JLA acquires the Carford Group

JLA has today announced the acquisition of The Carford Group, a leading independent catering equipment distributor and service provider. 

This latest acquisition follows the news last month that three leading industry players – Red Squared, CKM and Proton Washrite – had been acquired by the JLA Group as part of the growth strategy for their new JLA Catering division, which launched in October 2013.  

The Carford Group, based in Dorset and established for over 37 years, is regarded as one of the market leaders for commercial kitchen design, supply, installation and maintenance. With 137 employees, including 70 service engineers, it offers nationwide coverage in key markets such as healthcare, hospitality and education. In addition to a full planning and design consultancy service, an in-house fabrication facility means that customers can benefit from a true ‘one-stop’ solution when it comes to their commercial kitchen projects.  

Alongside JLA’s existing nationwide team of sales consultants and engineers, Carford’s industry-leading planning, design and installation capabilities will enhance the overall service on offer. As Stephen Baxter, JLA’s CEO acknowledges, 

“We were attracted to Carford because of the expertise they have, the regard they are held in and the people that have made them such a force in Catering circles. On every level, they match our own ability and ambition, and their know-how and project design capabilities will allow us to offer a wider range of products and services to our customers.”

But why the foray into Catering in the first place? As Mr Baxter continues, JLA’s growth is customer-driven.

“In growing our business – both organically and by welcoming the talented engineers, technical expertise and sales consultants from new members of the JLA Group – we’re directly responding to customer requirements. Over the years, as we’ve helped our customers in their laundries, the managers and staff we work with have constantly asked us to provide the same all-inclusive support in their kitchens too. The critical nature of the equipment used in laundries and kitchens is similar and we are finding that customers welcome the fact we can now offer advice and support in more than one area of their business.”

JLA’s Catering division can now offer a full range of commercial kitchen services, from full refits to single asset replacements, backed up with service response from over 200 engineers across the UK. As Mr Baxter recognises, the expanded division brings together a wealth of industry knowledge, 

“The addition of Carford, along with Proton Washrite, CKM and Red Squared has brought together some of the best people and expertise in the catering industry. We’re delighted to welcome them to the JLA Group and look forward to working together to deliver even better service to all of our customers.”