Sprinter is the cream of the crop for Caterway
The Sprinter: Making Christmas happen for 25 years
In our first edition of ‘The Sprinter: Making Christmas happen for 25 years’ we speak to Lorcan Murphy, Operations Manager at Caterway. Located in their new HQ in Blanchardstown, Dublin, after working two decades in the old Fruit & Vegetable market in Dublin City. Lorcan shares with us how the family business was formed, the importance of their relationship with Mercedes-Benz and how the Sprinter plays a crucial role in the lead up to their busy festive period.
Tell me about Caterway?
Caterway is a family owned & run business, delivering fresh fruit, vegetables and dry goods to over 300 catering and retail outlets. We’ve been in operation since 1998 when a merger took place between two family businesses’: Fitzpatrick’s Catering & Hanley’s. The two businesses had fruit & veg shops and had both been in operation since the 1950’s. We are still very much so a family business, with brothers from both the Fitzpatrick & Hanley families as directors.
We are based in Blanchardstown Corporate Park in Dublin for the past year and a half, in a purpose-built food building. Caterway employs 50-60 staff in total, many of whom have been with us for a long time.
We operate a fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles with 16 Sprinters, 1 Vito & 1 Atego. We have been a Mercedes-Benz customer since 2001. 19 years later and we still love the Sprinter. When we started in 1998 we had first purchased another brand of vans, which we had a lot of problems with, especially with the sliding doors. Our vans don’t do a huge amount of mileage but they would get a lot of use with stop-start journeys all day long. Thankfully I have never had a problem with a Sprinter door since we have made the move to Mercedes-Benz!
How did your relationship with Mercedes-Benz begin?
Many years ago, I received a cold call from a Mercedes-Benz Dealership. When I was told that our companies ‘Orchard Green’ colour was available in the Sprinter model I knew they would be a great addition to our fleet. At the time we were spray painting our other vans and as I mentioned previously, I was frustrated with the doors falling off the other relatively new vans. We then purchased 5 Sprinters straight away. Fast forward some years later & we’ve been a customer of M50 Truck & Van Centre ever since! We have a fantastic relationship with them.
What attracted you to the Mercedes-Benz vehicles?
I liked the idea of having a premium brand van. We were a new business trying to establish ourselves, having a premium fleet of vehicles gave us a strong brand from the start. We could also fit more pallets into the Sprinter than we could in competitor brands which was a huge benefit for us. Sprinter’s weren’t particularly well-known at the time so I liked that we had something different on the roads.
What is the most attractive thing about the Sprinter?
It would have to be its reliability – I’ve had no issues with it. The comfort too – its beautiful to drive, like driving a car. All of our drivers enjoy driving them, so much so that there are often arguments when an employee is on holidays because they all want to be driving the newest Sprinter with the latest reversing camera or multi-function steering wheel.
What is your most recent addition to your fleet?
We’ve been a Sprinter customer for 19 years now and we have a selection of different aged Sprinter vans in our fleet. The newest edition being two 181’s, the ‘new’ generation Sprinter. We have tripled our fleet size in 20 years!
In your opinion, what are the most noticeable upgrades in the Sprinter vans throughout the years?
The reversing cameras – these are a huge help around Dublin City Centre, where a lot of our deliveries take place. Our drivers could have up to 20 delivery drop points per run. These cameras are almost a necessity for our business now. The cab itself has also seen big changes throughout the years, the comfort & the multi-function steering wheel would be favourites of ours.
Is Christmas a busy period for Caterway?
Yes, Christmas season usually starts for us in the last weekend of November. We are a B2B only business so once the Christmas parties start, we are then busy for the whole month of December. We operate deliveries right up until Christmas Eve. We then close for 2 days before our busy New Years period begins. Our full fleet is in operation for the Christmas season.
Do you & your drivers enjoy working during this festive period?
Christmas is very stressful – we are dealing with fresh produce and last-minute orders from our customers.
Most of our employees enjoy working over Christmas time. They are out meeting different people throughout the days, most of whom they have formed good relationships with. The drivers often get their Christmas hats on for our Christmas deliveries! ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ is a song i have always hated, because they start playing it from the start of December and I listen to it every night on the way home from work. The only day I enjoy the song is when I am actually going home from work on Christmas Eve!
Is the Sprinter a Key Player in making Christmas happen for Caterway?
Absolutely – big time. We could not function without them during our Christmas period.