Brakes’ Ashford Story
“By chefs for chefs” is the message that Jacquie Brady, Catering Manager for Brakes proudly boasts.
With more than 10,000 committed staff based across 115 locations, the Brakes Group is a leading European supplier to the catering industry. 750 of those staff work from the headquarters at Ashford’s Eureka Business Park.
Founded in 1958, the business was established by Kent brothers William, Frank and Peter Brake supplying poultry to caterers. Believing that the freezing of food to be the way forward, the brothers began to distribute frozen foods alongside the main business of selling poultry.
56 years on and Brakes is a leading supplier of an amazing range of fresh, ambient and frozen food and non-food products across the UK, Ireland, France and Sweden to businesses who serve food, helping them to thrive.
The £3billion food service company is the market leader in the delivered wholesale market place. Jacquie Brady says that, “Brakes is successful because we keep changing - we don’t just stay where we are; we keep trying new ideas to meet the demand of the marketplace.”
Of its 7,500 employees in the UK and Ireland, 750 are employed at the head-quarters in Ashford and the location provides the vital space needed for such a dynamic business, plus allowing them to tap into the pool of local skills to keep quality of standards and performance high.
Jacquie says: “Ashford is also in a great position because of its proximity to London.”
“Ashford is like a city within a town. The building that we have is like a house. It houses sales operations, development, HR, finance and marketing, all under one roof.”
Brakes has a heritage of being actively committed to the local communities it serves. The business’ ISO 14001 accreditation shows an internationally recognized standard for environmental performance.
Brakes has a policy of working with UK growers to provide seasonal produce for customers and use 60% of prime meats from UK suppliers.
It has also been awarded the Marine Stewardship Council’s Fish Supplier of the year for 2014 and stocks more than 100 MSC-certified products.