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How did the Foodservice Equipment market fare in Q1?

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

The Recruitment perspective.

Many new roles recruited despite economic uncertainty.
Changing Foodservice trends — it’s all about convenience.
Increased opportunities in Export.
The challenges of attracting good candidates.

From a recruitment perspective, 2019 got off to a strong start and is set to remain buoyant, albeit in a challenging market — both for employers and for candidates. Political and economic uncertainty isn’t new, and for many of us, Brexit already seems to have been going on for far too long.

As we approached the end of March there was naturally some hesitation affecting the market as we headed towards D-day but with the outcome still uncertain and the likelihood of further delays it looks as though Brexit will trundle along and companies will return to ‘business as usual’.


New roles

It has been a busy start to the year with a good deal of activity geared towards finding stand-out candidates for newly created roles. In each case these positions have stemmed from our clients achieving continued growth and demand in certain channels and responding by recruiting experienced candidates who can continue to shape and grow that area. The spread of skills and sector experience sought has been broad and includes casual dining, convenience, contract catering, export and more.

Naturally there is a consistent level of recruitment for roles replacing candidates that have been promoted or moved but it is very positive to see many areas of new sales growth and future opportunities.


Changing trends

One of the primary growth areas that has emerged so far this year is ‘Food to Go’ -in the past few weeks and months we have seen many Foodservice operators (including Greggs, Wagamama and Pizza Express among others) announcing their plans to launch ‘Grab and Go’ concepts to enhance their offerings, and with Greggs hitting the £1bn mark the growing trend for convenience in foodservice looks set to continue.

The modern-take on the convenience concept also works well with the ever-growing desire for healthier menu options in Foodservice; the ‘Grab and Go’ offerings can lend themselves to choices like porridge, soups, warm salads, flatbreads etc.

It’s encouraging so see this trend finally grow in strength as for many years there has been a desire amongst rapid-cook, hot-holding and food display equipment manufacturers to do more in the convenience and forecourt sectors. The ‘Food to Go’ concept has long been established in many European countries and in Ireland, however it seems to have been slower to follow in the UK. Now it’s here it looks set to grow at a pace and create key opportunities for a wealth of suppliers of equipment, food, packaging etc.


Opportunities in Export

We have seen a hike in Export roles in the last 6 months. In some cases, this has been in response to continued demand from export clients and a need to grow export sales teams, in others it has been new equipment concepts which have been well received in overseas markets. There are mixed reviews on whether Brexit will lead to opportunities for the UK to competitively export products to more countries (both in and out of the EU), or whether tariffs and delays in agreeing new trade deals could make the export process laborious initially. However, the overwhelming advice is that, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, the stage that follows will take many years to complete and so it is wise for businesses to continue with their planned growth and nurture positive relationships with overseas clients.


Candidate attraction (choice doesn’t mean quality)

The recruitment market within the Foodservice Equipment industry is currently client-lead (i.e. there are more candidates than there are roles). In general terms this would suggest a greater choice of candidates available to clients. However, this is rarely the case: many of the roles we are recruiting require a specific skillset (including proven experience of certain market sectors) and as a result, businesses are taking a relatively narrow view of the type of candidate that they could consider. Successful people who are doing well in a job, particularly having built up strong relationships, are very reluctant to consider a move to another business. In most cases they will not even be willing to enter in to a conversation if they are approached. It’s here that a specialist recruiter with a wide network and a thorough grasp of your brief can add enormous value: in many cases the candidates we speak to us have known us for many years and are confident of both our industry knowledge, and our refreshingly ‘non-pushy’ style. They know that we will give them a thorough appraisal of a role and a business, and our clients know that we will not try to ‘fit square pegs in to round holes’ or waste their time with endless candidates that simply don’t meet their brief. We regularly receive feedback from the candidates that we place to say that they would not have gone to an initial interview if they had been approached by another recruiter — it was the detailed information, our knowledge of the sector, and our insight in to the client that has attracted them to explore the opportunity in more detail, and ultimately it has lead to a positive career move for them, and a valuable addition to our client’s team.

Foxton Budd Recruitment is founded on a passion for the Foodservice Equipment industry; our many years of experience and expansive networking in this market and allied sectors means that we can add true value to your recruitment and ensure that it runs smoothly, offers the best choice of candidates to fit both your brief and your business culture, and that the process is efficient and professionally delivered. This allows you to focus on your day-to-day activities without your time being eaten up by the more time-consuming aspects of candidate attraction, briefing, initial screening etc.


For more details, or to discuss a vacancy please get in touch:

Alex Waring

07896 945 170


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