This past year, two leaders in the Canadian food service sector — Hendrix Restaurant Equipment & Supplies and Russell Food Equipment — merged. Now operating under Russell Hendrix Foodservice Equipment, the new company is the biggest food service and supplies company in Canada.

Who is the new Russell Hendrix?

Russell Hendrix sells all types of restaurant and food service equipment, from large scale kitchen equipment to smallwares for home cooks. They also manufacture custom stainless steel fabrication and produce high quality cooking equipment through the Quest brand.

russell-hendrix-logoHow does this benefit you?
As a restaurant owner, franchisee or food service company, why should you care? Here are five ways the newly created Russell Hendrix impacts your restaurant and food service operations, all for the better.

1. Increased regional presence: With locations from coast-to-coast, Russell Hendrix offers national coverage so customers have easy access to all of the company’s services. Unsure about what to buy? Good news: Almost all their showrooms have demo kitchens where chefs can test and try equipment (new grain mill anyone?) and even watch live presentations of new equipment.

Also, customers now have access to the entire catalogue of restaurant equipment, such as ranges and ventilation systems, which wasn’t available previously.

2. Faster deliveries: Russell Hendrix now offers next-day service to almost 90% of its customers. That’s right — your new juicer could arrive no later than tomorrow. At most, shipping takes no more than three business days. Time is money, so faster delivery to your doorstep means increased value for your own operations.

3. Competitive pricing: The merger created economies of scale that will undoubtedly be passed down to Russell Hendrix customers. The new company’s purchasing power not only ensures a larger selection of inventory with more product offerings, but its catalogue will also be competitively priced so you won’t have to dig as deep into your pockets when purchasing equipment for your kitchen.

4. Improved online experience: Before the merger, Hendrix had an effective eCommerce system in place for restaurants and home enthusiasts. However, with rising demand for efficient online shopping options, customers will be pleased to know that the online experience and ordering capabilities will continue to improve.

In fact, Russell Hendrix CEO Larry Vander Baaren recently stated the merged company will “invest significantly more to make the site even better.” Get ready to buy that new kitchen scale with just the click of a button!

5. Superior customer service: The merger enables both companies to provide better services to its clients. Not only does Russell Hendrix have a dedicated customer service department that includes online chat, phone and email, but one of their strengths is that they work with all different types of facilities that prepare and serve food. Whether you’re an independent restaurant, caterer, multi-unit chain, healthcare facility, coffee shop or even a home cook, Russell Hendrix provides specialized equipment for everyone.

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We recently spoke with Brent Gallup, Director of Sales and Customer Service for the Multi-Unit Division at Russell Hendrix to get an insider’s perspective on the merger.

Brent, you were the Director of Strategic Accounts at Hendrix Restaurant Equipment & Supplies during the merger with Blue Point. How did the merger impact you?
The merger immediately created a true national company. With five distribution centres and 17 store locations across Canada, we can now service customers more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

We imagine that the joining of Canada’s two largest food service equipment dealers could be complicated as two different corporate cultures were merged. Can you tell us about that?
While we had two different ways of doing business, I feel we’ve taken the best of both worlds and combined our methods quite effectively. People from both companies are excited about the positive changes and they have embraced their new responsibilities and opportunities.

What was the biggest surprise for you?
Having competed against the Quest line for years and years, it was nice to finally get the opportunity to visit the manufacturing plant, the custom fabrication shops and see the great products they produce firsthand. There are fantastic and innovative things going on at Quest.

Your dedication to customer service is one of the things we love to tell people about. Has that changed?
The legacy Hendrix company had a specialized multi-unit department that was centralized and specialized in chains across the country. On the other hand, the legacy Russell company dealt with chains regionally.

As we integrate departments, the multi-unit department now works in conjunction with our contract build department and regional sales teams to better service our customers than ever before.

Most big players specialize in targeting customers of a certain size (e.g. large chains or mom-and-pop operations). However, Russell Hendrix excels at serving both national chains and independent regional companies regardless of their size. How are you able to do this so well?
We ask people on our teams to be responsible for a specific category, which enables them to become quite specialized. As a whole company, we pass leads and opportunities to the proper specialist in order to provide the most appropriate type of service to each customer.

All of us work towards a common goal — to better serve our customers. Often, this means passing a sale on to someone else in the company who we know can best serve that customer because of their previous experience.

What do you think distinguishes you most from competitors?
Two main things:

1. We view ourselves as specialists. We are not a broadliner SKU company. Rather we stock and sell products to our customers based on their specific needs and programs.

2. We care. We do more than just move boxes. We take the time to get to know our customers and understand how they do business. Often, we know their business just as well as they do. This ends up making a big difference in how we are able to serve them.

How has the evolving digital landscape changed the way your team works?
Not only does technology reduce our delivery times, but the advancements allow our people to be extremely productive. Our team now has more time to service customers, answer phone calls, reply to emails, and most importantly they are able to take more time to understand our customers’ businesses and provide solutions.

Holistic Hospitality Solutions has worked with both Hendrix and Russell, and is a big fan of both companies. From first hand experience, we know they do more than just sell forks and knives (even though they also sell excellent flatware!)

We love that they stay connected to their customers, and we can vouch for their specialized expertise. We’re excited to see these two companies join forces and bring their unique strengths to the hospitality industry!

Interested in connecting with Russell Hendrix? Click here.

Author Trish Hudson

Trish is the owner and principal at Holistic Hospitality Solutions. She aims to help assess her clients operations from top to bottom in order to gain efficiencies, save money, and increase their bottom line.

More posts by Trish Hudson