Paul Hill finds out the wholesale needs of an events space manager
Which wholesalers do you use and why do you use them?
We have one main drinks supplier called Hills Prospect, which is an on-trade wholesaler. We also deal with Diageo directly. For items such as our breads and rolls, we use bakery wholesaler Debaere, which is based just up the road from here in West London.
However, for certain products, such as coffee, we don’t use wholesalers – we go direct to a supplier called Climpson & Sons.
We are a contemporary arts projects and events space, so require a lot of different products, which can vary, and we may be required to use specialist wholesalers from time to time.
Do you get your orders by visiting the cash and carry or by having them delivered?
We tend to always get our food and drink delivered. However, because we are putting on new events nights, we sometimes require emergency purchases.
Although I would prefer to use big wholesalers such as Booker for this, we tend to go to a nearby Tesco as we are in quite a central, built-up area with no depots close by.
How can wholesalers improve the ordering experience?
I have worked in events and running bars across Europe for years, and simplicity is always key. In this industry, people are always very busy, so ordering should be something that can be done in five minutes. A good website is important – it doesn’t have to be anything special to look at, just simple and easy to use.
I also feel that a lot of them should have smaller minimum orders. I understand that transportation is not free, but minimum orders are on the high side sometimes.
How would you rate the wholesale sector when it comes to responding to trends?
People no longer just have ‘traditional’ drinks any more, with new craft beer and ales coming into the market all the time, especially in a place like London. Although we use our drinks wholesaler for quite a lot of our stock, we also go direct with certain suppliers.
Wholesalers should concentrate more on keeping track and stocking the latest craft beers and ales as there is a big market for it in the capital.
Are there any products you recommend wholesalers should stock?
Although we get our big drinks brands, such as Hop House and Guinness, from Hills Prospect, are biggest sellers are Beavertown, and that is a product I would advise wholesalers to start selling.
We have a direct agreement with them because we partnered with them for a previous event, but it has become one of the most popular drinks now, and if I was a wholesaler I would make it a priority to stock it.
They are based in North London, but it is very popular all around the UK.
What are the latest food and drink trends wholesalers should be aware of?
Sustainability is a massive trend now. It used to be associated with a bohemian lifestyle, whereas now it has become normalised.
Items such as gluten-free beers and vegan food appear regularly on menus so, wholesalers need to keep on top of that and offer menu advice that incorporates this.