Automatic for the people: Bidfood

Since opening its first branch in Brisbane 28 years ago, Bidfood Australia has achieved significant growth and become a major national player in the food service industry. From the beginning, the company has relied upon Hino trucks as the predominant brand in the fleet.

From the outset Bidfood has partnered with Hino as a one-stop-shop supplying fully built trucks to its branches all over Australia. As a result, the company is able to leave most its vehicle needs in the capable hands of Hino while concentrating on maintaining the highest levels of customer service for its valued clients.

Indeed, a major determining factor in the success of any business is customer service. Get it right and the business is likely to grow; get it wrong and very soon the competition will be eating into market share, jeopardising the very viability of the company.

In the case of Bidfood, getting it right has seen the company flourish from a single branch in Brisbane 28 years ago to a national operation comprising 43 sites covering every state and territory in Australia.

Bidfood, formerly known as Bidvest Foodservice, was originally part of Bidvest Group Limited, a South African services, trading, and distribution company founded in 1988 by Brian Joffe and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1990. In 2017 the Bidcorp Group was formed focusing solely on the foodservice industry and commenced trading under the new name of Bidfood, after it was listed independently on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2016.

As such, Bidfood Australia has grown to become a pre-eminent out-of-home food service provider to the likes of cafes, pubs, clubs, restaurants, mine sites and hospitals. Today, the company has well in excess of 30,000 customers across the nation.

According to Grant Fairlie, who has been General Manager Procurement and Marketing of Bidfood for the past nine years, the original manager of the business started out using Hino trucks and the company has continued using the brand ever since.

“It has always been about reliability, reputation and service – and Hino delivers on all these points in spades,” Grant says – adding that the company operates a variety of different sizes from the 300 Series and 500 Series ranges, fitted with refrigerated van bodies in sizes ranging from two-pallet to 16-pallet.

In fact, according to Grant, Bidfood has over 250 Hino vehicles on the road across Australia, with the number of different roles almost matching the different sizes of vehicles employed.

“Some do longer interstate runs or to smaller regional branches which can include overnight stops, while others are running around metro areas delivering to local restaurants, pubs and clubs,” he says.

Interestingly, in addition to company drivers, Bidfood also engages a significant number of subcontractors. According to Grant, while these are free to use whatever brand they prefer, many choose to buy Hino, deeming it the ideal unit for the task and at the same time blending nicely with the company-owned trucks.