Friday 5 February 2016

Gabby's Work Experience - Cleeve School Case Study

After an exciting and informative week of work experience, working within the marketing team, Friday has arrived and I am able to share the Food Cube case study I’ve produced with some help!!

Having a Food Cube at Cleeve School's sixth form where I attend, it seemed a perfect opportunity to see Graphic Designer Andy in action with the camera and to see how Marketing Executive Caz works her magic with the masses of information collected and crafts it into small condensed paragraphs for the case study.

Experiencing the Food Cube myself for a hot drink on a regular basis, I was aware of the benefits it has to offer our sixth form, although this wasn’t enough information to produce a case study with. So Andy and I went on a visit to Cleeve School, where I was classed as a visitor, to interview both my peers, a member of the catering team and my teacher.

PKL Group | Cleeve School Food Cube interview

Once we arrived and Andy had snapped away, the interview with the Acting Assistant Head of Sixth Form began, during which the Food Cube was seen in action with two students purchasing a hot drink. After I had carried out all three interviews, and made over a page of notes on the benefits and uses of the Cube, it was back to the office to use this information. 

Constructing the text for the case study was a task I had underestimated - trying to include all the points made by those I had interviewed whilst keeping it short and punchy wasn’t as easy as it appeared. However with assistance from the expert herself, Cleeve School’s Food Cube Case Study was successfully completed!

PKL Group| Food Cube at Cleeve School

Here's the finished article...

Cleeve School's Food Cube Case Study

Cleeve School, a large secondary school with busy sixth form, wanted a solution to encourage sixth form students to remain on site during their free periods. They decided to install a PKL Food Cube directly outside the sixth form centre, and created an outdoor dining area with the addition of a canopy and tables.

The Cube has proven to be hugely popular within the sixth form, especially as it is an exclusive outlet not available to the rest of the school community. It offers menu items not available in the main canteen, such as hot drinks, and is open throughout the day rather than just at lunch and break times.

PKL Group | Cleeve School Food Cube exterior

An added bonus of the Cube, manned by Julie from the catering team, is that the sixth formers have been able to build a great relationship with her. This has not only increased the Cube’s popularity, but has also made students more confident in putting forward their own menu suggestions and ideas.

 “The students really enjoy having the Food Cube and being able to come and use it on a regular basis throughout the day. The sixth form students really like the privilege of having it to use for themselves, and we have seen an improvement in students staying on site. I would definitely recommend it.” – Emma Smith, Acting Assistant Head of Sixth Form

For more information on PKL Food Cubes, click here.

Monday 25 January 2016

On-Site Delivery Training

Across the business, our different teams have regular opportunities to train with each other, to keep their skills and knowledge up to date and maintain a good oversight of the whole business.

Stuart, one of our drivers, ran an on-site delivery training for our sales team this morning, to help them better understand the practicalities of how we deliver our kitchen units to clients. This will help them know what to look out for when undertaking site surveys with new clients, and will help ensure our customers continue to be offered the highest quality service.

PKL Delivery Training | Presentation

This morning’s training started off in the Board Room, with a presentation on what to look out for when assessing sites for delivery, information on the Hiab’s range, and diagrams showing the Hiab’s reach and the turning spaces needed for our different vehicles.

PKL Delivery Training | Outrigger Demo
The team then headed out to the yard for a practical demonstration of the Hiab crane, which Stuart used to lift a kitchen unit off the truck. He first showed the correct positioning and space required for the truck’s outriggers (stabiliser legs), to ensure the lorry remains stable throughout the lift. This would need to be taken into account especially on tight sites, as they stick out quite a long way from the sides of the truck when correctly extended.

PKL Delivery Training | Hiab Lift
Having climbed up and attached the unit to the Hiab, he then demonstrated the full reach of the arm, to show the sales team the space and angles required for such a lift, and to show the Hiab’s maximum capabilities.

The sales team had the opportunity to ask lots of questions, which was especially useful for the newest members of the team who joined us at the end of last year, enabling them to build on the training they received during their inductions.

You can visit our website for more information on our delivery and installation service, and if you order a kitchen from us, keep an eye out as it might be Stuart that delivers it to you! 

Tuesday 22 December 2015

A Snapshot of PKL's 2015: Part 2

In such a busy company, it's impossible to tell you everything we've been up to this year, so instead we've given one highlight to represent each month of 2015, to give you a quick snapshot of our year! Here's Part 2!

