FSL Hospitality’s deputy general manager talks business

Neeraj Katyal reveals insights about the company's products and new launches

FSL Hospitality’s deputy general manager Neeraj Katyal (pictured)
FSL Hospitality’s deputy general manager Neeraj Katyal (pictured)

Ahead of the Hotelier Middle East 2019 Executive Housekeeper Forum, Neeraj Katyal, FSL deputy GM, speaks to Hotelier about the company’s products, why hotels should partner with FSL, and, among others, what is in the pipeline

Please could you tell me more about your company/brand (in general)?
FSL Hospitality is among the leading distributors of premium products to the hospitality industry across the Middle East.Our professional sales, marketing and culinary team have the hospitality knowledge and the experience to understand the operations and requirements of our customers in order to develop customised hospitality solutions, which effectively and efficiently cater to their needs.

In the food and beverage product range, we are the exclusive distributors of Harney & Sons fine teas, Krogab bag-in-box juice and dispensing systems and Fonte Sole Italian natural mineral water. Within the non-food category we distribute Chef Works hospitality uniforms and Suecos professional footwear.

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With over 100,000 square feet of ISO 9001:2015 certified warehousing and distribution operation throughout the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar we service five-star hotels and resorts, golf clubs, restaurants, premium caterers, airlines and commercial institutions.

As a subsidiary of Food Specialities Limited with over 30 years of food industry experience, we recognise our customers need for a reliable supply chain partner and pride ourselves on timely deliveries, our customer service and the highest quality products from around the globe.

Please tell us which hotels you are currently working with in the Middle East?
We work with the some of the most prestigious and reputed hospitality brands in the Middle East such as Emaar, The Fairmont, The Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Intercontinental, Hilton, Sofitel and the Marriot Group to name a few, all of whom have entrusted us with their hospitality requirements.

Why should hoteliers choose your company over other similar brands?
We specialise in our core areas of expertise within the hospitality sector by dealing with a relatively small portfolio of products when comparted to other distributors who sell a wide range of commodities. Our focused approach allows our sales team to develop extensive product knowledge which enables them to offer the best tailor-made solution for each customer.

Due to our focused approach, FSL Hospitality is an attractive distribution partner for leading brands around the world who are seeking a foothold in the Middle East and this benefits our customers as we are able to offer them the most sought-after global hospitality products from around the world.
With over 30 years of experience in the food industry, we understand the importance of timely deliveries and pride ourselves on our customer service track record.

Why do you think hotels should invest in your products?
After having successfully established ourselves as the sole distributor of the chefs’ preferred uniforms brand - Chef Works for the Middle East, we have carefully expanded our portfolio to include only the most innovative, practical and highest-quality products which have already been proven to be popular in other markets worldwide. We already have a loyal customer base for Krogab bag-in-box juice and dispensing systems which are very cost-effective and require minimal maintenance.

Our Harney & Sons teas feature some of the most innovative and unique flavours and blends currently available in the market. One of my personal favourites is the Hot Cinnamon spice tea.

Have you introduced any new product/item ranges recently? Please tell me about them, mentioning its USP? 
The latest addition to our growing portfolio is Harney & Sons artisanal teas which is highly regarded as a premium tea for the luxury hotels and high-end restaurants. We have already seen a lot of interest from stand-alone F&B venues and hotels alike for many of their tea flavours. In terms of the existing brands in our portfolio, Chef Works has recently introduced its street-inspired Urban Collection of chef jackets, aprons and caps which immediately garnered support from some of the top chefs worldwide. This line provides a perfect combination of edgy fashion and forward-thinking functionality.

What is your most popular selling item?  Why?
Due to the increasing demand for healthier alternatives, the Krogab juice system has become our best seller due to its closed aseptic dispensing technology which delivers a pure juice product that is free of preservatives and freshly chilled making it the closest alternative to a freshly squeezed juice at a breakfast bar.

Other juice dispensing systems in the market are open under-the-counter systems with glass dispensers that are not aseptically sealed and require the use of artificial preservatives which are unhealthy and used in soft drinks which is not what consumers want to be drinking for breakfast.

These open systems also require diligent manual cleaning with special chemicals which consumes staff time and needs to be done correctly to prevent bacterial contamination. The Krogab system is an engineering marvel with a quick and easy flushing process that takes less than a minute to clean and requires just regular water - another reason why it is our best seller for the efficient solution it offers and the assurance it gives our customers that they are serving their guests a product which is completely immune to contamination and the use of preservatives.

What’s in the pipeline for your company?
With an estimated 260 hotels due to be completed across the GCC in 2019, in addition to an ever-growing portfolio of cafes, bars and restaurants across the region’s bustling F&B scene, we are confident that we can experience healthy and steady growth by continuing to offer premium products coupled with excellent distribution and logistics, customization potential and customer service.

We also plan to listen to and subsequently cater to the market in a personalised manner by investing in technology to monitor customer feedback. Knowledge is power and when coupled with great products, it can certainly make us stand out as one of the premium hospitality suppliers in the industry.
We are a progressive and forward-thinking company which pays attention to global food trends and are considering adding a vegan product range to our portfolio in the near future to satisfy the growing regional demand that is emerging due to the growing number of flexitarians and vegans.

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