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16 November 2012 | Anna Reynolds
Contract catering firm Bartlett Mitchell has appointed Don Seller to the new role of purchasing director to boost the company’s profits and achieve a sales target of £20 million for 2013.
Seller will manage the supplier base to support the company’s growth plans. Speaking to SM Seller said: “Fundamentally we have a good set of suppliers. I am specifically looking at providing the platform for generating sales and for that we need innovation. The task I will be setting our supplier base is to provide new products which we can sell in our contracts.”
Seller said the challenge of working in business dining is the competition, not just at contract level but at customer level: “We have to compete against the high street for sales every day. I need suppliers who can provide products that help give us a competitive edge and who are keen to work with us,” he said.
“We also have very strict criteria in terms of sourcing, particularly regarding sustainability, and all our suppliers will have to meet these.”
Bartlett Mitchell’s target for the new budget year, which started this month, is to achieve sales of £20 million. Seller added: “Our purchasing volume is substantial for the market we operate in, particularly as we are concentrated in London and the South East. It means we can look at the whole spectrum of suppliers, including local, niche suppliers, who can meet our demands.”
Seller was previously commercial director at hospitality buyers Acquire Services. Seller said he is used to working with a large and diverse portfolio of clients and takes a “disciplined” approach to purchasing.
Asked how his new role will differ from his previous job, Seller said the company’s flat management structure means a greater level of staff interaction. “I will be much nearer to our operational base. Our operations managers, contract managers and chefs will all have access to me for advice, requests and help and I will be out in the business regularly talking to them, and their customers.
“We are looking at growth and my role is to ensure we have the right products and the right suppliers to achieve this – all at the right price, of course!”
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