Comment: learning from London's foodservice

Tony Reynolds on the lessons UAE can learn from

Tony Reynolds
Tony Reynolds

LONDON CALLING: How another city’s foodservice distributor worked on a consolidated supply chain and helped the environment — and what the uae can learn from that

This month Hebah Al Blooshi jumped on a flight to the UK to continue her journey into understanding the consolidated supply chain and its impact on the environment. Why send Hebah from Dubai to London? The UK is one of many territories around the world that has seen its food supply chain change dramatically in the last 20 years.

It has had to mature from a huge number of suppliers travelling up and down the motorways of its small isle, delivering thousands of food products and kicking out millions of tonnes of exhaust fumes, to a centralised distribution model, whereby vehicles on the roads are reduced to a minimum and one lorry can deliver all of the products. The simple, green, and efficient approach, if you like.

Our friends at 4 Corners approached us to become involved, because we share the same business ethics around quality, trust and transparency.

Reynolds is a family-owned and run business and a supplier of more than 2500 varieties of fresh and chilled produce from around the world, including more than 1000 different types of fruit and vegetables. Some of the biggest names in the UK foodservice industry, including leading hotel and restaurant chains, trust us to supply their fresh produce, fruit, vegetables and salads, every day.

The company continues to live by its heritage as a family business. I’m the grandson of William Reynolds, who first set up his fruit and vegetable stall at an East London market in 1945. I am very proud to be a third generation greengrocer who has been involved with the family business since childhood, initially working the market stall in Ridley Road, Hackney in London.

I began my early career in banking at Barclays, enjoyed a dalliance into professional football and, in 1988, decided to join the family business alongside my father Dave. Since then, we have driven the rapid expansion of Reynolds to the £200 million (US $322 million) per annum company it is today.

In Hebah’s week here with us, she has been able to experience first-hand exactly why we are one of the leading companies in our field, and why prominent foodservice operators, such as Pret a Manger and Carluccio’s, choose Reynolds as their supply chain partner.

In order to be able to operate to the high food quality standards required by the foodservice companies in the UK today, you have to be totally consistent. We have abided by our values throughout our journey, which will help to support our continued growth in the future.

Health and safety is always number one when it comes to the food supply chain. This fact, combined with customers wanting to deal with experienced, true food professionals, who will not let them down, helps install loyalty and regular, consistent business. But for us to deliver this, you need the best team and our guys, whether they are managing the company fresh produce from local growers or maintaining our state-of-the-art IT system, must be at the top of their game.

With this passion for quality of service, customers’ trust can only be enhanced and the simplification of the supply chain becomes a reality.

I know Dubai well, as I visit the city regularly. The green evolution as we are experiencing in the UK will happen there and it will take time. However, I have no doubt that the expert strategy, of the likes of 4 Corners, will become more widely accepted and eventually the norm. A reduction in the amount of deliveries will become just as important to the hotels, restaurants and coffee shops in the UAE as it is here. It’s all just a matter of time.
Saving the planet won’t be achieved overnight.

Bio: Tony Reynolds is the managing director of Reynolds, one of UK’s fresh fruit & vegetable distributors and suppliers to the foodservice and catering industry. The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management intern Hebah Al Blooshi is sponsored by food service & one-stop-shop experts 4 Corners.

For all the latest hospitality news from UAE, Gulf countries and around the world, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page.

Most Popular