H&C News meets with suppliers regularly to keep up to date with the latest product and service innovations, aiming to get the inside track on what companies offer to the market and how it is delivered.
This week, we met with Peter Kitchin, Managing Director of C&C Catering Equipment Ltd at their offices in Chester to gain a better understanding of the business.
C&C Catering Equipment Ltd are one of the UK’s leading specialist kitchen contractors. Multi-award winning, they create and equip professional catering environments for clients around the UK.
Proud to be members of CEDA, C&C work with many of the UK’s top catering consultants and designers to ensure their vision becomes reality. Recent projects include installations at Burberry HQ in London, the Salvation Army’s HQ building, Macmillan Publishing, the Michelin starred Northcote Manor in the Ribble Valley, BT Sport at iCity in the Olympic Park, the Mandarin Oriental and Café Royal Hotels and Wolfson College Oxford.
C&C are a family owned and managed business with directors who are closely involved with client projects at all levels. Managing Director Peter Kitchin took over from his father John Kitchin, who started the company in 1981.
Today C&C Catering Equipment is a national business, but where did it all begin?
C&C was started over 33 years ago by my father, John Kitchin, when he realised a local catering equipment supplier was needed – the garage of our house quickly filled up with equipment! From there we got a unit in Chester and were primarily selling in the counties of Chester and Clwyd (as it was called in those days), hence the C&C name. We’ve grown a fair bit since then, and we still ensure our original values, loyalty and integrity are always at the forefront of what we do. I took over from my dad as MD in 1997, he’s still a regular in the office at the young age of 83 (Being a regular visitor over the years H&C News can testify to that).
How have things changed since C&C’s founding in 1981?
Well we were certainly operating on a much smaller scale 30 years ago, one month when we first started my dad’s only sale was a £300 slicer – which he was still over the moon about. But now we’re better known for our work on large schemes, especially in London, and we’re proud to count Google, UBS, Ernst & Young, Estee Lauder and Volkswagen amongst our recent projects. From a people point of view our team has grown considerably to now having a team of over 20 staff members in the converted barn offices we rent from the Duke of Westminster in the Cheshire countryside.
How important do you think the team’s values are to C&C and its future?
Our values and our team are absolutely of paramount importance. I genuinely think this is why we are constantly reaching greater heights and successes. Our team take great pride in what they, and the company achieve. We’ve always encouraged a supportive and relaxed working environment where everyone completes their work to the highest standard, and can share a laugh with colleagues. I think it’s a respect thing too, we respect and appreciate each member of the team, and in return they respect their work and us. I think other companies try and emulate our success by looking at the C&C business model, but so much of that is down to our unique team – I’m not convinced it can be replicated. That makes us excited about the future.
And where do you see C&C in the future?
I see the company continuing to grow, we are about to record our most successful period in our 33 year history and we are delighted with the way the business is developing. We have invested heavily in new people and new systems over the last few months, and we see this as a catalyst to propel our business even further. We have a new CAD draughtsman, Project Manager and our own in house Marketing Department. We also know the value of investing in individuals, which I think is a huge reason for our great staff retention. We’ve celebrated a few anniversaries recently; Paul Parry has been here since 1984, Heidi Cotton since 1988, Peter Farrell since 1996 and Ian Berrow, who is now MD of our sister company C&C Catering Engineers started with us in 1984. I feel very positive that a lot of these newer recruits will also reach these milestones.
From a catering equipment distributors viewpoint, how do you see our industry?
The industry is strong right now and there is plenty of business out there to be won! I think it’s fair to say that the market place is more stable than it has been in recent years, which is good for all businesses in our sector. From C&C’s viewpoint, we see the industry evolving year on year and the dynamics of business following the same pattern. It’s all about remaining competitive and offering a top service that help us stay ahead of our competitors. The team are forward thinking individuals, with their fingers on the pulse of our industry.
The foundations put in place by my Dad were built on a quality offering with fantastic customer service. All team members have bought into this ethos and everyone works with professionalism, honesty and loyalty. We make it happen on every project we are involved in and my Dad and I are both extremely proud of that!
H&C News comment
We have got to know the team at C&C quite well over recent years and visits are always a pleasure. At our most recent #HandCSocial event one of the delegates attending, Andrew Turner, Executive Chef at Hotel Cafe Royal totally unprompted told fellow delegates how pleased he was with his award winning kitchen at the Cafe Royal delivered by C&C Catering Equipment. The sincerity of Andrew’s comments reflected much of what we discussed in this interview, experience, attention to detail and teamwork does indeed ‘make it happen’ when you are working with C&C.
For more information about C&C Catering Equipment Ltd click here