Since its inception in 1995, Chef Middle East has delivered fine foods onto the plates of hoteliers, food service providers and airline caterers across the region. Through its state-of-the-art logistics network, the firm services more than 1,000 customers from its headquarters in the UAE and key branches in Qatar, Oman and beyond, providing the same service and products to customers in Africa, the subcontinent, and Indian Ocean and CIS countries.

The vital ingredient, the company asserts, is its team of about 300 people working together in an entrepreneurial environment. Here, CEO Steve Pyle tells MEED how the firm has grown its network and adapted to the latest technological innovations in warehouse and supply chain management.

How has the company maintained a clear strategy??

Chef Middle East is striving to be the leading ‘speciality broadliner’ in the Middle East’s highly fragmented food services and hospitality market. Our business has a long history of supplying an extensive portfolio of gourmet products to premium hotel and restaurant customers in the UAE, Qatar and Oman. As the markets in the Middle East develop, mature and change, we have augmented and adapted our range and proposition to ensure our levels of innovation and service remain relevant to the needs of our customers, be they old or new.

Investment in our people, our brand and the infrastructure that supports the business is the enabler that has driven focus and service excellence for our customers.

In what ways has Chef Middle East nurtured strong client and supply chain relationships? 

Many of the hotel businesses we deal with, such as Jumeirah, Emaar, Atlantis and Marriott, have worked with us since the early days of our company and we have built strong links with them as they have grown the number of properties they own across the region. The confidence that many of these major brands have in our service has enabled us to build a reputation that has given us access to many new restaurant businesses in the region, whether they be premium or casual dining establishments.

We have deep-rooted partnerships with many of our key suppliers, some of which have been in place for more than 15 years. We invest heavily in building detailed joint business plans, which enable both suppliers and ourselves to grow our mutual business while supporting our customers’ needs.

The MEED Awards: How to enter

Whether you are a contractor, consultant, supplier, service provider or client, whether you are a leader, a driver or an inspirer, if you or your business is forging ahead and making a difference, we want to hear about it – and tell your story. Click here to find out more about the MEED Awards.

The judges of the MEED Awards will look at how each firm has contributed to the GCC’s success through its business achievements, environmental sustainability programmes, workforce culture, innovative practices and client service. In parallel, we will be recognising individual achievements among the leadership of these companies and stakeholders.

Register here to create your account and choose which award category or categories you would like to enter (discounts apply to multiple submissions).

The deadline for entries is 5 August 2017, with an awards ceremony to follow on 29 November.

How is your company innovative?

Much of our customer interaction is focused on empowering them to innovate in their own workplace. We regularly invite chefs and restaurateurs to our Culinary Innovation Centre, where we provide the technical support and expertise needed to enable them to build and refine their menus in a professional state-of-the-art kitchen space.

We have invested heavily in warehouse management technology, which will not only drive greater operational efficiency and therefore customer benefit, but will also ensure we are much more efficient at what we do, leading to higher levels of performance for the business.

How would you describe your workforce culture?

We use various tools internally to promote better communication and enhance collaboration and efficiency at work. We are committed to creating a constructive workplace that encourages growth and enables our employees to develop and do their jobs better.

We regularly organise training for our salesforce to ensure they are our best brand ambassadors in the market and the most knowledgeable about the wide range of products we offer. We are also currently investing in sending our employees to intensive product training directly with our suppliers throughout Europe and the US.

Our objective is to satisfy our customers’ needs in all aspects related to the quality, safety, specification and delivery of our products. Accordingly, we are HACCP and ISO 9001:2008 certified, and recently received an A+ rating (100 per cent success) from Dubai Municipality on its latest premises audit.

How has Chef Middle East shown the ‘wow’ factor?

By acquiring talented people, training and investing in them, supporting their development and giving them opportunities to demonstrate their abilities, which eventually leads to better business results for the company. Investing in the right people is one of the key factors behind our success.

Interested in being featured in this series on business excellence? Please contact Marianne Makdisi on mariannemakdisi@live.co.uk