Identifying a demand for better-designed and better-equipped commercial kitchens prompted pub food supplier Keith Webb to leave behind the perishable side of the business for the more durable sector of catering equipment supply.

Almost 40 years on, the company he founded, Francis Catering Equipment, is at the forefront of its marketplace with a client list that includes Premiership football clubs, luxury hotels and Michelin Star restaurants.

Setting the standard in catering industry design since 1973 Francis Catering Equipment employs an impressive team of skilled craftsmen, making it one of the largest Design Houses in the West Midlands. The unrivalled experience of this innovative company combined with the use of the latest technological advances and continuous development enables Francis Catering to stay at the leading edge of the catering equipment industry.

All aspects of the company are located under one roof, encompassing everything from design studios, showroom, warehouse and fabrication plant. This allows Francis Catering to meet all client specifications from design, manufacture and through to installation thus creating a truly bespoke product.

Director Peter Cassidy explains, “The main thing about Francis Catering is that we do everything in-house so we have complete control over a project. We take a brief from a client, measure the size of the kitchen, study the menu, the number of covers and the number of meals. From this we draw up a design for the complete kitchen and as much of the work as possible will be done in our own factory. We then take the kitchen to site, where our engineers, who make it ready for use, will install it. We also provide an on-going service facility. Normally our engineers work within the Midlands but we provide a nationwide service.

Operating from an impressive 25,000 square foot site near Dudley with over 30 company vehicles on hand Francis Catering aims to provide all of its local, regional and national customers with high quality equipment supported by their team of fully trained in-house engineers. Previous satisfied clients include Premiership clubs such as Aston Villa who recognise the name Francis Catering Equipment as being a mark of both quality and exceptional service.

The services they currently offer include:
• Prime Cooking Equipment
• Warehousing Equipment
• Cabinet & Walk-In Refrigeration
• Manufacture of Stainless Steel Fabrications & Ventilation
• Bespoke Servery Counters & Café Bars
• Shop Fitted Counters & Under Bar Equipment
• Installation & Service Work
• Free Design & Project Management

Specialised Stainless Products Limited (SSP) was set up as a subsidiary of Francis Catering to make components as required by Francis for their contracts. However it also does work for its own clients, working alongside architects, designers and specifiers – taking their ideas and turning them into reality. Over the years, SSP has gained an enviable reputation for the quality of its products in the catering, medical, agricultural, brewery and retail sectors and the company continues to expand into new areas of business such as stainless steel under-bar equipment.

A browse through Francis Catering’s impressive portfolio of recent projects illustrates the high standards of work undertaken. For instance, the company is currently installing a ‘theatre kitchen’ in a Birmingham hotel where diners will be able to observe the culinary drama of the kitchen unfold on the other side of a glass wall. In Wales, Aberystwyth University called in Francis Catering to work alongside their architect to design a servery for mains, sweets and impulse purchasing. The unusual aspect of this project was the specification and supply of a black Welsh slate counter top sourced from a local mine.

Back in England, at Premiership Rugby Club, Worcester, Francis Catering carried out a complete refurbishment of the banqueting operation for the Warriors. The stadium now serves 3,000 meals in banqueting and 1500 plated banqueting. The design incorporated 20 and 40 Grid Combi Steamers, Blast Chillers and Walk-in Cold Rooms. The quality of this system is considered to be second to none. Also in Worcester, Francis completed kitchens and bar installations at the Glass House restaurant in the centre of Worcester for acclaimed Michelin Star chef Shaun Hill.

With an annual turnover in excess of £9 million, stocks of £500,000 and a highly skilled workforce of over 60, Francis Catering is a main contender in the catering and food servery equipment sector and is committed to maintaining its position at the forefront of the marketplace.

For further information please telephone 01384 271166 or visit

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