The Christmas verdict

Case studies

Bidvest 3663

This year, foodservice wholesaler Bidvest 3663 has launched its Christmas range three months earlier than bidvestever before to give caterers more time to plan for the party season.

“Christmas is key for so many customers – for hotels, around 40% of turnover comes at Christmas, so we need to make sure to give them the right advice,” says campaign manager Gail Bridgeman.

As well as offering traditional brochures, the wholesaler has made all the information available online so busy chefs can browse the options on their smartphones.

Bidvest staff sit down with customers and help them plan their menus. Very often, offering small, flexible details is what makes the difference for a restaurant or hotel.

“We take a lot of time with our crackers and tableware,” says Bridgeman. “People can mix and match to fit with what the customer requires.”

Bestway Brighton

Bestway’s Brighton depot has great supplier links and this helps to set up eye-catching displays in the depot. To make sure these are as effective as possible, general manager Fida Hussain puts on a ‘PR night’ as a way of rewarding his customers. In December, he takes 40 to 50 of his best customers to a restaurant where, in a relaxed setting, they mingle and chat with four or five key suppliers, talking socially as well as about new products and deals for the season. 

The same week, he holds a trade day in his depot. “The customers who were at the restaurant will make a beeline for the reps who are there because they’ve already met them – there’s no ice to break,” he says.

“In the past, we’ve done this with Coca-Cola Enterprises, AG Barr, Red Bull, Westons Cider, Mondelez and ICB. Without a shadow of a doubt, if you manage it well and suppliers put the effort in too, it will grow your sales.”

Time Cash & Carry, Barking

While many wholesalers wait until December to start Christmas promotions, Time Cash & Carry begins in November. “Everything in cash & carry is last minute but we want to open it up – we want to be pro-active,” says managing director Sony Bihal. In 2012 the wholesaler had greater turnover and profit in November than it did in December.

“Brand owners start promoting from November 1, but not many depots start before December. I think it’s our job to deliver best price to the consumer, so we go on promotion in November.”

Time Cash & Carry extends terms by one extra week for the 40% of customers with credit policies. It has a sale or return policy on new products all year, but opens this up to core lines at Christmas. It may look risky, but returns usually amount to no more than 6%.

For more tips and advice for ensuring you get the best out of Christmas, read our main feature.


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