Bestway is launching into 2003 with an aggressive focus on catering in a bid to broaden its customer base.

Trading director Younis Sheikh said Bestway, which operates out of 28 depots in England and Wales, was trying to shift its traditional emphasis on retail to build a more substantial foodservice business.

It will also appoint new field sales staff to push its symbol fascia Best-One.

Robin Martin has just been appointed to the newly created post of catering negotiator and will spearhead a new drive to kickstart catering at Bestway, said Sheikh.

The company is also in negotiations over two new depots at undisclosed locations. More than 100 independents have joined Best-one. The package, which includes a delivered and drop shipment service plus a promotional programme, has grown steadily since launch in 2000, said retail development manager James Hall.

The company is also looking at consolidating its delivered operations into a smaller number of depots offering a highly professional service, said Hall. “We’ve been doing drop shipment since day one, there is no weekly charge for membership and no surcharges on central invoicing. We have a very attractive package.”