The chairman and CEO of Ali Group has paid tribute to the resilience of its workforce following the turbulence caused to the industry by Covid-19.
Filippo Berti said its 10,000-strong workforce had been instrumental in getting the business through the worse of the crisis.
Writing in the company’s Aliworld publication – its first since the pandemic shook the industry – Mr Berti said: “It’s no understatement to say that the pandemic has radically changed the foodservice and hospitality business over the past 18 months.
“Like so many of you, this unprecedented situation put great strains on our employees, but I’m immensely proud of the way they adapted, pulling together to keep our businesses strong and serve our clients during these difficult times.”
Berti said the industry had undergone some “dramatic” changes during the past two years, citing an increased emphasis on takeaway, delivery and online ordering among the key trends.
He said the lockdowns and restrictions imposed on markets around the world had not deterred the business from rising to the challenge of meeting customers’ evolving requirements.
“While the teams at many of our companies were not allowed to have face-to-face contact with customers during the pandemic, you may be assured that they were not resting. They have used this time to focus on innovation and new product development,” he said.
Ali Group operates more than 80 brands and runs manufacturing sites all around the world.
The company made waves earlier this year when it outbid Middleby Corporation to acquire Welbilt. The transaction is currently working its way through regulatory approvals but is expected to complete early next year.
During the pandemic it also snapped up dishwashing equipment manufacturer American Dish Service, continuous-churn gelato supplier BGI and ice cube maker Kold-Draft.
Berti said that as business begins to return to a normal schedule of trade shows, conferences and other industry events, he was looking forward to reconnecting with customers at HOST, which gets underway from tomorrow, and at additional venues in 2022.
He also used his column to reflect on the loss of his parents, Luciano and Giancarla Berti, who he described as “two of our guiding lights at the Ali Group”.
Luciano Berti founded his first business, Comenda, in 1963 and led Ali Group for the next 50 years.
“He never lost his love for the business but more importantly he never lost his love for people. My mother worked tirelessly at his side in the early years of the company to help grow the Ali group into what it has become today. On behalf of all of us at Ali Group – they will be deeply missed.”