Positive signs for Caterite’s collection service

Innovation is spawning motivation at Caterite as the foodservice wholesaler continues to bring in more customers to use its new click and collect service.

The Country Range Group member has welcomed nearly 3,000 new customers to its books since rolling our a direct-to-consumer offering at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, with registrations up to 13,000.

And Managing Director Lorcan Byrne says that boom in numbers is keeping his team focused on positivity during a time when the foodservice industry – and nation as a whole – is facing so much uncertainty.

Due to the relative success of the service, the Lake District-based company has even been able to bring some members of staff back from furlough and Byrne believes the signs suggest that consumer collection could continue after the crisis is over.

“That customer conversion rate is increasing every week – I’m not sure where that will level out at our how long it’ll last, but we’ll keep pushing the service and trying to make it as efficient as possible for as long they need it,” said Byrne.

“There’s loads of positivity around the company and the feedback we’ve had come in has been humbling and quite motivating for the staff involved in setting up the service.

“We want to get back to the heritage of the company, which is servicing the hospitality sector through the Lake District, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add new revenue streams to the business or adapt and innovate.

“In 12 months’ time, I’d like to look back on this and, while it was negative and depressing for everyone in the country, to think some good came out it.”

Caterite was one of the earliest adopters of the consumer service following the outbreak and while others have expanded into home deliveries, the wholesaler has decided to hone in on click and collect instead.

Since launching, Caterite‘s service has become more automated and now offers consumers the chance to book slots and pay online, where initially they hadn’t.

Other adaptations include limiting the number of orders taken per day to control traffic flow, while the business has also adapted to offer different products, such as meat, fruit and veg hampers, toiletries and Easter eggs.

Byrne says the intention is to continue the service after the crisis has ended, with a customer survey revealing there appears to be demand for this to happen.

“It’s all about demand and we’ve really enjoyed opening our door to the public and getting them to learn more about our business, who we are and what we do,” he added.

“The feedback has been fantastic. The survey we sent out the other day and 94% of people said they’d like to use the service after lockdown is lifted, which shows a real demand for it. I think even when lockdown is lifted and we get back to a normal way of life, the total convenience of turning up and have your shopping put in the back of your car is something people have really enjoyed.

“Some of the feedback we’ve had from new customers is that they’ve enjoyed the catering-sized packs for those with medium to large families. It’s definitely something we’ll look to keep on and gives us some opportunities to adapt our product range because not every single product we sell is compatible.”

Caterite coronavirus Country Range Group covid-19 Foodservice Lorcan Byrne wholesale