Henderson Foodservice honours industry in recovery mode as annual conference and awards make their return

Henderson Foodservice honours industry in recovery mode as annual conference and awards make their return
Staff from Henderson Foodservice were honoured at the company’s internal Awards at the recent Gala Ball at Titanic Belfast. Individual and Team Awards were presented across 16 categories, from CSR and Innovation to Growth Driver and Rising Star.

Henderson Foodservice recognised its continued role in the recovery of the industry as its annual conference returned this month.

Speaking at the Full Steam Ahead conference with customers, staff and suppliers at Titanic Belfast last week, Managing Director Cathal Geoghegan acknowledged the company’s successes during the pandemic, the challenges in the wider industry, and its response to aide recovery alongside their customers and suppliers.

Mr Geoghegan announced the company made a turnover of £134.1m in 2021, a growth of 21% on 2020, when the dual challenges of Brexit and COVID hit Northern Ireland’s health, retail, education and hospitality sectors.

The conference was an opportunity for the company to not only reflect on the growth and innovations implemented in the past two years, but look to the future “full steam ahead”.

During the conference, Mark Stewart-Maunder, Commercial and Business Development Director gave an update on how the dual challenges of Brexit and COVID have affected the business, while also noting the good news stories, from the new Henderson Foodservice website incorporating a new Product Information Management system, which aides customers to navigate allergen and product information in compliance with Natasha’s Law.

In June 2021, the company revealed their new, state-of-the-art £16M warehouse facilities, and the conference was an opportunity for Philip Mehaffey, Head of Logistics, and Pat McGarry, Operations Director at Henderson Group to update staff on the successes of the new operation and the efficiencies it has brought the company at such a crucial time.

The conference ended with a session from Team Joe Barr, the cyclist turned motivational speaker, but not before local hospitality heads Tony O’Neill, David Maxwell and Colin Neill joined Henderson Foodservice Sales Director, Kiera Campbell on a panel to review the challenges and pivots throughout the past two years.

Cathal Geoghegan commented: “This was the first time in two years our staff, customers and suppliers were able to sit together in the one room for our annual conference and it was a day full of motivation and learning.

“We have weathered this storm thanks to the tenacity and innovation of our team, and it is now time to look forward and keep that success going into the future as we work alongside our customers as they reopen to a very new and different world than it was before March 2020.

“Since that time, we have had many achievements to celebrate, from the roll out and continued investment of our Barista Bar coffee business, to the integration of BD Foods and Foodco alongside our £16M warehouse completion. This continued investment through challenging times has positioned us well as we look to continued growth in the future.”

The evening Awards and Gala Ball hosted by Tim McGarry saw a number of staff recognised for their achievements in the past year, from sales to CSR and innovation to team and project awards, and the company’s fundraising total of £21,000 was split between  its charity partners, PIPs, NI Children’s Hospice and Jack & Jill Foundation, and presented on the night.

Cathal continued: “Our Executive Board had a tough job this year as our teams and individuals performed exceptionally throughout 2021. A majority of our team are still working remotely, so it is a testament to their dedication and professionalism that we have achieved such great things in the past year, working so cohesively while still physically apart.”

During the evening, staff and suppliers were treated to a three course banquet delivered by Executive Head Chef Garreth Wilson, while entertainment was enjoyed by Belfast Beo dancers and musicians, in-house band Rock Hoppers and Q Radio DJ, Ryan A.