The brakes are off as new £26 million facility opens

Brakes CEO Ken McMeikan (left) is joined by North Lanarkshire Council chief executive Gavin Whitefield (centre) and Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead MSP for the offical opening of the depot.

Brakes CEO Ken McMeikan (left) is joined by North Lanarkshire Council chief executive Gavin Whitefield (centre) and Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead MSP for the offical opening of the depot.

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Scotland’s largest foodservice provider, Brakes, has officially opened its new £26 million depot in Newhouse.

The new 172,000 sq ft state-of-the-art multi-temperature facility makes 3,500 deliveries every day, with most of the 340 staff moving over from the company’s old sites in Bellshill and Tannochside.

In addition, with 400 new product lines, around 50 new staff have been taken on and, with plans to grow from 15.5 million products delivered this year to 21 million in the years to come, it is hoped eventually 600 workers will be employed at Newhouse.

Ken McMeikan, CEO of Brakes Group, said: “It is important for our customers to get one multi-temperature delivery instead of two or three separate deliveries with different products on the lorry for fresh, grocery and frozen, and that makes life easier.

“We look after every walk of life from school children through to the elderly in care homes, so we have pubs, restaurants, leisure facilities, the public sector and hospitals. Any place where food is eaten out of home we will have a customer within our network.

“When you have a facility of this scale, getting it up and running is a big challenge, but the planning John McLintock, our regional operations director, put in combined with the experience of opening sites of this size in Reading and Warrington meant the transition was pretty seamless.”

Mr McMeikan believes it was important for the new facility to be built in the local area to make best use of the experienced staff from Bellshill and Tannochside.

He said: “Brakes has grown over the last 50 years and has taken in 46 companies in that time. We were great at buying these companies, but not so great at integrating our systems.

“We had Bellshill working on one system and Tannochside working on another system, and two vehicles turning up to customers.

“Bringing everything under one roof means we have one system, one vehicle turning up, which is better for customers as it is less in costs and administration for them.

“We have brought most of the colleagues from Bellshill and Tannochside and retaining that experience was vital as we have a lot of good people.

“If we had got a site somewhere else we would have needed to relocate a large number of our colleagues and inevitably would have had to recruit a lot of new starts, losing a significant amount of experience.”

Among those present at the opening ceremony was Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment.

He said: “The food and drink service sector in Scotland is a key market and companies like Brakes are to be commended on the work they are doing.”