Five new recruits have joined the company’s field-based workforce, which now totals 26.
The organisation has also secured the services of former Woodward Foodservice Divisional Managing Director Kevin Hughes, who has spent more than 40 years in the food service industry.
Kevin said he believes Regency can be the industry leader, and hopes his experience will help it become the “biggest and best in the business.”
“Regency is one of the most customer-focused businesses I have ever seen, who see their role as doing the best for their customers’ total business in every way possible.”
Kevin has joined Regency in an advisory capacity, on the back of a career which included 16 years with Brakes and, latterly, 17 years with Woodward Foodservice, where he was National Accounts Director, Sales Director and then Divisional Managing Director.
He now hopes to help Regency excel “across all areas, including innovation, people, suppliers, sectors and business development; in short, anything that helps Regency’s members.
“Independent caterers face increasing challenges to grow profitably in a fiercely competitive market, and buying groups can provide highly-effective support to get the best from their suppliers and supply chain.
“The Regency Group is particularly well placed, with a unique operating background, fast-growing membership, and a highly-motivated team, spearheaded by hands-on leadership.
“I hope to bring a different take on the world to build on Regency’s great successes so far.”
At the start of 2018, Regency’s Managing Director Alex Demetriou warned that the UK’s hospitality and leisure industry faced its toughest year for at least a decade.
New levels of taxation, continuing pressures around minimum wage, the exchange rate, insurance premium tax, rising food costs and the continuing uncertainty around Brexit all contributed to extremely challenging times in the sector.
Staffing issues are also an on-going problem for a sector which takes 43% of its workforce from abroad. With a weak pound making wages less attractive, plus a Brexit-fuelled perception of being unwelcome, the number of EU immigrants to the UK fell by 54,000 in the year to June 2017.
But Mr Hughes said: “We can’t change the economic conditions, uncertain political climate, or our place in Europe.
“But what we can change is our attitude and approach, to put us in a better position to adapt, grow and be flexible.
“Today’s consumers are better informed, wider travelled, and more demanding than ever, but disposable income is tight.
“Trends indicate more spending on experiences, rather than things, which makes the opportunity for the hospitality and catering industry immense, exciting and fun.
“We can make all our businesses stand out from the crowd.
“The great news here is that Regency’s consolidated buying power, total (growing) membership, and combined experience harnesses a support power to help all our members punch above their weight.”
Regency works with more than 2,700 leisure businesses throughout the UK, including some of Britain’s biggest and best known attractions, hundreds of golf clubs, plus pubs, hotels, zoos, farm attractions and many others.
Regency’s Managing Director Alex Demetriou said: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome a man of Kevin’s calibre to the Regency family. His vast industry experience and knowledge will be invaluable as we continue to progress, ensuring we put people, and the relationships we forge, at the heart of everything we do.”
“The Regency Group has always had a reputation as a good organisation to work for, and our reward has been that we have been able to attract highly-talented individuals who, in turn, are able to bring their own experience and knowledge to benefit our members.”