Following a period of rapid expansion, the addition of Galley & Pantry to the Evolution Yachting is a direct response to the increasing demand on the part of chefs and chief stews to source food locally from local suppliers. Evolution Yachting is capitalising on the presence across its offices in Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Montenegro, Croatia and Albania.
“For us the time was just right to launch Galley & Pantry. Due to our rapid expansion and presence across the Med, we were thinking about setting up our own in-house provisioning service,” comments Belen Martin, Chief Project Officer at Evolution Yachting. “The arrival of COVID-19 signalled to us that the time was right, as it has put a lot of pressure on yacht and owners with budgets being scrutinised even more than before. There are also limitations for logistics now due to the closure of most borders, and this has been extremely challenging. It is completely logical that yachts are questioning why they are having to have provisions sent to them from other countries, when excellent local produce can be sourced, and with a minimum carbon footprint.”
The logistical issues that have been emphasised so acutely throughout the COVID-19 crisis was one of the key factors in Evolution Yachting choosing to adopt a provisioning model that is atypical of the wide provisioning market, which sees many enterprises operate out of a central destination or hub, leading to the sidestepping of the local businesses that the yachting industry so frequently claims to support.
“What we are trying to achieve is a decentralised model, that relies on the autonomy of various regional offices and the local expertise,” explains Colin Clark, head of provisioning at Evolution Yachting. “Local people know local produce better than any centralised head office could and it is important to us that these offices do not simply provide the desired produce, but also advice chefs and various interested parties on what local produce is desirable in certain locations and particular times of the year. Local expertise is something we are really trying to cultivate, and this has become even more important in light of COVID-19. The locality of knowledge and produce is central to this business model, however, the Barcelona office will operate in a supporting capacity for specialist products that can’t be source locally, such as a specialist wine or cheese.”
According to Martin, the development of the Galley & Pantry department is the next in a series of developments that will see Evolution Yachting become a full-service business the accounts for customs & agency work, as well as the provisioning of food, beverages and spare parts. Central to this business model is the ability to generate business throughout the year. For instance, in areas that are typically used for wintering, the ability to provision ensures that the seasonality of wintering requirements is somewhat mitigated by providing complimentary services. “It would be great to have this model applied to our other offices according to necessity,” says Martin.
“Typically, a provisioning company has one hub in either London, The Netherlands, South of France or another such place. They take the orders and they distribute from that location,” explains Martin. “When COVID-19 struck we became so incredibly busy because many of the large boats were stuck and a number of the crews were unable to leave the vessels, so they relied on Evolution Yachting for everything. It was this reliance that showed us how important regional support was and convinced us that the centralised model was wrong in many ways. We are able to provide most products locally at incredibly competitive prices and those that we can’t we can source through our Barcelona office.”
According to both Martin and Clark, Evolution Yachting has also developed a particular packaging and delivery system that has proved to be incredibly popular with chefs because it takes into consideration space limitations on board as well as any language barriers they may be encountered with the produce. In addition, using localised food provisioners allows captains and chefs to reduce their costs as well as reducing the overall carbon footprint of the vessel, a notion that is becoming increasingly prominent in society today, even amongst the world’s wealthiest individuals. Regardless of the value added elements of the service, the ability to provision locally will be vital to the success of the 2020 Mediterranean season and may set an example for how provisioning should be done in the future.
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