Providing high-quality kitchenware and cleaning supplies for the kitchen is not the only service Reward Distribution offers. Reward is a hospitality-supplies company owned by the E.CF Group, which stands as Europe’s leader in the distribution of small equipment, tabletop, kitchenware and consumables in the mid- to high-end food service industry.
Since joining at the end of last year, the company has already stimulated considerable growth for the E.CF Group. “We’ve brought somewhere in the vicinity of 1,300 new products to the market, as well as launching our new catalogue and providing tools on our updated website,” David explains. “With 130 years of hospitality experience, our Group globally is 100% dedicated to the hospitality industry.”
Succeeding for so many years in the industry, Reward has shown that a company must be able to adapt to new challenges and change in order to thrive. “The hospitality industry is very dynamic and fast-paced, and it’s forever changing,” he explains. “What used to be predominantly white plates on a table are now coloured. We’re constantly bringing in new products. It’s an exciting industry to be involved in.”
“We are focused on bringing innovation to lead the market.” – David Bull
Considering the rise in popularity of cooking-related television and other media, the hospitality industry is certainly a dynamic place to be.
The ‘kitchen revolution’ has people excited about cooking and entertaining
A report commissioned by Mitsubishi Electric reveals what it calls a ‘kitchen revolution’ happening among Australia’s youngest generations. According to the survey, members of generation Y appear to be the most frequent watchers of cooking shows, with 54% cooking meals for guests at least once a month. Furthermore, this preference for cooking shows may be due to the broader desire of individuals to branch out and become more innovative in the kitchen, with 79% reporting that they have recently experimented with new tools and recipes.
“This change has brought about more awareness and made people excited about cooking, entertaining and experimenting with food,” David says. “But retail is only a small area of focus for us. Our stores and showrooms are very much catered towards trade, and the products we carry are catered to professionals who require tools that are not readily available in a retail environment.”
Creating customer loyalty through better service
With this in mind, Reward is taking the steps required to ensure future growth across all of its operations. “It starts with the customers and making sure we have a high level of service,” he explains. “We are focused on bringing innovation to lead the market. If you get that right, you develop a strong loyalty. We are working on providing our sales force with better tools to take to the market, and always looking at ways to improve our service level. This is vital, and requires a lot of background work. For us, that means drawing off our strength from our national corporate accounts where they can get the same product regardless of their location in Australia, which is a huge benefit.”
David explains that these kinds of bounds would not be possible without the dedication of Reward employees. “I’m blessed to have a very solid team around the country,” he says. “This is evident from the senior management team, who have many years of experience, and down the line. They are all well-regarded individuals who are very passionate about Reward and the industry as a whole. That certainly makes my life a lot easier.”
In terms of the products on the shelves, Reward fosters growth by maintaining strong and engaging relationships with its suppliers. “We have a very active program of communicating with our suppliers, talking to them about what we are trying to do in the market,” David explains. “We also have a wonderful relationship with our strategic partners, and we want to support those suppliers that are supporting us.”
According to David, suppliers with Reward are certain to get their products out and visible in the market. “We offer our suppliers a unique opportunity to get their products seen on a national basis with our national footprint, but also have their products displayed in our stores and showrooms. That way, it’s not just a product sitting in a warehouse; it’s visible for the executive chefs, and people making decisions can go out to touch, feel and look at the products as well.”
Looking towards the future, Reward has set its sights high for success. “We are bringing to the market a whole lot of innovation in the products we hold, and a whole lot of new tools in marketing,” David adds.
“We launched our own magazine this year, which contains lifestyle images to showcase what our products would look like in real-life environments. That has been really positive and very well accepted by our customers. It’s something they’ve not seen before.
“We want to continue to provide inspiration and ensure that we have dedicated people with the right knowledge servicing our customers. If we do that, we will go a long way towards making Reward the success it can be. It sounds pretty fundamental, and it might seem easy, but that’s our vision and that’s our goal; to be the supplier of choice in
the hospitality industry.”