LEEDS ‘SUPER CASINO’ PLACES SAFE BET ON CONTRACTING
REFRESHMENT SYSTEMS BUSINESS UPTON GROUP
A MAJOR contract to supply Leeds’ new ‘super casino’, the biggest in the North of England and Scotland, with a range of refreshment systems, has been won by Yorkshire vending machine and refreshments systems company, Upton Group.
A barista coffee machine and freshly-roasted artisan coffees, a bulk-brewing ground coffee machine which can make up to 100 cups at a time; a barista coffee machine for behind-the-bar use; ‘bean-to-cup’ coffee machines; water cooler systems and fully-stocked vending machines are being supplied to Victoria Gate Casino by Selby-based Upton Group, the biggest company of its kind in North Yorkshire.
The contract is among Upton Group’s biggest in West Yorkshire and the first to involve virtually all its range of products and services which has also included staff barista training and twice weekly restocking of the two vending machines for the use of the casino’s 200 staff.
The £30m Victoria Gate Casino, which is owned by Global Gaming Ventures and funded by a US private Equity firm, opened in 50,000 sq ft premises in The Headrow in January, making it the third largest UK casino with three food and drink outlets: Live Bar, Curve and V Restaurant and a total capacity of 1,400 people.
Victoria Gate Casino head of food and beverage, John Davies, a former senior member of the Catering Management Team at York Racecourse, says: “We were attracted by Upton Group’s artisan coffees through York Coffee Emporium and soon discovered that the wider business has the product and service range, flexibility and attention to detail, right down to staff training, to meet all our needs, backed by great service.
“Although serving a casino is new to Upton Group, they quickly understood our needs across our different venues. It is far easier for us to deal with a single supplier and we see this as the start of a long-term relationship that will evolve as Victoria Gate Casino establishes itself in Leeds’ leisure offer.
“Victoria Gate Casino is not just about gaming but about meeting the needs of guests from a wide range of demographics and fine food and drink is an integral part of our offer. We are prepared to pay a little more for top quality. We may seek to work with York Coffee Emporium to develop our own bespoke coffee blend in due course.
“We are here to stay and want to use local suppliers just as we have recruited our staff within West Yorkshire.”
Upton Group sales director, Darren Carter says: “This is a very significant contract for us, covering virtually all our products and services since the acquisition of York Coffee Emporium last year, allowing us to show how effectively we can work together to meet the needs of a good-sized, busy leisure venue.
“Being able to add artisan hand-roasted coffees to our offer enables us to meet the needs of businesses striving for high quality as part of a wide range of services and this helps Victoria Gate Casino serve its wide range of visitors. We are delighted to be supporting them.”
The Upton Group also has bases in Scarborough and Hull and supplies a wide range of refreshment systems for dispensing hot and cold drinks, confectionary and snacks, fresh foods and sandwiches, chilled water as well as artisan, hand-roasted coffees to a wide spectrum of enterprises from SMEs to international businesses throughout the UK.
FAMILY AWARD ACCOLADE FOR UPTON GROUP
Upton Group marked its 50 anniversary by becoming one of the three finalists in the Family Business section of the prestigious York Press Business Awards.
The awards are open to businesses throughout York and North Yorkshire and attract a huge amount of interest and entries.
Upton Group managing director, Ross Macdonald, says: “While naturally we would like to have won, we were very pleased to reach the final three in what was a very hotly contested competition.
“As well as being a tribute to Alec Upton, who founded our business, the achievement recognised all those who work for the company now, or who have done so in the last half century.”
Founded by chairman, Alec Upton, 74, in a room at a Selby sweet shop run by his wife, Janet, in 1966, the Selby-based company, which is the biggest of its kind in North Yorkshire and operates throughout the UK, now has 70 staff and a £6m turnover.
A true family enterprise, three generations of the Upton family work in the company: Alec and Janet, who is company secretary; their daughter Tracy, who is finance director; her husband Ross Macdonald, and their daughter Alix, who joined this year as quality manager.
Keeping a family approach to their business is important to Upton Group and, when it came to expanding this year (2016), the company acquired another family enterprise, independent artisan coffee roaster, York Coffee Emporium, run by husband and wife team, Laurence and Philippa Beardmore.
YORK PRESS AWARDS – BIG BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
THE UPTON GROUP: HOW A REFRESHING APPROACH IS BREWING UP SUCCESS IN THE VENDING SECTOR
A strong focus on service, quality and diversity is helping North Yorkshire’s largest vending machine, refreshment systems and artisan coffee company, the Upton Group, to increase its profits and turnover when its business sector is stagnating due to a downward spiral of price-driven competition.
