In March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic decimated the foodservice industry, with UK Hospitality reporting that just 11% of businesses were able to operate normally during the COVID-19 lockdown. Supermarkets were struggling with the public stockpiling of food whilst trying to cope with a huge increase in demand.
But, out of this time of unprecedented challenge, came an idea that combines the power of partnership and expertise with a commitment to help not only shape but future-proof the hospitality industry.
On 1st September, Absolute Taste and The Premier Group announced their revolutionary new business venture ‘The Menu Partners,’ the brainchild of a group of food lovers which aims to be the leading food sourcing, procurement and distribution partner to the UK foodservice market.
Created by Jason Tanner, the owner of The Premier Group and Nigel Harris, the founder of Absolute Taste, The Menu Partners provides the hospitality industry with a consolidated food sourcing, procurement and distribution solution, supported by a streamlined ordering process.
The lockdown had brought a realisation that the industry faced an uncertain future but, undaunted, Jason and Nigel came together to create a range of ready meals for a supermarket chain, as well as launching ‘Salute The NHS’, a charity committed to delivering 1 million meals to NHS workers on the COVID-19 front line.
By sticking to their supply chain integrity and their commitment to shine a light on the future of the industry, new systems were put in place and food was successfully delivered to over 5,000 households each week.
Fast-forward 6 months and Nigel and Jason, alongside their respective board of directors, have launched The Menu Partners. Their combined expertise in establishing supplier relationships both in the UK and internationally has allowed them to provide a consolidated delivery solution of top quality fresh, frozen, dry goods, dairy, pre-prepared and pre-cooked food to hospitality customers across the country.
"The Menu Partners has been an idea we have been contemplating for the last year," commented Nigel. "And, with the current situation we find ourselves in, we feel this is the perfect time to look at the future of foodservice.
“What Covid did was present the opportunity because when everything disappears you can start again,” he explained. “With Jason’s wheels and logistics expertise and my food-making ability, it made sense."
"Chefs don’t have time to manage a huge number of suppliers and The Menu Partners takes that away from them, providing them with a consolidated solution and a streamlined ordering process."
"Having worked with Nigel for over 20 years, we understand the way each other’s businesses work and the challenges we both face in the future." Jason added.
"Having combined our customers and activities into one, we have strengthened one another and our combined facilities leave us perfectly placed to service our customers in a way we believe is the future.’
The Menu Partners, was formed on Tuesday 1st September 2020 and will work out of The Shed in Bicester, New Covent Garden Market and Brighton.
“The merger is creating huge amounts of new jobs," said Nigel, "which is great news because we want to get as many people back to work as we can."
Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) commented on the partnership saying: "The determination and innovation of Jason and Nigel is testimony to the positive power of partnership during these immensely challenging times. It demonstrates how the foodservice industry has not just adapted to change, but is evolving in a way that will undoubtedly help to future-proof the sector."