20 June 2007 | Paul Snell
Many suppliers keen to win business in advance of the smoking ban are too late, according to the buyer for one pub chain.
Melinda McDougall, purchasing manager at London brewer and hospitality firm Fuller's, told supplymanagement.com that finding suppliers to provide equipment to deal with the ban on smoking in public places had not been difficult. "There are plenty of suppliers approaching us for business, but many of them are far too late, as we are well down the road," she said.
Announcing its annual results last week, the firm said it is investing £4 million to upgrade outside areas of its pubs in advance of the ban on smoking in public places, which comes into effect on 1 July. This includes buying furniture, shelters, signs and bins.
McDougall said Fuller's had a working group from across the business set up for the past 18 months to prepare for the ban. She added good planning had been key to ensuring suppliers could meet demand for items. "We have utilised many of our existing suppliers and extended working relationships in most areas. We have requested lead time information and tried to ensure our suppliers are aware of our plans and timescales."
Operating profit at the company rose by 31 per cent in the last financial year to £29.4 million, compared with £22.4 million in 2005-06.