A streamlined, modular service and management structure; local offices, staff training and incentives and the acquisition of artisan coffee business, York Coffee Emporium, have demonstrated Outstanding Organisation. This will see the Selby-based Upton Group, which has 70 staff, have Exceptional Financial Returns and increase its turnover by 36% to £6m in the current financial year.
Founded 50 years ago by chairman, Alec Upton, in a back room of a Selby sweet shop run by his wife, Janet, the Upton Group, supplies a wide range of refreshment systems for dispensing hot and cold drinks, confectionary and snacks, fresh foods and sandwiches and chilled water as well as artisan, hand-roasted coffees to a wide spectrum of enterprises, from SMEs to international businesses, throughout the UK.
Alec Upton appointed his son-in-law, Ross Macdonald, as managing director in 2009 to use his corporate management experience and commercial expertise to help overcome the Obstacles and Challenges of competing in the increasingly price-driven vending machine sector and prepare for the next stage of the company’s growth.
Ross Macdonald, previously managing director of Spanish-owned vending machine manufacturer, Azkoyen UK Ltd, Farnham, and husband of Alec Upton’s daughter, Tracy, the company’s finance director, worked with directors to re-structure the company to focus on delivering exceptional service to drive growth.
As a result Upton Group, which is ranked in the top ten of UK vending companies, adopted a streamlined modular business structure creating four operating departments: finance and administration, technical and sales and operations all run by directors who report to Ross Macdonald.
The company had already opened its Scarborough base, which has seven staff, at Betton Business Park in 2002 and created a second satellite office with five staff at Malmo Innovation Business Park, Hull, in 2011.
Ross Macdonald says: “We’ve developed a minimalist operational and reporting structure which has improved communication and enables the senior team to be up to speed with the day-to-day running of the company so we can capitalise on opportunities or resolve difficulties very quickly.
“The Hull and Scarborough offices, which are under the supervision of our finance director, Tracy, allow us to be more proactive with customers on the east coast and Humberside, to employ local people and create a presence in the local communities we serve.
“Since the re-structure, and supported by other initiatives, we have seen Exceptional Financial Returns with seven years’ continuous growth in turnover and profit margin. Our acquisition of York Coffee Emporium, which previously supplied us for three years, takes a margin out of our business and will enable our higher net market sales go from strength to strength. By January 2017 we will have achieved growth from £4.4m to £6m, a 36% increase.
“We have funded the acquisition and partial design of new, 4,000 sq ft premises for York Coffee Emporium at York Business Park to support its rapid growth. This has already allowed us to create jobs for an additional packer, administrator and salesman. The company grew from an £11,000 turnover in 2011 to almost £1m this year and we have set it a target of achieving £3m turnover in three years’ time.”
The Upton Group’s re-structure covers the entire company with recruitment and initiatives to Motivate And Upskill staff. To strengthen the company at every level, during the last three years, the Upton Group has recruited five new apprentices; three sales staff, three administration staff and two more engineers, the latter bringing the total to nine.
Each quarter, bonuses are paid to the most successful operators servicing and cleaning vending machines on customer sites based on audited appraisals. These go to the highest, and second highest scores with a further bonus for the most improved.
In terms of training, members of the finance team staff team are attending Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) courses; department heads are sent on Institute of Learning and Management Courses and maintenance supervisors undergo industry body, the Automatic Vending Machine Association (AVA), training so they can instruct operators.
Ross Macdonald adds: “Quality at every level and covering every aspect of our business is a real commitment for us. We employed a quality manager this year to audit everything we do to ensure that we are constantly raising and maintaining standards.
“As a result, and supported by our 50 vehicle delivery and service fleet, we are easily beating industry average call out times for repairs and servicing. While the industry call out time for repairs is 24 hours, we respond within four hours in 90% of cases and within eight hours for 86% of cases – both well ahead of the industry average.”
But Upton Group’s growth has not just been about enhanced service and sales. Innovation Strategies have played a key part. In 2011, Upton Group became among the first UK vending machine companies to launch its own coffee brand, Passion de Café, which, supported by aggressive marketing and its own corporate identity, has seen it supplied to corporate businesses, cafes, colleges, schools and sports centres throughout the UK.
Ross MacDonald adds: “Launching Passion de Café, which covers instant and artisan coffees, gave our customers and prospects access to a quality, local and more individual brand, rather than having to use better-known high street brands such as Costa.
“This created a new income stream for us, a diversification which is contributing to our Strong Growth. Since the launch of Passion de Café our coffee bean sales have grown from zero to a projected 15 tonnes this year. Passion de Café has also supported other growth in the business, giving customers and prospects confidence that they are dealing with an innovative, forward-thinking company.”
