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Garners moves forward with Specialists Award win

Garners Food Service Equipment’s win at the Construction News Specialists Awards capped a fine year for the firm, which is looking to the future by embracing BIM and working in a variety of markets.


Founded 1983

Specialism Commercial kitchen design and installation

Location Sherwood, Nottingham

Number of employees 16

Turnover £5m


The first Tim Fisher knew about the Construction News Specialists Awards 2013 was when his marketing director Pete Walker knocked on his door and told him he was shortlisted.

“He told me that he’d entered us into the awards and that I’d now need to do a presentation in front of a panel of judges,” says the Garners Food Service Equipment managing director.

“He felt we should put something forward, so he entered our project at Wolverhampton Wanderers. It made sense to enter, as the majority of our clients are big industry names like Galliford Try and Laing O’Rourke.”

Garners Food Service Equipment entered the Project of the Year (up to £500,000) category, with its chosen project the design and specification of equipment, fixtures and fittings for catering and hospitality at Wolves’ new North (Stan Cullis) Stand.

And, unexpectedly for the company, it won.

Variety of work

Garners Food Service Equipment was established in 1983 and designs, supplies and installs commercial kitchens and all other associated works. The firm also has a service division to carry out preventative maintenance on the equipment it installs.

“I don’t think you can just batten down the hatches and wait, or you’ll die. There’s no such thing as standing still”

Tim Fisher, Garner Food Service Equipment

It operates in a range of sectors, completing work from £25,000 at smaller venues up to its most expensive single job to date, a £1.3m contract to convert the City of Manchester stadium for Manchester City FC after the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

“We’ve made sure to work in as many different marketplaces as possible so that all of our eggs are not in one basket,” Mr Fisher says.

Turnover for this year is “on par”, with a fairly flat year projected due to the current economic climate.

“We always try to push forward, though,” Mr Fisher says. “I don’t think you can just batten down the hatches and wait, or you’ll die. There’s no such thing as standing still.”

Award win brings benefits

And the last year has not seen the company stand still, especially following its win in the Specialists Awards.

“It’s very difficult to put a monetary value on winning an award like that, but it has definitely had a positive effect for us on numerous levels,” Mr Fisher says.

“While I can’t say any one project was won as a direct result of the win, it has been very useful to us in terms of winning business”

Tim Fisher, Garners Food Service Equipment

“It led us onto a number of other prestigious projects, and while I can’t say any one project was won as a direct result of the win, it has been very useful to us in terms of winning business.”

The judging process itself was also a good reason to enter for the managing director. “Facing the panel was an experience – it was a room full of serious industry players,” he says. “It really focused the mind and there was nowhere to hide.”

After the presentation, Mr Fisher heard no more until he was sitting at the table for the ceremony.

“I was hoping for a pleasant evening with a good networking opportunity – I didn’t expect anything more,” he says. “We were absolutely cock-a-hoop when we’d won and we’ve been shouting it from the rooftops ever since.”

Embracing BIM and moving forward

The need to keep moving forward can also be seen in the company’s investment in new technologies, such as building information modelling. “We are now able to confidently say that we are BIM level two ready,” Mr Fisher says.

“It’s really important because in the near future we will not be producing in any other format apart from through Revit software. We won’t be using flat 2D AutoCAD – it will only be full 3D models.”

The firm is following a strategy of cautious, steady improvement.

“I do have more optimism now that I did before and I’m daring to think of more ambitious plans for the business again”

Tim Fisher, Garners Food Service Equipment

“No one sector has been particularly buoyant for us over the past couple of years, so we’ve diversified both the markets we work in and the products we offer,” Mr Fisher says.

The industry as a whole is showing signs of a meaningful recovery now, but it’s important not to get carried away.

“Things are moving slowly and cautiously, but it is completely right that the recovery should be like that,” he says.

“Having said that, I do have more optimism now that I did before and I’m daring to think of more ambitious plans for the business again.”

Even growth targeted

The company will look to grow generally, rather than focusing on one sector. “I don’t see one sector outperforming another,” Mr Fisher explains.

“This recession will have a lasting effect for many years. Hourly rates and prices have gone down and that is going to take some time to change.”

As for the 2014 Construction News Specialists Awards, Mr Fisher is looking to try to keep the winning streak going.

“We’re thinking about how we might like to enter because you obviously want to try to keep the ground you’ve gained before,” he says.

“But the great thing about the win for us is that it isn’t over yet. It has a lot of mileage for us and it will live on for a long time.”

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