In the autumn we formally launched ‘BM Inc.’ – a new young foodie entrepreneur programme that will encourage supplier innovation and help enterprising new talent to flourish.

Aimed at entrepreneurial providers, the initiative provides a platform for showcasing new and innovative food and drink products to a fresh customer base. Young (which can relate to age or experience) food-based entrepreneurs have the opportunity to present their product through sample sessions within bartlett mitchell sites, where they can engage with customers and gain valuable insights.

To be accepted onto the programme, suppliers are asked to pitch their product to our procurement team and, if successful, they are offered the chance to trial their product at up to 12 of our sites. If the trials prove popular with customers, we form a formal partnership with the supplier. The scheme offers successful applicants the chance to secure a foothold in the foodservice sector and learn the key differences between this and the high street retail sector. We benefit from the fresh innovation we can bring to our customers as well as ensure our offer remains on trend with the wider retail world. The BM Inc programme forms an integral part of the company’s CSER commitment to provide young entrepreneurs with opportunities to thrive.

Three products, all aimed at today’s health conscious consumer, have already been introduced to the business as a result of introductions through BM Inc.  Steve Fox, procurement director, said: “I’m fortunate to be working for an entrepreneurial forward thinking business that enables me to work with the ‘newbies’ in the market place. They are our future suppliers; they bring innovation to us and we enable their product to be exposed to our market place. Historically, it is very challenging for new suppliers to get their products listed so we hope to support them via our BM Inc. initiative. We are looking for innovation and something quirky to complement our food offer. The big brands can be purchased in any number of retail outlets, we want to offer our customers a point of difference. It may take some entrepreneurs a few attempts to develop a product or service so, whilst some may not have success with their ideas the first time, the learning process often proves to be invaluable. Our door is always open to anyone out there with a new and exciting product to pitch.”

Rahi Daneshmand, from Virtue Drinks, one of the suppliers to benefit from BM Inc, said, “As a start-up drinks brand, it can be difficult to navigate the world of catering. The exciting opportunity to work with Steve and his team has helped fast-track our growth and introduce us to a much broader customer base.”

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