The Upton Group’s Market Prowess is exemplified by being part of national body, The Wise Vending Group, a national service organisation which harnesses the local expertise of Britain’s top eight top vending machine supply companies to provide uniform high standards of supply and service to customers throughout the UK.
While locally Upton Group numbers organisations such as York College, University of York and Harrogate College among its customers, nationally by utilising its membership of The Wise Group, it also serves many household names including DLA Piper, Network Rail, Sky Bet, Equifax, Filmore and Union and Sirco Industries.
As well as liveried vehicles, Upton Group employs two external consultants for marketing using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to drive business to its website with all traffic studied by the latest analytics and passed to the sales team for follow-up calls. A new website is currently being created for York Coffee Emporium and the company also runs a media relations campaign.
“Acquiring York Coffee Emporium is a key component of our Future Strategy For Maintaining Growth and Dynamism. It means that, together with our existing business, we can jointly provide customers with a total refreshments solution including coffee towers, vending machines, coffee machines, bespoke hand-roasted coffees, speciality teas and snacks through a single point of contact and this will be a significant factor in our growth.
“We are on track with our existing structure and sales to get York Coffee Emporium to £3m in three years and to get the vending side to £6m which will make us a £9m business by 2019. Acquiring York Coffee Emporium means we are no longer just a vending company. We now offer a range of solutions and can talk to any potential customer.
“The vending market is incredibly competitive. Prices have been driven down, creating lower profits. We took a decision to respond to these issues by actively focussing on service, quality and diversity rather than price and the result is that we have maintained most of our business, grown a lot of it year-on-year and have increased turnover and maintained profit levels when many in our sector have struggled.”
RELOCATION FOR YORK COFFEE EMPORIUM AS MORE CONSUMERS BECOME CONNOISSUERS
Fast-growing artisan coffee roasting company, York Coffee Emporium, has relocated to new premises in the city as part of its long-term development plans.
York Coffee Emporium, which was acquired this spring by vending machines and refreshments systems supplier, the Upton Group, Selby, has moved to bigger, purpose-design premises at York Business Park acquired outright in a £550,000 investment by the parent company.
The artisan coffee roaster, which operates throughout the UK, has relocated to 4,300 sq ft premises at Unit 4-5, Rose Centre after outgrowing 1,100 leased premises at London Ebor Business Park, Nether Poppleton, where it was based for more than two years.
As well as a larger yard and parking area, the new premises comprises 3,800 sq ft for warehousing coffees imported from round the world and two additional roasting machines; offices, meeting rooms, a showroom and coffee laboratory used by Upton Group commercial director and former York Coffee Emporium managing director, Laurence Beardmore, for creating consistent high-quality coffees.
York Coffee Emporium, which was acquired by husband-and-wife coffee enthusiasts, Laurence and Philippa Beardmore in 2011, supplies retail customers throughout the UK, including independent cafes, hotels, restaurants, businesses and tourist attractions.
The company, which has grown from £11,000 turnover in 2011 to a projected £1m this financial year, also supplies wholesale buyers and individuals from as far as Cornwall and Scotland, who buy through its e-commerce site as well as sourcing and selling loose speciality teas.
Laurence Beardmore says: ”Our previous base was cramped and starting to hinder our development so we are thrilled that, following the acquisition of our business, Upton Group has invested in premises four times the size as part of our joint expansion strategy.
“Demand for artisan roasted coffees at home, leisure and work continues to grow significantly. Our new premises give us capacity for expansion in all areas of our operation and has already allowed us to create jobs for an additional packer, administrator and salesman.
“As part of Upton Group, we can jointly provide customers with a total refreshments solution including coffee towers, vending machines, coffee machines, bespoke hand-roasted coffees, speciality teas and snacks through a single point of contact and this will be a significant factor in our growth.”
Upton Group chairman, Alec Upton, who founded the company at his home 50 years ago, says: “We were customers of York Coffee Emporium for three years before the acquisition and it really was case of liking the product so much that we bought the business We now need to grow together and the new premises are part of this strategy. Our aim is for York Coffee Emporium to achieve £3m turnover in three years.”
The Upton Group, which also has based in Scarborough and Hull, supplies a wide range of refreshment systems for dispensing hot and cold drinks, confectionary and snacks, fresh foods and sandwiches, chilled water as well as artisan, hand-roasted coffees to a wide spectrum of enterprises from SMEs to international businesses throughout the UK.
YORK ARTISAN COFFEE ROASTER ACQUIRED IN DEAL WHICH COMBINES TALENTS OF TWO FAMILY BUSINESSES
A fast-growing York artisan coffee roasting business, which operates throughout the UK, has been acquired by one of Yorkshire’s biggest vending machine companies.
