EXCLUSIVE: Pervez addresses Bestway foodservice strategy and geographical expansion

Bestway Wholesale’s catering division will now be focused on fast food outlets, contracted work, as well on-trade pub and bar supply, with managing director Dawood Pervez admitting the company has been doing a lot of introspection relating to its foodservice offering and the new strategy is now “very targeted, very focused, very sequential, and very process-driven.”

Speaking at the Bestway Retail Showcase in Coventry, he said there is still a big opportunity in foodservice considering the £170m business and  framework already in place: “ Over the past decade, we went for catering with the ‘Big Bestway Hammer’ and bashed lots of range in, which didn’t always work and instead created a lot of complexity, which meant a lot of products didn’t sell particularly well, we didn’t always sell it the right way, and we didn’t necessarily have the right ways to sell it.”

He described how the business has decided to focus on three key areas to drive growth: “Firstly, we have bolstered our contract team as we already have a decent number of contracts in place with prisons and universities, for example. Meanwhile, our on-trade offer to Scottish pubs and bars has performed brilliantly so we’ve invested in that north of the border and we’re now looking at trying to replicate it in other regions using the same approach.”

Read more: Bestway adds 1,500 products to convenience range

“Lastly, we have pockets of fast-food areas that are doing phenomenally well, so we’ve focused on them,” he explained. “The first area we targeted for this was Edgware Road in London around eight months ago and it’s done brilliant with catering sales up around 50% to mainly existing customers.”

He went on to say that London-based specialist regional managers have since joined from the likes of Booker and JJ Foodservice and the wholesaler now stocks the fast-food range across London in its Lewisham, Hackney, and Croydon depots.

Pervez also discussed potential depot expansion across the country in certain smaller cities where it currently lacks a presence. “We have thought about this a lot, but the real estate prices don’t make financial sense right now. It would be nice to enter one or two new locations across the country such as Norwich and Bournemouth, but the costs would make it extremely difficult.”

Pervez was speaking at the Bestway Retail Showcase where it announced the evolution of its Best-one symbol proposition, as well as a new own-label range which is offering customers margins from 30% to 75%.

Read more: Batleys depots rebranded to Bestway

The range consists of more than 160 products across key impulse and grocery categories. It contains a mixture of new lines and reformulated and repackaged existing Best-one lines. Most of the products are price-marked, with a few exceptions in categories that have been subject to heavily increasing prices, such as sunflower oil and cat litter. Bestway also claims to be the only supplier offering convenience retailers own-brand washing powder.

Speaking at the Showcase, Bestway’s category controller for own brand & CSN, Lisa-Jayne Hanson, said the range was designed to give retailers a value offering that still provided strong margins, as well as preventing shoppers from “opting out” of categories that were becoming more expensive.

“it’s about not letting them walk away from the fixture and going somewhere else, ensuring that we get that basket spend and margin through to our retailers,” she said.

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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via paul.hill@newtrade.co.uk and 07960935659.


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