National Wholesaler

Mushtaque Ahmed, managing director of JJ Foodservice

Winner: JJ Foodservice

JJ Foodservice has earned a reputation in recent years as an innovative and flexible operator that can react to and thrive in the face of whatever the market throws at it.

Its main challenge this year was that its restaurant and catering customers were facing rising costs, supply chain disruptions and labour shortages leading to reduced margins and in some case closures.

In typical JJ style, the wholesaler looked to support these customers to control their costs with new and innovative own brand products.

It also crucially looked to broaden its customer base by exploring new markets. For this the focus was on schools and local authorities. JJ formed a new team dedicated to school tenders and finding new suppliers of school-approved products and became a member of LACA, the school food people.

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In another exciting development, JJ got back on the acquisition trail in April as it snapped up Gatelands Supplies. The deal is aimed at helping JJ get a bigger foothold in the burgeoning Asian restaurant sector, and it has suggested that further strategic deals could be in the pipeline as well.

The fact that JJ’s turnover remained steady at £270m while managing to grow its pre-tax profits 14% to £24m, of which it shared 5% with employees, speaks volumes.

On top of all this, the wholesaler has also stepped up its environmental commitments with a new Planet Plan.


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