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IFSE secures a bold and bright future by becoming employee-owned

IFSE Group consisting of – restaurant design and build specialist – International Food Service Equipment Ltd and – equipment servicing and maintenance company – Romann Catering Equipment Engineers Ltd, has announced the deal that will see its 35 staff directly benefiting from the company’s future success.

IFSE Group has converted from a privately-owned company into an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) effective from 1st April 2022. The group will join a roster of other well-known companies that have successfully converted to EOTs including Aardman Animation, Arup Group Ltd, Mott Macdonald Group Ltd and, most famously, John Lewis Partnership PLC.

Working closely with their accountants Simmons Gainsford LLP and Postlethwaite Solicitors Ltd, a leading firm in establishing Employee Ownership Trusts, IFSE has structured the transition in accordance with the rules of the government-backed scheme.

The deal marks a major milestone for the 31-year-old restaurant design, build and aftercare business after a period of major growth over the past 12 months. The company has embarked on a record-breaking amount of design and build contracts throughout the year and the dedicated team has been at the forefront of providing and installing outstanding new concepts for clients such as Marks and Spencer, Howdens, The National Gallery, Three, Zambrero, Rolls Royce, UCFB, The FoodWorksSW and Gorillas.

Group Managing Director, Andrew Fordyce commented:

“A company is so much more than one person, and after more than 35 years of entrepreneurship I looked carefully at how I could create a lasting legacy for all my colleagues going forward. Establishing an Employee Ownership Trust and transferring the company ownership to be shared among everyone that works for us seems a perfect solution.
For our customers, it is business as usual. I am remaining in post as well as all of the existing management team and staff who will continue to work in the business as normal. We know that the prospect of new staff automatically taking a part share in the business will be a real help in securing the best talent in the industry moving forward.”

By providing every team member the opportunity to gain a stake in the success of the business, EOTs regularly perform better than traditionally owned private businesses.

The company believes this new business structure will be an exciting proposition to attract new and emerging talent in the industry, allowing IFSE to stand out from its competitors.

IFSE’s long-term Commercial Director, Julia Hill said of the business:

“Family is the word I would use to describe what it’s like to be part of IFSE. Every member of staff is treated like family. Some of the staff have grown with the company since its founding. We’ve had staff join the estimating team, who have worked their way up through the ranks to become directors. Anything is possible at IFSE. What better way to ensure continued development and success of the group.”

Julia added:

“When we spoke to the team about the possibility of moving to an EOT, the response was overwhelming with literally every one of our employees responding positively. We knew then that we were on the right track.”

An EOT is set up for the benefit of all the staff working in the business.

IFSE’s Compliance Manager, Bernadette Saward, who has been with the company for over 10 years has agreed to serve on the Trust board as employee representative.

Bernadette said:

“The team and I are excited to be the pioneering company in our industry to go down this path. I fully expect that this will provide the team with a renewed drive to excel and push the company to be the best it can be. We all look forward to having a stake in the business and sharing of the company success. This is an exciting year for all of us at IFSE, not only the EOT but we are also working on some really exciting restaurant concepts that we absolutely can’t wait to share”.

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