Wholesalers gear up for the Games


Firms are preparing for what looks set to be a busy summer of trading

BIG events can often result in travel delays and tailbacks – and with Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games this July and August, getting from A to B in the central belt could prove challenging.
But overcoming logistical problems is all in a day’s work, according to wholesalers contacted by SLTN, who have reassured operators it will be business – and deliveries – as usual this summer.
[pullquote_right]We have already started to plan accordingly to ensure our deliveries are made on time.[/pullquote_right]Frank Fraser, operations manager at Bestway Batleys Foodservice, said the Scottish trade is “blessed with having a great spring and summer of sport”, and that preparations on the wholesale side for these events are already well underway.
“Logistics will be affected,” he said, “but we have already started to plan accordingly to ensure that all deliveries are made on time.”
Brian Calder of Wallaces TCB admitted the Commonwealth Games could create challenges for wholesalers, but said he is confident his firm can overcome any issues that may arise.
“Obviously the logistics of servicing our customers will need to ‘work round’ road closures, peak visitor times and increased traffic,” he said.
“We may have to work through the night or deliver on certain days, as the police and Transport Scotland allow, but I have no doubt we will cope with any issues and offer great service.
“Since the turn of the year we have increased our vehicle fleet to further improve our service.”
The Commonwealth Games may be a major event, but Iain McPherson of Matthew Clark said Scottish wholesalers have plenty of experience in handling large influxes of visitors.
“We have dealt with major events in the past successfully, for example, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which sees a huge influx of people over a four to five-week period,” said McPherson.
“We work closely with our customers to provide a high level of service and this year we look to do the same and provide the high quality service we are capable of.”
David Sutherland of Sutherland Brothers agreed that major events “are just part of a normal year,” for the firm, but highlighted one key difference for publicans.
“The big difference this time is that these both take place at Scottish venues,” he said.
“We expect to see more visitors in the tourist areas, as spectators from these events may well travel around other parts of Scotland.”
[pullquote_left]Operators need to think about how they can capture the passing trade.[/pullquote_left]Sutherland suggested operators build up their stock early to “capitalise on the events” of the summer.
When it comes to ordering for special events, Wayne Scrivener, general manager at Ooberstock, suggested operators make the most of wholesaler deals and support.
“Operators need to think about how they can capture the passing trade and benefit from the influx of people,” said Scrivener.
“The challenge for many pub and bar operators is: how do they maximise sales opportunities and reap the rewards during the sporting event?
“Wholesalers and brand owners try to help publicans in many ways, including focusing on marketing drives to engage and retain customers.
“Suggestions include offering Scottish-themed drink promotions and food to increase consumer spend, celebrating the event the prior weekend to maximise sales and ensuring the drinks brands you are pre-ordering are supported with POS kits and window POS to maximise attention.”
With an expected increase in visitor numbers, it’s important that operators get their stock right, say wholesalers.
But firms insist that choosing the right brands need not be a headache as, despite the special occasion, customers may stick to current trends.
“Consumers are creatures of habit,” said Ian Cumming of Inverarity Morton.
“So when the temperature rises, they invariably want a cooling, refreshing drink. So we’ll see sales of lighter beer styles, white and sparkling wines and cocktails.”
Michael Lovedale, director of Hotsauce Drinks, highlighted the continuing trend for consumers going out less, and putting more thought into their purchases when they do.
“This translates into choosing the cheapest or the best,” said Lovedale.
He added that a balance of new premium products, presented alongside recognised brands, could be a winning formula for publicans.
“If a customer sees a new product next to brands they recognise and respect then it helps both brands,” he said.