July - LACA Exhibition

We headed off to the annual LACA exhibition in July, and as well as having a stand inside, we took one of our Food Cubes with us which delegates were able to have a look around. Visitors to our stand were given a special treasure map to help them hunt down the Food Cube, which was located outside the exhibition, and also have the chance to enter a lucky dip to win a prize!

August - Wilderness Festival

We supplied four coldrooms and over 250 items of catering equipment for Wilderness Festival 2015, spread over nine different locations on site, offering a wide range of food and dining options.

Highlights included long table banquets, which involved luxury, large-scale communal dining, and featured a different guest chef each day. Guest chefs included Raymand Blanc, Angela Hartnett, and Niklas Ekstedt, and they catered for around 700 people each day.

September - Getting Schools Ready for the New Term

We had a busy time in August and September making sure that schools were ready to provide a meal service in time for the new term. This included lots of KitchenPods, which were installed at primary schools to make sure they were ready to provide hot school meals in September, and an impressive temporary kitchen installation at a school in London, where we had to crane lots of kitchen units over buildings to their location at the back of the school.

October - Back to the Future Day!

We celebrated back to the future day by digging through some of our photo archives to see if we could recreate them in the modern day.  While it was a lot of fun to do, we were also surprised at just how many members of staff were still around to recreate their original poses, particularly as many of the photos we used dated back to the late 80s and early 90s. You can see some more of our time travelling staff just here!

November - U-Select is Coming!

November was a hugely exciting time for us at PKL, as we prepared for the launch of a new division, U-Select. This involved the designing and launching of a new brand for the division, a new website, and preparations for the launch event, which was held at a venue called the Ice Tank in London. You can see some pictures of the launch day above, and also some of the U-Select team enjoying lunch at Burgers@N8, the first ever U-Select customer!

December - Festival Supplier Awards Nomination

In December we were hugely honoured to be shortlisted for the Best Festival Support Service category in the Festival Supplier Awards 2016. This was for the work that we undertook at the Wilderness Festival in 2015 and we'll let you know in January how we've got on!

We hope that you have enjoyed reading about our 2015 highlights, and if you've not seen Part 1 of this series yet, you can read it here. All that remains is to wish you a safe and happy Christmas, and we'll see you again in the new year!

Wednesday 16 December 2015

A Snapshot of PKL’s 2015: Part 1

In such a busy company, it's impossible to tell you everything we've been up to this year, so instead we've picked just one photo to represent each month of 2015, to give you a quick snapshot of our year! Here's Part 1 - January to June. Part 2 to follow soon...

PKL ExtensionPod

January - ExtensionPods Launch

In January, we introduced our range of “ExtensionPods” – modular buildings which can be joined onto existing buildings as an alternative to a traditional extension. They can be used to create an open plan space, or be kept as separate rooms with their own doors. The range includes the KitchenPod, PrepPod, DishwashPod, StoragePod and LaundryPod, each offering bespoke options to suit your requirements.

PKL Food Cube Diner Stratford

February – Food Cube Diner at Stratford-upon-Avon School

February saw the installation of our first ever Food Cube Diner – a Food Cube with integrated dining room – at Stratford-upon-Avon School. The Food Cube Diner was built to ease pressure on the main canteen when the school moved from a double to a single lunch hour and introduced a “stay on site” policy. The diner is used exclusively by Year 11, but it also has an external serving hatch available for use by other year groups. The dining room is also used by clubs and as an exam hall when not in use.

PKL events website

March – New Event Kitchens Website

In March we launched our brand new event kitchens website, This website is designed specifically for our event clients and offers an instant online estimate system as well as access to details of all our kitchens and equipment for hire, case studies, and health and safety information. It also gives access to crockery, cutlery and glassware from our partners at Well Dressed Tables.

PKL open plan temporary kitchen

April – Large Scale Temporary Prison Kitchen 

We undertook a large scale modular kitchen project for a prison client in April, who needed a 6-month temporary kitchen solution during a major refurbishment. Comprising 35 kitchen units, and with a footprint of over 500m2, the facility was initially constructed at PKL (construction phase shown above!), with the mechanical and electrical fit-out taking place here as well as the extraction and equipment installation. It was then disassembled into individual units, delivered and re-built at the client’s site ready to go.

