Brakes, the leading UK foodservice wholesaler, has been named National Wholesaler of the Year at the 2020 Grocer Gold Awards. The award, presented at a virtual ceremony on Friday (13 November), adds to the widespread industry recognition for food and service Brakes has achieved this year, including being named Foodservice Operator of the Year for the second year running, at the Quality Food and Drink Awards.
The Grocer award takes a holistic look at a wholesaler’s business and it was awarded to Brakes as a result of the company’s all-round performance across its core focus areas of food, service and expertise.
It recognised Brakes’ ‘customer first’ strategy, which puts the customer at the heart of how it runs its business. This was based on a significant investment of around £300m by 2025 in infrastructure to enhance customer service and a renewed focus on food, particularly developing the business’ fresh offer. This strategy has seen customer satisfaction levels grow significantly, contributing to Brakes winning more than 40 awards for its food and its service in 2020 alone.
In addition, Brakes identified a number of areas where customers needed additional support. Key among these was CSR, where Brakes embarked on a market-leading campaign, which included removing hard-to-recycle black plastics, becoming the first wholesaler to sign up to the Plastics Pact and minimising waste, particularly food waste.
The company also launched an internal wellbeing programme, which encompassed mental, physical and financial health. The company has been widely praised for leading the way with its Mental Health programme, which it has extended through the COVID-19 pandemic to support colleagues. These activities helped the company deliver record colleague engagement scores across the business.
Hugo Mahoney, Brakes CEO, said: “Throughout a challenging year, Brakes colleagues have gone to extraordinary lengths to support one another, our customers and the community. Winning this award is testament to the huge steps forward we have made in the last couple of years. We have focused on innovation and invested in technology to help us service our customers more easily and efficiently, while never losing sight of our passion for food. Being recognised with this award is a tribute to the dedication and team spirit of Brakes colleagues across the country.”