National wholesaler JJ Foodservice has reported sales of £201 million for the year ending March 2018, up from £194m the previous year, with profits of £3.7m.
The increase in turnover for the year reflects the increased activity at the Dagenham, Leicester and Newcastle branches, which were all opened at the end of 2016.
“Moving to the hearts of these cities has brought our business closer to customers, helping them to make great savings when they click and collect”, said JJ Foodservice Group General Manager, Terry Larkin.
Profits were £3.7m, down from £6.1m the previous year. The decrease has been attributed to a combination of food price hikes, staff costs and general consolidation in the market.
“The number of UK restaurants closing increased by a fifth in 2017”, said Mr Larkin.
The wholesaler has dealt with the challenges by absorbing food price increase to support customers to remain competitive. “We also offer advice on how to increase margins on menus”, said Mr Larkin.
“It’s more important than ever before that caterers innovate and engage with their customers. No one can rest on their laurels in such a competitive environment,” he said.
Food price hikes and staff shortages are continuing to affect the eating out sector and this may result in more restaurant closures in 2019 and beyond, Mr Larkin added.
“We are supporting our customers by investing in our people and processes to ensure that caterers receive a first-class service. With so many wholesalers to choose from, it’s service that will really differentiate wholesalers in the year ahead.”
JJ Foodservice is doing its part to be “more than just a wholesaler” by offering additional services like the JJ Foodservice Mastercard, which gives caterers almost £5,000,000 worth of credit.
And its online ordering business, FOODit, which builds restaurant websites. “All these services make us a true ‘business partner’ to the independent caterer,” said Mr Larkin.
Last month, JJ’s was awarded two the FWD Gold Medal Awards for Service to Caterers, and Digital Innovation. “We will continue to improve service in 2019 and beyond”, said Mr Larkin.