York Coffee Emporium, Nether Poppleton, which has grown from an £11,000 turnover to almost £800,000 in five years, has been bought by vending machines and refreshments systems supplier, the Upton Group. Selby, for a significant but undisclosed sum.
York Coffee Emporium, which was acquired by coffee enthusiasts, Laurence and Philippa Beardmore in 2011, imports and hand-roasts coffees from around the world and supplies retail customers throughout the UK, including independent cafes, hotels, restaurants, businesses and tourist attractions.
The company, which has grown from two to nine staff, also supplies wholesale buyers and individuals from as far as Cornwall and Scotland, who buy through its e-commerce site as well as sourcing and selling loose speciality teas. The Upton Group has been a York Coffee Emporium customer for three (?) years.
Following the acquisition, Laurence Beardmore will remain closely involved with the running of York Coffee Emporium and will also become commercial director of the Upton Group. His wife will become operations director of York Coffee Emporium.
Acquiring York Coffee Emporium sees the Upton Group, a family business founded in 1966 by chairman, Alex Upton, in a back bedroom at his Selby home, grow to a £6m turnover and 70 staff.
The Upton Group, which has acquired York Coffee Emporium from its own resources, also has bases in Scarborough and Hull and supplies a wide range of refreshment systems for dispensing hot and cold drinks, confectionary and snacks, fresh foods and sandwiches, chilled water as well as artisan, hand-roasted coffees to a wide spectrum of enterprises from SMEs to international businesses throughout the UK.
Managing director, Ross MacDonald, says: “This acquisition brings together two success family businesses with a similar ethos to create a broader-based company which will benefit all our staff and current and prospective customers.
“As well as bringing a talented team and top-class products into the Upton Group, acquiring York Coffee Emporium takes a margin out of our business. Our annual turnover has risen by 16 per cent annually since 2012 but we now have 36 per cent projected growth in 2016-2017.”
Laurence Beardmore adds: “Both we and the Upton Group realised that it would make perfect sense for us to become a single entity and it was just a matter of timing.
“Our growth has been helped by the fact that customers, whether they are buying a drink in a hospital vending machine or from a café at a major tourist attraction, see themselves as coffee connoisseurs and expect the best.
“We have grown tremendously in the last five years but had got close to our ceiling with our previous structure. This acquisition gives us a platform to reach the next level but it has always been very important to us that we should remain part of a family business rather than an impersonal corporate body.
“Becoming part of the Upton Group will allow us to go for bigger national and international clients and offer a wider range of services, training and technology and we are all excited by the opportunities it offers.”
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Upton Group announce partnership with Keurig UK Ltd
The Upton Group are pleased to announce their new partnership with Keurig UK Ltd, the UK division of the North American giant Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (GMCR). As members of The Wise Group we are part of the newly established official network of Keurig Authorised Distributors.
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Once people try a Keurig® brewer a funny thing happens. They love it. So we’re giving your office a chance to try it – for free. If you would like to take us up on our offer then call our sales team on 01757 629 115 and ask for Keurig sales.
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A passion for coffee at Selby vending firm ( As Seen in The Selby Times 23rd Feb 2012 )
SUCCESSFUL staff at a thriving company in Selby celebrated the launch of its own coffee concept “Passion de Cafe” last week and visiting MP Nigel Adams gave his approval after tasting the new brew.
Upton Vending was established in Selby in 1969 by Alec and Janet Upton and now renamed Upton Group employs around 70 people, with the majority based at the Selby branch in Vivar’s Way, Canal Road.
Last week Mr Adams joined staff for a cuppa as they launched the Passion De Café, brand, which aims to bring high street coffee to the vending market while also allowing the business to diversify into the high street and other catering outlets.
As the company has developed, it has expanded (through the purchases of White Rose Vending in Scarborough and Rudsdales Vending in Pocklington over the past 15 years), and now consists of depots in Scarborough and Hull, which presently trade under the name of White Rose Vending and which will, in the very near future, also be known as The Upton Group.
The company continues to flourish and there is more good news as catering development manager Charlotte Bryson said the established firm had been chosen as one of the finalists in the Goole and Howdenshire Business Excellence Awards in the Innovation category, which will be held at Goole Academy Conference Centre on March 1.
Catering development manager Charlotte Bryson said the company’s Passion De Café had evolved into the development of the firm’s own coffee beans, moving it into the Coffee and Catering sector and added: “Our Passion De Cafe beans have been used in the World Barista Championships.
Managing director Ross MacDonald added: “At The Upton Group we are immensely proud of our Passion de Cafe brand.
This has evolved over the last few years into a concept that we believe can genuinely allow us to succeed in what is a very competitive market.
It has been very encouraging to see so many of our customers and suppliers from all over the UK take the time out of their busy schedule to help launch this initiative. ”
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