Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A-Z of PKL's 2014: Part 3

Here's the third and final part of my A-Z review of the year. This section covers letters R-Z and includes cows, football, jumpers and a few kitchens. Enjoy!

is for race week, and our psychic office bovine CowCow. As we are based just up the road from Cheltenham Racecourse, we can’t help but take an interest in the Cheltenham Festival each March. This year, CowCow used an elaborate spinner system to make his race predictions, which were shared on the blog and the PKL Twitter account. He successfully picked a number of winners this year, improving greatly on last year’s rather shaky performance.

S is for the School Food Plan and the Small Schools Taskforce. It’s been an incredibly busy year for schools, with huge changes to school food due to new standards set out in the School Food Plan. We’ve supplied a whole range of temporary and permanent kitchen solutions to schools this year to enable them to update their kitchens to cope with the changes. As a member of the Small Schools Taskforce, I’ve also spent time offering kitchen advice and recommendations to small and rural schools, who have been faced by a different set of challenges.

PKL A-Z of 2014 - CowCow and AFC Trident
CowCow making his race predictions and AFC Trident in their PKL shirts
T is for AFC Trident, the local football team that we are sponsoring this season. They’re having a great season so far (undoubtedly due to their fantastic PKL shirts!), and you can read more and follow their progress on the PKL blog, and in our monthly newsletters. T is also for Tennants Auctioneers, where we installed a temporary kitchen to keep their popular on-site restaurant running during a three-week kitchen refurbishment. For more details of this project, you can read the Tennants Auctioneers case study.

U is for Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM). Introduced in September, this government initiative to provide free school meals to all pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 has impacted on primary schools across the country. We’ve supported a number of schools to prepare their kitchen facilities for this, through the sale and hire of permanent KitchenPods to replace or extend existing school kitchens or provide a new facility for schools with no kitchen. We have also hired temporary kitchens to schools whose kitchens weren’t going to be ready on time.

PKL A-Z of 2014 - Tennant Auctioneers and Blended Festival Dubai
Temporary kitchen at Tennants Auctioneers and VIP kitchen at Blended Festival in Dubai

V is for VIP catering. We’ve supplied kitchens and catering equipment for VIP catering at various events throughout the year, including music festivals, concerts and awards shows. V is also for vehicles. Our vehicles have completed a number of tricky deliveries this year including negotiating narrow gates using forklifts at St Pauls School, and craning a temporary kitchen unit over an entire building at Burton College.

W is for our new strategic partnership with Well Dressed Tables, which was set up in August. It gives our customers access to Well Dressed Tables’ stock of crockery, cutlery and glassware to hire, providing a simple, one-stop solution. W is also for work experience. In April, local school pupil Beatrice joined the PKL marketing team for a week of work experience. From designing email newsletters to clearing out the marketing cupboard, she got stuck in to all the tasks we threw at her! You can read Beatrice’s work experience diary here.

X is for Xmas! Although our offices will be closed over the Christmas period, members of staff will be on call to help any businesses or organisations who need emergency kitchen facilities, and we already have a number of temporary units set up and ready to deploy at short notice. X is also for Xmas jumpers. We took part in National Christmas Jumper Day last Friday and raised money for homeless charity Crisis – embarrassing photo below.

PKL A-Z of 2014 - Burton College delivery and Christmas Jumper Day
Craning over a building at Burton College and National Christmas Jumper Day
Y is for the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO). As approved suppliers on the framework, we exhibited at The Big YPO Cleaning, Catering and FM Show in Nottingham in July. The exhibition featured 65 YPO suppliers and was attended by purchasing representatives from various public sector organisations. Y is also for Y Pant School in Wales. We installed a Food Cube at the school in the summer holidays, which is the third Cube we’ve supplied to that particular local authority.

Z is for zzz... Our Technical Support line will continue to be open 24 hours a day over the Christmas period to support existing kitchens we have out on hire, so even if a client has a kitchen problem at 2am on Christmas Day, a human will be there to answer the phone and help or dispatch an engineer – the rest of the country might be asleep, but if you have a kitchen emergency, you can always get hold of us.

That's the end of my review of 2014. There have of course been a number of other exciting projects and highlights throughout 2014, but I hope this brief review has given you an insight into the varying range of events and projects we've been involved in throughout the year.

Here's to 2015!

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