Catering equipment provider hungry for business in external markets

Sep 21, 2009

Ballymena company Stephens Catering Equipment is aiming to increase its sales in key external markets by £1.7 million, with support from Invest Northern Ireland.

Stephens Catering designs, manufactures, distributes and installs a variety of equipment for the foodservice and retail sectors, and it has a strong customer base in the Republic of Ireland and the UK.

The business is investing over £100,000 in a marketing project to exploit major sales opportunities in Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and England with newly developed products. Invest NI has offered more than £40,000 of support.

Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Director of Engineering and Business Services, said: “Stephens Catering has experienced considerable success since it was established over 30 years ago. Much of this is due to its continuous focus on developing new products to meet changing customer needs and generating sales in countries outside Northern Ireland.

“Through this latest project, the company is seeking to grow export sales in specific sectors of the catering industry.”

“The marketing activities are now central to the business strategy of Stephens Catering, aiming to help the firm to be even more competitive and profitable,” continued Mr Scott.

Paul Caves, Managing Director of Stephens Catering, said: “Thanks to Invest NI’s support, we are effectively launching new products into sub-segments of the catering industry, namely the retail sector in the Republic of Ireland and the complete commercial kitchen market in Scotland and England.

“Customer visits, attendance at trade shows, and the recruitment of a professional demonstrator and a sales and marketing manager are all integral parts of this extensive business development drive. Ongoing research in external markets is also helping us to identify sales opportunities as they arise.”

“We have a range of quality products to suit a variety of customer needs, and our high levels of after sales service help to differentiate our brand from those of our competitors. These factors will continue to be vital as we compete for more business outside Northern Ireland,” added Mr Caves.

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