PKL cake sale

May – Cake Sale for Nepal Earthquake Appeal 

At the beginning of May we held a cake sale to raise money for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal. Throughout the year, we also held fundraising events for Comic Relief, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Royal British Legion and Children in Need, raising a total of over £365 for charity.

PKL temporary school kitchen

June – Temporary Kitchens at Cavendish Primary School

In June, we installed a temporary kitchen and dining facility at Cavendish Primary School in Manchester. As well as areas for preparation, production, dry and cold storage, and dishwashing, the large facility also features a dining hall, staff room and toilets. It will be on site for 18 months while the school’s old facilities undergo a major refurbishment.

Friday 4 December 2015

New Launch: U-Select

Wednesday this week saw the launch of our brand new U-Select division! A result of our 27 years of expertise in the sector, U-Select offers a range of six new product options enabling businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to large organisations, to procure catering equipment in an easier, more flexible way to suit them.

With a variety of contract lengths, payment options and procurement types available, each product has been developed to suit different business requirements and to help make great catering equipment accessible to an even wider range of businesses.

PKL U-Select Product Overview

In response to customer demand, the new products also include options suitable for new or smaller businesses with limited upfront capital. With options including leasing, weekly payments, short-term rental contracts and “try before you buy”, U-Select offers a huge amount of flexibility to suit different business requirements.

Example Designs
As well as outlining details of the six different products, the new U-Select website also includes design examples and pricing for five popular kitchen types: coffee shop, sandwich bar, café, pub kitchen and restaurant kitchen. Clients needing a bit of help specifying their kitchen can use these examples as a starting point, and our expert team are also on hand to offer advice if required.

The Launch Event
The launch event itself took place at a venue in London, with members of the press and PKL staff able to watch presentations by PKL Managing Director Lee Vines, and Anya Marco from Allegra Strategies, who spoke about the latest trends in the coffee shop market.

PKL U-Select Launch

Following the launch, PKL staff headed across London for lunch at Burgers@N8 – our first U-Select client! Watch the video case study here and see how U-Select has helped this popular new business get off the ground!

Wednesday 21 October 2015

PKL Goes Back to the Future!

Today, 21st October 2015, is officially "Back to the Future Day" - the date which Marty McFly and Doc Brown famously travelled to in the film. To celebrate this momentous day, we've dug out some photos from the PKL archives showing life at PKL since 1989 when the film was set. Keen to experience some time travel ourselves, we then set to work recreating some of our favourite snaps from over the years (many featuring the original staff members!)!

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Lee Vines

On the left, David (former Financial Director), Lee (current Managing Director) and Lucy (former Event Sales) carefully study an array of drawings and brochures in around 1996/7. On the right, Lee is back in his original pose, joined by Bill (Business Development) and Krista (Event Account Manager) in the same boardroom! Here's a bit of PKL trivia for you: although Lucy left the company many years ago, she's still the voice of the PKL phone system!

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Chris Irving

Operations Director Chris has barely changed since the original photo was taken in about 2003! Neither has the stairwell for that matter...

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Karsten Heard

We appear to have experienced genuine time travel here! Design Manager Karsten is basically unchanged since 2004!

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Andre

The photo on the left shows David, a CAD Technician and patterned-jumper connoisseur at PKL in the mid 1990s. On the right, Andre, the newest member of PKL's Design Team, recreates the classic pose.

PKL Goes Back to the Future | Dan

The photo on the left was taken in the early 1990s of Christine, a Personal Assistant. Dan, one of our sales guys, stepped in to recreate this photo - all that's missing is a well-tended pot plant!

Wednesday 30 September 2015

PKL's Macmillan Coffee Morning 2015

On Friday we took part in the World's Biggest Coffee Morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. This is a popular event in the PKL calendar, and lots of staff brought in delicious food to sell.

PKL Macmillan Coffee Morning 2015

We like to have a selection of sweet and savoury treats to sell, so this year we had chicken dippers, sausage rolls and crisps as well as a huge range of homemade goodies including lemon drizzle cake, cheese straws, macarons, lemon and lime slices, cherry and choc chip cookies, cupcakes and Oreo chocolate bites.

PKL Macmillan Cake Sale 2015

As always, the canteen was decorated with loads of bunting and balloons, and there were posters up on every door in the building!

We're very pleased to have raised a total of £87.05 for such a great cause!