying group.

Q Catering, which supplies caterers across Kent and East Sussex, joined Fairway Foodservice in 2014 and has not looked back, with its sights set firmly on breaking the £10 million sales barrier.

The business, which was established in March 2003, joined the 20-member buying and marketing organisation for support on purchasing products, as well as the chance to build relationships with more suppliers.

During it’s Fairway membership, Q Catering has also increased its workforce by nearly double from 24 to 46. The wholesaler has also expanded its premises from 11,000 sq ft to 18,000 sq ft and is currently seeking more space for extra facilities.

And founder and managing director Roger Snelling says the benefits he receives from Fairway have been a catalyst for the firm’s growth.

He said: “I found Fairway was the best fit after carrying out a lot of research and speaking to other wholesalers. It genuinely cares about its members and their objectives, and will provide guidance in anyway possible to help you.

“As well as access to a huge range of products, the network of members gives us access to top industry intelligence, including trends in the market. For example, if a product is becoming popular, it will be quickly identified, allowing us to explore the option of stocking it.

“A vital part of our membership is access to Fairway’s own brand range, which is a cut above in quality and has generated a lot of repeat business from our customers.”

Roger, who has sat on Fairway’s board of directors for three years, added:
“The Fairway meet the member events are a highlight for our calendar, as they bring 40 suppliers under one roof, allowing us to meet key people in one location across two days.

“We receive support on all sides of the business, with an online cost file to easily research suppliers, as well as the creation of bespoke literature such as price lists to support our marketing.

“Fairway stands out from other buying groups because it understands each member has varied needs and requirements. It attempts to be fair to every member and doesn’t insist on imposing the same condition to all members. It will find a certain supplier for some members, and another one for others, ensuring all are represented fairly under the Fairway brand.”

Fairway Foodservice is a buying and marketing organisation, which operates on behalf of wholesalers based in the UK, Ireland and Spain.

Founded in 1984 by five frozen food wholesale distribution companies, it has grown from a collective turnover of £7m in 1984 to £715m in 2018.